Baljenac, An Island in the Shape of a Fingerprint

Baljenac, An Island in the Shape of a Fingerprint


Baljenac, An Island in the Shape of a Fingerprint

Baljenac (or Bavljenac) is a small island in the Adriatic Sea located just off the coast of Croatia on the Sibenik archipelago. It is an islet of about half a square mile entirely and is covered by a series of dry-stone walls which when seen from above looks like a gigantic human fingerprint, thanks to its oval shape and long rows of stones similar to papillary lines.

These “lines” are used to define agricultural borders in order to protect crops from strong winds, and are made up of an intricate 14-mile-long web of stone walls. This extraordinary rural labyrinth was built without mortar or cement by inhabitants of the nearby island of Kaprije in order to better use the rocky and difficult to cultivate land.

Baljenac is uninhabited and it is not the only place where these exceptional walls are present, even most of the Croatian countryside and other western European nations, such as Ireland, England and Scotland, have embraced the same technique, but this islet stands out for its beauty. Its unusual natural shape and perfect geometric textures, combined with the spectacular aerial view, make it a unique place, so unique in fact that the Croatian government has requested that UNESCO include this island in its list of world heritage sites.

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