Significant Landscape Krčić River

About the site

Značajni krajobraz Rijeka Krčić

CATEGORY OF PROTECTION: Significant Landscape

YEAR OF PROTECTION: 1964

SURFACE AREA: 280.124 ha

POSITION: Municipality of Knin – the sourced is on the southern slopes of Dinara Mountain, west of the village of Kijevo; the mouth is about 3.5 km northeast of the centre of the town of Knin; about 500 m from the road Knin – Vrlika – Split along the gravel road Knin – Kijevo

The Krčić River springs in the Dinara foothills at an altitude of 375 m. The river canyon extends along the southwestern slope of the Dinara Mountain. It is cut into 450 m high limestone streaked with impermeable dolomite rock of Jurassic age. It arose in the Pleistocene, as seen with the remains of the “dead” travertine about 15–20 m outside of the river’s course just upstream of Topljski buk. The travertine is 125,000 years old, and arose during the warm Riss/Würm interglacial period. The canyon took on its present day appearance during the Holocene, after the last ice age, which favourable climatic conditions for the deposition of travertine again appeared. Morphogenetically, the Krčić is a source of the Krka River. With the opening of new vertical cracks in the course of the Krčić, the surface flow of the river was reduced and the river was gradually transformed into a periodic watercourse. As such, a single river was made into two rivers over geological history, which is a common occurrence in karst landscapes. The Krčić River is now the first tributary of the Krka River. It is 10.5 km long, and flows over three waterfalls along its course. The first waterfall is a nameless travertine barrier about 4 m high near the village of Krčić, the second is Mali buk, which is about 10 m high and is found 1 km downstream, while the third is Topoljski buk, also called Krčić slap or Veliki buk, the largest waterfall on the Krčić River, found right above the source of the Krka River. This final waterfall is a 22 m high barrier about 30 m wide, and overgrown with the mosses Cinclidotus, Platyhypnidium and Didymodon. Topoljski buk is a phenomenon and natural wonder in its own right, as it marks the end of the flow of the Krčić River, and the waterfall itself is the mouth which drains virtually directly into the spring of the Krka River.

The Krčić has all the characteristics of a mountain karst river. Its mean annual flow ranges from 7 to 15 m3/s. During heavy rains or snowmelt in the inland mountains, this is a raging river with tremendous strength, while it is completely dry in the summer period. Despite being only an intermittent flow, the spring is virtually never dry. The river dries out as it gradually loses water over the course. It is regularly dry from July to September, but in very dry years, it can already dry out in June and remain that way until mid November. On several occasions, the Krčić has also been dry during winter. Though it dries out, this short and mysterious river continues to marvel us with its natural beauty, and the fifteen speleological pits and caves along the course that flows through a preserved landscape. Several ruins of water mills line the Krčić River, these were the drivers of the region’s economic development in the not so distant past. Unfortunately, the water mills are now only mute witnesses to the cohabitation of humans and the river in the stark conditions of this mountainous karst landscape. A gravel road from Vrlika to Sinj was built in the canyon along the river’s edge in the 19th century, along the route of a road built by Napoleon.

The county’s physical plan proposes that the Krčić River landscape be proclaimed a special geomorphological reserve, with a total area of 5.7 km2.