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Friday, 31 January 2014 10:40

The Valley of the Green River Neretva Featured

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The valley of river Neretva, the biggest river of the Adriatic, has a fascinating landscape as well as extensively rich flora and fauna both in the river and in the surrounding area. For this reason it's often called The Green River. The last 30 km of the Neretva River make the most indented delta in Croatia and spreads into a large wetland valley which meanders before meeting the Adriatic Sea.
 
The Neretva’s lower course and delta were shaped by flood waters that periodically washed down from the mountains which was the sedimentation that created the rich, fertile soil. Downstream from the confluence of its tributaries, the Trebižat and Bregava rivers, the valley spreads into an alluvial fan covering 20,000 hectares. In the lower valley in Croatia, is where the Neretva River splinters into multiple courses, creating a delta covering approximately 12,000 hectares.
The delta in Croatia has been reduced by extensive land reclamation projects, and now flows in just three branches, a drop from the previous 12. The marshes, lagoons and lakes that once dotted this plain have disappeared and only fragments of the old Mediterranean wetlands have survived, which consisted of plains, karst, lakes and marshes. A pleasant Mediterranean climate is a characteristic of this region. The average yearly temperature hovers above 15 degrees Celsius and with more than 2700 hours of sunshine each year, this makes the Neretva delta the sunniest part of the Croatian seaboard. 
 
This area hosts a rich collection of flora and fauna. According to the existing data, there are 34 species of freshwater fish, including three endemic species from the trout family, more then 100 marine fish, seven species of amphibians, 16 species of reptiles and 52 species of mammals. A major attraction in the delta are its water and wetland birds. More than 300 bird species can be seen here, 115 of which nest in the area.
 
 
This region is most famous for its gastronomic specialties. Eels, black water hens and frog’s legs, amongst others, are specialties of the Dalmatian kitchen and present an excellent reason to visit the area.
 
 
Besides the large varieties of plants and animals which may be find here, one may also engage in outdoor activities such as photosafaries, kayaking and rafting on the Green River.
Within its delta, the river influenced a totally unique way of human living which today is slowly disappearing, but it is very much present in the memories of older inhabitants, in their stories and memories, handed down to the young people who don't want to let this history to be forgotten. The tradition of the hunting and fishing is still carried on by the local inhabitants, but they are however aware that the bird and the fish resources are in jeopardy and need protection.
 
THE SHIPS MARATHON
 
The Ships Marathon (Cro. Maraton lađa) is an amateur rowing competition of traditional sailing vessels held on the Neretva River. It is held once a year, on the second Sunday in August. The Ships Marathon originated out of a need to preserve the age old customs and traditions of this unique Neretvanian river boat that otherwise would have become extinct or largely forgotten about. 
In essence, the gondola is to Venice what the lađa is to the Neretva region. Judging by the many spectators that watch the race live, the Ships Marathon is one of the biggest events in Croatia, as well as a huge tourist attraction. More than 50,000 spectators line the banks of the Neretva River along its 22 kilometre course to watch the drama unfold. The annual cultural/sporting extravaganza is contested over a course of 288 years stretching from Metković to the coastal town of Ploče.
 
 
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