Kornati and Kurnatari and the story of gajetas

Advent in Croatia

Kornati is a national park that attracts boaters from all over the world, but few of them know the story of life on the Kornati. Estates on the Kornati are as a rule private property. The estates here usually consist of a large pasture or karst, several smaller arable lands and a house. Kornati are a specifically inhabited area, a Kurnatari actually live outside the Kornati archipelago most often on Murter, Betina and Zaglav, so the Kornati house is actually the second house in every sense and in importance, size and even equipment.

The Kornati house is extreme modest shelter, but necessary for the use of the property and for numerous purposes for rest, for storing tools and other equipment, food, temporary storage of Kornati products, as a shelter from storms.

In the Kornati there are different houses "own property" od "house in the port". In order to more easily use his property in Kornati, far from his domicile, the owner had to build a house in the nearest bay, where he could safely moor the boat. But few owners had their property in a convenient bay, so houses in the port are, as a rule built on "foreign" terrain, or as is the case in Vrulje on the embankment at sea. In both cases, space had to be saved, so the houses were built on the smallest possible plots and in dense rows.

The "house in the port" lags behind the "house on the property" in terms of quality of construction and is usually a single-storey house that does not exceed 220 cm in height, built of stone, and in addition to the door, the house could be a small window called hurijada size 60 × 50 cm.

To stay in the Kornati, Kurnatar had to be armed with many knowledge and skills. He had to be a sailor, a shepherd, a farmer, a fisherman, a craftsman, a cook… and all in one person. What is brought with you, is in the Kornati, what is repaired or made is disposed of.


It is clear that everyone here had to have a boat. The ship was first to be multifunctional, which means it had to be, figuratively speaking, both a fisherman and a heavy and transporter. As light as possible for fishing, as heavy and sturdy as possible for sailing and transport, as much volume as possible for agricultural work and transport of goods.
That is what they were supposed to be three ships in one. Another important determinant of this ship is the relative ease of operation, as they were operated by a family crew. Gajeta is therefore a family ship. When we say family do, it means so much that it can normally be managed by one person in full force, someone usually weaker than the household a child or an old man.

Gajeta was not easy on a paddle and the then ocean distance to the Kornati gates, with the unfortunate Kurenat, was traversed for hours and sometimes days. There were much lighter straps on the oar, as much because of the size as because of the different construction. But the kayaks had the disadvantage that due to their small volume they could not transport grass, wood, fat, olives, or barrels of salted fish… Whoever had only a kayak had to borrow a gajeta, and the ship is like a woman and is reluctant to lend to others.

They also say that the reason for that was that, of course, each gajeta had its own temper from weak on the stock, heavy on the paddle, vergula… so trouble could happen to an unaccustomed new user. Many gajetes, due to their special characteristics, but also those of their owners, in addition to the official name from the paper, received and nicknames Joškovica, Lupežica or Popivača

Once vineyards, today olive groves and tourism

Today, there are no more vines in the Kornati, and it is estimated that there is an eye in the area of ​​the Kornati National Park 18 olive trees. The share of arable land today is the same as before, only they are mostly neglected. Olive groves occupy 5,17% of the total area of ​​the National Park. They occupy the rest of the surface mostly rocky pastures which "maintains" precisely sheep breeding. In recent times, owners are slowly giving up livestock and turning to lighter tourism activities. According to available data, today there is an eye in the park area 2000 head of sheep.

Preservation of sheep breeding on the Kornati islands enables the preservation of valuable rocky pastures, and gastronomic events Days of Kornati lamb one of the measures that tries to encourage the Kurnatars to preserve this important traditional activity in the Kornati area.

Kornati National Park most of the Kornati aquatorium, which was declared a national park in 1980 due to its exceptional landscape beauty, interesting geomorphology, large indentation of the coastline and especially rich biocenoses of the marine ecosystem.

Kornati archipelago, covers an area of ​​about 320 km2, and this most indented island ecosystem in the Adriatic Sea, which includes as much as 12% of all islands in the Croatian Adriatic (1264 islands, of which 67 are populated), and only 1% of the total Croatian sea surface, has long been the attention of many boaters, divers, mountaineers and other nature lovers and what nature has to offer.

Source and photos: Kornati National Park


Sign up for our newsletter

A weekly dose of the best tourist stories. The newsletter gives you an insight into the most important events and topics that were written about on the turistickeprice.hr portal

Your e-mail address will be safely stored and used only for the purpose of the site turistickeprice.hr and will not be forwarded to third parties.