Đulin Ponor – a Place Where Beautiful Nature and Tragic Love Meet

Đulin Ponor – a Place Where Beautiful Nature and Tragic Love Meet

The town of Ogulin is situated in a place that looks as if it came straight out of a fairytale. It was built at the foot of the mystical mountain Klek, on top of numerous secret cave halls and passages, and deep beneath it run the rapids of the longest subterranean river in Croatia, river Dobra.

 

You will probably agree that this is the perfect place for letting your imagination run wild and for telling stories. Ogulin is the birthplace of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, one of the most notable children’s authors in the world, also known as “the Hans Christian Andersen of Croatia”. Her “Croatian Tales of Long Ago” (Priče iz davnine) brought to life various characters, such as the fairy Kosjenka, Regoč the giant, a young man called Stribor, brother and sister called Jaglenac and Rutvica, the fisherman Palunko, a young man called Potjeh, the little devil Malik Tintilinić, the small god Svarožić, and Bjesomar, an evil spirit.

Sergio Gobbo

The Ogulin “fairytale factory” also produced legends about the creation of the mountain Klek, of its witches and of its cave. One of the more well-known stories from the area is based on the underground area beneath the old town in Ogulin that belonged to the noble Frankopan family.

Gaze into Đulin Ponor

This is where the river Dobra begins to run underground, through the largest cave system in Croatia, Đula–Medvednica, which is over 16 km long.

 

The mysterious 40-metre-deep gorge has always tickled people’s imagination, and ultimately led to the creation of a legend in the 16th century, which gave it its name – Đulin Ponor (Đula’s Precipice). According to folklore, once upon a time, a girl called Đula or Zulejka lived in Ogulin. She was the daughter of Ivan Glušić, a nobleman and commander of the Ogulin fortress, and was therefore betrothed to another older nobleman, as was tradition. However, since Ogulin was the site of many battles with the Ottomans at the time, a young captain from the military border regiment by the name of Milan Juraić came to town.

 

The love between Zulejka and the handsome soldier was born at first sight, but their happiness soon came to an end when tragedy struck. News about Milan’s death in battle reached the town, and the inconsolable Đula was so shocked upon hearing it that she threw herself into the Dobra River gorge.

 

The steep cliffs still preserve the memory of their tragic love. The people of Ogulin will tell you that if you look closely, you can still see the figure of a man looking down at the large, dark opening. That’s Milan looking for his lost love, Zulejka.