The town of Polače, island of Mljet in Croatia
|Capital of the National park of Mljet, the port of Polače, snuggled at the bottom of a sheltered bay, was used as damping to the Greek sailors. The Romans there founded a village at the 1st century and built even a palace. Besides the road crosses a side of its walls. Thereafter, the Christian monks built two basilicas, today in ruin.|
|On the island of Mljet is two “lakes”, Malo jezero (small lake) and Veliko jezero (big lake); they are not really lakes, but two charming water levels connected to each other and to the sea by a very narrow strait; their water is thus renewed with each tide.|
|These two lakes are by way of valleys formerly partially filled with brackish water by the tides. Part of the south of the island, the sea penetrates in the island by a small channel by creating Veliko jezero, the Big lake, and after, by a channel even narrower, feeds Malo jezero, the Small Lake; these two lakes are salted lakes, rich in varied shells. Initially marshy zones filled with brackish water, they were drained by the monks of the monastery Benedictine who improved the arrival of water to the Middle Ages, by deepening the input channel of sea water. Besides ingeniously, they used the force of the current being engulfed in the breach to actuate the wheel of a mill.|
|The Big lake has a 1.5 km² and 46 depth m surface.|
|The Small Lake is four times smaller than the Big lake (0.24 km² and 29 m of depth).|
|The salinity of water in the lakes is very low compared to that of the sea, because of the fresh water arrival. Heated by the sun and without the cold currents of the sea, the water of the lakes is at a higher temperature from approximately 2 or 3 degrees that of the Adriatic Sea. Because of this temperature, as well as their therapeutic virtues for the cutaneous rheumatisms and problems, Veliko and Malo Jezero are popular places near the bathers. If there is not a ferry to take, a bathe with the sunset - when the tourists set out again - is unforgettable.|
|The hikers will borrow the paths (approximately 5 km each one) which make the turn of the lakes, one by southern bank, the other by northern bank. Both offer pretty panoramas on the wooded banks. To note that the path of southern bank of the lakes offers beautiful points of view on the hills covered with a luxuriant vegetation and some old houses.|
|The access to the lakes at the beginning of Polače is done into 25 min on foot, or a few minutes in the minibus (included in the price of the ticket of entry).|
The access at the beginning of the port of Pomena is done, on foot, into 10 min. The staircase leaves in the forest on the right to the exit the village, after the Matana pension.
At the junction point of the two lakes, it is possible to rent bicycles, kayaks or boats.
|Monastery Benedictine Saint Mary (Benediktinski samostan Svete Marije)|
|On Veliko jezero emerges another small island, called small island of Veliko jezero, or small island Saint Mary (Otočić Svete Marije), on which, in the south-eastern part, a monastery of minor Benedictines and a church were built dating from the 12th century; the buildings are arranged today in hotel.|
|The monks Benedictines, originating in Apulia in Italy, arrived on the island of Mljet at the 12th century and chose this place isolated to accommodate their retirement and to build this small jewel of the Romanesque architecture of Italian inspiration, with its church with stone vault.|
|To appreciate the typical Romance reasons, to pass from them in the cloister, then to circumvent the church by outside to appreciate its typical structure of the Romanesque art (reasons in teeth of gears and blind arcades blind).|
|The interior is conceived on a plan in cross, with a beautiful pavement in rosette, a stone cupola, worked balustrades and furnace bridges naive baroques. The monastery was often renovated and presents today a Renaissance style, but the church Saint Mary (Svete Marija), dedicated to the Virgin, of Romance style, probably goes back to first half of the 12th century.|
|By making the turn of the small island, one discovers moving miniature votive vaults and their rustic ex-votos, braided grass or dead wood cross, deposited by the faithful ones.|
|Shuttles to go on the small island leave Mali Most: from May to September, boat (10 min) at the beginning of the junction of the two lakes. The shuttles make stopover with Pristanište.|
Loading every hour of 9:00 on 19:00, return 45 min later. Last return to 20:20. Frequency decreased in the beginning and end of season or according to the weather. Included in the ticket of entry of the park.
|For the courageous ones, it is also possible to go there to the stroke since the southern bank of the Big lake, to which the small island is surprisingly close…|
|This modest top (253 m of altitude) offers the most beautiful panorama of the two salted lakes, in their bosky bower, and of the small island of the Saint Mary monastery, and all the beauties of the National park of Mljet.|
Small excursion of 1:30 return ticket, at the beginning of Polače.
|On the Saint Mary small island is a restaurant at the bottom of monastery (Konoba Melita) as well as rooms at the inhabitant to rent.|