The griffon vulture is one of the symbols of the island of Cres – an island of exceptional and well-preserved biodiversity. The Beli Visitor Centre and Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures is the place where you can find out more about the millennia-long coexistence of local people and griffon vultures.
The Centre is located in the former school building, which has been recently refurbished and whose ground floor now features a multimedia exhibition about griffon vultures and the life of the inhabitants of Tramuntana (the northern part of the island of Cres). The Centre occasionally hosts other interesting events such as photo exhibitions and various workshops for children, and also provides visitors with information about the Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures, which is an integral part of the Centre.
The Centre is a meeting point for scientists, researchers, ornithologists, nature lovers and enthusiasts, local people, and school children. As a result of the activities of the Beli Visitor Centre and Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures, monitoring of the griffon vulture population, education, and sustainable presentation of the island’s natural and cultural heritage to tourists, active measures are being taken to protect the strictly protected and endangered griffon vultures.
An impressive cedar tree in the courtyard of the Beli Visitor Centre and Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures invites all visitors to sit down and rest in the shade of its large crown. Immersed in the rhythm of the island and listening to the sounds of the small village of Beli, such as the birdsong or the bleating of the sheep that graze in the surroundings, you can begin your tour of the Centre by reading the information about the scenic beauty of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and the Kvarner islands provided on the outdoor information boards. The courtyard also offers a fantastic view of Beli, which is why it is a popular spot for taking photos.
There is also a souvenir shop where you can find local souvenirs related to griffon vultures and the Kvarner islands, along with other Kvarner products. In our courtyard, you can also refresh yourself with cold or hot drinks made from local Kvarner fruit or medicinal herbs.
The Griffon Vulture Hall
Strolling through the courtyard, a small stone walkway leads you to the Centre’s exhibition area. Upon entering the Griffon Vulture Hall, you’ll also enter the world of this charismatic species and learn about the reasons why they have survived in Kvarner Bay, but also why they are so extremely endangered. This multimedia exhibition offers visitors a unique audio-visual experience, and its modern interpretation elements provide useful information to visitors and raise their awareness of the importance of preserving griffon vultures.
The Coexistence Hall
This part of the exhibition tells the interesting story of the traditional life of local people in harmony with nature, which has resulted in a well-preserved biodiversity. This traditional way of life has partially survived right up to the present day.
The ethnographical heritage of the northern part of the island of Cres and the village of Beli, and descriptions of the former way of life, round off the story of the millennia-long coexistence between local people and nature. By looking into this ‘memory chest’, visitors can experience and hear the local dialect and the sounds of everyday life in the picturesque island village of Beli.
The gallery is intended for occasional photo exhibitions, and conceptually combines the Griffon Vulture and Coexistence Halls. This is an area where visitors can become acquainted with different interesting topics concerning the rich biological diversity of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, as well as other topics related to the coexistence of humans and nature. The plan is to change the exhibition on a yearly basis, which means that each year visitors will be welcomed by a new, interesting photographic exhibition with descriptions and experiences of the natural and cultural heritage of our region.
Current exhibition: Traces of the Ice Ages
Macmalić’s Classroom and Owl’s Reading Room
The upper floor of the Centre features ‘Macmalić’s Classroom’ – a multi-purpose hall that can host various programmes, scientific and popular lectures, educational workshops for school children, film screenings, etc. We haven’t forgotten the youngest visitors either: in the attic there is ‘Owl’s Reading Room’, a place where they can play games and listen to stories and local legends.
The Centre also has several rooms for the accommodation of our colleagues and volunteers who contribute to the preservation and sustainable tourism presentation of the natural and cultural heritage of the northern part of the island of Cres through different volunteering programmes and campaigns.