24 June 2019 – Petrova Gora and Biljeg has been officially proclaimed an International Dark Sky Park, after meeting the criteria of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the Croatian Astronomical Union reported.
Petrova Gora, situated in Karlovačka and Sisačko- Moslavačka county, is the first and only dark sky park in Croatia.
Petrova Gora is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved mountain forest landscapes in Croatia. Due to the exceptional landscape value, the area “Petrova Gora Biljeg” in the central part of Petrova Gora, became a protected area in 1969 in the category known as “significant landscapes”.
The area of “Petrova Gora-Biljeg” is protected to conserve forest habitat, its integrity and the natural composition of forest communities, stream valleys, landscape, cultural and historical values for the purpose of sustainable development, and for the needs of tourism and recreation.
The dark sky park label is a unique way of promoting conservation of night sky in the world and also a special acknowledgment of the protected area that might help boost its preserved nature status and tourist potential.
An IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.
There are around 70 dark sky parks in the world, with the majority found in the United States and 15 in Europe in Hungary, England, Spain, Germany, Scotland, Denmark, Ireland, Wales and the Netherlands.