Bavljenac, The Island of 1000 Walls

In the middle of the thousands of islands of the Croatian coast, Bavljenac, an islet of derisory size stands out for its large number of walls. These dry stone walls, typical of the Mediterranean, give the island a unique and singular aspect.

A fragmented territory

The Croatian coast is very fragmented along the Adriatic Sea. The country always seems to break up in the water into distinct sets of archipelagos. Indeed Croatia is the largest archipelago in the Adriatic Sea with 79 islands, 525 islets and 642 reefs or rocks (Rocks are defined as islets smaller than 0.1 km², islets are between 0.1 and 1.0 km² and islands proper are bigger than 1.0 km²). Of these 1246 islands, which represent a territory of 3,300 km2 , only 48 islands are inhabited. One of these uninhabited islands is the island of Baljenac (or Bavljenac) located in the center part of the Croatia coast. It is part of the Šibenik archipelago, 10 km from the coast.

Between the walls

Although it is of an insignificant size of 0,14km² it represents a historical interest for the mark that man has left there. The island is completely covered by walls built of stones piled one on top of the other. The ancient wall network is 23.357 km long on an island whose coastal perimeter does not exceed 1431m. These dry stone walls were built only by superimposing simple stones to delimit agricultural plots and protect the olive trees and vines from the wind. Farmers from the neighboring island of Kaprije are said to have started the agricultural colonization of the island in the 19th century, although some of the walls may have been built earlier. These networks of walls is indeed found in some neighboring islands, although the island of Baljenac is the largest concentration of these walls. However, it is estimated that 300 farmers would have built 106km of walls on a surface area of 12 km² in all the neighboring archipelago.
This uninhabited island has a physiognomy totally transformed by man. These agricultural plots give it a physical and totally improvised plot plan, almost random. Seen from the sky the island looks like a maze, a puzzle or a fingerprint, the hundreds of walls giving the island a unique and singular identity.

Bavljenac Map Croatia Archipelago Adriatic Sea
Bavljenac Map Croatia Archipelago Adriatic Sea
Bavljenac Map Croatia Archipelago Adriatic Sea Plan Walls

10 thoughts on “Bavljenac, The Island of 1000 Walls

  1. What a wonderful islet this is. I see a need that was done here long ago. That need was fulfilled and now modern man is left scratching his head.
    Regardless, what a wonderful place.

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