National Geographic : 1928 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE LdI'aJ" "' ' Gmrua Bok Kotorska o MIo oo STATUTE MILES Drawn by A. H. Bumstead A MAP OF THE DALMATIAN COAST So indented is the eastern shoreline of the Adriatic that its sinuosities measure three times the airline distance from Trieste to Kotor. On this coast Eastern and Western culture meet. The author's "Dalmatian Days" were spent in a leisurely journey, traveling by rail and water from the northwestern tip of the Serb, Croat, Slovene State (Yugoslavia) at Kranjska Gora to Cetinje, capital of the former kingdom of Montenegro. triumphantly reissuing, scores of miles westward, as feeders of estuaries or, in one case, as a fresh-water spring emerg ing from sea bottom. Had some Marco Polo left us an ac count of the marvelous Land of Spongy Mountains, whose rivers cut through the bases of ranges I,ooo feet high, we might have dismissed him as a fabulist; yet in sober fact a Montenegrin river has per formed that identical feat. WHERE FARMS ARE HOLES IN THE ROCK While descending through the inde scribably sterile-looking Karst, I turned to my companion: "Why, in this desert, build those innumerable, circular stone walls to inclose at most a bit of grass? It seems hardly worth while." "Don't worry !" he laughed. "Man never labors unnecessarily. What you see are karst-holes-extremely rich oases. I once wrote a report on karst-hole farming." And he explained how, in that land of jack-in-the-box rivers, natural precipita tion, instead of draining into streams, sinks through the porous stone, carrying vegetable matter along with it, and en riches a regional series of funnellike ditches. Thus, "farming in holes"-the karst-holes, which sometimes number sev eral hundred within a small area-pro vides grain for the inhabitants of this mountain-side desert.