The legend of unrequited love that gave us Velebit and the Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea, its coast, islands, bays, summer nights, and beaches could tell thousands of love stories … Love drives the world to spin, start wars, win sports, move mountains, raise sea waves, give and take away, nourishes and heals. Love writes sad stories and legends.

 

Croatia, Adriatic sea
Croatia, Adriatic sea

Legends are very inspiring, so they are passed on, preserved, and enriched by generations. When the legend is about the origin of one of the most beautiful sea in the world and the mountains behind, then the tale is undoubtedly at least half as beautiful as the nature that inspired it, Velebit and the Adriatic Sea. 

Mljet island, National park, Croatia, photo by Ivo Biocina, phooto credit by HTZ, Croatia National Tourist board
Mljet island, National park, Croatia, photo by Ivo Biocina, phooto credit by HTZ, Croatia National Tourist board

Old Slavic legend about the origin of the Adriatic Sea and the magnificent Velebit

Once upon a time, the magical land of Illyria was ruled by Bura and Jug (in Croatian; the South). Their great love gave the world their two children; daughter Adriana and son Velebit.

Kornati islands by Zoran Jelača
Kornati islands by Zoran Jelača

As the son’s name suggests (author’s note; translation from Croatian ‘to be great’), Velebit was strong and tall. His robust appearance was hard to resist. Adriana or Adria was a beauty with long blonde hair and blue eyes. She was an excellent speaker with an incredible talent for reconciliation and conflict prevention. But, when she had raised her voice, it would stop all other’s voices.

Even living a happy life with his family and his people, their father, Jug (the South) still felt he was missing something. For situations like that, people went to the magician. It was a top wizard named Mag- according to legend.

A good magician advised his old friend Jug to set out to know the world. The experience of traveling and getting to know different peoples and countries and getting to know himself will make his life and reign easier after his return to Illyria.

Badija island near Korčula, Croatia, photo by K2 & Croatian Attractions
Badija island near Korčula, Croatia, photo by K2 & Croatian Attractions

Listening to Mag, Jug cordially said goodbye to his family, and, on the wings of the wind, he set off on the uncertainty of a long journey for new countries and experiences. His trip lasted 7 years.

Adriatic coast, photo credit by Katarina LIne, Croatia
Adriatic coast, photo credit by Katarina LIne, Croatia

The mother of two children, Velebit and Adriana,  Bura, Jug’s wife – took on a tough job for a woman – rule.

Magician Mag was always around Bura, intending to take the throne. Staying at court more than before, he fell in love with young and beautiful Adria.

He was aware of a very unpleasant situation. He knew that Adria would never forgive him for killing his mother and brother. He had to come up with something to put his idea of being with the young Adria into action.

Bol beach, Brač Island, Croatia
Bol beach, Brač Island, Croatia, photo by Julien Duval

Seven years passed from the day when Jug departed. Bura took Velebit and Adria to climb with her to the highest top of the mountain to see in the distance if Jug (in Croatian; the South) was coming home.

Although they didn’t see Jug, they saw a large bird carried in a strong wind announcing Jug’s (South) return.

The magician didn’t like it. He knew his dreams wouldn’t come true … so he captured Jug before he got home and locked him in a dungeon.

He thought if Jug (South) was imprisoned, he would win young and strong Velebit, defeat Bora, and kidnap Adria.

An ominous silence loomed over Illyria because Jug (South) was imprisoned in the dungeon. Fear entered people’s souls, happy and cheerful until the day before. 

Rovenska bay, Veli Lošinj, Croatia, photo by Andreja Pruša Horvatić
Rovenska bay, Veli Lošinj, Croatia, photo by Andreja Pruša Horvatić

An old Jug’s friend, a powerful magician Mag, started to cause storms to conquer Velebit and Bura, but the two of them coped well with it.

Realizing the Bura and Velebit’s invincibility, the Mag decided to turn himself into a Hawk to kidnap Adria.

Upon realizing Mag’s intentions, Velebit petrified and turned into a high mountain to block his path.

Out of fear for her freedom, brave Adria jumped off a cliff and turned herself into the blue sea of ​​Illyria.

Mother Bura turned herself into an eagle to chase the hawk to his very end. After overcoming it – Bura returns to its original form and frees Jug (the South) from the dungeon. They both hurried to return the children to their forms. It was too late because both Velebit and Adriana had merged with Illyria and could not return.

Even today, we can hear them as a wind roar from Velebit and the waves of the Adria.

Mljet island, national park, Croatia, photo by Ivo Biocina, phooto credit by HTZ, Croatioa National Tourist board
Mljet island, National park, Croatia, photo by Ivo Biocina, phooto credit by HTZ, Croatia National Tourist board

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