ABOUT BRIJUNI ISLANDS
The Brijuni group of islands consists of Veli (Big) Brijuni, Mali (Little) Brijuni, Vanga (outside island), Jerolim, Kozada (Kotez, Kosada), Gaz (Gaza), Vrsar (Medvjedica), Galija Madona (Pusti) Okrugljak (Obljak), Grunj (Grujevac), Supin (Supin veli, Veliki zupin), Supinic (Supin mali, Mali zupin) and St. Marko. The total area is 730 hectares, total coast line is 46.6 km., with 274 km of roads, paths and walks. The Brijuni islands stretch along the south-west coast of the Istrian peninsula, and are only 10 km from Pula. They are separated from the mainland by Fazana Channel which is on average 3 km wide. Having a mild Mediterranean climate, lots of sun and warm weather, and a rich vegetation, the islands guarantee an extremely pleasant stay.
The first life on the Brijuni islands is traced back to the Mesozoic period, some 150 million years ago, in the form of the footprints of dinosaur "Igvanodon" on the Ploce cape and peninsula Barban. At that time the islands were part of the mainland, to be formed in a later geological disturbance some 10 000 years ago. The first human settlements are dated back to the early stone age, in the form of the earth dwellings. The presence of Illyrians in the later period is documented by stone fortresses built on hills. After the fall of their kingdom in 177 B.C. comes a long period of Roman rule. They brought significant economic, social and economic changes into the whole area. The nicesest remains of that period is the emperor`s summer residence in the Verige bay, and it is considered as a real pearl of the roman architecture. Literature usually refers to it as a " magnificent rural residence built on three terraces ". It was built in the first century A.D. and today it is only partially recovered, and covers an area of five hectares. The remains of three temples are also preserved.
Following the fall of the Roman empire there comes the Byzantium rule. It is represented by the monumental complex, the Byzantium Kastrum in the Dobrik bay. To that period also belongs the basilica St. Mary from the V century and the church of St. Peter from the VI century. At that period Slavs start to inhabit these parts and their continual presence was uninterrupted ever since. With the fall of the Byzantium the rule over the Brijuni island was passed over to the Venetian, in 1331. For the following 466 years the area was ravaged by wars, ruthless exploitation and plunder. Remains of this rule are found in the castle and the church St. Germain and St. Rok. By XIX century the island were practically deserted.
After the Venetian rule came Austrian when renewal of the Brijuni island started in 1893, by its owner, Austrian industrialist, Paul Kupelwieser. He, and his associates, succeeded in turning the barren and malaria infested islands into a beautiful resort for Europe`s and World`s high society. The development included cleaning-up the undergrowth, tiding up, planting various trees and bushes, curing the area from malaria - the success is due to Robert Koch, the famous German bacteriologist. The very successful development into a fashionable resort was interrupted by the I World War, and later never to attain the same momentum.
After the II World War the islands and the whole of Istria were united with Croatia, which was then one federal republic of Yugoslavia. The unification was based on the fact that the Croatian population always constituted large majority of Istria, and on the decision by the committees of the partisan, antifascist, resistance movements of the II World War. Renewal of Brijuni and its complete existence is connected with the name of Josip Broz Tito, during the period 1947 to 1980. During that time almost all the world`s leading statesmen and renowned artists and industrialists visited Brijuni as his guests. Special care was given to the island as a residential complex, in the harmony with the cultural heritage, and plant and animal life. The Brijuni Islands were proclaimed a national park in 1983.