Pleasant promenades at all seasons

Quarries

The Brijuni Islands are made of horizontal or slightly inclined layers of limestone. Such formations made it easier to exploit because the stone layers can be easily separated from the rocks.

The Brijuni stone was used in prehistoric times when the inhabitants of the islands built their settlements on hills, the so-called gradina, by building them in the drystone wall technique. 
Apart from good quality stone, the advantage of exploitation on Brijuni were very favorable conditions for its transportation. The Romans set up quarries along the sea shore, allowing for easier loading of stone blocks on boats and their transportation to the final destination, while the well-protected Brijuni ports made it easier for them to load the cargo. 
With the arrival of the Venetians to the islands in 1331, the exploitation of stone resources intensified to such an extent that the extraction of stone became the main economic activity. The need for building materials in the Republic of Venice was great, and the quality stone was needed for the construction of numerous houses, palaces, churches, bridges.

 

The stone from the island was exported to Venice, Udine, Ancona, Formigine, etc.

During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, stone was exported to Vienna, Trieste, Aquila, Berlin. At the end of the 19th century, when the Austrian industrialist Paul Kupelwieser (1843-1919) purchased the islands, there were numerous abandoned quarries in Brijuni, which witnessed long-term exploitation. As part of extraordinary island landscaping conducted by Kupelwieser’s administrator, forester Alojz Čufar, the old quarries were converted into pleasant promenades. The waste stone scattered all over the island was removed and the land was turned into meadows, fields, vineyards. This  stone was used for the construction of numerous island paths, promenades as well as for the backfilling of the main Brijuni port. The material from the quarries was used by Kupelwieser in the construction of numerous new buildings on the island, hotels, villas, and farm buildings. 

Čufar's quarry

One of the five Brijuni quarries, landscaped and turned into a park at the beginning of the 20th century, was dedicated to Alojz Čufar (1852-1907), forester and Brijuni administrator, responsible for island landscaping and cultivation of quarries. The waste stone from the quarry has been used for the construction of numerous island paths, promenades as well as for the backfilling of the main Brijuni port. Waste stone also served to create numerous artificial hills that are harmoniously blended with the surrounding landscape.

A memorial plaque in honor of contributions to the development of the island

The Kupelwieser family placed a memorial plaque to Alojz Čufar in honor and as gratitude for his contribution to the development of the island. The bronze plaque was erected in 1909 and was made by a Viennese artist, sculptor and painter Josef Engelhart.

Alojz Čufar was the Brijuni administrator until his death in 1907, when he succumbed to malaria.

Koch's quarry

Another quarry served as a place to express gratitude to another important person on Brijuni, Dr. Robert Koch (1843-1910). In this quarry, the Kupelwieser family had a memorial plaque erected for this scientist, bacteriologist and Nobel prize laureate who, at the beginning of the 20th century, helped eradicate malaria on the island.

Memorial plaque with an inscription in the quarry

The marble memorial plaque is the work of the Viennese sculptor and painter Josef Engelhart, one of the founders of the Vienna Secession. The relief embedded in the rock in 1908 depicts a young girl placing a laurel wreath on Koch’s head.

There used to be a little lake in front of the marble memorial plaque. It was a reminder of the former appearance of Brijuni, the numerous marshes and ponds that were on the island and were an ideal place for mosquitoes that transmit malaria.

The old zoo

The area of one of Brijuni quarries was also used as a zoo. Karl Hagenbeck (1848-1913), owner of a zoo near Hamburg was impressed after visiting Brijuni in 1911 and, together with Paul Kupelweiser, decided to arrange an acclimatisation station for exotic animals on the island. 

In the protected canyon in the old quarry, accommodation spaces were organised in a way that was supposed to create natural conditions for the animals that were placed there. Various types of monkeys (baboons, gray langurs, mangabeys) were located in the holes of vertical rocks in the quarry and shelters and caves were organised there as well. Malaysian bears were also living in the zoo with the monkeys. When Brijuni became a national park in 1983 and opened for visitors, the idea of building a zoo in the center reemerged.

The animals that were then located in the area of the White Villa were moved to the center for visitors to see them. In this way in the area of the old quarry, facilities were arranged for lions and bears who lived here until 1995 - 1996 when all the animals were gradually moved to the zoos in Zagreb and Osijek.

Quarry under the hill Straža

Quarry turned into a summer movie theater

Some of the quarries have a certain function today, so this one became a place for organizing  summer movie nights. Namely, the area was rearranged to a summer cinema in the middle of the previous century, while in the 1930s, there was a tennis court. Next to this same quarry and near the cinema, there was also a children's playground with a sandbox, swings and seesaws in the fifties, because at that time, Brijuni were still a real small town with a kindergarten and an elementary school. Today, there are only traces of what was once a children's playground.

Quarry under the hill Gradina

The quarry near Gradina is one of the five quarries that were converted into promenades at the beginning of the 20th century. In this horticulturally decorated quarry, various plants and trees have been planted, of which palm trees still exist today. Before it also had concrete benches for rest and contemplation. These promenades, protected from the summer heat and sheltered from cold winter winds, became a favorite destination for health resort guests.

Quarry in Gospa Bay (Madonna)

The cultivated quarry, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, extends from the St. Mary’s basilica to the northern part of the Dobrika Bay. Extraordinary climate conditions in winter also enable bamboo growth.

Quarry on Glavina Cape

As part of the KAMEN-MOST project (stone-bridge in Croatian), some quarries on Mali Brijun were included in the educational trail where information boards provide facst about Brijun stone, its exploitation, the history of the quarries, as well as information that quarries were an inspiration to artists who created art on the island.  
 
The stone from Brijuni quarries was also exploited during the Austro-Hungarian rule, especially for the construction of  numerous fortifications. Today these abandoned quarries and fortification objects dominate the landscape of Mali Brijun.  
For practical reasons during the construction of the fortifications, the quarries were opened at or near the construction site. 
 
The quarry on Glavina Cape, on the north side of the island, forms a whole with an unfinished Austro-Hungarian battery for four cannons. Remains of former human activity are visible in the quarry: the remains of rails, stone stairs carved from the living rock, the remains of the walls of buildings that were once used in the quarry, as well as the tunnel built through the living rock. In the quarry area, there is also a lot of waste stone generated by its exploitation.

Quarry St. Jerolim

A Swiss, Hans Wildi, who sold Brijuni to Paul Kupelwieser in 1893, did not want to sell the island of Saint Jerolim as well. The reason for this is certainly a very high quality building stone that the island abounds with, which was used by Giorgio da Sebenico for the portal and the staircase of the church of San Francesco alle Scale in Ancona.  
The intense exploitation of stone throughout the centuries has created an unusual appearance of today's island. The stone from St. Jerolim was used in the second half of the 19th century for objects on the Vienna Ring Road: the Vienna State Opera, the City Hall, the Palace of Ludwig Viktor, as well as for the Miramare Castle in Trieste.