The island was once covered with dense forests of Mediterranean oak abundant in acorn and was named after it. Acorn in Croatian means zir, hence Zirje. Although you might not find many acorns today, this island is teeming with diverse flora and fauna.
You can find 485 different plants growing on somewhat poor soil, and 253 types of seaweedcovering the underwater shore. Most prominent are orchids, not one but 6 species of orchids found their home on Zirje island along with numerous medicinal and aromatic plants. Various animals also enjoy the perks of this wonderful island.
In 1921 the island counted 780 residents; that number decreased vigorously and there are now about 78 inhabitants that reside on the island throughout the whole year. Like today, people of Zirje have always lived of fishing and agriculture. You can find olives, grapes, figs, 5 kinds of plums and almond trees in the inner most fertile part of the island.
Island has 8 natural caves, and its indented coast is adorned with 17 nearby islets, reefs and rocks. Recently the rich underwater archaeological site was discovered near the coast between the bay of Muna and the village Koromasna. The site is full of ancient amphorae and there’s been a cage placed to protect these findings from devastation.
The landscape and the old houses built in typical Mediterranean style are so vivid that they themselves are monuments that bear witness to the past times. Drywalls are definitely the signature motif of the picturesque environment
Located just next to the island group of Kornati, Zirje is a favourite sailor escape. Numerous calm bays offer good lodging and untouched natural surroundings.
Every year in the late September, annual cycling race is being held. A lot of visitors come from Sibenik and nearby areas to enjoy the 22 kilometers long bike path, an ideal route for sightseeing through the entire island and all of its beauty. Getting on top of Vela Glava hill provides the most breathtaking view of Kornati island group that spreads north.
Fun fact: One of the most famous Croatian musician of all time, Maksim Mrvica’s family originates from Zirje.
All photos provided by: Žarko Miškić. Follow him on Instagram for more Mediterranean flavored photos and some awesome sunset shots.
Author: Nikolina Dukić