Ashley Colburn's video tour of Croatia continues on June 22, 2017, with an introduction to the delights of Vukovar Srjem County in eastern Croatia.
Asia is one of the fastest developing markets for Croatian tourism. One of Croatia's most high-profile and tourism promoters and ambassadors Ashley Colburn recently spent two months filming i Asia, while leaving her heart in Croatia. TCN caught up with Ashley on April 20, 2017, to learn more about the perceptions of Croatia from Asia.
After more than 20 visits and a brand new Croatian address, it's time for TCN's Ashley Colburn to tackle a seemingly impossible task - learn Croatian.
The Sinj Alka knights tournament is one of the biggest events not only in inland Dalmatia, but also the whole of Croatia.
For an example of proud tradition and a unique cultural event, there is perhaps no finer example in the country, and I was delighted to be invited to attend last year with the family. It was quite a show, and among the guests were Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Croatia's most popular figure, General Ante Gotovina. I wrote a news article about the day which you can read here.
Also in attendance were the team from Touristar TV, who have just released a video of the event, which you can enjoy below. We will be featuring the build up to Alka 2013 next month, an event which turns 300 next year.
If the fortress of Knin was anywhere near the coast, I am sure it would be one of Croatia's premier attractions. The second largest fortress in all Europe, it comprises five individual castles and towers over both the town and the surrounding area.
It is also an excellent film location, and I wonder if anyone has pointed out its potential to Game of Thrones producers, who are looking for locations for 2015 filming, and are rumoured to be looking at nearby Imotski and Sibenik.
Filming was the order of the day two nights ago, as Total Inland Dalmatia accompanied Touristar TV and host Ashley Colburn, as part of their latest Discover Croatia project, Legends of Croatia.
King Zvonimir was back, fresh from all his exertions on the recent Days of Zvonimir festival, and with a new wife, it would appear...
Read the legend below, as well as some pictures of the evening, which culminated in an excellent banquet at the fortress, with a rather unusual edible plate, made of bread.
Once upon a time when fairies and dragons wandered around the world, from distant hills arrived two sisters, Tuga and Buga and their five brothers named KLUKAS, Lobel, Muhl, Kosjenc and Hrvat. Impressed by the high Dinara, while the sisters were impressed by the clear Krka, they set up a camp.
And so they lived there. Many years passed and now there is a fortress and city Tenen on that place. In the royal city Tenen, lived a beautiful girl named Tena. Her beauty was known throughout the country.
On a hill in the cave lived Zmajpaša who transformed into a human form in order to fool the people. He and the fairy Zlosutnica prowled the area looking for the chance to grab her.
Time passed and Tena lived happily protected among the urban walls.As long as she never left the fortress, she was safe.
Fairy Zlosutnica lived near the source of the river Simic. There is a sigh of stone, and it is named like that because the black fairies who live there, sigh for freedom. I can not move freely because the king Dobri had given the country blessing. On each side of the entrance to the fountain is a ten meter high rock. Beneath this stone is a door which leads into a magical lake where one can find all the evils of this world.
The fairy ran as fast as she could, she ran and ran, with Zmajpaša running after her almost catching her, when Tena came to the fortress and touched the walls, she then knew she was saved and together with the fairies cried from the bottom of her heart.
From that day.. the hill of Tenas fortress is called hill Spas (save).
The days, months passed and prince Radovan never came back, sadness gripped the fortress. Every day Tena went to the walls of the fortress and looked towards the den of Zmajpaša, hoping how she will see Radovan. But the prince was not there.
One day she heard how someone was calling her, it was fairy Zlosutnica.
In the sorrow and pain Tena goes towards the walls to throw herself off them, but the fairies from Dinara hastily came running up to her and stopped her.
In the meantime our great knight our prince found a way to the Zmajpašina lair ... it was a great fight, seven days and seven nights they fought with terrible Zmajpašom then Zmajpaša really roared. (Fighting with swords). And it was heard in the neighboring kingdoms.. Zlosutnica rushed to help Zmajpaša but the fairies immediately chased her in to the Simic spring under the sigh stone and pushed over a heavy stone so that she never could come out.
Tena and all the royal entourage ran on the walls of Tenenska and watched a heavy battle. (Girls watch from the walls and they are fighting in front of the main door) Zmajpaša once roared in very great pain, it was our prince Radovans hit him with a sword. As he hit him with the sword, Zmajpaša rose in his tunnels and lifted the whole hill Spas. The dragon reared and then fell. (all rejoice and dance)
This has created a small hill Spas.
Today is the same story. Zmajpaša still lies in the Spas hill below the Tenen fortress. There are still labyrinths and tunnels still Zmajpaša lies below the fortress ... But thanks to the brave knights and protecting fairies, people with clean hearts our Tenen fortress is safe from all evil .... And you, dear children, friends, when you take a walk on the fortress, and see the caves and tunnels, remember that there still lies Zmajpaša. And this is the end of this story Legends of Knin.
Longterm followers of the Total project will know I am a big fan of the town of Sinj, just half an hour by car from Split. From the moment I visited it in my capacity of official blogger for the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, I knew I had found a special place. Not only is the tourist board arguably the best in the region, but the energy of the town always leaves a positive impression. There is an unbelievable amount of things to see, the food is fabulous, and the prices are a VERY pleasant surprise after life in Split.
It seems I am not alone in my admiration. Award-winning documentary maker Ashley Colburn visited the town last year, and her impressions have just been uploaded to Youtube. Check it out here, then jump in the car and head up there for a day trip. On such a gorgeous day as today, Sinj is fantastic, and there is something about the blueness of the sky there that impresses even this resident of the sunniest island on the Adriatic.
In the words of Touristar TV:
We present you first episode of web series Discover Croatia -- Exploring Route, Story about Sinj. Sunny day in Dalmatian hinterland, surrounded by mountains Kamišnica and Biokovo, a city well known by Alka contest, which you won't find in this episode, but you will find one amazing story coloured by Otoman empire, Venetian-time, Croatian Spring, with kindness of the local people, and of course, gastronomy.
"This is Croatia for you. This people are too kind!" Violetta Teetor said during walk through Sinj market.
Gorgeous town. Learn more from the Sinj Tourist Board website.