Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Baranja Student Luka Soldo Awarded €25,000 for Business Idea of the Year

April 19, 2022 - Luka Soldo, a young entrepreneur from Podolje in Baranja, had the business idea of the year in 2021. Having developed from his desire to quit smoking, three years later he has managed to help others do the same with the help of his herbal tea, Herbie.

As SiB.hr writes, the Osijek-Baranja County prefect Ivan Anušić praised the efforts of the young entrepreneur Luka Soldo, a 22-year-old student who founded Herbie with the help of family and friends to raise awareness of the health effects of herbal teas.

Luka gave up cigarettes with the help of self-created herbal mixtures and took the opportunity to recommend the use of herbs in the form of tea, whose effects include significant cleansing of the lungs, calming the body, and strengthening immunity, thus helping reduce nicotine addiction.

The production process of the natural mixtures takes place completely by hand in Podolje in Baranja, and Luka and his family pay special attention to the storage and packaging of the plants, which do not contain nicotine, pesticides, or any other harmful additives.

"Luka is only at the beginning of his business and entrepreneurial career, yet he has already shown great talent and effort. He started very early with a commendable project that won the award for the best business idea in Croatia and proved to be a project of benefit to the whole community, which will also help the livelihood of his family and potential employees. I wanted to meet him, hear his thoughts and let him know that Osijek-Baranja County is there for him and other young people to help the realisation of their dreams and projects. Entrepreneurship, trade, and innovation are always in our focus because only by using our own resources can we build a strong economy”, the prefect stressed.

"I am grateful to the prefect and Osijek-Baranja County for their willingness to help me and other young entrepreneurs in the implementation of our projects. This is an additional reason to stay in the county and Croatia. The idea came to me because I wanted to help my own addiction to cigarettes, as well as other people's.

We started producing a herbal mixture without nicotine, i.e. tea, with which we want to still give people an opportunity to use herbs for relaxation, sending a message that the desire to relax and calm down is completely normal, but can be done differently. So far, we have received several awards that have given wind to our sails, and we desire to expand our business outside of Croatia and employ people from our county. In one year, we managed to win the award for the best business idea, expand to all five largest cities in Croatia and present our product at an international fair in Barcelona. Now our goal is to expand to other markets, primarily in Slovenia, and to become available in smaller cities in Croatia, where we are also recording customer interest.

Still, the most important thing we managed to achieve was having five people quit smoking. As for the ingredients we use, there are 13 plants, with the main ingredient being mullein (wild tobacco) accompanied by a few herbs to improve the taste, such as bearberry, raspberry, blackberry, and rose petals. The hardest part was getting the right flavours, and now after three years of trying all kinds of recipes, we know how to hit the right ones”, said Luka.

In addition to the above, it should be emphasized that Herbie was named the best business idea for 2021 in the Republic of Croatia and awarded 25,000 euros in the international competition of the Crown program of the Sisak-Moslavina Development Agency SIMORA. A total of 300 participants from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro took part in the project.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon on Saturday to Welcome 1,250 Participants from 11 Countries

April 6, 2022 – On Saturday, April 9, the annual Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon will be held, with a range of events for professional and recreational athletes alike.

As SiB writes, the citizens' race and relay race will start at 10.00 am on Ante Starčević Square, while children's races will start at 5.00 pm on the promenade of the upper Drava coast, west of the winter port. A press conference was held yesterday on the central city square in Osijek, the Ante Starčević Square, at which the 18th Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon was announced, a traditional event that will this year take place on Saturday, April 9.

This is the largest and most visited race in the ​​Slavonia and Baranja region, which has been held since 2005 and brings together many athletes, recreationists, and other citizens who want to enjoy running through the streets of Osijek. In addition to the half marathon (21.1 kilometers), there is also a 5km citizens’ race "Are you running, lega?", as well as the men's, women's, and mixed relay races of 3 x 7 kilometres and children's races from 300 meters to 1 kilometer. The organizer of the event is the Marathon Club Hrvatski Sokol from Osijek, and the sponsors are the Osijek-Baranja County, the City of Osijek, the Tourist Board of the City of Osijek, and the Croatian Red Cross.

"The pandemic finally allowed us to gather in large numbers and continue to socialize outdoors through running, cycling, walking, and other sports. I urge our citizens to come to the race because the contemporary lifestyle means a lot of sitting and using cars or public transport, so we need to practice sports. I am sure that everyone who runs the race for the first time will be excited for the next Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon," said the prefect Ivan Anušić.

The citizens' race and the relay race will be starting at 10.00 am on Ante Starčević Square, while the children's races will start at 5.00 pm on the promenade of the upper Drava coast, west of the winter port. More than 1,250 competitors have already registered, not only from Croatia but from 10 other countries (USA, Sweden, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon is not just a sporting event, but a combination of sports, entertainment, culture, and tourism, and contributes to the branding of Osijek. What is especially enriching about this event is that not only athletes but also recreational athletes take part, and even more so that children do. The city will continue to support this event", said the mayor of Osijek Ivan Radić.

He added that Osijek cares about its athletes and sports facilities and that this year Osijek will acquire a real Olympic swimming pool (at the Copacabana pools) for the first time, as well as introduce scholarships for athletes of the 5th and 6th categories while striving to raise sports and recreation to a higher level.

The Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon is an event that has been organized by the Marathon Club Hrvatski Sokol since the first race. The Club entered into a partnership with Ferivi & Co d.o.o. in 2008. and the race has since been called the Osijek Ferivi Half Marathon. Last year, the event had a record number of participants and outstanding accompanying content.

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

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

OLT Osijek to Transform: Museums, Sport Incubator, Olympic Swimming Pool

January the 26th, 2022 - Eastern Croatia is often (very wrongly) overlooked, and the City of Osijek is one town that is making a stand in several ways when it comes to turning its image around. The old OLT Osijek is set to undergo a transformation, with a unique sport incubator, museums and even an Olympic swimming pool thrown in.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the praiseworthy revitalisation project of the OLT Osijek area, one of the largest projects being implemented in Osijek-Baranja County and in the City of Osijek, is still waiting for its visible construction phase to begin. It will most likely two more years before a large area in the very heart of Osijek is turned into a large construction site.

Therefore, the focus is on key activities that will enable this in connection with the development of the Urban Development Plan, which will be a prerequisite for defining the content in this area, which is the responsibility of the City of Osijek.

As part of the project entitled "The preparatory documentation for the strategic project for the revitalisation of the brownfield OLT Osijek area" in the amount of 2,777,500 kuna, and co-financed by the European Union (EU), conservation documentation also needs to be prepared.

The urban plan

This is the basis for the preparation of the urban-conservation base, which should be incorporated into the necessary spatial planning documentation. Conservation documentation, in addition to the catalog of all buildings, also includes various studies of research works and recordings of the existing condition for the buildings - these are the foundry with a lathe, an office, an administrative building, a tool shop and a water tower.

According to a request from Osijek-Baranja County, after the Urban Development Plan is drawn up and made, the project documentation will need to be prepared, and according to county prefect Ivan Anusic, they want to revive the OLT Osijek space which is located almost right in the city centre.

"In the immediate vicinity of the University Campus, OLT Osijek will receive additional support in terms of the scientific work needing to be done because our plan is to create a Science Research Centre, then a sports incubator where experts will work with children from an early age to guide them to the sport that suits them best, both according to their individual physical predispositions and according to their personal affinities.

There will also be support for the families of young athletes, as we've repeatedly witnessed that the top athletes we can truly be proud of in this county are the product of our own efforts and work, as well as family sacrifice. Our goal is to institutionalise this type of support,'' Anusic pointed out.

According to him, the construction of an Olympic swimming pool, which the City of Osijek currently lacks, is planned along with a number of halls, while the sport incubator will be the first of its kind in the wider area, so the new purpose of OLT Osijek will be of great importance for all of Eastern Croatia.

"It's also known that Osijek has a long tradition on the cultural scene, but in recent years there has been a lack of space for the development of alternative types of art. The plan also includes museums, an amphitheatre and various other content that will be generated in the time ahead as something which is necessary to improve the economic, scientific, social and cultural development of the city and the wider county,'' said County Prefect Anusic.

One of the basic preconditions for the realisation of all of this is the gift contract concluded last week between the state and this county for very valuable property that previously became the property of the state through their purchase in the bankruptcy of Osijek's failed metal company.

This is an area which boasts an ​​abandoned and unused industrial complex, spanning a total area of ​​59,046 m2, and the plan is to be implemented over several phases of design and construction. The first stage of project implementation refers to the economic content, which consists of several components, while the second stage of the project is related to incentive housing for 1,600 inhabitants, or 380 apartments in total.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 11 December 2021

And So It Starts: IT Village & Cryptoberfest from Munich in Karanac, Baranja

December 11, 2021 - It seems that I am not the only person who believes in the potential of eastern Croatia, as Beyondi Business Beyond Development announces the creation of an IT village in Baranja and a Cryptoberfest festival - from Munich to Karanac. 

In October 2019, I visited one of the most progressive - and most remote - primary schools in the country. With one of THE most inspiring and progressive teachers. Goran Padunovic from Popovac Primary School close to the Hungarian border has been an occasional (and outstanding) TCN contributor for TCN over the years, and on a 2019 visit to Slavonia, I invited myself to come and visit the school to see just what kind of excellence can be achieved with the right mindset and dedication of quality teachers such as Goran. You can read more about that trip in Popovac Primary School, a Creative Beacon of Hope in Baranja

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As I climbed the Baranja equivalent of Mount Everest (about 100m above sea level, from memory), I looked back at this beautiful, fertile and increasingly empty part of eastern Croatia, and I wrote this:

I had come to the east of Croatia knowing I would meet great people (it is impossible not to in Slavonia), but I thought I would come across a lot more despair. Quite the opposite was true. People here have got such a great attitude to life, the nature truly is unspoiled, and there is a great sense of community and a very safe environment. 

As I took a tour of the area with Goran, Marijana and the deputy mayor to the highest point of Baranja (not that high!), I looked back over the flatlands of Baranja and Hungary beyond, and I wondered. Emptying today, but for how long? 

As they said in the school, the only thing missing in this paradise is jobs which has led to people leaving. In many other aspects, it is a gorgeous place to live, especially for those looking to escape the rat race in exchange for a more natural way of life. 

The digital revolution is coming, and it will come to Baranja as well in time. With one estimate of one billion people working remotely by 2035, I for one would not be surprised if a little creative thinking and investment might reverse the emigration and attract people to come and work remotely and raise their kids in this lovely, natural part of the planet. 

And then, yesterday, in my LinkedIn inbox - this!

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This week my company Beyondi Business Beyond Development acquired this etno village house with 7000m2 land from 19th century.

We are going to build a first-ever IT Village on this planet with a goal to introduce various technologies, trends and education, supported only by crypto!

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Our goal is to support the amazing Osijek, Croatia IT community with STEM education for kids, remote offices, jumpstart developer educations, masterminds, digital nomads etc!

We will combine our Slavonian hospitality, agriculture and technology! You are all welcome here!

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I have an announcement for one of the biggest projects already confirmed! It is Cryptoberfest from Munich! Amazing crew and network of investors, professionals, developers! David Widmann Jens Ziesel will come and host it in Karanac (near Osijek), Croatia! My heart is full and this will be my legacy for this region! Thank you.

And so it starts... 

Did you know that the closest point in Croatia to Budapest Airport is Baranja?

Change is coming, as the Era of Community is upon us. Mobile community. 

If you have not been to eastern Croatia yet, and have little idea what you are missing out on, it is something like this - Time to Tell the Truth about Slavonia Full of Life.

If you are a foreign business investing in a business or social enterprise in eastern Croatia and would like to be featured on TCN in this series, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Slavonia, Full of Life. 

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Vučedol Archaeological Park to be Backbone of Slavonia and Baranja Tourism

September 19, 2021 - The Vučedol Archaeological Park project was presented at the Museum of Vučedol Culture to introduce the events that will follow in the next two years.

Namely, this extensive project includes the construction, reconstruction, and revitalization of the archeological site, communal and catering infrastructure, and the tourist promotion of the entire project on an area of slightly more than 28 hectares, reports HRTurizam.

“The Vučedol Archaeological Park project is conceived as a platform, backbone, and initiator of a complex program of systematic interdisciplinary research of the Vučedol archaeological site, which expands the area of Vučedol. It presents as an archeological-historical, but also a tourist-catering and sports-recreational center," said the director of the Museum of Vučedol Culture, Mirela Hutinec.

At the future site, there will be a planetarium, info point and scientific research center, restaurant, area for the presentation of Vučedol livestock, a museum square, Vučedol labyrinth and children's playground, reconstruction of the Megaron and Vučedol settlement, a stilt house on Orlov otok, and passenger and communal port for boats. These are big plans that, once realized, will be the backbone of tourism in Slavonia and Baranja and an important place for scientists and researchers.

The project's specific objectives are preserving the Vučedol archaeological site and enriching the cultural (archaeological) and tourist offer by using creative, innovative, and technologically advanced solutions in education, presentation, and promotion of the Vučedol Archaeological Park.

The partners of this vital project are the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media, the City of Vukovar, the Public Institution Port Authority of Vukovar, and the Vukovar Tourist Board. The project value is 117,299,998.51 kuna, of which 85%, or 99,704,998.72 kuna, are grants from the European Regional Development Fund.

In the entire locality of Vučedol, after 40 years of systematic research, only 10 to 12% of the area has been explored. So, we can still expect new knowledge about the Vučedol culture.

"In Europe, the highest level of civilization was developed by the Vučedol culture, which began here on Vučedol around three thousand years ago. As far as we know, this is the oldest locality of the Vučedol culture, and everything started from this area. Here we have the oldest Indo-European calendar, excavated at the site in Vinkovci. If we can recognize and read it, then we have the oldest pictorial letter of Indo-Europe," said Professor Aleksandar Durman, who has been working on researching Vučedol culture for many years.

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

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Baranja Red Pepper Harvest is On! Despite Conditions, Yield is Good

August the 14th, 2021 - Baranja red pepper is often referred to as ''red gold'' among those who have a soft spot for it, and this much loved vegetable grown in Eastern Croatia has done very well this year despite unfavourable conditions for the most part. The Baranja red pepper harvest is already on.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, despite a year of extremes so far, the producers of Baranja red peppers, a spicy and popular Croatian vegetable, expect a good harvest with some high quality. Some growers have already started harvesting what they have, and the peak is expected in around ten days. They don't have to worry about the placement of their Baranja red peppers because the customers have long since recognised the worth of this domestic product, and this Baranja ''red gold'' is set to be sold out in record time.

The Lakatos family from Kopacevo has already carried out their first Baranja red pepper harvest and in a few days they will have a big workload on their hands. They expect good yields and quality in all of their ten greenhouses.

''I'm hoping for four more harvests, last year we had five harvests in total, and now we'll see how it's going to be depending on how the year went,'' said Tamara Lakatos from Kopacevo for HRT.

This year is good for Baranja red peppers, but one of the most demanding to date, the growers claim.

''Well, I think this year was the hardest because of the extreme heat and the wind. Nothing has been going in our favour,'' pointed out Zuzana Jozef from Lug.

It’s hard work, but the effort and work pays off. The Varga family from Bilje will produce two and a half tonnes of sweet and hot ground spicy peppers, and they have no concerns about whether or not they'll manage to sell it all.

''Baranja is a God-given location for red peppers as far as the climate and the type of country are concerned, really, everyone says that there are no spicy peppers like Baranja red peppers anywhere else,'' said Tatjana Varga from Bilje.

The demand for Baranja red pepper is so high that it is continuing to sell out in record time.

''It all just disappeared in the first month, because people couldn't go to Serbia and many of those who didn't buy it from Baranja before started doing so,'' explained Zuzana Jozef.

''I think that people have finally realised that Croatian products are of very high quality,'' said Kristijan Lakatos from Kopacevo.

Although 140 kuna should be set aside for a kilogram of sweet spicy peppers, and 150 kuna for a kilogram of hot peppers, nobody even asks about the price when making a purchase. All that seems important to customers is that what they're buying is Croatian and from Baranja.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Escape to Osijek-Baranja County and its Epic Sights and Flavours

May 14, 2021 – Breathtaking views of the Danube at Erdut and Aljmaš, the bona fide masterpiece of Đakovo cathedral, the unique winemaking traditions of northern Baranja, the wildlife-rich wetlands of Kopački rit and the OPGs of Osijek-Baranja County. There's a whole other world to discover in this epic corner of Slavonia-Baranja.

It seems like the world is speeding up. Everything now is that much more immediate. In this age of Instagram and 'influencers', we quickly scroll past postcard-pretty pictures on our phones. 'Like'. Forgotten, in an instant.

Croatia is a country not without postcard-pretty pictures. But, to snatch attention in this super-fast, vacuous age, all too often we are shown the same images. Heart-shaped islands from above, dolphins at dusk, sunset over the Adriatic and its epic Dinaric Alps. You could be forgiven for thinking that every view in Croatia contains the sea.

reSlavonija_Aero0060.jpgSlavonia © Romulić & Stojčić.

There are very few mountains in the Pannonian basin. And there is no sea. Well, not any more. Instead, these flatlands stretch 600 km from east to west and 500 km from north to south through several countries. They engulf the eastern section of Croatia we know as Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem.

Unsurprisingly, such a vast plain is not without its epic qualities. But, the epic nature of Osijek-Baranja County in Slavonia-Baranja is difficult to capture in a competing image on social media. Its special qualities instead lie in the sounds, the tastes, the tradition, the sights and the people. This is a place that has to be visited to be understood. And, if you do, it's an experience that will far outlast any fleeting photo on Instagram. Here, we take a look at just a small section of the unforgettable offer in Osijek-Baranja.

Imperial horses and the bona fide masterpiece of Đakovo cathedral

State Stud Farm Đakovo

Horse breeding in Đakovo is thought to be even older than 1506 when first written mention of the town's stud farm comes from. An endeavour of regional bishops, it bred horses of Arab stock. But, that changed at the beginning of the 19th Century.

re45123_1507774006692_993915_n.jpgIn the fields, Lipizzaner horses © Silvija Butković.

Lipizzaner horses were the prized breed of the Habsburg monarchy, their genetic line today traced back to eight stallions from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. With the advancement of Napoleon's army across Europe, Lipizzaners were sent further east in order to protect them. This imperial horse has been bred in Đakovo ever since.

Born with black skin and black hair, their hair gradually turns to a characteristic light grey (although, some other colours occur). Traditionally, when the colour change was fully complete, the horses were ready for royal duty.

Denis_Despot_Ergela_Đakovo.jpgYounger horses on the State Stud Farm in Đakovo © Denis Despot / Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County.

Today, at the State Stud Farm Đakovo, the Lipizzaners are bred and trained in dressage. The farm contains Croatia's largest indoor riding hall, in which public performances take place. Previous visitors to the farm include several members of the British Royal family. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and their daughter Princess Anne came in 1972, while Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall came in 2016.

Đakovo cathedral

reDjakovo_katedrala0012.jpgExterior of Đakovo cathedral © Romulić & Stojčić.

The presence of Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer looms large in the history of Croatia. Nowhere does that presence loom larger in a physical manifestation than Đakovo cathedral. By far, it is the largest sacral building in Slavonia, the second-largest in Croatia.

reDjakovo_katedrala0002.jpg© Romulić & Stojčić

This part of Slavonia is completely flat. Therefore, you can see the cathedral for miles as you approach Đakovo. Once up closer, its red bricks give it the appearance of a modern building. In fact, Josip Juraj Strossmayer oversaw its construction between 1866-1882. In truth, he'd wanted to build it for much longer, but struggled to get the funds required for his vision. Indeed, the project was so delayed that the artist Strossmayer chose to paint the interior, German Nazarene Johann Friedrich Overbeck, died before he could begin the task. Instead, father and son Alexander Maximilian Seitz and Ludwig Seitz assumed the task.

reDjakovo_katedrala0023-Djakovacka_katedrala_interijer_4.jpgInterior detail in Đakovo cathedral © Romulić & Stojčić

The building's construction actually only took four years, but it took a full 19 years to complete decorations inside. It's easy to see why. The interior of Đakovo cathedral is a bona fide masterpiece. Ornate frescos depicting scenes from the Old Testament and New Testament radiate from above. Regardless of your faith, it is a breathtaking experience to walk within.

reDjakovo_katedrala0028-Djakovacka_katedrala_interijer_9.jpg© Romulić & Stojčić

reDjakovo_katedrala0019-Djakovacka_katedrala_interijer_12.jpg© Romulić & Stojčić

13 of the frescoes are by Alexander, 20 are by Ludwig. The detail of their work captivates the eye. The Neo-Romanesque architectural flourishes design inside are similarly grandiose. Visiting while on a journey to Bulgaria, future Pope John XXIII proclaimed it to be the most beautiful church between Venice and Constantinople.

reDjakovo_katedrala0026-Djakovacka_katedrala_interijer_7.jpg© Romulić & Stojčić

Breathtaking views of the Danube at Erdut and Aljmaš

re1234rt5y.pngThe Danube, as seen from the Brzica winery terrace in Erdut © Marc Rowlands.

Slavonia is defined by its two longest rivers. To the south, after passing through Zagreb and Lonjsko Polje, the Sava forms a natural border between Slavonia and Bosnia. To the north, the Drava river first separates Croatia and Hungary. Then, after Donji Miholjac, it serves as the border between Slavonia from Baranja. Just a mile or so from Aljmaš, the Drava flows into the Danube, which partially separates Slavonia from Vojvodina.

reSlavonija_Aero0123.jpgThe Danube in eastern Slavonia © Romulić & Stojčić.

When you're standing overlooking the Danube in Erdut village, you could almost believe you're on an island. The peninsula in which the village lies is surrounded on three sides by the Danube. It weaves in and out of the landscape, causing great gulfs between the dense forest that occurs on each side. This area is noticeably raised above the height of regular, flat Slavonia and in Erdut, a small castle tower stands on a hill. It's one of the best places to look at the Danube. The other is from the Brzica winery, less than a kilometre away.

At Brzica, you're some 80 metres above the Danube. Here, winery owner Ivo Brzica has taken advantage of the view. He's built a beautiful holiday home where guests can stay. It's right next to his own dwelling and the winery. The properties share a huge, open and informal terrace overlooking the river. It's a great place to try the award-winning Brzica wines. They plant Graševina, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Vranac. On some bottles, the label reads 1378. It's the number of kilometres the Danube has travelled to reach this point.

re99127089_1304385849765541_5021631833557696512_n.jpgA glass of Brzica wine overlooking the Danube.

Erdut visitors wanting to get up closer to the Danube can now do just that. A newly appointed 10-kilometre footpath now runs alongside the river all the way from Erdut to Aljmaš. It's a beautiful walk through epic nature.

The unique landscape and winemaking traditions of northern Baranja

While much of Slavonia is uniformly flat, the topography is more varied in Baranja. Baranja Mountain stretches in a northeast-southwest direction between Beli Manastir and Batina. It is 21 kilometres long, three kilometres wide and much of its slopes are used for agriculture, grapes for winemaking, predominantly.

Krešimir-Čandrlić-TZ-Osječko-baranjske-županije.jpgA Surduk in Baranja © Krešimir Čandrlić / Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County.

Long ago, heavy rains began to produce natural gorges which cut through the higher ground. Over time, some of these became considerably deep, widened by the flow of water and sometimes mud. Eventually, these gorges between hillsides became passageways for horses and carts. In Croatia, these narrow routes are exclusive to the Baranja region and are very pretty to walk. Their walls are lined with tree roots, which stop them from collapsing. The branches and leaves of these trees often overhang the gorge, sometimes giving you the impression you're in a tunnel. Such a route in Baranja is known as a Surduk.

59929298_291292758447045_4092839649649623040_n-1.jpgA line of traditional Baranja wine cellars. Unique in Croatia to Baranja, such a building is known as a Gator © Visit Baranja.

On this same ground, you'll find another phenomenon unique to Baranja. A Gator is a traditional wine cellar of this region. Sometimes found on the lower course of a Surduk, a Gator is unlike a typical wine cellar in that it has no subterranean section where the wine is stored. Instead, a Gator extends back into the hillside. Wine is kept in the deepest recesses of the building, where it is coolest. In several places in Baranja you can see a street with several of these buildings side by side. Usually, each Gator is owned by a different family and each will make their own particular family wine.

Podrumi Kolar family winery in Suza

rrrrrrrrrrrr184522583_4216656801706120_7724425057568396905_n.jpgWith a 100-year-old cellar and great wines, the Podrumi Kolar family winery in Suza.

The Kolar family wine cellar is 100 years old, although the restaurant and tourism aspect of their enterprise has only been around since 2004. The whole family are involved and they purposefully intertwine their winemaking with a visitor offer. In addition to the restaurant attached to the wine cellar and they have a wonderful campsite just a couple of hundred metres down the road. All of their wines are great. But, if you visit, be sure to try their Sauvignon. Some say it's the best in the whole of Baranja.

Josić winery and restaurant in Zmajevac

reee80820150_10157752856922510_7899019450953760768_n.jpgTraditional Baranja and Slavonia flavours at the Josić winery and restaurant in Zmajevac.

At the Josić winery and restaurant in Zmajevac they make brilliant wines. Among them, Baranja shiller, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Graševina, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon. You can visit the wine cellars and try traditional foods of the region in their extensive restaurant.

Vinarija Gerštmajer in Zmajevac

reee10409647_797460223636993_347799443786816980_n.jpgIncredible views from the garden at Vinarija Gerštmajer in Zmajevac.

A deep dust gathers on some of the oldest bottles kept in the cellar at Vinarija Gerstmajer. And, there's plenty of those. The charming family patriarch is clearly a proud wine enthusiast and reserves some bottles from every year of their celebrated but small production. Sadly, this archive now stretches back only until the mid-1990s. It used to be much older, cataloguing all of the years his own father ran the winery. But, when the family returned after the war, they were greeted by empty cellars. The cellars are once again full. You can try them in the cellar or out on the terrace, overlooking a scene of uninterrupted nature.

The wildlife-rich wetlands of Kopački rit

reKopacki_rit.jpgWetlands of Kopački rit © Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County.

Occupying the marches, lakes and floodland between the Drava and the Danube, Nature Park Kopački rit is one of Europe's largest wetlands. Although a home to many different types of life, it is most famous for its bird population. As many as 300 different species of birds inhabit the park, many of them being migratory and nesting species. Of particular note, a large colony of grey heron and and the largest population of woodpeckers in the entire Danube basin. You can now tour a section of the waters in a large visitor boat. It is electrically powered so as not to disturb the life-rich riverbanks. After the boat drops you off, make your way through the rest of the park across specially constructed pathways that wind their way across the waters and reeds.

reee181763729_3395698553866665_437148493806686223_n.jpgThe wooden walkways of Kopački rit Nature Park in Osijek-Baranja County © Romulić & Stojčić.

The OPGs of Osijek-Baranja County

The landscape in Osijek-Baranja County is only so picturesque because of the people who live in it. It is their endeavours that shape it. Traditional agricultural pursuits explain the pretty rows of vineyards, the different coloured fields and gardens filled with fruit trees. While some agriculture here exists on a grand scale, many families in the region make the most of their own small plots of land.

Osijek-Baranja County family farms or OPGs preserve the traditions of the region, not only in the way they use the land but in the produce that results. From the beekeeping that makes EU-protected honey to the vineyards producing Croatia's best white wine, practices in these family farms are often passed down from generation to generation. The best way to learn how they do it – and try the amazing traditional flavours of Osijek-Baranja County – is to go to an OPG. Here are just several you can visit.

Zorić distillery in Erdut

Zoric.jpgZorić distillery in Erdut, Osijek-Baranja County.

The Zorić family in Erdut have long been growing fruit and making Croatian brandy aka rakija. But, this youngest generation, lead by youthful father Dinko and his wife Sanja, have upped their game significantly. They have built the most modern craft rakija distillery in the region. From there, they make one of Croatia's best new premium rakijas, Divania. In English or Croatian, they will guide you around the distillery and explain the process before letting you try it on their lovely terrace. If you're lucky, you might also get to try the family-made kobasica sausages – they're very good! Their rakijas are made from apricots, quinces, apples, pears and cherries and the family are great hosts.

Seoski turizam Lacković in Bilje

re20431767_822347511276386_375301605997322700_n.jpgFilled with flowers, Seoski turizam Lacković in Bilje.

A beautiful family-run farm, with 16 beds for guests, Seoski turizam Lacković are used to hosting visitors. The farm itself has pretty rows of vegetables out back. Next to them, a variety of birds are kept. The hosting area has a lovely terrace with a view of the pretty tree-lined path that extends down through the large garden. During the recent Month of Baranja Cooking (Mjesec baranjske kuhinje), visitors tried their hand at making traditional baked foods pita and kiflice.

OPG Čudesna šuma

rROMMM182218841_3395418300561357_8222892496436052806_n.jpgMeeting the llamas at OPG Čudesna šuma © Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit.

Visit the llamas or a special gastronomic event at this future eco-village and food forest. To read a detailed reportage from our spring 2021 visit to OPG Čudesna šuma, look here.

Both the author and Total Croatia News would like to thank the following for their invaluable help in creating this article: Ivana Jurić and the Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County, Marija Burek and the Tourist Board of Đakovo, Renata Forjan and Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit and Domagoj Butković of expert travel guides to Slavonia and Osijek-Baranja County, Kulen travel.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

OPG Čudesna šuma: Paradise Reimagined in Beautiful, Traditional Baranja

May 13, 2021 – OPG Čudesna šuma: How an unexpected turn of events helped world-renowned photographer Mario Romulić realise his lifelong dream.

War and genocide and the aftermath. Famine. Disease. Death. In a former life, harrowing images filled the lens of internationally renowned photographer Mario Romulić. But thankfully, we're now far from such scenes.

In fact, at OPG Čudesna šuma - Mario Romulić's home and family farm - we're pretty much far from everything. One other eco-farm is his only neighbour. Well, unless you count the llamas the Romulić family keep out back. Occasionally, through the rich green of surrounding trees, you see birds flying above the branches. Probably they're toing and froing from Kopački rit. The nearby Nature Park is less than a kilometre from OPG Čudesna šuma. Famously, the wetlands are home to over 250 species of birds. They are also the reason why Mario Romulić is here.

ReeeeeMG_2366_DxO-GŠ-e1559901697596.jpgKopački rit Nature Park © Kopački rit Nature Park.

“Back then, I was very occupied with Kopački rit,” remembers Mario of the time, 21 years ago, when he moved to what is now OPG Čudesna šuma. “I was working as a cameraman for people like Reuters, all over the world. The assignments would last 7-10 days and I'd be in places like Afghanistan, Rwanda, Congo, Liberia, Bosnia. It was often quite dangerous. For the next 20 days, I would spend a lot of time in Kopački rit, trying to calm my nerves. It was something like a cure after seeing all these horrible scenes. Eventually, instead of travelling every day from my home in Osijek to Kopački rit, I decided to try and find something close by. And this is what I found.”

Just as this beautiful, natural landscape in Bilje, Baranja once served as a peaceful getaway for Mario Romulić, his OPG Čudesna šuma today does the same for others. Because, after dreaming for two decades of turning this blissful plot and homestead into a forest farm and eco-village, Mario Romulić is finally turning that vision into a reality.

REEEEE123849689_631301844230484_3242943399468051911_n.jpgThe impossibly pretty OPG Čudesna near Kopački rit Nature Park, Bilje Municipality, Baranja © OPG Čudesna šuma.

“Because of my job - first, travelling all around the world, then travelling Croatia - I did not even have much time to think about it, let alone do it,” says Mario. “But, then Corona came. Finally, I found myself at home. At last, I had time to work on my dream.”

OPG Čudesna šuma in the Month of Baranja Cooking (Mjesec baranjske kuhinje)

A group of 30 or so are Mario's guests today at OPG Čudesna šuma. They're here for a presentation of speciality cooking. It's the grand finale of the Month of Baranja Cooking (Mjesec baranjske kuhinje).

Over previous weeks, OPGs from all across the region have welcomed guests to try goulash, soups, stews, perklet and other traditional foods of the area. While visiting, they've been embraced by the beautiful landscape of Baranja. Not only have they discovered how this delightful, distinct cuisine tastes, but also they've learned exactly how it's prepared. However, they've evidently saved the best for last. On the menu today, river fish inventively cooked, accompanied by a riotous rainbow of seasonal vegetables.

reOPG_Čudesna_šuma181580000_726510768042924_6910637969151864081_n.jpgSeasonal vegetables of Baranja in springtime at the Month of Baranja Cooking (Mjesec baranjske kuhinje) © OPG Čudesna šuma.

It's a beautifully sunny day, right at the start of May. It depends on your preference, but looking across this happy vista in the glorious sunshine, it's difficult to imagine this not being the perfect time to be in Baranja. Young children are raised to chest height by their parents so they can meet Mario's free-roaming llamas face-to-face. The children's faces flit between surprise, curiosity and delight. The llamas return their stare. They're used to welcoming new guests.

re182218841_3395418300561357_8222892496436052806_n.jpgMeeting the Romulić family llamas at OPG Čudesna šuma © Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit.

Partially shaded by trees, the smiling adult guests sit casually on wooden benches around a central, outdoor cooking area. Several open fires display a range of traditional cooking methods. Steam rises from a cast-iron stove suspended over one. Beneath the vapours, you can make out the dish is fish paprikash. It's unmistakable because of the deeply red coloured bubbles, a result of generous amounts of paprika.

RErommy.jpgGuests enjoy a warm springtime day at OPG Čudesna šuma during the Month of Baranja Cooking (Mjesec baranjske kuhinje), as fish paprikas cooks over an open fire © OPG Čudesna šuma.

A huge bag of this paprika sits propped up, close by. It's from another organic OPG, just a kilometre or so from here. The colour is vivid, impossibly red, unrecognisable from anything store-bought. At the next fire, pike impaled on wooden sticks are placed far enough from the flickering flames so they cook slowly and do not burn.

RRRRRRMG_9076.jpgPike impaled on sticks, cooking by an open fire at OPG Čudesna šuma @ Marc Rowlands.

In the outdoor kitchen, Mario Romulić's co-chefs prepare an unending supply of fish dishes and vegetables. Carp, catfish, trout, bream. There's a bounty of fresh asparagus. It's that time of year. With the restraint of experience, they've cooked it perfectly. After the crunch of the bite, the flavour explodes. They're seasoned simply – delicious olive oil and sea salt.

RRRRRMG_9083.jpgSeasonal asparagus, perfectly cooked, served with smoked river fish © Marc Rowlands.

A group of peers – accomplished chefs from Osijek-Baranja restaurants – peak over the shoulders of Romulić's co-chefs. They're admiring the inventive techniques employed. Although, being chefs, they can't help themselves. They end up briefly forgetting their families in order to help out.

Mario Romulić, the host with the most

re181662505_3395417317228122_5675229268416633172_n.jpgMario Romulić © Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit.

After all the guests arrive, Mario Romulić holds court. Cheerily he welcomes us all to OPG Čudesna šuma and the event. Without question, the success of rural, village tourism depends on the personalities of the hosts. It's no good plonking a group of visitors in a pretty place and throwing some food in front of them. We've all seen trees, grass and food before. Rural tourism is not just about the place, it's about the experience, the ambience. And, especially, it's about the people.

Hands down, the OPGs of Slavonia and Baranja are the best in Croatia at this. The folks here are famous for their friendliness, warm welcome and big personalities. And, Mario Romulić has one of the biggest of them all.

In the research for this reportage, looking back at archive pictures of Mario Romulić is startling. During his years spent as an international photographer, he himself has been photographed many times – on assignment in distant countries, at the opening of exhibitions that have showcased his celebrated work. In most, there's an intensity to his stare. It's sometimes difficult to look at. He looks like a man who has tales you never want to hear, like a man who has seen too much.

re181833835_3395419193894601_1580949382978993421_n.jpg(L- R) OPG Čudesna šuma co-chef at the event Mihael Tomić, renowned Osijek chef Ivan Đukić currently of Osijek's Lipov Hlad and a happy Mario Romulić © Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit.

By comparison, the Mario Romulić that welcomes us at OPG Čudesna šuma today is unrecognisable. Sure, there's a little more grey to his long hair and beard but, otherwise, he looks incredibly healthy and happy. The intense stare is gone, replaced by a warm, wide smile that shows across his entire face. Even in early May, he has a darkened skin tone, the telltale signs of a man who spends much of the day outdoors. Romulić's enthusiasm for his guests and the event is palpable. After his sincere welcome, this enthusiasm is immediately transferred to each of his guests.

Mrs Romulić ensures everyone's glass is overflowing with wine or juice. One of Mario's teenage sons helps out with the food, while the other is taking photographs of the event. Well, someone has to do the photography now that dad wants to be a chef and host! Mario himself is engulfed in smoke. Among the other duties he's assumed today, Mario is tending a smoker. Without a doubt, this is the most revelatory cooking method we meet today.

RAFGGMG_9033.jpgMario Romulić tends to smoked river fish, a revelatory gastronomic experience at OPG Čudesna šuma © Marc Rowlands.

Smoked fish of Slavonia and Baranja at OPG Čudesna šuma

reOPG_Čudesna_šuma181569372_726510701376264_2349368327366088172_n.jpgAn American-style smoker, loaded with river fish. TOP TIP: A great way to stop fish sticking to the grill of your barbecue or smoker is to place them on top of a layer of lemon slices © OPG Čudesna šuma.

“We do have smoked fish here, but not in this way,” he says. “This is more like an American grill. I never heard of anyone trying Baranja cooking like this. Actually, I never heard of anyone nearby who has a smoker like this. The first time I tried stuka (pike) in the smoker, that was unbelievable. It's incomparable, really special.”

re182065042_3395417427228111_6987374227558501361_n.jpgExquisite presentation of river fish by the enthusiastic team of OPG Čudesna šuma © Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit.

“In Slavonia and Baranja, there are just a few ways we usually cook our river fish - carp on sticks, fish paprikash, perklet and fried fish. So, we tried something new, to expand the palette. For instance, almost nobody eats Babuška (a type of carp). They feed it instead to their pigs. It costs 5 kuna a kilo! But, if you cook it in this completely natural way, it's delicious.”

re181464507_3395417533894767_3887484501591319798_n.jpgMore river fish, cooked by the team of OPG Čudesna šuma © Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit.

He's not wrong. Today's mountain of different smoked fish is the talk on most of the adult lips. The rich flavours surprise. Compliments and returns for second helpings ensue. Mario stands to one side, happily watching as his smoked fish secret escapes. In the future, he plans similar events based on other regional foods - Black Slavonian pig, wild meats like deer or boar. Eventually, in the seven hectares of land he owns here, he would like to expand OPG Čudesna šuma as an eco-village, with beds for visitors, a natural swimming pool and then surround it with a food forest. Big plans. It looks as though the camera may stay more permanently in the hands of his son. Because it's difficult to imagine Mario Romulić leaving his happy place and the realisation of his long-held dream.

re60723980_10157204309393875_1954899380326629376_n.jpgMario Romulić in his happy place, with a friend © OPG Čudesna šuma.

Both the author and Total Croatia News would like to thank the following for their invaluable help in creating this article: Ivana Jurić and the Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County, OPG Čudesna šuma, Mario Romulić and family, Renata Forjan and Turistička zajednica Općine Bilje - Kopački rit and Domagoj Butković of expert travel guides to Slavonia and Baranja, Kulen travel.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

10 PHOTOS: Incredible Images of the Best Croatian Artistic Photography 2021

March 4, 2021 – Following a national competition, the Croatian Photo Association have chosen the best Croatian artistic photography of the year. 10 incredible images will now represent Croatia in the prestigious Biennial of the International Federation of Photographic Art in Paris.

Following a national competition, the Croatian Photo Association (Hrvatski Fotosavez) have chosen the best Croatian artistic photography of the year. 10 incredible images will now represent Croatia in the prestigious Biennial of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) in Paris.

The International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP - Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique)

The International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP - Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique) is an international organization of national associations of photography. More than 85 national associations are members, comprising nearly one million individual photographers.

FIAP was founded by M. Van de Wijer of Belgium in 1946. Its first congress took place in Bern, Switzerland in 1950. At this time, one of the national photographic associations represented was that of Yugoslavia. Following the federation's break up, each of its former republics now runs its own national photography association. Continuing a 70 year tradition, they still enter the prestigious International Federation of Photographic Art Biennial.

FIAP congresses have grown so large over the years, they are now seperated into different categories and held once every two years. Black and white and nature photography have their biennials one year, and the next year colour photography gets its biennial. The competition congress visits different countries each year. The 2021 FIAP Colour Biennial will be held in Paris, France.

The FIAP Colour Biennial competition and congress is split into two parts. The oldest, and arguably the most prestigious part of the competition, sees the best photography appearing in print and displayed individually upon the walls of the host venue. 10 examples of the best Croatian artistic photography of the year have been chosen by Hrvatski Fotosavez to represent Croatia in this section of the event.

A further 20 Croatian entries will appear in the congress's other section – projected photography. These entries are submitted digitally, rather than in print, to be shown in projection at the event.

Following a national competition, the Croatian Photo Association have chosen the best Croatian artistic photography of the year to represent Croatia in the prestigious congress and competition.

The Croatian Photo Association (Hrvatski Fotosavez)

The Croatian Photo Association (Hrvatski Fotosavez) is the legal successor of the Photographic Association of Croatia, founded on March 27, 1949 in Zagreb, and the historical successor of the Croatian Amateur Photographic Association, founded on June 11, 1939 in Zagreb. Its members are individual photography clubs and societies from all over Croatia. From their ranks, the best Croatian artistic photography of the year have been chosen.

Photography and cinema club 'Picok' from Đurđevac (Foto kino klub Picok, Đurđevac)

For the 2021 entries to the Colour Photography Biennial in Paris, special mention must be given to the remarkable achievements of one society of photographers from the town of Đurđevac. Of the 30 photographs selected to represent Croatia in this year's competition, no less than 8 of them came from members of this one photography society. In addition to Mato Zeman and Željko Car, who are interviewed below, works by Ivan Hećimović and Ivan Nemet were also selected. According to these results, Photography and cinema club 'Picok' from Đurđevac are the most successful association in this year's Croatian Photo Association competition. Coincidentally, the four Đurđevac photographers had a large joint exhibition of award-winning photographs in Đurđevac just last year. After the event, all 40 works exhibited were donated by the photographers to the city of Đurđevac. Bravo Picoki!

FIAP, Hrvatski Fotosavez and the 10 photographers chosen for 2021 FIAP Colour Biennial have kindly given Total Croatia News exclusive permission to reproduce this year's print entries. Here, we profile the best Croatian artistic photography of the year and meet the photographers.

The Best Croatian Artistic Photography 2021

Damir Rajle 'Sunshine Road'

Damir_RajleSunshine_Road_1.jpegCroatian artistic photography by Damir Rajle

My name is Damir Rajle. I am semi-professional photographer from Osijek. My primary profession is cartographer and land surveyor, mostly involved in digital orthophoto and topographic maps. My photograph 'Sunshine Road' is a wine road in Baranja. I am very often in that exact place. But, that day, the setting sun was directly ahead and so I tried a couple of shots. Suddenly, a boy came along, silhouetting himself against the sunlit road. The naturally hilly landscape of the vineyard adds to the composition.

Dušan Grbac 'Žuti'

Grbac_Dusanuti.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Dušan Grbac

My name is Dušan Grbac and I was born in 1960, in Rovinj. I started shooting and developing black and white photography in 1975. I developed the photographs on my own in a small, analogue darkroom at home. In 1982 I became a member of the Photo Club Rovinj and thereafter participated in a number of exhibitions. In 2002 I embraced digital photography. I actually work as an IT specialist. In my free time, I like to engage in photography and I've held dozens of lectures and workshops about photography. I'd really like to pass on to others everything I've learned about photography over the years. 'Žuti' (Yellow) was actually taken in January 2006 in the Italian town of Dobbiaco. The annual balloon show was held at a temperature of -16 °C! This made the sky crystal blue. I couldn't resist that tonal contrast, the colours... and 'voila'.

Mirjana Spajić Buturac 'Saturn'

Mirjana_Spajic_ButuracSaturn_1.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Mirjana Spajić Buturac

My name is Mirjana Spajić Buturac. I'm originally from Vinkovci, but I have been living in Zagreb for 20 years. I studied in Osijek and by profession, I am a professor of mathematics and informatics. I've been interested in photography since my student days. However, it was a colleague, Professor Vladimir Šimunić that truly awoke my passion for photography in me and in 2014 I certified as a photographer, enrolled in Fotoklub Zagreb and started participating in photography competitions. I took an online course at Udemy to perfected my use of Photoshop and photo processing. I work at the School of Crafts for Personal Services in Zagreb, which, among other things, has a photography major, and in addition to mathematics and computer science, I now also teach digital photography. I am so happy that photography has become a part of my job! 'Saturn' was taken in December 2020. It shows drops of olive oil in water. Under the influence of ultraviolet light and a fluorescent poster under the bowl of water, the oil droplets took on a three-dimensional effect. My seven-year-old son Leon noticed that the largest droplet had a dark ring, like Saturn. That's how the photo got its name.

Mato Zeman 'Spring Fields'

Mato_ZemanSpringFields_1.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Mato Zeman

My name is Mato Zeman and photography has been my hobby for long time. I live in Kloštar Podravski, a small village in Podravina, between the river Drava on the north and Bilogora mountain on the south. In my full0time job I worked in the 112 Emergency Centre in Koprivnica, but I've now been retired for 2 years. Photography is my hobby for a long time. I've participated in several international photo contests. In 2015, FIAP awarded me the honorary title FIAP Artist and three years later the title EFIAP (Excellence Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique). I am a member of the Photo and Cinema club 'Picok' in Đurđevac. I'm also a member of the local artistic association 'Kloštranska paleta' in my home village. Two of my works were selected for FIAP 2021 Biennial of Colour Photography in France and will represent my country. I am very proud of this. The one appearing in print 'Spring Fields' was taken at the fields of young corn on the slopes of Bilogora. The rows of corn are in a nice S line, the sky is partly cloudy with the sun shining through.

Nenad Martić 'Red, White and Blue 2'

Nenad_MartiRedwhiteandblue2.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Nenad Martić

My name is Nenad Martić. I was born in 1951 in Zagreb, where I graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at the Faculty of Education, University of Zagreb.I devoted most of my professional career to graphic design and illustration, beginning in the 1980s with the Start and Svijet magazines. The second half of my career was marked by the gradual introduction of a new artistic expression; digital photography. Free of assignment of specific commissions and deadlines, artistic photography became a passion. I dedicated myself to it for the last ten years. I take different kinds of photographs, but I most prefer street photography. It's a kind of documentary photography, focusing on the nuances of human gestures and street context, capturing and conveying the moment to those who are not there. 2014 was a turning point for me because I joined Photo Club Zagreb. Thereafter, I had three solo exhibitions, was included in over a hundred group ones and won several international and national awards and nominations. These included the Ferdinand Soprano Grand Prix and the Viktor Hreljanovic Award from Photo Club Rijeka in 2019, most successful author and the most successful Croatian author at the 39th Zagreb Salona in 2020 and I won the prestigious Tošo Dabac Award 2019 for outstanding contribution to photography in Croatia. My photo 'Red, White and Blue 2' was taken on the island of Lošinj. The model is my daughter. It is one of a series of photographs taken with red cloth.

Silvija Butković 'Together'

Silvija_ButkoviTOGETHER_1_1.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Silvija Butkovic

My name is Silvija Butkovic and I was born in 1964 in Osijek, Croatia. As a child, I lived on the island Lošinj. I returned to Slavonia when I entered University. I now live and work in Đakovo as manager of tourism an public relations at the State Stud Farm Đakovo (National Lipizzan Stud Farm Đakovo - Državna ergela Đakovo). Language and photography are my great loves. Lately, I've been making photo haigas, a Japanese combination of poetry and photography. The World Haiku Association recently awarded me the title Master of Haiga for my work. You can see some of it on their website www.worldhaiku.net/haiga. Lošinj and the heart of the Slavonian plain are a constant inspiration. I also adore horses and I love watching them through the camera. I'm a member of 'Photo-cinema Club Djakovo', 'Photo-Club Rijeka' and 'Matica Hrvatska'

Željko Car 'Spring'

eljko_CarSpring_1.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Željko Car

My name is Željko Car. I'm a lawyer by profession. I first published photos in newspapers (I was a correspondent for several). Since 1984 I've participated in exhibitions in many countries around the world. I have more than 300 awards and diplomas, and I received the honorary title of EFIAP. Two of my photos were selected for the 2021 Biennial of Colour Photography in France - 'Spring' and 'Snow on the river bank'. Both photos were taken near Đurđevac, the city where I live. With 'Spring' I wanted to show the beauty and ambient values of the area where I live. It was actually taken in the spring of 2000.

Aleksandar Tomulić 'Valencia 5'

Aleksandar_TomuliValencia5_1.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Aleksandar Tomulić

My name is Aleksandar Tomulić and I'm from Rijeka. I'm a semi-professional photographer. My main profession is IT. I've been taking photos since I was a kid. I was born in 1967. I became more seriously involved in photography in 2004. It's the magic of capturing an unrepeatable moment that fascinates me, and the feel for light and composition. I prefer street photography and seaside motifs, and I like to experiment with abstract images. Since 2013 I've volunteered to give classes and workshops. I'd like to pass on what I've learned about photography. I've had 15 one-man shows, participated in over 500 group shows and received over 320 awards. The Croatian Photo Association have selected my work ten times to represent Croatia at FIAP Biennales. I'm a member of 'Fotoklub Color' and 'Fotoklub Pag.' My photo 'Valencia 5' was taken, of course, in Valencia in the City of Art and Science. I took the shot in 2018. That new part of Valencia is the concept of famous architect Santiago Calatrava.

Ante Jaša 'Knot in Passage'

Ante_JaaKnot_in_passage.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Ante Jaša

My name is Ante Jaša. I was born on 19th October 1951 in Kukljica-Zadar. From the earliest days of my childhood, I played with a 'box camera' we had at home. My grandfather bought it in New York. He could never have known this would lead to his grandson having solo photography exhibitions in out home town. In 1970, my photography and writing started to be published in dailies (newspapers), weeklies and journals. By 1999 I'd progressed to be on the editorial board of the feuilleton “Mareta” (Wave) in the paper “Narodni list” - Zadar. I've exhibited my works at 418 collective exhibitions on every continent and have received numerous awards. I'm a member of the photo clubs 'Zagreb', 'Zadar' and 'Kornat' Kukljica. Sea and stone are the main motifs of my work. There's an inherent tension between them which I'm exploring. By taking photographs of both traditional and modern ways of life on the islands near Zadar, I show their natural ambience, the sea as well as on the mainland around Zadar. My photo 'Knot in Passage' was actually taken in 2015. The photo shows the entrance to the Art Gallery in Zadar. In the courtyard of the entrance was a modern metal sculpture. I put the sculpture in the foreground. The entrance is wide open and a passerby can be seen on the street. The sculpture seems to be inviting people to enter the gallery.

Ivan Nemet 'Field Geometry'

Ivan_NemetFieldGeometry_1.jpgCroatian artistic photography by Ivan Nemet

My name is Ivan Nemet. I was born in Kloštar Podravski. I am retired and I spent my entire working life working on oil wells all over the world. Photography has been a hobby since my early days. I love all kinds of photos, but my favourite is landscape photography. Over the last few years, I’ve quite often been taking photos with a drone. Photographs from a bird's eye view are often interesting because they reveal compositions that cannot be seen from the ground. I've participated in various international photography exhibitions, one of them being this year's 29th Biennale in France. The Croatian jury selected two of my photos. They were both taken using a drone. The name of the first photo is 'Reed car'. It was made in the winter on the mountain Bilogora. The name of the other photo is 'Field Geometry'. The emphasis is on the lines created by the action. Both were made not far from where I live, in the continental part of Croatia, between the river Drava and the small mountain Bilogora. The name of this part of Croatia is Podravina.

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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Products of Slavonian and Baranja Gastronomic Offer Available Online

December 22, 2020 – Thanks to the internet platforms Eko tržnica and Eceker, domestic products from the rich domestic Slavonian and Baranja gastronomic offer can be ordered to your doorstep even during the coronavirus epidemic.

As Lokalni.hr reports, even during the coronavirus pandemic, products from the rich domestic Slavonian and Baranja gastronomic offer can be ordered online to your doorstep. This is possible thanks to the two internet platforms – Eko tržnica and Eceker, both of which deliver in the area of Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Zagreb. Eko tržnica is a successful project that has been implemented at the Osijek market since 2013, and in the last few years in an online edition. Their phylosophy is that food production must not pollute nature but must return us to nature.

On Eko tržnica and Eceker websites, family farms with ecological certification for food production offer their products. Customers in Croatia are increasingly aware and are looking for products of guaranteed origin, and the goal of the Solidarity Ecological Group, which coordinates buying and selling, is an ethical business, aiming to leave profits in the hands of producers and offer customers products at producer prices.

"By buying local agricultural products, especially at a time when their sales are difficult due to epidemiological measures, we help our family farms, and we provide ourselves and our families with home-grown fruits and vegetables from Slavonian and Baranja fields," said Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić.

Local food producers have also united through the Eceker platform, where they offer traditional products from Slavonia and Baranja. As in the case of the Eko tržnica, this is a project supported by the Osijek-Baranja County, and both platforms are open for cooperation with local producers in order to further enrich the offer to end customers. Customers can see and order domestic products on the website, and delivery is on the doorstep.

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