Friday, 24 March 2023

Museum of Becarac in Pleternica: All You Need to Know About Slavonia

March 24, 2023 - A new pearl of tradition has been formed right in the heart of Slavonia - the Museum of Becarac Interpretation centre offers an entirely new impression of this region.

Can Slavonia compete with Dalmatia and Istria, the generators of tourism in Croatia? The answer is simple - no. And it doesn't need to. Croatia, as a very colourful country, geographically, climatically, and in terms of food and gastronomy offer, cannot have competition between its regions but rather have them complement each other for the complete tourist offer of the country.

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At the first mention of Slavonia and tourism, many people wave their hands because they see Slavonia as a region of agriculture, but those who know a little better, even those who have scratched the surface of what Slavonia has to offer, see how things are changing. And not spontaneously and in an unplanned manner, but strategically. Traditional manifestations are being strengthened, the regio's presence at tourism fairs is increasing, and awareness is being raised about its wine and gastro offer. However, one of the key things is the infrastructure, various centres offering all kinds of content, which are being built and renovated in Slavonia.

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One of such centres, perhaps the pearl of Slavonia, is the recently opened Museum of Becarac in Pleternica. It is one of the few infrastructure projects specifically built to become a museum. The design was the vision of a famous Croatian architect Andrija Rusan, who also designed the arrangement of the central part of the city for Pleternica.

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The strategic work we mentioned is best manifested in the interpretation of the centre, created by the Zagreb company Muze, in whose realisation over a thousand proud representatives of the Slavonian tradition from Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem participated. Also, in the attitude of the city leadership and the museum, the focus is on a broad view of tourism in the region. So if you ask the mayor of Pleternica, Marija Saric, how she sees the museum, she will say that it is the starting point of a tourist visit, part of the mosaic of the rich offer of the whole of Slavonia, Baranja, and Srijem.

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Part of Croatian cultural heritage, becarac is known as a form of humorous folk song that originates from Slavonia. It usually involves male singers dropping lascivious lines in front of a tipsy audience that roars from laughter at every rhyme – it's clever, sassy, and always a bit inappropriate. In 2011, bećarac was officially inscribed in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

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But what does that starting point offer? Everything you need to know about Slavonia on your first visit told, or rather sung in the form of becarac. The first exhibition is the only one you can see when you peek through the museum doors. It is called Mala kuća graševine (The little house of Graševina wine). It presents the rich wine history of Pleternica, the town itself, basic information, and a few interesting songs that will surely delight you. Of course, the theme of this exhibition is wine. Going down the stairs, a completely new world opens up, the world of becarac, and upon arrival, it is impossible to hide the smile on your face and the radiance caused by the song, the joy, the beauty of the folk costumes.

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The lower and main part of the Museum consists of several exhibitions, of course, "Introduction to the world of becarac," followed by "Becarac through life," "Becarac calendar," and finally, "The becarac rhapsody." It would take a while to describe each of these, but what is interesting and hidden in the Museum is that it is not just about the song, but rather the whole life of a region is presented through becarac, down to the last detail.

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Multimedia exhibits guide you through the Museum, which you don't even realise since they are skillfully interpolated with the traditional museum setting, i.e., exhibits and artistic representations of specific segments. The Museum of Becarac in Pleternica is without a doubt a must-visit point not only for continental but also for national tourism. If we add to that the Terra Panonica Interpretation Centre, which also tells the ancient story of the Pannonian Sea, and is located right next to the Museum, maybe a train ride through the Pleternica vineyards, we can just conclude that you should leave time for Pleternica - everything else is waiting for you there.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Travel section.

Friday, 24 March 2023

Dalić & Modrić: We'll Give 100% against Wales, Want to Start EURO 2024 Qualifiers with Win

March 24, 2023 - Croatia and Wales open the EURO 2024 qualifiers at Poljud Stadium on Saturday at 20:45. Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić addressed the press ahead of the important match. 

Croatia and Wales meet on Saturday at Poljud to open the EURO 2024 qualifiers. Poljud has long been sold out for Croatia's first match after winning the bronze medal at the 2022 World Cup. Dalić and Modrić addressed the press on Friday to announce the game and what we can expect. 

Luka answered questions first. He learned he is the oldest Croatia player to appear in a qualification cycle. 

"Our focus is 100% on Wales. It is important to open the qualifications with a good result. We are opening at home in front of a full stadium, and we want a win," said Modrić to begin. "I don't know if it's good or bad that I'm the oldest player to appear for Croatia in a qualifying cycle, haha. I am happy to break this record, and I am happy to play with Croatia. I need to keep going this way," he added. 

How is the team looking at this first game together since the World Cup?

"We always want to qualify as early as possible but always encounter problems during the qualifiers. The group is small, with only five teams. Therefore, we need to be maximally concentrated and focused on tomorrow. Wales and Turkey are our biggest competitors in this group. First, we need to focus on this game, and then we will think about the match against Turkey. I don't want to talk about points right now. We are the favorites in this group, and we want 6 points in these two games, but football is unpredictable.

We won two medals at the World Cup in the last five years. We also played a good EURO in 2021. Everyone is playing against us with respect and proving themselves against us. Because of that, we need to be even better." 

Luka said he wouldn't be able to achieve the success he has without everyone around him.

"Without my teammates and coach, I wouldn't be who I am. I thank all players from the beginning of my professional career, as all of these results were achieved by the team." 

How will Croatia look tomorrow, and is this Luka's last game at Poljud?

"All we can say about tomorrow is that we will give 100%. We all know about the atmosphere in Split. I said I am with Croatia until Nations League, and we will see from there."

Dalić answered the press next. 

"We are starting a new cycle. We have done incredible things in the last five years but want to achieve more. We want to start the qualifications with a win. Apart from the fact that Petković is injured and Lovren retired, we mostly have the same team we had in Qatar and will play how we did in the last World Cup game against Morocco."

What can we expect from Croatia? 

"We had a great week of training. This is a dangerous game where we have a lot to lose. The first game together after the World Cup is crucial, so this game will be very tough. We can't allow ourselves to lose points at home. We have the quality, we need to be patient, and I expect us to win. But it will be a tough game."

What does Dalić expect from Wales?

"It's a different team than during the World Cup, and there is no Gareth Bale. However, they still have good players with quality and can be dangerous in the center attack. We are in for a tough game," Dalić concluded.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 24 March 2023

Jarun Bridge - Has Zagreb Mega Project Been Shelved?

March the 24th, 2023 - Has a the long-awaited (and much talked about) Zagreb mega project of the construction of a brand new Jarun bridge been kicked into the long grass?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the would-be Jarun bridge would solve some traffic issues here in the capital by connecting western Zagreb with Novi Zagreb, but it seems as if things are stalling beyond the point of no return.

"I think that the first point we need to start with is strengthening the city's existing bridges before building any sort of new bridge, and this is something that may not be seen as desirable politically as much as a totally new bridge might be, but I'll still sleep peacefully because I know that I've done absolutely everything necessary for this city to be safer if there's another earthquake,'' said Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic.

This is nothing more than a very small consolation for Milica Sparavalo, whose house was damaged back during the earthquake of March 2020, and she's not allowed to rebuild any of it because it is located on the future road route that would one day lead to this as yet somewhat mythical Jarun bridge. Because of all this, her life has been turned into total chaos, and she isn't even allowed to sell the land, as reported by HRT.

"For us, waiting no longer makes sense. Just let us be able to dispose of our property," pleaded Milica Sparavalo, whose house is just one of the 150 buildings situated along the route awaiting demolition. Experts say that the Jarun bridge is a classic example of the violation of various laws that ultimately put the City of Zagreb into a deeply unfavourable situation.

"Construction permits were issued for corridors that were defined by the GUP and some other documents, and there lies the problem. The problem is that the state has legalised some things, and some things only," said Marko Sevrovic from the Faculty of Transport Sciences in Zagreb.

The potential Jarun bridge would, as stated above, finally connect the western part of the city and Novi Zagreb, and 15,000 vehicles would travel along it daily, and a tram line is also planned. The continuation of the Jarun bridge project was also supported by part of the opposition, and they even proposed an amendment to break the deadlock.

"With that amendment, we provided two million euros for the creation of the project documentation, it was flatly rejected, that is, not reduced, but totally and utterly rejected, and it could clearly already be seen that this project wasn't a focal point for them,'' said Kristijan Jelic, a city representative of HSLS.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 24 March 2023

EC to Get Look into State of Croatian Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

March the 24th, 2023 - Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction. Yes, we're still saying it over three years since the earthquake of March 2020. The European Commission (EC) is set to get a detailed look into the state of what's going on, and the government is in a race against time to use the EU cash allocated to it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, today, the European Commission will be informed of the review of the state of Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction, which is being financed from the EU Solidarity Fund, as well as Croatia's view of costs across all of its ministries.

This meeting was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Branko Bacic, who, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Zagreb earthquake (March the 22nd), assessed that the aforementioned segment of Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction is being implemented in full as planned, so this gives some hope that the money will be spent within the prescribed deadline.

What has actually been done? The question on many lips...

"The value of all of the works currently being carried out in the area affected by the Zagreb earthquake, which are being financed from FSEU, the NPOO and the state budget, totals 2.2 billion euros. There are a total of 594 projects in question, and 1.1 billion euros is the amount being financed from the FSEU.

For the Zagreb earthquake, 683.3 million euros were contracted from the FSEU, and to date, 58% of the requests for reimbursement of funds for ongoing projects have been submitted. We're satisfied with the pace of renovation of public buildings, but we aren't feeling the same in regard to replacement houses - we failed the assignment there," said Bacic very honestly.

As for FSEU, 295 projects have been completed, i.e. 200 projects for the renovation of public sector buildings, 45 infrastructure projects, primarily regarding to transport but also communal ones, and another 50 projects in which it co-finances temporary housing. In the sector of public buildings for education, 143 projects have been completed and 32 projects are still in their construction phase(s).

The total value stands at a staggering 415 million euros, of which 224 million euros is being financed from the FSEU. When it comes to the healthcare sector, 26 projects have been completed and 19 remain ongoing, and out of 301 million euros, 146 million euros have come from FSEU financing. Regarding the renovation of public buildings of cultural heritage, 31 projects have been completed and 75 of them are in the implementation phase, with a total value of 717 million euros, of which 236 million euros have been sourced from the FSEU.

"When I took over this Ministry, I announced a plan that I believe is achievable: that is, by the end of June, we'll spend the money from the Solidarity Fund, that by the end of October, we'll have taken care of all our 6,258 fellow citizens who are still living in containers, and that, in addition, we'll start the entire Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction process,'' Bacic stated boldly.

"In cooperation with the Croatian Association of Banks, in about ten days, a new bank product will be announced, which involves the use of reconstruction funds, so that the people themselves can decide what needs to be done, and we simply pay the funds in full into the account that is suitable for use, including for the project, the execution of all of the works and supervision, before the work begins. I can say that there#s great interest in the self-renovation financing model in the area of Sisak-Moslavina County," said Bacic, adding that they are also implementing a project and procurement for 500 wooden prefabricated houses.

Fee amounts

The procurement for the execution of structural renovation works of nine multi-apartment buildings in Zagreb and 21 procurements for the construction of replacement houses under the abbreviated procedure of the new rulebook for public procurement is now underway. In addition to the removed 73 houses and six ongoing removals, 271 removals have been contracted. 184 contracts for the design of replacement houses have also been signed.

The plan for 2023 is to complete the design of replacement family houses, and those funds will be paid out for all received requests for non-structural renovation, as well as all financial compensation for structural renovation and construction of replacement family houses based on the self-renovation model, for which a request is received by October the 31st, 2023.

This refers to 100 replacement family houses under construction, 250 buildings and houses structurally renovated or under construction, and 350 buildings and houses non-structurally renovated or under construction.

Taking into account the time spent on the organisation of the self-renovation process as part of the entire Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction project, the state will provide compensation for the tasks of coordination of self-renovation to the owners in the following amounts: for structural renovation 2654.46 euros, for the construction of a replacement house 3318.07 euros, while monetary compensation for buildings up to 700 m² will be 5308.91 euros, for buildings from 700 m² to 1,500 m² - 7,963.37 euros, and for buildings over 1,500 m² - 10,617.82 euros.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 24 March 2023

Salon Mondial du Tourisme - Interest Among French Tourists in Croatia

March the 24th, 2023 - There has been a significant amount of interest shown by French tourists in visiting Croatia, and this was only further cemented by the recently held Salon Mondial du Tourisme, which took place in Paris.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this year, the French tourist market has been showing great interest in the Republic of Croatia. This country's varied tourist offer has been included in the programmes of the largest and most important French tour operators and agencies, and there is growing interest in the introduction of new regular air routes, the Croatian Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ) reported on Tuesday.

Good news for Croatian tourism comes from the recently held largest international tourist fair in France, "Salon Mondial du tourisme" in Paris, and from the accompanying business workshop organised by the HTZ representative office in Paris, which brought together more than 60 French travel organisers and travel agencies. Representatives of Croatia Airlines, Maistra, Falkenstainer, Hilton and other agencies discussed business opportunities and cooperation with them at the workshop.

"The Croatian offer for French tourists is well represented by the most important French travel organisers, and the further growth of specialised offers with an emphasis placed on wine and gastronomy, business, cultural and nautical tourism can certainly be an additional motive for the arrival of French tourists," said the director of the HTZ representative office in Paris, Danijela Mihalic Djurica.

This year, French tourists in Croatia have already spent 54 percent more registered overnight stays than they did back during the same period in the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news and travel sections.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Moving Vegetables: Croatia's Finest Food Tradition

March 23, 2023 - Growing one's own food is a big thing in Croatia, but how to get the fresh produce to other family members all over the country? Meet the fabulous culture of moving vegetables. Premiering tonight at 19:53.

Food in Croatia is fantastic.

And so, so fresh.

With so many families growing their own food, it is not a long journey from the family field to the table. Or is it?

Over the years, I have learned that it is not possible to go on a long journey in this region between two cities without a boot full of vegetables for a friend or family member in the destination city. And then to have your car filled with a boot full of other vegetables for the return journey.

And if you haven't driven from Dalmatia to Zagreb with 30 cabbages in the car, only to do the same journey in reverse with 30 cabbages of a different sort 6 months later, are you even living in Croatia?

Meet the fabulous, fabulous culture in Croatia (and the wider region) - moving vegetables!

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Thursday, 23 March 2023

Croatian Company Gepek Launches App, Aims for More Users

March the 23rd, 2023 - The Croatian company Gepek, which came to life back during the pandemic-dominated year of 2020, has launched a brand new application (app), with which it aims to attract more users throughout this year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the Croatian company Gepek, an innovative startup that currently boasts 5,000 users, has announced the launch of its new application aimed at revolutionising the package delivery industry.

With the rise of e-commerce, the demand for fast, environmentally friendly and efficient delivery solutions has never been higher. the Croatian company Gepek, as stated by its founders, aims to respond to the current challenges faced by current delivery companies and provide users with a superior delivery experience.

At the end of last year, the Croatian company Gepek received half a million euros of initial pre-seed investment. The leading investor is John Lilic, one of the investors who, among other things, worked as an advisor to the board of Polygon, the tenth largest blockchain in the entire world. Before that, the Swedish-Hong Kong company Auki Labs, a leader in AR technology, invested in Gepek, which will allow them to expand their activities far beyond national borders using AR technology.

According to Carla Ferreri, the co-founder and CEO of the Croatian company Gepek, their newly launched app offers an end-to-end delivery solution that enables real-time tracking, eco-friendly packaging options and cost-effective pricing. Gepek's innovative approach eliminates intermediaries and fragmentation in the delivery process, making it the ideal solution for all package delivery needs.

“We're thrilled to be able to launch our new app and bring our innovative package delivery solution to the market. Our goal is to provide a superior delivery experience to our users, with savings for those who are sending those packages, and we believe that the new Gepek app is the first step in realising that vision," said brother and sister Carla and Dario Ferreri, the CEOs and co-founders of Gepek.

Kristijan Skarica, another co-founder of Gepek, emphasised that they're now starting a new chapter within Gepek's business and providing a platform that helps connect people with the things they love, whether it's sending gifts to family and friends, supporting local OPGs (Croatian family farms) by transporting their goods to their tables, or simply making life a little easier for working families.

"Our app is available 24/7 unlike traditional delivery companies and is now available for download on the App Store and in the Google Play Store," concluded Skarica.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Croatian Communications Market Enjoys 1.6 Billion Euro Revenue in 2022

March the 23rd, 2023 - The Croatian communications market enjoyed revenues of 1.6 billion euros last year, representing an increase when compared to the year before.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the total revenues earned by the Croatian communications market back in 2022 amounted to a very impressive 1.6 billion euros, which is 3.6 percent more compared to what was recorded back in 2021. On top of that, the continued trend of investment growth in mobile and fixed communications networks continued, as was announced last week by the Croatian Regulatory Agency for Network Activities (HAKOM).

HAKOM stated that in the aforementioned period, revenues from broadband Internet access services increased by nine percent, from network and cable rental by five percent, and from paid television by four percent, while at the same time, revenues on the market for telephone services in the fixed network decreased by more than nine percent.

On the electronic Croatian communications market, last year's investments in very high capacity networks (VHCN) increased by six percent when compared to 2021, and the trend of investments in base stations (BTS) in mobile communications networks also continued.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, as HAKOM pointed out, the migration of users to fiber-optic technology continued, which affected the growth of such connections by 27.5 percent in a year. In the same period, total data traffic via fixed and mobile networks grew by 15.7 percent on average. The share of users of broadband connections with a speed higher than 100 Mbit/ also grew and amounts to 35.7 percent.

In the last quarter of 2022, foreign citizens spent more than 95 million roaming minutes of calls, which is an increase of 8.9 percent compared to the same period in 2021.

The number of SMS and MMS messages sent however was significantly lower compared to last year (a drop of 21.6 percent and 27.7 percent, respectively). In the last quarter of 2022, 62.3 percent of households used some form of paid television, and the trend of revenue growth from this service continued.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Croatian Cyclotourism Huge, Seriously Underutilized Opportunity

March 23, 2023 - Entry into the Schengen area is a massive opportunity for Croatian cyclotourism - not even administratively do borders now exist. Croatian destinations can begin to see Europe as a single, large market that needs to be studied, its needs and wishes understood, and the huge Croatian cyclotourism potential fully valorized.

Croatia will hardly use this potential without significant investments in infrastructure, hospitality establishments, and stronger support from local and national tourist agencies, warns Karlo Kucan, organizer of the three-day Days of Cyclotourism conference from May 10 to 12 in Sinj, Poslovni writes.

Preserved nature is another trump card

It is the first and so far the only Croatian specialized professional conference intended for this segment of the tourist offer, and it gathers various representatives of Croatian cyclotourism stakeholders, from ministries, the Croatian Tourist Board, agencies, local self-government representatives to clubs and equipment manufacturers.

The conference is held in a different place every year, and the Adriatic and continental destinations alternate. The fifth edition of the Days of Cyclotourism is going to Sinj, given that Dalmatian Zagora has great predispositions for developing such tourist products.

"In addition, the proximity of the largest coastal tourist centers, good traffic connections to the main markets, preserved nature, a dynamic and diverse landscape, and a wealth of heritage attractions, as well as food and wine offers, make up the region's valuable resources.

We chose the theme 'No borders, no limits' because, after several challenging years in which particular forms of tourism, especially cyclotourism, have shown resilience, it is time to fully develop its potential by using the incredible opportunities provided by freedom without borders.

Suffice it to say that the cyclotourism market in Europe is worth 44 billion euros, which is more than the cruising industry, which receives significantly more attention than Croatian cyclotourism.

In addition, the pandemic has done a lot for the promotion of this segment of tourism because people have turned much more to outdoor activities, to destinations that are not overcrowded", states Kucan, founder of the company Spot and the brand Trail - Full Cycling Experience, who signed the organization of the conference.

The company is engaged in the development and promotion of innovative tourist products. The brand Trail - Full Cycling Experience covers all elements of developing a cycling destination, from tracing trails, designing routes, educating service providers, creating promotional content, starting and organizing events, and providing business consulting to offer a destination that is competitive and sustainable.

Many ungraded roads

"Croatia declares itself as a country that wants to invest in cyclotourism, but the Slovenians have invested more only in the Drava cycle route than Croatia has in the entire country's infrastructure. When constructing new roads, Croatia is oriented toward motor vehicle traffic, and the plans do not include paths that would serve tourists and local residents. There are many ungraded roads that could get such infrastructure if it were considered at the local level.

Another important factor is the offer. Bike tourists arrive outside the summer season, and in many destinations in Croatia, they have nowhere to sleep, no hotels, restaurants, or shops are open. It is a question of the cooperation of all involved at the level of local units, not a question of one ministry", Kucan claims.

In addition, agencies specializing in Croatian cyclotourism can still be counted on the fingers of one hand, so it happens that partners from abroad cannot find a local agency that will help them organize the trip.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

An Insight into Croatian Cocaine Snorting Habits - They Like it on Fridays

March 23, 2023 - Cocaine use has increased across Europe, a study of wastewater across the European Union has found. The study analyzed samples collected during a one-week period between March and April last year for traces of cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA/ecstasy, ketamine and cannabis. What about Croatian cocaine snorting habits, though? It seems they like it most on Fridays.

As 24Sata / Reuters report, the highest levels of drug residues were found in Belgium, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.

The study, which was largest to date, was conducted by the Lisbon-based European drug monitoring agency EMCDDA. The study analyzed daily wastewater in the catchment areas of treatment plants serving around 54 million people in 104 European cities.

They analyzed samples collected over a one-week period between March and April last year for traces of cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, MDMA/ecstasy, ketamine and cannabis and found that drug use was higher than in previous studies.

"Today's findings, from a record 104 cities, paint a picture of a drug problem that is both widespread and complex, with all six substances detected in almost all locations", said EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel.

The results showed a "continued increase in cocaine detections," a trend seen since 2016, and more cities reporting traces of methamphetamine.

More than half of the 66 European cities with data for 2021 and 2022 saw an increase in cocaine residues.

Ketamine was included in the analysis for the first time in 2022 due to "signs of increased availability of ketamine in Europe". The largest amount of residues was found in waste water in the cities of Denmark, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

As for Zagreb, a decrease in cocaine consumption was recorded, and the survey showed that the people of Zagreb most often take cocaine on Fridays.

If you'd like a more detailed insight, you can view the complete study here.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

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