Thursday, 2 December 2021

PHOTOS: Spectacular Kaleidoscope Lights of Osijek City Day and Advent 2021

December 02, 2021 – A spectacular light show exploded across Ante Starčević square in Osijek this evening, welcoming hundreds of visitors to Osijek City Day and to the opening of Osijek Advent 2021. Among those gathered to witness the colourful display was the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković.

263403535_4677350128969693_4353480490300971166_n.jpg© TZ Grad Osijek

In recent times, Osijek's Ante Starčević square has seldom looked so thrilling. It is a wide and open city square - the only place in Osijek where the city tram lines all meet. Except for one modern sculpture and a statue of Ante Starčević, the square is floored with featureless concrete. The fine facades of surrounding Austro-Hungarian buildings have seen better years. In many instances, these historic frontages are cheapened by gaudy branded signage and advertisements.

PXL_021221_90938596_1.jpg© Davor Javorovic/PIXSELL

But, tonight, all the unsightly modern scars were hidden as an ocean of patterns and colours danced across the square. Children skipped along new pathways created by the brilliant lights' design. Now in its third year, these bright embellishments are part of the Kaleidoscope Festival of Lights. The arrival of its magical scenes heralds not only the start of this year's Osijek Advent but also marks Osijek City Day 2021.

Osijek City Day - 2 December

Mario_Đurkić_Horizont_solutions.jpgFrom above, Osijek's Tvrda and the Drava river © Mario Đurkić / Horizont solutions / TZ Grad Osijek

People have lived on this part of the Drava river for millennia. But, quite often, the modern life of Osijek city is only viewed as having begun after the Ottomans were removed by the Battle of Mohács. From 1687, Osijek and the eastern part of Croatia were part of the Habsburg Empire. But, Osijek remained close to the border of the new encroachment on Ottoman territory. Defensive fortresses were built along this line of defence, in Stara Gradiška, Osijek and Slavonski Brod in Slavonia and in Petrovaradin in Syrmia/Srem (Serbia).

Today, Osijek's fortress - Tvrđa – contains the largest collection of Baroque buildings in Croatia. It is a fantastic and picturesque location. There, Osijek's old city walls spectacularly overlook the Drava river. But, back when the city's defence was all-important, these walls made it difficult for Osijek to expand. Progress and growth proved impossible to hinder and, with the threat of the Ottomans becoming ever smaller, the population of Osijek simply began to settle outside the walls of Tvrđa. Indeed, today, residents of the city regard Osijek as having three centres – Lower Town, Tvrđa and Upper Town aka Ante Starčević square.

PXL_021221_90938602_1.jpgLights in Upper Town turned on as part of Osijek City Day 2021 © Davor Javorovic/PIXSELL

At the beginning of the 18th century, separate magistrates resided over Osijek's Lower and Upper Towns, effectively marking them as independent city municipalities. In order to gain status as a free and royal city, local authorities were eventually persuaded to unify the different municipalities on 2 December 1786. Since then, 2 December has been celebrated as Osijek City Day.

Kaleidoscope Festival of Light and Osijek Advent 2021

lampice47.jpg© TZ Grad Osijek

The incredible light show on Ante Starčević square is just one part of an Advent manifestation that, like the city itself, stretches long down the side of the Drava river.

262257854_4665415346829838_5031405380697064902_n.jpg© TZ Grad Osijek

The first candle of Advent 2021 was lit by the Archbishop of Đakovo-Osijek Đuro Hranić on Sunday 28 November. Osijek City Day celebrations are the second key milestone of the Christmas holiday season. City-wide Christmas lights were formally turned on today at the Croatian National Theatre Osijek.

PXL_021221_90938521_1.jpg© Davor Javorovic/PIXSELL

Osijek Advent 2021 includes the return of the Kaleidoscope Festival of Light and Osijek Advent Tram - which is visited by almost 15,000 people each season. Christmas lights extend down European Avenue, passing some of the city's most grandiose Austro-Hungarian architecture. Thereafter, the trail comes 'off road' and takes you through the trees of King Tomislav Park. Next, Tvrđa assumes the focal point of Advent, with a Winter Lookout on the roof of the Cultural Centre, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Sokol ice rink and the tallest Ferris Wheel in Croatia being key highlights.

grada2.jpgPhoto from Osijek Advent 2020 © TZ Grad Osijek

If you want to read more about Osijek, see the Total Croatia guide here. And, if you want to keep up with news from Osijek, bookmark Total Croatia News's Osijek pages here

grada.jpgPhoto from Osijek Advent 2020 © TZ Grad Osijek

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Iron Maiden in Croatia 2022: Legendary Band Announces Concert in Zagreb

December 2, 2021 - The legendary British heavy metal band will perform on Sunday, May 22 at Arena Zagreb. Iron Maiden in Croatia was originally planned in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. Now, as part of their Legacy of the Beast tour, the concert will be a reality!

Great news for Croatian rock and heavy metal lovers, as Iron Maiden in Croatia will finally be a reality after the mythical band formed in Leyton, East London, announced through its website and social networks that the city of Zagreb would be part of its Legacy of the Beast tour in Europe. The tour was originally scheduled for 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to be postponed.

By 2022, those led by vocalist Bruce Dickinson already had a large number and a variety of European cities confirmed for their tour. However, yesterday at 4:00 pm they announced on their official Facebook page that six European cities would be included. The Croatian capital of Zagreb will not only now be part of the Legacy of the Beast tour, but it will also be the first date of the English band's tour in Europe, which will feature its historic lineup: Steve Harris, on bass, guitarists Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers, and drummer Nicko McBrain. Additionally, the metal band Lord of the Lost will be a special guest.

Iron Maiden, founded by Harris in 1975, also confirmed the European capitals Belgrade (Serbia), Bucharest (Romania), Kyiv (Ukraine), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Athens (Greece) within the list of cities that will be part of the tour. The general sale of tickets for the concert at Arena Zagreb that will take place on May 22nd will be next Monday, December 6th. However, a pre-sale stage of tickets to see Iron Maiden in Croatia will begin tomorrow, Friday, December 3rd.

The Legacy of the Beast tour adds to a long list of Iron Maiden tours, festivals, and concerts for over forty years. To date, the heavy metal band has toured 59 countries and played more than 2,000 concerts. The tour that will include Zagreb in 2022 has 136 confirmed dates around the world, and those who attend, both loyal veterans and part of a new generation of fans, will be able to enjoy their best classics and hits like ''The Trooper'', ''Hallowed Be Thy Name'', ''Run to the Hills'', ''Fear of the Dark'', ''The Number of the Beast'', ''Aces High'', ''2 Minutes to Midnight'', ''Phantom of the Opera'', ''Running Free'', and many more from a band that has not lost its energy on stage, in addition to always including incredible surprises in their shows such as pyrotechnics, walking giant-sized models of the band's mascot, Eddie the Head, and much more.

For more information, details, and the full list of dates for the Iron Maiden tour that will include Zagreb, visit their official Facebook and Instagram pages and their official website.

For more concerts news, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Croatia Airlines Advent Calendar Offers Special Discounts and Prizes

December 2, 2021 - As part of the campaign prior to the Christmas celebrations, users who access the Croatia Airlines Advent calendar will find daily special offers, discounts, and prizes, some that include up to 50% discount on flight tickets with the national company.

Although the greatest availability and demand for flights to or from Croatia occurs in the summer, December is a month where air traffic is justified under the pretext of reuniting with family and friends during the Christmas holidays. This year's Croatia Airlines Advent calendar presents special prizes to users of its services every day until Christmas Eve, reports Turističke Priče.

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In the month of giving, it is enough to visit the LINK where a special one-day Advent offer will be opened every day. By opening the Croatian Airlines Advent calendar window, all travel lovers can discover many surprises and gifts, including discounts (up to 50%) for purchasing airline tickets on selected domestic and international flights of Croatia Airlines, upgrades from economy to business class, Economy Comfort seats and many other benefits. The offer of the day will be announced every day at 9 am.

Today's offer of the day will be interesting for all those who decide to travel by plane from Osijek to Munich. Namely, if you decide to buy a plane ticket today, you will receive a 50% discount on the Osijek - Munich route, and the discount is applicable to all passengers in one reservation.

The Advent calendar offers travelers from Croatia and abroad the possibility of cheaper travel and additional quality of service, while at the same time an excellent opportunity to choose a valuable gift in the month of giving that can be shared with family members, friends or simply choose a gift for yourself.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated section.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

IBTM Barcelona: Great Interest in Slavonia as an Incentive Destination

December 2, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board is presenting the Croatian tourist offer as part of the IBTM Barcelona, which has been held until today. Exceptional interest during the event was expressed for Slavonia as an incentive destination that represents something different on the market.

After last year's online edition, the fair is being held in person again this year, so numerous meetings of domestic and foreign partners from the business travel segment have been held, reports Turističke Priče. Namely, in addition to the Croatian Tourist Board as the main exhibitor, seven co-exhibitors present their offer at the fair, including the congress offices of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Opatija and Valamar, Liburnia Hotels & Villas, Le meridien Lav Split, and Spektar putovanja.

According to the first feedback from the IBTM Barcelona, many partners from the Polish and Ukrainian markets are interested in creating additional offers with Croatian destinations in the business travel segment, while Turkish partners are announcing great interest in Advent programs in our country. Also, exceptional interest during the stock exchange was expressed for Slavonia as an incentive destination that represents something new, different on the market, and which is adorned with a very rich and authentic offer.

Croatian partners, who have already received concrete inquiries for 2022, are also satisfied with the performance on the event, during which the main advantages of Croatia, as business tourism destinations, could be quality infrastructure, proximity, and accessibility; historical heritage, nature, top eno-gastronomy, etc.

Let us add that this event presents more than 3,000 destinations and providers, who have the opportunity for business meetings with more than 15,000 professionals from the business travel industry. The IBTM Barcelona congress, along with the IMEX Frankfurt, are the most important events of its type in Europe and the world.

If you want to learn more about Osijek, Vukovar, Vinkovci, Đakovo, Baranja, Slavonski Brod, and other magical destinations in Slavonia, be sure to check all the full detailed guides at Total Croatia here.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Opatija Chocolate Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow For Its 15th Edition

December 2, 2021 - From December 3 to 5, visitors to the Opatija Chocolate Festival will not only be able to taste the irresistible delicacies of twenty domestic and foreign producers but also experience many more "sweet surprises" prepared by the organizers.

Opatija and chocolate have been inextricably linked for years thanks to the Chocolate Festival event, the largest and oldest Croatian event dedicated to this irreplaceable food, which in 2021 celebrates its jubilee.

The fairy-tale atmosphere of the luxuriously decorated Advent city will be a great backdrop for top-quality desserts that will return to the Crystal Hall of the Kvarner Hotel exclusively for the 15th Opatija Chocolate Festival. The occasion also requires a festive ambiance, so the jubilee of the sweetest Opatija event will be celebrated under the famous crystal chandeliers of the oldest Croatian hotel.

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Photo: Visit Opatija Facebook Page

From December 3 to 5, visitors to the Opatija Chocolate Festival will be able to taste the irresistible delicacies of twenty domestic and foreign producers, but also experience many more "sweet surprises" prepared by the organizers. It will be a unique opportunity to enjoy the unique desserts that, except in the specialty stores of the present "craft" chocolatiers, can only be purchased at this fair.

The event will feature chocolate delicacies made in Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia, and the program will also include chocolate-themed workshops, lectures, tastings, and concerts.

Romantic winter evenings in Advent Opatija will be sweetened by the largest and longest-running Croatian event dedicated to chocolate, and hedonistic pleasure in divine flavors will be complemented by a special program at the Opatija chocolate factory Milenij Choco, as well as specially designed chocolate desserts in many hotels and restaurants. This sweet "lifestyle" will not only stay on the palate, but you will be able to enjoy chocolate with your whole body because this food will "interfere" with the treatments of Opatija's spa & wellness centers.

An opulent stretch of Austro-Hungarian finery on the beautiful Kvarner coast, Opatija was Croatia’s first-ever tourist destination. As popular now as it always was, it’s easy to see why. If you want to learn more about the location of the Chocolate Festival in December, be sure to check Total Croatia's Opatija in a Page guide by clicking HERE. Now in your language!

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

Thursday, 2 December 2021

2022 Croatian Cup Final to be Played at Poljud Stadium in Split

December 2, 2021 - After the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup quarterfinal matches came to a close on Wednesday, the Executive Board of the Croatian Football Federation decided that the Croatian Cup final match would be played in Split, namely at Poljud Stadium.

This season, the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup final will be played at Poljud Stadium, which is comforting news for Hajduk fans after the Split club advanced to the semifinals with a victory against Lokomotiva Tuesday. The Croatian Football Federation decided on Poljud after choosing between Karlovac, Koprivnica, and Split, reports HNS.

At the suggestion of the HNS Competition Commission, the Executive Board of the Federation decided that the final of the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup will be played at the Poljud Stadium in Split and that the final match will be played on May 26, 2022. It will be the first Croatian Cup final at Poljud played in a single game.

On Monday at 11 am, the draw will decide which pairs are in the semifinals. Gorica, Hajduk, Osijek, and Rijeka remain in the competition, and the matches are scheduled for March 2022. 

After the draw at noon, Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić will meet with HNS president Marijan Kustić at the federation's headquarters on Vukovarska, a year after meeting with his predecessor Davor Šuker, when he said he would "leave the federation alone," reports 24 Sata

Since 2016, when the Croatian Cup changed the format and one final match was introduced, the Cup final has been hosted by Osijek, Varaždin, Vinkovci, Pula, Šibenik, and Velika Gorica.

Recall, in the quarterfinal matches which were played on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Gorica topped Istra on penalties, Hajduk beat Lokomotiva 6:3, and Osijek beat Belupo on penalties. In the last quarterfinal, Rijeka knocked out Dinamo 3:1, which forced the resignation of Dinamo coach Damir Krznar. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Game of Thrones-Related Tourism Brings €180m to Croatia

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - Film tourism related to the mega-popular HBO series "Game of Thrones", the filming of which began in Dubrovnik and elsewhere in Dalmatia ten years ago, brought into the Croatian economy a total of €180.7 million between 2013 and 2018, or €30.1 million annually. 

The figures were published in an article in the scientific journal Oeconomica Jadertina, issued by the University of Zadar. The article was written by Martin Vukašin and Josip Miočić from Zadar and Mirela Brechelmacher from Slavonski Brod.

The filming of the popular television series spawned a new type of tourism service, including trips to filming locations such as the Walls of Dubrovnik, the Palace of Diocletian in Split, the Klis Fortress, and the Krka falls in Krka National Park. Some travel agencies offer routes where particular Game of Thrones episodes was shot, the article says.

The BuzzFeed website, which has more than 80 million visits a month, has included Dubrovnik among the 18 most popular film tourism destinations.

The fourth season of the Game of Thrones series attracted a record 18.4 million viewers per episode.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Novaković Says Would Be Surprised If GRECO Approves Conflict of Interest Bill

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - Conflict of Interest Commission chair Nataša Novaković said on Thursday she would be surprised if GRECO, the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body, gave a positive assessment of the conflict of interest bill currently in the first reading in parliament.

Speaking to the press, Novaković said she would be surprised because the bill did not show that Croatia had acted on GRECO's recommendations.

"Those who know how to read GRECO's report and the bill think it's quite clear that the essential recommendations haven't been complied with. Whether they have or not, we'll see when we get the report."

Novaković said that as far as she knew, GRECO was expected to assess if Croatia's new conflict of interest bill was in line with its recommendations today, and the assessment would be forwarded to the Conflict of Interest Commission.

"The bill is between two readings and it would be a bad message if later on, we were to receive a message from GRECO that the law we passed in the meantime is bad."

Novaković was speaking after a meeting of the National Council monitoring the implementation of the Corruption Prevention Strategy, whose chair Nikola Grmoja said GRECO insisted on principles of conduct and that the bill was a big step backward.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Opposition MP Calls for Free Testing for Unvaccinated Undergraduates

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - The Bridge party's parliamentary deputy, Marija Selak Raspudić, on Thursday called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs to ensure that undergraduates can undergo free testing for coronavirus so that they can attend university classes without additional costs.

The decision that it is up to faculties to decide on their own whether students are required to have COVID certificates to enter the premises of the faculties has caused chaos on the ground, the MP said.

She explained that in the event of the COVID-19 certificate mandate, unvaccinated students would have to pay for their coronavirus tests, which would be an additional cost to them.

"I call on Prime Minister Plenković and Minister Fuchs to take responsibility for the anti-epidemic measures adopted by the para-political body -- the COVID-19 crisis management team -- and to pay for coronavirus tests for students who have not been vaccinated so that they can attend classes without additional costs, which they can't afford and which puts them at a disadvantage in relation to other citizens," Selak Raspudić told a news conference.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

FlixBus and Čazmatrans Sign Strategic Partnership Agreement

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - The German-based bus company FlixBus and Croatia's Čazmatrans signed a strategic partnership agreement on Thursday.

Under the agreement, in the first phase, Čazmatrans and FlixBus will integrate their bus services to provide travelers with greater mobility and availability of Croatian and international destinations.

The agreement provides for the digitalization of bus tickets, which will facilitate the online purchase of tickets. Over 30 continental destinations in Croatia will be included in the FlixBus network, and some towns, such as Đakovo, Kutina, Petrinja, and Sisak, will become FlixBus destinations for the first time. 

In the second phase of integration, which begins in the spring, a portion of the Čazmatrans fleet will start operating according to FlixBus standards.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

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