Croatia is home to the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods in the whole of Europe. It also has the richest collection of Neanderthal remains in the world. But have you heard about its main tourist attraction, the Zlatni Red Beach which changes its colour and shape due to natural forces?
With the summer season just around the corner, many of you might have already planned your trips to some beautiful beaches to quench your thirst. The hypnotizing sound of the waves crashing on the shore is just perfectly splendid. The first time going to the beach and facing the hot sand but then running into the refreshing water and submerging into it has to be one of the best beach experiences in everyone’s life.
We have marvelled at the beaches’ presence and often wondered how they were made and which geological events contributed to the formation of a beach. The answer is the waves from the ocean and the strong winds. These forces of nature can sometimes be so strong and aggressive that they can change the shape as well as the colour of a beach. The Zlatni Rat Beach is one such beach whose body changed due to the works of mother nature.
What Makes Zlatni Rat Beach One Of Its Kind
The Zlatni Rat beach (Golden Horn or Golden Cape) is a beautiful beach near a town called Bol in the Dalmatia region of Croatia. The islands of Hvar and Brac are prone to strong currents, and this beach is right in the Hvar Channel. Zlatni Rat is a white pebble beach and is home to a Mediterranean pine grove. It is also one of the most top-rated beaches in all of Europe.
The beach is so magnificent that the government of Croatia has declared it a geomorphological monument. It is surrounded by crystal clear water that changes from turquoise blue to dark blue in 10 to 20 meters. But the shape of this beach and its surrounding land keeps changing due to the tide, current and wind.
The Shapeshifting Beach Of Croatia
This beach is precisely facing the south, and its end is turned to the east a little. But if there is a strong south-easterly wind, this east end shifts a little to the west. The strong-easterly winds are commonly known as Jugo in Croatia. This Jugo has many names, like Sirocco, scirocco and even siroc sometimes. Jugo is a Mediterranean wind that originates in the Sahara and has the potential to reach a speed as fast as that of a hurricane in North Africa and Southern Europe in the summer season.
A lot of factors affect the shape of beaches and the colour of the sand, like, waves, wind, and tide. Ocean waves are caused by steady or high storm winds. The largest wind waves are formed due to the current being too strong, blows steadily for an extended period of time, or the wind blows from a long distance. Due to these strong winds, the water from the ocean is charged with energy. This energy creates small ripples throughout the affected area, and the wind gets caught in these tiny waves. This causes larger waves to be formed.
The Impact Of Changing Currents
Due to the strong sea currents flowing in the opposite direction, the Zlatni Rat beach has a unique triangular shape. These strong currents are also responsible for the beach’s changing form, making it look like a curved bend instead of the usual triangular shape. The strong southerly winds can have a speed of 120 km/h in certain parts. But in 2008, the stormy weather in this region caused the waves to break all records and go as high as 9-metres. This changed the peak of the beach.
But this is not something that is uncommon for the locals there. The shape changes every two to three years and has been recorded in 2010, 2016 and 2018. The locals say that the beach returns to its usual shape in a few days. Another interesting fact about the beach is that the winds sometimes cause it to turn completely and touch the beach back. It creates a small pond like structure.
The Expanding Boundaries Of The Beach
It isn’t just the shape of the beach that keeps changing. The length of the beach is also extending. From the year 2002 to 2018, the beach extended by 80 meters roughly. The east side of the beach was 420 meters in 2006, and in 2018, it measured 500 meters. The same thing happened to the west. It measured 360 meters in 2006 and was 468 meters in 2018.
With a phenomenon like this, we can’t help but praise mother nature and its creation. We are extremely lucky to have these beautifully created natural beaches, mountains and forests that provide so much peace to some people. It is our duty to preserve it and not take undue advantage of it. But since man’s wants are never-ending, many naturally created places have become extinct, and that has caused us to make man-made beaches and forest to balance the ecosystem.