The highest mountain in Croatia
Dinara is one of the most interesting Croatian mountains. Its several-hundred-meter-high southwestern cliff is truly impressive and lures all those who observe it from the foot. Particularly beautiful are its rich flower grassland and woods. In winter and most of spring, the peaks of Dinara are covered with snow and on grey days, these are entirely hidden by clouds. The summit of this stone and grassy mountain is the highest point in Croatia, a point where Croatian soil touches the sky.
The name Dinara covers multiple terms. Dinara, in its narrow sense, is a mountain east of the town of Knin and north of Peručko Lake. In a broader sense, Dinara is an 84-kilometre-long massif, which encompasses mountains Dinara over Knin, Troglav and Kamešnica. It is well known that mountain Dinara provided the name for the entire mountain range from the Slovene Alps to Prokletije in Albania.
The royal town of Knin is the largest settlement at the foot of Dinara and is also the main starting point for the climb towards the summit. The only road ascending high towards the bosom of the mountain starts at Guge, a suburban area of Knin. The road is winding and dusty, steep at some points. The road from the Suvo field continues with several paved bifurcations, which can only be taken by off-road vehicles or if Nordic walking. Whoever wants to get to Dinara on foot, they can go to the mountain lodge Brezovac and then it takes further two and half hours of climbing to reach the summit. There is a possibility of starting the ascent from village Glavaš close to Kijevo, but this ascent requires five hours. There is an old picturesque fortress above Glavaš and a hiking shmelter Martinova Košara halfway to the top. The latter was set up in a former summer shepherd’s cottage.
The mountaintop of Dinara consists of two equally high parts, fifty meters apart. One is marked with a white geodetic pillar and the other with a five-meter-high metal cross. The fact that a mountaintop is the highest – and the mountaintop of Dinara (1831 m) is the highest in Croatia – promises a good view of all sides. Lake Peruča is particularly well visible, as well as the nearing settlements along the lake and the state road from Knin to Split. Most of the view, though, covers the mountains of Svilaja, Promina and Troglav, Dinara’s first neighbours.
Although Dinara is a typical karst mountain, scarce in water, there is an abundance of underground flows – close to Knin there are the Krčić and Krka rivers and in village Cetina there is a spring of the homonymous river filling Lake Peruča, the largest freshwater reserve in Croatia. Close to a small village of Kovačić, nowadays the outskirts of Knin, the waterfall Topoljski Buk of the river Krčić falls down a 22-meter-high rock. After the snow melts and the bed of Krčić fills with water, the waterfall bursts with water drops creating an ear-piercing noise. In its upper part, Krčić is a picturesque canyon, and in the Kovačić area, the canyon stops and the water of Krčić gets “swallowed” by Krka.
Directly underneath Dinara, in village Cetina, there is a spring of the homonymous river. There is also the old Croatian Church of Holy Salvation, one of the oldest and best-preserved monuments of early Croatian sacral building. This is a single-nave building with a sanctuary consisting of three apses in the form of a trefoil. It also boasts a massive front bell-tower, built in the 9th century. In the area around the church, there is a cemetery with over 1100 graves and some 800 stećci (old tombstones). Large stones, sheltering the bones of ancient heroes, due to their number and size are considered to be one of the most valuable archaeological sites with old Croatian findings.
Touring Dinara and protecting its beauties, transferring experience and thus representing it to all, helps to turn this highest Croatian peak into a true symbol - not only of height but also of the beauty of the surrounding scenery and Dinara certainly merits to become one.