The Vrani Kamen park located on Mount Papuk near the Croatian town of Daruvar was designated an IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP). For the most part, it is managed by the Croatian Forests, while the area of Petrov vrh mountain peak is managed by Daruvar authorities. Vrani Kamen is the second park in Croatia with such international recognition and is among only 100 other locations that boast this title in the rest of the world.
The distinction is bestowed upon places that possess an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is protected for its natural, scientific, educational, cultural heritage and public enjoyment. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) awards the IDSP designations.
Besides rich flora and fauna, Vrani Kamen park is a perfect place for astronomers and astrophotographers, who are able to enjoy observing and taking photographs of the nocturnal starry sky. For decades astronomers have been coming to this pearl of nature due to the fact that it has been preserved and protected from unnecessary light pollution.
The first park in Croatia with such recognition
Petrova Gora-Biljeg was the first landscape in Croatia to be certified as an IDA International Dark Park. It is located in Karlovačka and Sisačko-Moslavačka county. The site was officially named an International Dark Sky Park back in June 2019.
Petrova Gora is one of the best-preserved and stunning mountain forest landscapes in the Republic of Croatia. Due to the exceptional value of the landscape, the area of Petrova Gora-Biljeg in the central part of Petrova Gora became a protected zone in 1969 in the category known as “significant landscape”.
The dark sky park label represents a unique way of promoting conservation of night sky worldwide and also a special acknowledgement of the protected area that might help boost its tourist potential and preserved nature status.
The majority of the International Dark Sky Parks are located either in the United States or in Europ – in the United Kingdom, Hungary, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands.