I know. It is hard to pronounce it, right? Well, if you are comfortable you can try to say it as if a name is written like this: Mrkopaly, or you can just say Mrkopal; everyone in Gorski kotar would understand ๐Ÿ˜€
Mrkopalj is a village in Gorski kotar, mounatinous area in Croatia, about 50km – 30 miles east of Rijeka. According to last available data it has about 1400 inhabitants, but frankly, I am not sure how did they came out with that number. Surrounding smaller villages has less than 300 people; for instance, a village Tuk has only 26 inhabitants and whole area has a tendency of decrease in population due to mostly economic reasons. When there is no job, there are no people around. It is not easy to live there. Winters could be hard.
A bit of a history: a village Mrkopalj was first mentioned in 1477. when Martin Frankopan (one of the members of famous historic rulers of Croatia, family of Frankopan) gave some of his lands to Mikulica, a son of Damian Drozgometski, one of his serfdoms. The Emperor Joseph II(Habsburg)granted the Coat of Arms and the status of a free royal market town in 1785. Around 1730 a famous Carolin road (named after King Charles VI) was going through Mrkopalj, connecting Karlovac and Bakar at Adriatic coast. A road had low capacity and was mostly steep so after about 100 years another road was built, Luiziana (opened for traffic in 1809.), named after Mari Louise, second wife of Napolรฉon Bonaparte.
The reason I know about this village is that my mother was born there. My grandma and uncle lived there too and one of my first memories from childhood were connected to it. My parents would brought me and my brother at the beggining of summer and we would stay there for about two months. Careless days filled with playing, strolling on nearby hills, woods and, later, mountains. Several mountain hiking tracks starts from or goes through Mrkopalj, one of the most famous ones 95km – 60 miles long Goranska transverzala. I walked it completely when I was only 18 years old, along with few of my friends and cousins. Back then we didn`t have much places to go for fun, only one or two disco clubs, both more than 10km away. A distance we walked every friday when no one could afford a car; or "steal" it from parents ๐Ÿ˜›
Memories are like a tidal wave when i think about that part of my youth – I could write a novel, but you would be bored to read my autobiography here ๐Ÿ˜›
This winter I spent only two days there – it was not possible to stay longer but I managed to make few photographs. It was snowing evening before and morning was wonderful. I hurried to use a light because darkness falls very fast there. Later in the afternoon, when my friend and me went to woods by his UAZ, it was almost completely dark.

click on the photo for bigger picture
more photos here

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79 Responses to Mrkopalj

  1. thetomster says:

    :up: like I said before, Darko, you are a born traveler … and thinking about the fact that you don't have to go far away to be a traveler but you have to be able to share what you've seen and experienced … I like your attitude and the way you show your world to your readers and how you express this with your stunning pictures … it's always like being on the way with you … :up:

  2. gdare says:

    It is beautiful, Pam, indeed. One of the most beautiful places in the world… or maybe this is just me ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. PainterWoman says:

    What a beautiful place Darko!I don't think we would be bored at all with your autobiography.I'm off to see the rest of the album.

  4. gdare says:

    Thanks Dirk, I am glad if you feel this way. Then, this blog has its purpose :happy:

  5. sanshan says:

    Yay, you finally made your snow post. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. gdare says:

    Yes ๐Ÿ˜€ :happy: Do you like it?

  7. L2D2 says:

    Me, too. That's a beautiful photo, Dare, and I loveyour history lessons. Wouldn't be nearly as interesting, though, without the personal touches.

  8. Spaggyj says:

    Another wonderful lesson with a stunning picture to really drive it home. I love how you mix your photography with both personal and world history.If you ever published an autobiography into a book, I would buy it ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. sanshan says:

    Yes, it looks a lot like home. :happy:(I'm amazed that you would walk 10 km. back and forth to a disco when you were 19! lol)

  10. Spaggyj says:

    Well, you've certainly got a gift for it, dear Darkie.

  11. gdare says:

    San, I was going there several summers, from when I was 16 to 19 ๐Ÿ˜› I wanted to make a photo of the darkest and scarriest part of a road we needed to walk through, but didn`t have time this year. It is a beautiful fir tree wood, but very dark and quiet during night :left:Diamond and Linda, I try to make it interesting for read. History facts are easy to find but no one wants to read only history – personal touch is important. I can feel what would be interesting to read and sometimes I try to put myself in my reader`s shoes, so to say, to try to think about what I would like to read about. Then, everything else comes naturally ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. gdare says:

    Thanks Ana ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  13. AnitaMargita says:

    Darko, you could be a remarkable travel-guide! ๐Ÿ˜€ It is seen through your "travel" posts.

  14. volkuro says:

    Good story and great photo :up:Since it's hard to evaluate from a photo, What's the average height of the mountains we see in the background?

  15. edwardpiercy says:

    Great photo, gorgeous area.Do they have any snowboarding or skiing there?

  16. Dacotah says:

    Darko, I wouldn't be bored reading your autobiography.Great post. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Stardancer says:

    A lovely village.:smile:

  18. sanshan says:

    Ooh, that would've been a great picture. Hopefully you'll get to take it another time.

  19. CedarFox says:

    Great photo, the snow looks beautiful there. :up:

  20. claudeb says:

    Your photos alone could easily win a competition or two. As for your stories, well, I'm envious. I don't have many to tell at all. Being born and raised in a city seems to have that effect.P.S. A 95Km hiking trail? :yikes: Can you even do it in one day?

  21. Dacotah says:


  22. gdare says:

    Felix, well I was born and grew up and lived entire life in a city; I guess it depends of a person, I liked to read about history and travelling when I was a kid, so maybe this is what all of those books made of me :lol:I have made a mistake, this hiking trail is called Kapelski planinarski put, not Goranska transverzala :doh: It starts in Mrkopalj and ends in Klenovica, a village in Adriatic coast, few kilometers south of Novi Vinodolski; it is about 60km long – 37 miles; we needed about 4 days to walk it over but some sections are very hard and this was very fast for us – we were kids the youngest one was 15 years old :left:

  23. gdare says:

    Louis, avreage altitude of Gorski kotar is 800m; actually this village is on 811m, I think. So, surrounding mountains are about 1000 meters or a bit higher; the highest mountain is Bjelolasica (pronounced as Bielolasitsa) with highest peak on 1534m, then there is Risnjak with 1528m; Bjelolasica is a beautiful mountain and on a clear weather it is possible to see Adriatic sea and island Krk; on the other side, during clear nights, lights of Karlovac and Zagreb could be seen and they are over 100km away ๐Ÿ™‚ There is a village in highest altitude in Croatia, Begovo Razdolje, on 1076m, and about 5 kilometers away from Mrkopalj;Diamond, thank you :DEd, they have a skiing terrains, one near the village on mountain Celimbasa (Chelimbasha) and another one in Zagmajna, suitable for cross country skiing; then another one in Begovo razdolje and Sunger, all of them in area of about 10km – 6 miles; first skiing competition was held in Mrkopalj in 1913. and first jump ramp was made in 1934. when first international competition in former Kingdom of Yugoslavia was held the same year;Carol and Star, thanks both of you :DSan, take a look I have found it somewhere on line :)Eric, a week after I left, they had a blizzard that brought about 1 meter – 3,3 feet of snow, and they were inaccessible by road for about a day or two :left:

  24. claudeb says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    It starts in Mrkopalj and ends in Klenovica, a village in Adriatic coast, few kilometers south of Novi Vinodolski; it is about 60km long – 37 miles; we needed about 4 days to walk it

    Man, I'd love to do that sometime. I love hiking, and I'm pretty sure I can do 15Km a day. And hiking from up in the mountains all the way to the sea shore sounds like a dream. Just need to rob a bank first. :right:

  25. SittingFox says:

    Looks so beautiful! Difficult to live there, yes, I can appreciate that, having also stayed in a very small (Canadian) village were jobs were hard to find (not that I was looking for one myself, but I was aware of the problems that the permanent residents had) and the access was very poor. But quiet, too, I expect. It's like a different planet from the big city ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. gdare says:

    Felix, it could be cheaper than you think. I am sure there are low cost flights from Bucharest to Zagreb or Rijeka. Then you can go to Mrkopalj by bus. You need to contact Croatian Hiking Association for paying fees (less than 10 eur as far as I know) and to have maps of the area. It is easy to follow marks on the way through woods and mountains (remember I was 18 and probably oldest one in a group). Anyway, I suggest to go there with someone else, this is mountain area, no need to take unncessary risks :)Adele, different planet I would like to live in, that`s for sure :yes:

  27. rose-marie says:

    Wow! That was quite a hike! :eyes:Did you go swim in the Adriatic ocean afterwards? And did you hike the whole way back again? :DThanks for the tour! Always a pleasure seeing them!:up:

  28. sanshan says:

    I'd never walk that kind of road in BC at night. I hate to imagine the creatures watching me from the dark forest. :right: :left:

  29. volkuro says:

    Thanks for the infos. :)Gorski kotar looks more like Quรฉbec than BC then.

  30. gdare says:

    Rose, we jumped right into the sea, screaming, because the water was very cold :insane: There are several springs on the bech and they are cooling water a lot, even though it was middle of summer :faint: We didn`t hike back because we didn`t have strength, food and money to buy it. Instead we used busses to go home :DSan, my friend and me heard wolves hauling one cold december night in 1990. Luckily a car with two men came and they picked us with them :)Louis, probably. The mountains are not as high as in BC I guess :left:

  31. sanshan says:

    Hey, keep football out of this. It's hockey season. (are you watching the world juniors?)

  32. volkuro says:

    At least, we have a real football team :whistle:

  33. sanshan says:

    Louis is wondering because there are NO mountains in Quebec. ;)And I don't think I'd get into a car with two strange men even though I heard wolves!

  34. volkuro says:

    No but I know that Canada's team is doing well.I rather watch NFL than the Habs ๐Ÿ™„

  35. sanshan says:

    I'd rather watch anything other than the Habs. :rolleyes:Hey! Are we taking over Darko's blog? It's become a speakeasy!

  36. gdare says:

    ๐Ÿ™„ :lol:San, we knew them so it was ok. Believe me darkness, snow, coldness and howling were very persuasive reasons :left:

  37. sanshan says:

    I suppose some howling would persuade me too. ๐Ÿ™„

  38. gdare says:


  39. volkuro says:

    Well, with the astronomical number of comments on each of his posts, I thought no one would notice! :p

  40. gdare says:


  41. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by volkuro:

    Well, with the astronomical number of comments on each of his posts, I thought no one would notice!

    Notice what? The howling?

  42. volkuro says:

    The talking over, PW ๐Ÿ˜€

  43. sanshan says:

    Hows the weather in your part of the world today? ๐Ÿ™„

  44. gdare says:

    I don`t mind, usually it turns up this way and comments go off topic ๐Ÿ˜€

  45. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by volkuro:

    The talking over

    I know…I was pretending to be blond for a moment….as my daughter would say. :p :zzz:

  46. gdare says:


  47. sanshan says:

    Hey! What's wrong with being blonde?

  48. L2D2 says:

    Yeah, really, I wasn't always a redhead you know! :p

  49. gdare says:

    San, nothing :whistle:Scientists have discovered that even pre-historic men reacted as extremely interested when blode was around. They explained it by the fact that majority of prehistoric people were dark haired and blondes were exception. I don`t know how did they discovered that, though :left:Linda, do you have photos? ๐Ÿ˜€

  50. sanshan says:

    They must be looking at the difference between a prehistoric man's brain and a modern day man's brain. The difference = 0, and that is because men rarely think with their brains. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Therefore the reaction to a blonde woman must be the same now, even though blonde women (true blondes) have evolved even more. You see, we have evolved so much that others feel the need to copy us by dying their hair. ๐Ÿ™„ It's all evolution baby. :sherlock:

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