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 😀
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 Napoléon 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 😛
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 😛
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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