BOOKLET “HRAST, QUERCIA, OAK, EICHE” LAUNCHED IN CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FORESTS AND THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEASIDE PROMENADE LUNGOMARE
Portić in Opatija is a picturesque location. There, under
the century-old, wild-growing and thickly branched downy oaks, whose roots
have intertwined and merged with the crags and supporting rocks of the
Franz Joseph I Seaside Promenade, popularly known as the Lungomare, numerous
visitors gathered to celebrate the promenade’s 100th anniversary and to
admire and give respect to the centennial oaks of Opatija and Liburnia.
The quadrilingual booklet “Hrast, Quercia, Oak, Eiche” by Miljenka
Šepić, a painter from Opatija, was launched on this occasion. Through
her photographs and descriptions of the age-old giants along the Lungomare,
we rediscover their majestic beauty. Published in celebration of the International
Year of Forests, the booklet aims to underline the importance of indigenous
oaks and other old trees along the Lungomare. In addition to the author
Miljenka Šepić, also present at the launching were Ivo Dujmić, the Mayor
of Opatija; Jasna Doričić Sanković, director of the Opatija Tourist Board;
representatives of the Opatija Chair of the Chakavian Assembly, the representatives
of the Koraki Centre for Cultural Tourism, representatives of the co-publishers,
PI Priroda and the company Rima. The host of the event was Dražen Turina
Šajeta, whose songs added to the wonderful mood of the occasion. The event
was topped off by the harmony-singing group “Opatija”.
Together with Marko Randić, biologist at PI Priroda,
Prof. Ferruccio Ritossa, geneticist and artist with origins in Istria
and admirer of the Liburnian oaks, also presents, in the booklet, his
vision of the old oak trees along the Lungomare. Interestingly, Prof.
Ritossa believes that the Liburnian coast is one of the rare spots in
Europe, or even in the world, were several ecologically diverse types
of oak trees can be found right along the shoreline. This thought inspired
him, as both a scholar and an artist, to write the following poetic text:
“To our knowledge, reports of oaks growing right
by the sea are very rare. But this is what we see here in Opatija.
Botanical knowledge helps us define forms, dimensions, time of growth.
However, what this scientific data lack is the joy often felt by people
when they see the green of the oaks merging with the intense blue of the
sea, right before their eyes, when the white wave crests seem almost full
of the oaks’ aments (catkins).
These are the very special corners of the world where we should return,
again and again. The cement stops here for a breath. May nobody make us
orphans of this beauty. He could drown in our tears.”
(Ferruccio Ritossa, quoted from the booklet “Hrast,
Quecia, Oak, Eiche”)
Photo 1. Centennial oak tree overlooking Portić along the Lungomare (Photo
by Miljenka Šepić)
Photo 2. Official launching of the booklet at Portić (Photo by Marin Aničić)
Photo 3. The quaint atmosphere of Portić gave a special touch to the mood
of the event (Photo by Marin Aničić)