Mrgari - Baska’s Flowers in Stone
29 March - 7 April 2022
The mountain landscape of the south-eastern part of the island of Krk is impressively distinct from the predominant lowland and hill areas in the other parts of the island. Two karstic limestone plateaus stretch for kilometres above the fertile Baška valley, from Treskavac pass towards the sea, from which the island of Prvić and the Velebit mountain massif emerge. The rugged landscape, at an altitude of more than 300 metres is enriched by meandering stone enclosures of all shapes, from straight lines to the impressive ‘flowers in stone’ known as mrgari.
Mrgari are the most beautiful example of the ancient technique of building structures by stacking stones without any binding material. These multi-space sheepfolds with layouts in the form of large stone flowers confidently dominate the karst landscape on the highlands above the Baška valley. They were built for sorting sheep belonging to different owners on common pastures (komunade), but today their use has greatly diminished. As the number of shepherds is constantly decreasing, the need for the use and maintenance of the sheepfolds has also been reduced. There are fifteen of them on the rare karst pastures above Baška and on the island of Prvić, most of which are no longer in use.
In Europe, similar structures are currently known only on two other islands – Great Britain (Wales) and Iceland – and in the Swiss Alps (Canton of Wallis, Naters).
Mrgari are a rare phenomenon in the world, exceptional and fragile, constantly exposed to harsh winds, sea salt and sun. Their timeless beauty deserves both our admiration as well as our protection and preservation. Therefore, the Mrgari exhibition is only the first step in the long-term project of the Sinjali Association, which aims to restore and regularly maintain several existing mrgari and protect and mark all such remaining structures in the Baška valley area.
Mrgari are the symbol of a time and a monument to human endeavor; they are a reminder of our coexistence with nature, no matter how harsh it may be.
Organisers: Association Sinjali, Archaeological Museum in Zagreb
Exhibition author: Sanjin Ilić, Association Sinjali
Exhibition design: Sanjin Ilić, Sanja Dorčić, Association Sinjali
Exhibition setup: Ivan Troha, Archaeological Museum in Zagreb
Graphic design: Srećko Škrinjarić, Archaeological Museum in Zagreb
Exhibition coordinators: Hana Ivezić, Jana Kopáčková, Archaeological Museum in Zagreb