Travertine waterfalls

With its seven travertine waterfalls the Krka River is a natural and karst phenomenon.

Travertine is a common feature of the surface waters of the Dinaric karst; only the most extraordinary travertine creates significant layers, which build the waterfalls seen on the Krka River. The travertine waterfalls of the Krka River are very fragile formations, and are sensitive to environmental change and all human activities. Only through the constant growth of phytogenic travertine is it possible to ensure the continued survival of the waterfalls that create the hydrogeology and landscape of the park, and form the foundation for its great biodiversity. The development and growth of the waterfalls is the result of complex physical, chemical and biological processes. In order for travertine to grow, live and age, it is imperative that the natural balance of the ecosystem of the Krka and Čikola Rivers be preserved. With its seven travertine waterfalls, Bilušića buk, Brljan, Manojlovac slap, Rošnjak, Miljacka slap, Roški slap and Skradinski buk, the Krka River is a natural and karst phenomenon.
Sa svojih sedam sedrenih slapišta: Bilušića bukom, Brljanom, Manojlovačkim slapom, Rošnjakom, Miljacka slapom, Roškim slapom i Skradinskim bukom, rijeka Krka je prirodni i krški fenomen.

Skradinski buk is the seventh, final and longest travertine barrier on the Krka River. It is one of the most unusual and beautiful landscapes in Krka National Park.

Skradinski buk is the seventh, final, and longest travertine barrier on the Krka River. It is located approximately 13 kilometres downstream from Roški slap and a total of 49 kilometres downstream from the source. The growth of travertine barriers at Skradinski buk was caused by the unification of the waters of Krka River with the three kilometre lower current of the Čikola River at Roški slap, creating one of the most unusual and beautiful landscapes of the Krka National Park. 

The combined waters of the Krka and Čikola Rivers flow over the 17 steps at Skradinski buk, distributed along the 800 metres in length. The width of the cascades is between 200 and 400 metres with a total height difference of 45.7 metres. Travertine formations in the upper portion of the river include thresholds, travertine islands, draperies and barriers, while the lower portion has caves and tufts. A walking trail has been constructed over the river. The trail takes you on a 60 minute light walk through the deep shade of lush Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean vegetation, which offers the exceptional possibility of direct contact with the unique microcosms of mystical sounds, lights, colours, the mysterious world of travertine mosses and numerous plant species of the travertine barriers and aquatic habitats. Lucky visitors will not miss the song of the nightingale, the splashing of the coot, the swimming of the Illyrian ide, fast movements of the European grass and dice snakes, the call of the green frog, the flight of the hawk and the playful ballet of emerald dragonflies and colourful butterflies.

As with the Roški slap, here you can see several restored mills, valjavica and pillars that have utilized the strength of the water's current for centuries. Respecting the traditional architectural values, individual mills have been renovated into souvenir shops and restaurants, while others have been renovated into exhibit spaces where ethnographic collections are on display. On the left riverbank, there are the remains of the first hydroelectric power plant in Croatia. The Krka hydroelectric power plant (later called Jaruga I) was constructed and began operations on 28 August 1895, only two days after the hydroelectric plant on the Niagara River began its operation. It was in operation until World War I when it was decommissioned for military purposes. Today's Jaruga II hydroelectric power plant was constructed in 1904. You can reach Skradinski buk via the roads Šibenik-Tromilja-Lozovac or Knin-Drniš-Tromilja-Lozovac. The entrance at Lozovac is the main entrance to Krka National Park. From Skradin, you can arrive via the roads Šibenik-Tromilja-Skradin or Knin-Drniš-Tromilja-Skradin or via boat on the route Šibenik channel-Šibenik-Prukljan Lake-Skradin to Skradinski buk. From April to November, boats of the Public Institute of Krka National Park transports visitor to the park.

The sixth and second to last waterfall, Roški slap, is exceptionally interesting due to its cascades, which the locals called the „necklace“ due to the lush vegetation, mills and pillars, some of which have been restored, and much, much more.

Approximately 14 kilometres downstream from Miljacka slap is Roški slap, the sixth cascade on the Krka River. It was named after the Rog hill-fort (Rog = horn), whose ruins are barely visible today.

The canyon in this section widens into a funnel shape. The beginning of the travertine barriers is made up of a series of small cascades (called a „necklace“ by the locals), while the middle portion is made up of numerous backwaters and islands. The length of the barrier is nearly 650 metres, at its widest is approximately 450 metres wide, with a total difference in altitude of 22.5 metres.

The main waterfall is found at the end of the barrier where the Krka River falls 15 metres into Visovac Lake. Travertine formations at the waterfall are made up of caves, tufts, thresholds, small barriers and tapers. The tapers appear at the base of the main waterfall and represent the specificity of the Roški slap cascades. In 1910, on the right bank of the river, the Roški slap hydroelectric plant was constructed. Over the waterfall, there is a road that dates back to Roman times. On both riverbanks, there are numerous mills, several of which have been restored and returned to their original function. Next to the mills, there is a renovated pillar for wool production and a valjavica for washing fabrics, which have a special cultural and historical significance and as such are monuments of rural architectural and trade history. Due to their primary function and expression of rural life, these structures are considered to be ethnographic monuments. Roški slap is especially interesting due to the distinctively rich canyon vegetation which comes in contact with the dry, light and moist shady habitats. From the Promina side, you can reach the waterfall via the road Drniš-Širitovci, and from the Bukovac side you can reach the waterfall from the village of Laškovica. From Šibenik, you can reach Roški slap via the roads Šibenik-Pakovo-Ključ-Širitovci or Šibenik-Skradin-Dubravice-Rupe-Laškovica. You can also reach Roški slap via the river from Skradinski buk on an excursion boat road provided by the Public Institute of Krka National Park.

On the left bank of the River, just under the waterfall, is the Miljacka hydroelectric plant, the largest on the Krka River. Its construction began in 1904 and, until 1910, it was the most powerful hydroelectric plant in Europe.

One kilometre downstream from Rošnjak, squeezed in the riverbed between tall cliffs overgrown with lush sub-Mediterranean vegetation, is the Miljacka slap cascade. It is made up of three larger and numerous smaller travertine steps with a total height of 23.8 metres.

The upper portion of Miljacka slap is characterized by tufts and small caves, while the lower portion has small thresholds. The Krka River, through the Miljacka source, is connected to the course of the Zrmanja River. This source represents a direct connection between the Zrmanja and Krka Rivers and is a unique hydrogeological phenomenon. In the dry period, the minimum flow rate is approximately 2 m3/s. At the base of the cascades, on the right bank of the River, there are several destroyed mills and the waterworks for Kistanje; on the left bank is the Miljacka hydroelectric plant. The Miljacka hydroelectric station is the largest such plant on the Krka River. The construction of this station began in 1904. The first aggregate began operation in April 1906, and operations in its final scope began in 1907. Until 1910, it was the most powerful hydroelectric power plant in Europe. About a hundred metres downstream from the waterfall, on the right bank of the river, is the Miljacka II cave, a habitat for numerous endemic and protected subterranean animals. Among these species, the most attractive are the olm, considered to be an exceptional species in Europe, and the long-fingered bat, with a colony of over 4,000 individuals, one of the largest colonies in Europe. From the Bukovac side, you can arrive at the falls via the road Knin-Kistanje by taking the turnoff onto the road Oklaj-Drniš, and turning at the first intersection to the Miljacka hydroelectric plant. From the Promina side, the road Drniš-Oklaj leads to the waterfall via the turnoff for the Miljacka hydroelectric plant after the village of Puljane. Reminder: access to the waterfall is not possible as the only access is through the grounds of the Miljacka hydroelectric plant.

Due to its primordial simplicity and mystical inaccessibility, the locals called it the Altar. Rošnjak is the smallest of the Krka waterfalls.

One kilometre downstream from the Manojlovac slap, where the canyon is deeper and narrower, hidden in pristine nature, is the smallest waterfall on the Krka River: Rošnjak (Sondovjel or Šundovi).

It is made up of one step that is approximately 40 metres wide and only 8.4 metres high. The most common travertine formations here are tufts and small caves. The waterfall is found in a picturesque canyon squeezed between nearly 200 metre tall cliffs. It is the only waterfall where mills were never constructed, due to its inaccessibility. Despite the fact that Rošnjak has been untouched by human hands and is accessible only to the eye, it is vulnerable to drying out in the warm months, when the water is rerouted to the Miljacka hydroelectric plant. In periods of high water, the waterfall at the bottom of the canyon gleams in loud fog and through its simplicity shows its true beauty. The mystical sight and its inaccessibility are most likely the reasons that people called it the „altar“. The waterfall can be reached from the Bukovac side via the road Knin-Kistanje by turning onto the road Oklaj-Drniš and then turn towards the Miljacka hydroelectric power plant at the first intersection. From the Promina side, you can reach the falls via the road Drniš-Oklaj if you turn towards the Miljacka hydroelectric power station after the village of Puljane.
Do slapa s bukovičke strane može se doći cestom Knin – Kistanje ako se skrene na cestu Oklaj – Drniš te na prvom raskrižju prema hidroelektrani „Miljacka“. S prominske strane do slapova se dolazi cestom Drniš – Oklaj ako se poslije sela Puljana skrene prema hidroelektrani  „Miljacka“.

Once a visitor sees the tallest and, many say, loveliest waterfall in all of its glory, it will long remain engrained in the memory as one of the most impressive natural scenes.

Half a kilometre downstream from Brljan, where the River makes a sharp turn, Manojlovac slap emerges. This waterfall is the largest and is considered by many to be the most beautiful waterfall of the Krka River.

The waterfall is made up of a series of travertine barriers with a total height of 59.6 metres; the largest barrier is 32.2 metres high. The cascades are approximately 500 metres in length, with a width of around 80 metres. Travertine formations on the waterfall are most represented by beard-like tufts and small caves. The canyon surrounding the waterfall is overgrown with sub-Mediterranean vegetation, and along the River's current there are small fields and pastures. At the foot of the waterfall are the ruins of abandoned mills that can be seen. This waterfall is similar to Brljan, in that during the warm season, the waterfall is dried out due to the redirection of water to supply the nearby Miljacka hydroelectric plant. In periods of high water, the waterfall crashes into the deep water with a deafening roar, surrounded by a veil of scattered rainbow coloured drops of water. Once a visitor sees the waterfall in its luxurious beauty, it will long remain engrained in the memory as one of the most impressive natural scenes. The most beautiful view of the waterfall is from the rim of the canyon on the Bukovac side, several hundred metres from the archaeological site of Burnum, on the road Knin-Kistanje. From the Promina side to Burnum, you can arrive via the road Drniš-Oklaj that is connected to the road Knin-Kistanje.
Najljepši je pogled na slap s ruba kanjona na bukovičkoj strani, nekoliko stotina metara od arheološkog lokaliteta Burnum, na cesti Knin – Kistanje. S prominske strane do Burnuma se može doći cestom Drniš – Oklaj koja se spaja s cestom Knin – Kistanje.

Loveliest in the spring with the new green leaves and the lush vegetation has not yet covered the travertine cascades.

Two kilometres downstream from Bilušića buk, at the canyon’s exit, the Krka River widens into the 400 metre wide and 1300 metre long Ćorić Lake (Bjelober, Brljan Lake). The lake emerged, in part, from the growth of the travertine barriers at the Brljan barrier, and in large part from the construction of a concrete dam constructed at Brljan for the needs of the Miljacka hydroelectric plant.

The water in the lake flows over the Brljan waterfall only during high waters, as water is redirected from the river through a drilled tunnel to supply the hydroelectric plant. The travertine barriers at the Brljan cascades are approximately 300 metres long, 180 metres wide, with a total drop of 15.5 metres. Upstream there are smaller rivers, rapids and thresholds. The waterfall is surrounded by lush sub-Mediterranean vegetation and cultivated fields. It is most attractive in the spring when everything is green, and the vegetation does not yet cover the travertine cascades. There is a path on the Bukovica side, through the canyon and over the waterfall, where visitors can see the remnants of the Roman military camp Burnum. Over the travertine barriers, there is a path from Bukovica towards Promina. On the left side of the River, there are the remnants of various mills that can still be seen today. In the warm months, the waterfall is dry and lifeless, and the 500 metre long bed of the Krka River between Brljan and the Manojlovac slap waterfall dries out.

The waterfall can be reached from the Bukovica side via the road Knin-Kistanje by taking the turnoff before Burnum on the road Oklaj-Drniš. From the Promina side, you can reach the falls via the road Drniš-Oklaj that is connected to the road Knin-Kistanje. The road crosses over the travertine barriers, and on the road from both sides of the River are viewing points offering unforgettable vistas of the waterfalls and Ćorić Lake.

The first of seven cascades along the course of the Krka River. Though damaged, this cascade today is still very noisy and attractive, as it is the only one not impacted by the utilization of the River's water to produce energy.

The first of seven cascades on the course of the Krka River is Bilušića buk. The falls are found wedged in a canyon approximately 16 km downstream from the source, specifically 9 km downstream from Knin, at an altitude of 214 m above sea level. The appearance of the waterfall and current has been changed on four occasions, when dynamite was used to stop flooding in the Knin Field (in 1834, 1895, 1953 and 1954).

These operations lowered the water levels of the upstream current, which dried out Bobodol Lake. Though damaged, the waterfall today is still very loud and attractive as this is the only waterfall which has not been impacted by the utilization of the River's water for energy needs. Year round, the entire current of the Krka River flows over this cascade. It is made up of two main steps and several intermediate steps 300 metres in total length, with a total difference in altitude of 22.4 metres. The width of the waterfall is approximately 100 metres, but even during low water levels, the water flows through a cutting which is only thirty metres wide. Bilušića buk is formed by travertine formations such as tufts and small caves. There are numerous barriers downstream from the falls, with travertine thresholds and islands directly beneath the falls. Near today's riverbed, well-maintained and attractive „dead travertine“ can be seen. Between the travertine steps, there are small lakes.

Downstream from the lowest step, the river widens and the current calms. The waterfall is surrounded by lush sub-Mediterranean vegetation and thick purple loosestrife. Next to the River, there are several small fields where vegetables grow. Of the numerous mills, columns and valjavica (natural washing hole in which water is channelled to a natural hole in the karst, where centrifugal force causes the water to spin), today only two mills and one washing hole have been maintained.
Do slapa se s bukovičke strane može doći cestom Knin – Kistanje ako se skrene kod sela Radučića (Omčikus) i produži neasfaltiranom cestom do željezničke stanice Radučić. Da bi se došlo na rub kanjona, treba još nekoliko stotina metara pješačiti. S ruba kanjona vodi uska staza kojom se može spustiti do rijeke u podnožju slapa. S prominske strane do slapa se može doći cestom Drniš – Oklaj ako se skrene kod sela Gornjeg Čitluka i produži cestom do sela Ljubotića te neasfaltiranom cestom do ruba kanjona odakle se do slapa mora pješačiti desetak minuta.