An island in the southern Dalmatian archi-pel-ago,
south of the Peljesac Peninsula, separated from it by the Mljet
channel; area 100.4 sq km; population 1,237. The relief is characterized
by ranges of limestone elevations and numerous karst valleys and
fields (Polacno, Ivanovo, Blatsko, Kneze Polje). South of the highest
crest (Veli Grad, 514 m) is the largest field zone (Babino Polje).
In the extreme north-western part of the island is the submerged
valley of Mljet Lakes: Malo and Veliko (Small and Big). Small Lake
(area 24 hectares, depth up to 29.5 m) is connected with a 30-m
long canal with Big Lake. Big Lake (area 145 hectares, depth up
to 46 m) is connected with the open sea by a shallow, 30-m long
canal called Soline. A powerful sea current occurs in both channels,
which changes its direction every six hours due to ebb and flow.
In the Middle Ages, the change of direction of the sea current was
used for water mills. In the interior of the island are -another
four small, submerged karst valleys, called "blatine"
or "slatine" (eel fishing grounds). Larger coves are Luka,
Polaca, Tatinica, Sobra, Luka Prozura, Okuklje, Saplunara; along
the coast are numerous islets.
The climate is Mediterranean; an average air temperature in January
is 8.7 °C and in July 24 °C; the average annual rainfall
is 1,000-1,500 mm; the annual insolation is 2,580 hours. Forests
account for 72 % of the total island area; nice pine forests are
best preserved on its north-western side. Major places (Babino Polje,
Prozura, Maranovici, Korita, Blato, Ropa, Govedari) lie in the interior,
along cultivated fields; the closest coves on the northern coast
are used as harbours. Economy is based on farming, viticulture,
production of wine, olive growing, cultivation of medicinal herbs,
fishing and tourism. The regional road runs throughout the island.
Mljet has ferry lines with Peljesac and Dubrovnik.
On the peak of Mali Gradac (close to Babine Kuce) are the remains
of an Illyrian fortification. The island was mentioned in Roman
times under the name Melite. The remains from that period may be
found all over the island - Pomena, Zare, Pinjevica. The ruins of
palaces and of an early Christian basilica in Polace date back from
the beginning of the early Middle Ages. Around 536-537 the island
became part of the Eastern Roman Empire. Later it fell under the
power of the Nerentani/Narentini and after that under the power
of Zahumlje. Small pre-Romanesque churches of St. Pancras, St. Andrew
and St. Michael in Babino Polje. In 1151, the grand prefect of Zahumlje,
Desa, bestowed the entire island upon the Benedictines (from the
abbey Pulsano at Monte Gargano in Apulia), who erected their abbey
and church on the islet in Big Lake. The Bosnian viceroy Stephen
gave the island of Mljet to the Dubrovnik Republic in 1333; from
that time the island was under the power of the duke who resided
in Babino Polje. In 1345 Mljet got its statutes. Several churches
were built in Gothic style (the parish church in Babino Polje, the
Holy Trinity in Prozura, St. Vitus in Korita - all of them dating
back to the 15th c.). The ruins of the church of St. Mary of the
Hill date back to the transitional period between Gothic and Renaissance
(above Maranovici). The profane architecture is represented by several
typical structures (Renaissance palace of the Mljet duke in Babino
Polje, several Baroque houses from the 17th-18th c. in Korita).
"Mirjana" - Luka Prozura, Island of Mljet
Soline-Mljet - Govedari, island Mljet