Island of MLJET

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Mljet (Latin: Melita, Italian: Meleda) is the most southerly and easterly of the larger Adriatic islands of the Dalmatia region of Croatia. The National Park includes the western part of the island, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Soline Bay and a sea belt 500 m wide from the most prominent cape of Mljet covering an area of 54 km2. The central parts of the park are Veliko jezero with the Isle of St. Mary, Malo jezero and the villages of Govedari (179 inhabitants), Polače (123 inhabitants) and Pomena (50 inhabitants).[1]

Mljet lies south of the Pelješac peninsula, from which it is divided by the Mljet Channel. Its length is 37 kilometres (23 mi); its average breadth 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi). It is of volcanic origin, with numerous chasms and gorges, of which the longest, the Babino Polje, connects the north and south of the island. Port Polače, the principal harbour in the north, is a port of call for tourist ferries. Mljet contains one hotel - The Odisej (from the Greek Odysseus) in the north-west corner of the island.

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The northwestern part of the island includes an inland sea as well as a small island within it. It has been a national park since November 12, 1960.

Ancient Greeks called the island "Melita" or "honey" which over the centuries evolved to become the Slavic name, Mljet (pronounced [mʎɛt]).

Mljet was discovered by ancient Greco-Roman geographers, who wrote the first records and descriptions. The island was first described by Scylax of Caryanda in the 6th century BC others prefer the text, Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax. In both texts it is named Melite and supported by Apollonius of Rhodes.[2] [3] Agathemerus and Pliny the Elder call the island Melita.[3] Agesilaus of Anaxarba in Cilicia, the father of Oppian, was banished to Mljet by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus (AD 145-211)[4] (or to Malta by Lucius Verus: see Oppian).

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Monastery of Saint Mary

Mljet is mentioned around 950 by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos in his Of Ruling an Empire as one of the islands held by the Neretvians. The island was often a controversy of ownership between Pagania and Zachlumia until the stronger unifications of the Serbian realm in the 12th century.

Mljet has been regarded as the "Melita" on which Saint Paul was shipwrecked (Acts of the Apostles 27:39-28:11), this view being first expounded in the 10th century, by Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. Saint Paul's shipwreck is generally placed on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Mljet and Malta had the same name in the Greek and Roman sources; in favour of Mljet is the mention of a viper in Acts 28:3-5 (there are snakes on Mljet but not on Malta). A harbour named after the Saint exists on both islands.

The Benedictines from Pulsano in Apulia became the feudal lords of the island in 1151, having come from Monte Gargano in Italy. They came ashore in the Sutmiholjska cove and Serbian Prince Desa of the House of Vojislavljević built and donated to them the Church and Monastery of Saint Mary on the islet in the Big Lake (1187–1198). Pope Innocent III issued a document consecrating the church in 1198.

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Ultimo aggiornamento Domenica 31 Ottobre 2010 02:03