Cres, Croatia


Photographer: Petar KÜRSCHNER

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Vesna Jakic runs Ruta, an association that preserves the social, cultural and ecological identity of Cres, an island on Croatia’s Adriatic coast with a history of habitation dating back to the Paleolithic era two-and-a-half million years ago. Vesna teaches children about the island’s myths, cras and customs. On trips to the forest of Tramuntana on the northern end of the island, the children learn how to make elves’ hats using felt made with wool from the island’s sheep. Although Cres is one of Croatia’s biggest islands, 65 kilometres long and with an area of 400 square kilometres, only just over 3,000 people live there. In recent decades, many people have le the island for the Croatian mainland in search of work. Today, much of what was farming land is overgrown, while a growing wild boar population is threatening Cres’s island’s sheep by killing their lambs.