Licko-Senjska Zupanija, located in the southern portion of Croatia, is one of the country's 20 integral units. The county borders Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northeast, while to the south, the Adriatic Sea encompasses its beaches. Additionally, the northern fraction of Pag Island is part of the Lika-Senj County as well. The county's name partially derives from the historical region of Lika, which stretched across the local territory. Lika lands have been inhabited since prehistoric times, while during ancient eras, the territory was part of the Roman Empire. The capital city, then and also now, is Gospić, located in the central southern region of the county. Gospić bears a particular connection to inventor Nikola Tesla, who was born in Lika. Thus, in the city, people can visit Nikola Tesla Memorial Center. Another considerable municipality is Senj, found on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Senj is a holiday destination, not only for its sea access but also for its historical landmarks, such as the Nehaj Fortress. Nevertheless, Licko-Senjska Zupanija is presumably known the best for the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is the oldest and most extensive national protected area in Croatia.
Gospić is the capital city of Lika-Senj County, located in the central southern part of its territory. The city bears a particular connection to the physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla, known for his contribution to the design of alternating current systems. In the city of Gospić, people can visit the Nikola Tesla Memorial Center, which was established in honor of the inventor that was born in the Lika region. The Lika Gospić Museum has been actively involved in preserving cultural heritage for several years. The entire Memorial Area was recognized as a cultural monument in 1976.
To commemorate Tesla's 130th birthday anniversary, his birth home was reconstructed with support from the Croatian Parliament, and it was subsequently handed over to the Lika Gospić Museum in 1986 to operate as a museum building.
In 2005, the Nikola Tesla Memorial Site was officially registered as a cultural asset and included in the Register of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia. Additionally, in the city is also located Nikola Tesla Square, and annually, on July 10th, a laser show is held to celebrate the birthday of the inventor.
In close proximity to Gospić is located the Velebit Nature Park, which is "the largest protected natural object in Croatia." The Velebit mountain range is particularly recognized for its vegetation and ecological significance. It has been designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve due to its considerable role in preserving biodiversity. The area is home to endangered species, including the Velebit Degenija, Croatian Bellflower, and Brown Bear. The protection of Velebit is also driven by its karst formations and cultural heritage, showcased along educational trails, namely Kudin Most, Zavratnica, and Terezijana. Altogether, there are 14 hiking trails catering to various difficulty levels, ensuring a diverse range of experiences for hikers. However, one of the most well-known nature areas in Lika-Senj County is Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is reportedly the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. The park, spanning nearly 300 km², is characterized by a lake system with 16 lakes and several cascading waterfalls. Visitors can explore the park through seven different routes and enjoy four hiking trails.
The city of Senj—located in the northern part of the county on the shores of the Adriatic Sea—is another touristic destination, particularly popular among those who are seeking beach and sea recreation. However, apart from beaches and watersports, the city features several historical landmarks, such as the Nehaj Fortress, overlooking the waterfront town from a nearby hill. The fortress was built in the 16th century. In today's time, it can be visited either for tours or for the “Nehaj music performances,” which are regularly organized during summer.
Licko-Senjska Zupanija is located in the central southern part of Croatia, bordering Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northeast. The county lies on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, across from Italy. Apart from the Velebit hinterland, which makes up 80% of the country's area, Lika-Senj County includes the coastal regions of Senj and Karlovac, accounting for 17.65% of the total area. Additionally, the northwestern part of the island of Pag is part of the county. The county also encompasses a portion of the territorial sea, covering 1.9% of Croatia's marine waters.
Geographically, Lika-Senj County is primarily mountainous, situated in Croatia's highest and most fragmented region known as the Dinarides. The area is characterized by carbonate deposits, such as limestones, dolomites, and breccias, dating back to the Mesozoic and Paleogene eras. Karst fields with Quaternary deposits of river, slope, and glacial origin can be found at the base of slopes.
There are several natural protected areas in Lika-Senj County. However, one of the best known among them is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in the Dinarides karst region, known for its geological, geomorphological, and hydrological features. Various surface and subsurface karst forms are found at the park, such as funnels, depressions, karst fields, caves, and pits. Limestone rock from the Mesozoic era primarily comprises the area, with some dolomite rock present as well. The hydrogeological properties of the stone have shaped the lake system, with the Upper lakes dominated by dolomite rock and the Lower lakes situated in a limestone canyon. The park also encompasses numerous speleological structures, including pits and caves, with recorded total length and depth. Plitvice Lakes National Park exhibits considerable plant and animal diversity. Reportedly, through research conducted thus far, over 1,400 plant taxa have been documented within the boundaries of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, representing approximately 30% of the entire flora found in Croatia.
The climate in Lika-Senj County tends to be continental, with a relatively short vegetation period. Regarding climatic conditions and weather in the county's capital, Gospić, the warmest month is August, with an average daily temperature of 26°C. January is reportedly the coldest month, as temperatures average high of 4°C. July tends to be the driest month in Gospić because it generally receives 76 millimeters of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during November, with an average of about 163 millimeters.
Licko-Senjska Zupanija is located in the historical region in the southwest of the central part of Croatia called Lika, which stretches across about 5,000 square kilometers. Lika territory has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with the discovery of archeological remains found near Donji Pazarište that date back to the Paleolithic era. Later, during antiquity, Lika became part of the Roman province of Illyricum, which consisted of two sections: Liburnia and Dalmatia. The area experienced economic stability until the arrival of the Goths, followed by the Slavs and Avars. Lika was the location that the Croats chose to settle in, and they established their own government with tribal parishes. The presence of Avars influenced the region, and the uprising of Ljudevit Posavski led to the settlement of Guduscans in Lika. Over time, the Avar influence diminished, and Lika became part of the Croatian state. The Ottoman incursions began in the 15th century, leading to the occupation of Lika until its liberation in the late 17th century.
Lika-Senj County's capital, Gospić, has its genesis in Ottoman rule, Austrian monarchy control, and events during World War II and the Croatian War of Independence. It was an administrative center within the Military Frontier and later part of the Lika-Krbava County. The town experienced fairly large-scale massacres during World War II, with a concentration camp established in its area. Consequently, during the Croatian War of Independence, Gospić suffered bombardments and was the site of the Gospić massacre. Today, the city houses the regional branch of the Croatian State Archives.
Concerning recent history, in 1992, despite the war, Croatia established a new administrative system with 20 counties and the City of Zagreb. The Lika-Senj County was founded with four cities and five municipalities, covering a total area of 3,747.65 km² and a population of 71,215 people. After the war, in 1997, a new law on territories was enacted, and Lika-Senj County became the largest county in Croatia, with an area of 3,350.50 km². It currently includes four towns and eight municipalities.
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