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The Krka river in Croatia

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General presentationGeneral information
The cascade of Skradinski Buk on Krka. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).The Krka river is a river of Dalmatia power station in Croatia; Krka is a remarkable river for the barriers of tufa (travertine) which formed, throughout its course, seven series of cascades or waterfalls, almost as many lakes and many rapids. Krka presents more the great system of cascades to travertine of Europe.

For this reason it is protected on most of its course by the National park of Krka.

Krka seen since the road of Šibenik with Kistanje. Click to enlarge the image.Krka is the name of several rivers of Slavic European south-east, in particular the Krka river as Slovenia. The word seems to come from an Indo-European root “kerk” meaning “which turns”.

For a French-speaking throat the word “Krka” decides “keurka”.


The Krka river seen since the road (Jbdrm author). Click to enlarge the image.The Krka river is at the bottom of western slope of the mountainous solid mass of Dinara in the dinaric Alps.

The course of the river is in Dalmatia power station in the county of Šibenik-Knin, connecting these two towns of Knin and Šibenik, city close which Krka is thrown in the Adriatic Sea.

The Krka river is bordered in the east by the Promina mountain and, beyond, by the solid mass of Mosor; the plate of Miljevci separates it from its affluent, the Čikola river. In the west it is the southern part of the solid mass of Velebit.


The Krka river, throughout its course of 72.5 km, traces its way towards the Adriatic Sea while digging, on two thirds of its course, deep throats through the karstic solid mass, offering one surprising contrast between the arid medium of the karst and its water of color blue-green. By doing this water of the river took care of limestone in dissolution and, by a phenomenon of precipitation, created formed travertine natural barriers, a limestone amalgam and watery vegetable matters. These travertine barriers, with more or less imposing dimensions, caused the formation of lakes, waterfalls, cascades and many rapids.

The course of the river is thus segmented by seven series of cascades or waterfalls, separated by lakes. Widest of the lakes is the Lake Visovac located between the two great series of cascades, those of Roški Slap and those of Skradinski Buk, most spectacular.

The higher and average courses are purely of fresh water, while the lower course, on 23.5 km, is brackish. The uneven total of the river is of 224 Mr. His annual flow average on the way with Skradinski buk is approximately 55 m³ /s, while daily flow varies from 5 to approximately 565 m³ /s according to the seasons. Its catchment area covers a surface from 2500 to 2 650 km².

Comparable with that of the Lakes Plitvice, the system of cascades with travertine of Krka is among most beautiful of the Croatian karst and makes of them one of the rivers more the enchanters of Croatia.

Panel of information on the travertine of Krka. Click to enlarge the image.Travertine (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.Travertine, or tufa, is a porous rock, of white color when it is pure, but drawing towards the gray, the yellowish one, the reddish one or chestnut, according to the impurities which it contains; it is characterized by small cavities (vacuoles) unequally distributed. This sedimentary rock is formed by calcium carbonate deposits which, precipitated out of running water, pile up on various natural supports (like river foam, the algae, etc). On a stopping or an obstacle, in consequence of turbulences and splashes, water rich in dissolved calcium bicarbonate, loses carbon dioxide and the bicarbonated molecules in water. Calcium the carbonate, nondissolved, precipitates towards the bottom in the form of microcrystals of the size of 10 microns. The precipitated microcrystals are encrusted in foam and the algae, thus forming new layers of travertine.
This travertine thus creates obstacles, thresholds, stoppings or geomorphological forms called “barbs”, “draperies” and other travertine shapes. Travertines of Skradinski Buk are approximately seven thousand years old; it is said that they are “alive travertines”, because the deposits continue to grow, with an annual growth of approximately 3 mm. Apart from the current course of the Krka river - in the field of the old course of the river - are travertines whose age can reach 125,000 years; they are called “travertine dead”.
Travertine is often present superficially in the river currents of the dinaric Alps but forms only seldom falls as impressive as those which one can find on the Krka river.
The Spring of the Krka River
The source of the Krka river under Krcic (author K. Korlevic). Click to enlarge the image.The source of the Krka river is at the bottom of mount Dinara, the highest mountain of Croatia, on the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the source is located at 3.5 km in the North-East of the town of Knin, a few kilometers apart from the National park of Krka, but in an also protected zone.

Krka emerges under a waterfall (Topoljski buk), high 22 m, of its affluent, the small Krčić river, long 10.5 km. In summer, when the Krčić river is dry, the source of Krka becomes visible. In Knin, Krka is reinforced by its affluent, Butišnica.

The Cascade of Bilušića (Bilušića Buk)
The cascade of Bilušića on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.The cascade of Bilušića on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.The cascade of Bilušića Buk is the first of the seven cascades which form Krka, to 16 km downstream from its source. Of a 22.4 m height, it is the only cascade not to be affected by the use of the river at hydroelectric ends.

The falls of Bilušića Buk can be reached on the Right Bank (solid mass of Bukovac) via the road of Knin with Kistanje by taking the exit towards the village of Radučić and while continuing on the dirt track to the station of Radučić.

The Cascade of Brljan (Brljan Buk)
The cascade of Brljan on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.The cascade of Brljan, or cascades of Ćorića, is located at 2 km downstream from that of Bilušića Buk, at the exit of the throats, where the river widens in the Lake Ćorić, broad 400 m and length of 1300 Mr. the cascade of Brljan has 300 m of length, 180 m broad and uneven of 15.5 Mr.

The cascade of Brljan on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.Water runs out in the lake by the cascade of Ćorića only during high waters, because water is redirected since the river through a tunnel to feed a hydroelectric factory.

One can reach the cascade on Right Bank by the road of Knin with Kistanje by taking the exit before Burnum on the road of Oklaj with Drniš. On the side left bank, one can join the cascade by the road of Drniš with Oklaj which is connected to the road of Knin with Kistanje. The road crosses the travertine barriers, and offers since the bridge of the unforgettable sights, upstream and downstream from the river, on the cascades and the Lake Ćorića.

Cascades of Manojlovac (Manojlovački slap)
Cascades of Manojlovac on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.One half-kilometer downstream from the cascade of Brljan, where the river presents a tightened curve, appear the cascades of Manojlovac slap.

Cascades of Manojlovac on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.The cascade consists of a series of travertine barriers a total height of 59.6 meters, the largest step being 32 meters top. The cascades are approximately 500 meters length, with a width of approximately 80 meters. This cascade is regarded by much as the most beautiful cascade of the Krka river.

As the cascade of Brljan, the cascade of Manojlovac is drained during the summer because of the redirection of water to feed the hydroelectric factory of Miljacka, located in the vicinity. In period of high waters, the falls fall into deep water with a deafening rumbling, surrounded by a veil rainbow.

The Waterfall of Rošnjak (Rošnjak slap)
The cascade of Rošnjak on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.One kilometer downstream from the fall of Manojlovac, where the throats are deeper and narrower, hidden in an intact nature, the smallest waterfall is on the river Krka, the fall of Rošnjak (or Sondovjel). It consists of only one jump of approximately 40 meters broad and only 8.4 meters in height.

The cascade of Rošnjak on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.The cascade is in a picturesque throat wedged between cliffs of almost 200 meters in height. It is the single waterfall where mills were never built, because of its inaccessibility.

Because of its primitive simplicity and its mystical inaccessibility, the inhabitants named it “the furnace bridge”.

The cascade is accessible from Right Bank by the road from Knin to Kistanje while turning on the road of Oklaj to Drniš then while turning in the direction of the hydroelectric factory of Miljačka to the first intersection.

The Cascade of Miljačka (Miljačka slap)
The cascade of Miljačka on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.The cascade of Miljačka is to 1 km downstream from the waterfall of Rošnjak, wedged between cliffs invaded by a luxuriant vegetation. It understands three large steps and of many small travertine steps, with a total height of almost 24 meters.

The cascade of Miljačka on Krka (author NR. P. Krka). Click to enlarge the image.The power station of Miljacka on the river Krka (Kebeta author). Click to enlarge the image.On left bank of Krka, just after the cascade of Miljačka, is the hydroelectric factory of Miljačka, most important of the river. Its construction started in 1904 and, until 1910, it remained the hydroelectric factory most powerful of Europe.

Cascades of Rog (Roški slapovi)
To go to the cascades of Roški Slap.
The Lake Visovac (Visovačko jezero)
To go to the Lake Visovac.
The Lake of Čikola
The “lake of Čikola” is this part of the throats of the Čikola river which, being lower than the travertine barrier of Skradinski Buk, took the appearance of a lake. The length of the lake of Čikola is approximately 3.5 km and its maximum width from approximately 650 Mr. more the great depth, with the junction with the Lake Visovac, is of 28 Mr.

The Čikola river, upstream of the lake, can be found dry for the periods of drought, but in the upper part of the lake is the source Torak, a powerful permanent source which feeds the lake under its surface.

Cascades of Skradin (Skradinski buk)
To go to the cascades of Skradinski Buk.
The cascade of Skradinski Buk on Krka. Click to enlarge the image.The cascade of Skradinski Buk on Krka. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Seen cascade of Skradinski Buk since the imperial view-point. Click to enlarge the image.
Between Skradinski Buk and the village of Skradin the river adopts a quiet course in a valley with marshy banks.
Krka downstream from Skradinski Buk. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Krka with the approach of Skradinski Buk. Click to enlarge the image in Adobe Stock (new tab).Krka seen since the road of Šibenik with Kistanje. Click to enlarge the image.
The Lake Prokljan (Prokljansko jezero)
The Lake Prokljan (Prokljansko jezero) is located in the lower course of the Krka river; it extends on 11 km² between the small town from Skradin and that from Zaton: it is the fourth plus big lake of Croatia. The “lake” of Prokljan is actually an interior part of the Adriatic Sea, a vestige of the time when the sea recovered the littoral, 100 m higher than its current level. However the water of the lake is not entirely salted: the two meters of water located immediately under surface are fresh water of the river. The surface of the lake is besides only to 0.5 m above sea level, and its maximum depth is of 21 m in the southern part, whereas it is only of 4 m in the northern part.

The Lake Prokljan is also fed, in the west, by the Guduča river which is an important ornithological zone; the lake is connected to the sea by a narrow channel which constitutes the estuary of Krka and which emerges with the port of Šibenik.

The Mouth of the Krka River
The estuary of Krka is formed by the narrow channel Saint Joseph (kanal svetog Josipa), 7 km length, which emerge in bay of Šibenik, close to the Saint Nicholas fortress. However one could consider that the mouth of Krka starts as of Skradin - to 23.5 km of the sea - and includes the Lake Prokljan.

This estuary is of an exceptional wealth because of the absence of pollution and its biological vitality: the estuary of Krka is rich in shells and shellfish, and fish of river and sea.

History and traditionsHistory, literature, arts, traditions, legends, religions, myths, symbols…

The Krka river, since always, had a major historical role: antiquity when it represented the boundary line de between the tribes illyriennes of Liburniens and of Dalmatian, via the Middle Ages when the core of the first Croatian State taken birth in this region, until the beginning of the modern era as a space for which the Republic of Venice, the Monarchy of Habsbourg and the Ottoman Empire clashed.

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The Krka river in Croatia
The monastery of Krka in Croatia
The Krka river in Croatia - cascades of Roški Slap
The monastery of Visovac in Croatia
The Krka river in Croatia - cascades of Skradin
Broader topics
The national park of Krka in Croatia
The town of Šibenik in Croatia
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