NP Ucka

Nature Park Ucka

The area of Ucka is designated a nature park (park prirode), a kind of protected area in Croatia.

Ucka Nature Park encompasses Mount Ucka and a part of the Cicarija mountain range. It is located along the northern Adriatic coast at one of the most northerly points of the Mediterranean, right where Istria meets the continental part of Croatia.

The distinctive features for which this area was proclaimed a nature park have been known about for long time. Due to its relief and proximity to the sea, the area is characterised by a particular climate and lush forest vegetation. Also important are its rich meadows and other anthropogenic habitats that are home to numerous endemic, threatened and protected plant and animal species.

The Ucka is a mountain range (Croatian: Ucka; Italian: Monte Maggiore) that rises behind Opatija riviera, on the Istrian peninsula, in northwestern Croatia. It forms a single morphological unit together with the Æiæarija range which stretches from the Bay of Trieste to Rijeka. Ucka is a limestone massif with numerous areas of karst, stretching for 20 km from the Poklon Pass (920 m) to Plomin Bay, and is between 4 and 9 km wide.

It differs from all the other coastal mountains in Croatia because of its abundant vegetation on the seaward side. Best known are the forests of sweet chestnuts in the area around Lovran.

Ucka's highest peaks are considered nature reserves and memorial areas. The highest peak, Vojak, is located at 1396 meters above sea level. From it there is a magnificent view over the whole of Istria, the Bay of Trieste, the Julian Alps and the Adriatic islands, right down to Dugi Otok.

The subject of a degree of local folklore, Ucka is visible from much of the peninsula and is snow-capped some months of the year. The town of Opatija (Italian: Abbazia) is said to have derived its popularity as a resort in Imperial Austria because it is located "in the shade" of Mt. Ucka, which by legend shields it from the fierce Mediterranean heat in summertime.

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