Sunday, 14 March 2021

Wild Sports on Promina, Breathtaking Mountain Activities in Drniš

March 14, 2021 – The annual season of sports on Promina mountain begins in a couple of weeks with the trekking event Promina Trail. Whether walking, hiking, running or mountain biking, Promina, Drniš and the neighbouring Čikola river valley offer stunning scenery and thrilling activities such as zip line and canyoning.

The Dalmatian Trail League visits the city of Drniš next week. On the Promina Trail event, runners, walkers and hikers can catch breathtaking views of the rivers Čikola and Krka, the historic Miljevci plateau that lies between them and, over 30 kilometres in the distance, the Adriatic sea. They will be gifted such exceptional sights from the Promina mountain.

Promina mountain near Drniš


naslovnaprominaaaaaa.jpgPromina mountain near Drniš © Općina Promina

Standing at almost 1150 meters high, Promina mountain is the highest peak in the area. Although the pretty, nearby town of Drniš itself is scattered across inclines of the Dinaric Alps, these gentle rises are nothing compared to Promina. The mountain dominates the skyline. But, Promina is much more than an impressive backdrop to photos. This vast area of natural wilderness is a brilliant place for recreation.

From far away, Promina looks like a rather intimidating rock. The grey of karst, omnipresent throughout Dalmatia, forms some of its colours. Greenery looks sparse and scorched by the sun. Indeed, there are parts of the Dalmatian hinterland that look so arid, you wouldn't be surprised to see them in a dry and dusty Sergio Leone western.

But, as you get nearer the mountain, green colours emerge and become more varied. Thick forests of oak and pine come into view. Their scent is year-round, following you on your route across the mountain. As you embark on your path upwards, you may pass mountain springs that feed into the Čikola canyon below.

viewfrompromina.pngView from Promina mountain during the Promina Trail event, held in March © Drniš Tourist Board

This part of Dalmatia, away from the nearby shoreline, often benefits in summer from slightly cooler temperatures. This refreshing air only increases the higher up Promina you go. By the coast, it's frequently far too hot in summer for any sports or activities that aren't centred on the beach and sea. That's not the case here. Activities and sports on Promina mountain are year-round.

Come in spring and summer and feel Promina's pine forests buzzing with life, a patchwork quilt of greens stretched out across the land below. In autumn, those greens give way to orange, brown and yellow. And, in winter, Promina looks pristine when capped in brilliant white.

Recreation, activities and sports on Promina mountain near Drniš


DrnisMainslotCropFin.jpgThe city of Drniš with Promina mountain in the background © Drniš Tourist Board

Activities and sports on Promina mountain include walking, hiking and running. Aside from recreation by foot, pathways up the mountain now also include mountain bike trails. Once you get up high enough, the entire topography of this part of the Dalmatian hinterland opens up. You trace two rivers – the Čikola and Krka – destined to converge at the nearby Krka National Park. Within the deep and picturesque river valleys they have formed, you'll find canyoning and zipline activities.

Promina Trail


isolatedonprominatrail.pngHigh on the mountain during the Promina Trail © Drniš Tourist Board

Activities and self-directed sports on Promina are available all year. But, the organised calendar of annual sports on Promina begins each March with the Promina Trail.

Certificated by ITRA (International running association), Promina Trail is part of the year-long Dalmatian Trail League competition. Some people enter all 12 races, which are held once a month. And, it's a brilliant way to see the varied landscapes of Dalmatia. Others choose to take part in just one or a few installments, including international visitors.

startofprominatrail.pngStart of the Promina Trail in the city of Drniš © Drniš Tourist Board

Though the starting point is less than 30 km from the coast, Promina Trail is one of the more remote stages of the league. Beginning on the wide, central streets of Drniš within just a few minutes you're out into a wide-open expanse of nature. There's more than enough room for all to feel free. Your mind can escape any thoughts of city living. And, if you deliberately choose to run solitary, you won't be interrupted by anything other than the drinks and food stations that line the route.

youthonPromina.pngPassing through forests on the Promina Trail© Drniš Tourist Board

The race has three routes which vary in difficulty. By having such options, the event opens itself to family participants who make prefer a walking pace, right up to competitive athletes. All races run through stunning scenery and finish at the same mountaineer's hut on Promina. All routes are one-way and marked throughout with flags or lanes and arrows at each turn. All runners must carry a cell phone and arrive with ID.

Liluša Cave - 9km ↑ 623m ↓ 76m. Liluša Cave track is designed for walkers, families, children including under 14s, outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who wants to experience trail running. Orientation is simple. An easy walk, it takes 3 and a half hours.

Little Wheel - 20km ↑ 1099m ↓ 552m. The Mali Točak (Little Wheel) track is quite long, but it's not a technically demanding course. Children over 14 may enter, accompanied or with written permission.

Big Wheel - 30km ↑ 1604m ↓ 1057m. The Veliki Točak (Big Wheel) track is technically demanding and requires a high level of fitness. It's designed for experienced runners. Children over 16 may enter, accompanied or with written permission. It passes across Promina's highest peak before descending back to the mountain hut.

Promina Trail is organized by Mountaineering Association Promina. The registration and starting point for all three races is Poljana Town Square in the centre of Drniš. Registration starts at 8am.

Race start times:
Veliki Točak - 9:30am
Mali Točak - 10am
Liluša Cave - 10:30am
Organised meal - 1pm
Event end - 5pm

endofPromina.pngEnd stages of the Promina Trail © Drniš Tourist Board

Originally slated for Saturday 27 March 2021, in case of severe weather or the enforcement of epidemiological measures, the event may be postponed, with Sunday 28 March 2021 penciled in as a replacement date. Runners will be notified on social media networks and pre-registered runners by email.

On-line applications last until March 21 at the website https://stotinka.hr

Thereafter, runners can register on the day of the race, 27 March 2021

More info:
www.pd-promina.hr/PROMINATRAIL
Facebook page
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
phone: +385 98331922 - Božo - race leader
+385 981776924 - Tomislav - president of PD Promina

More activities and sports on Promina mountain near Drniš


askmenocanyon.jpegCanyoning in Drnis © Drniš Tourist Board

Mountain biking on Promina mountain near Drniš


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All of the tracks used in the Promina Trail and more are open year-round so walkers, hikers and mountain bikers can explore the mountain. You can check out a mountain bike trail here (there are more Drniš and Promina trails linked to the page)

Zip line Čikola / Zip line Šibenik near Drniš


Zipline_21fhjljhflh_1.jpegZip line Čikola / Zip line Šibenik near Drniš © Tourist Board of Drniš

Sometimes referred to as Zipline Šibenik, in order to attract visitors from the popular beachside city in summer, the Čikola zip line is actually around 30 km from Šibenik but just a few from Drniš. Transfer to the thrilling high wire by organisers is short and fast from either city.

The zip line course is 1.4 km long zip line and runs at an altitude of between 120 metres to 30 metres. There are three separate zip lines to complete in the run. Zipline riders control their own speed – you can take it easy and enjoy the breathtaking views, or you can go for maximum adrenaline rush and reach up to 70 km / h. You can take the lines alone or in pairs, with instructors available to partner you.

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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

People also ask Google: What Type of Food does Croatia Eat?

February 23, 2021 – What type of food does Croatia eat? Well, it's a small country, only around 4 million people. The food must be pretty similar all over Croatia, right? Wrong

The type of food Croatia eats depends on which region you are in. The Croatian menu is wonderfully varied. Homegrown or domestic Croatian food is usually the product of the country's wonderful natural assets. The type of food Croatia eats is also influenced by its close neighbours. Some food Croatia eats comes historically from the menus of places quite far from Croatia.

Croatia is known for food that is often cooked simply, allowing the finest natural ingredients to sing. Food in Croatia often travels a very short distance from the field to the plate or from the sea to the plate. So, what Croatia eats very much depends on the land and assets in the area close by. For instance, in the mountainous region of Lika, potatoes grow well and appear regularly in the cookbook. In Karlovac, the city's wealth of rivers means that freshwater fish and frogs legs appear on the menu.

Sto_vidjetikarlooooo.jpgKarlovac, a city whose four rivers inform the local cuisine © Croatian National Tourist Board

What type of food does Croatia eat in the flatlands of Pannonia might be very different to the food Croatia eats in the coastal regions of Dalmatia or Istria. But, not always. Some kinds of food Croatia eats is ubiquitous – you can find some Croatian food that is popular in every region, like grah – an inexpensive, filling and delicious beans-based dish, popular at lunch or punjeni paprika (stuffed peppers). Sarma - meat-filled cabbage rolls cooked in a tomato sauce – is also popular throughout Croatia. Cabbage is a staple part of the Croatian diet, being used fresh in delicious crunchy side salads or in is fermented form, as sauerkraut.

picture_2sarmy.jpgSarma

Snack food or fast food in Croatia is available on almost every street corner, from the pekara (or pekarnica), the popular local bakeries. Here, you can grab a burek, pizza slice or pita, which is like a cross between a small pastry pie and a pasty (if you're British and know what a pasty is!)

Other fast food in Croatia includes burgers and kebabs, which range in quality from standard to super-premium. The Zagreb restaurant and fast food menu, in particular, has expanded massively over recent years. The choice of food in Zagreb is now varied and international. But that's not the only place. Want to eat Indian food in Dubrovnik? Can do. Fancy some sushi while staring out over beautiful Kvarner Bay in Opatija? Može (you may)!

navisssssssssssssssssssss.jpgNavis Hotel overlooking Kvarner Bay - Opatija's first sushi restaurant © Hotel Navis Opatija

Croatia now has many Michelin-recommended and several Michelin-starred restaurants. Their number grows each year. But, while the variety of international and top-flight continues to expand in Croatia, this does not tell the real story of what Croatia food is.

Pizza is not really Croatian food (although, like that other Italian import ice cream, Croatians do make it very well). Burgers are not Croatian food, even if pljeskavica is. Pekara might be ubiquitous, but that is not real Croatian food. No. To find out truly what type of food does Croatia eat, you'll have to find a seat in a traditional restaurant or tavern (a konoba, if you're on the coast, krčma, klet or gostiona, gostionica or restoran elsewhere). There you can soak up the wonderful vibes and sometimes spectacular scenery. But, more important that that, you might find a meal you'll never forget.

The only thing in Croatia that truly beats traditional food from a great tavern, is food in Croatia that is made by mom or grandma in the home. If you're lucky enough to be invited to try traditional Croatian food in someone's home, you simply must go. It's the best!

What type of food does Croatia eat?

What food is Croatia known for in the region of Istria?
103990514_2766842676932885_8553088344150944332_ofdzsgabdfbagtfbafgbnasfg.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Istria? © Draguč, Istria by Romulic and Stojcic

The most northwesterly region of Croatia, food in Istria is often distinctly different to that found in the other areas of Croatia. The region's close proximity to Italy can be tasted within much traditional Istrian food. Homemade pastas take centre stage on meat, fish and vegetable dishes and also find their way into Istrian soups and stews. Many small fishing villages exist on the Istrian coast and the catch of the day is not only popular with those who live on the coast – seafood makes its way into the interior of Istria too. Familiar Mediterranean meals featuring seabass, bream, sardine, sole, squid, scallops, crab, scampi, mussels and oysters can be found on the Istrian food menu. Black cuttlefish risotto and the stews Brodet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like elsewhere on the Croatian coast.

sea-food-1840001_1920_1.jpg

The Istrian interior is a beautiful landscape, with rolling hills covered in vineyards, long stretches of olive groves and fruit trees, picturesque hilltop towns and river valleys which cut through unblemished nature and forest. It is within these forests that one of Istria's most famous ingredients can be found.

truffle-203031_1920_1.jpg

Istria is famous for truffles. The rare and costly delicacy makes its way generously into Istrian food, shaved over pasta dishes or added to oils, cheese or even chocolate. You can take a guided tour to hunt for truffles in Istria. Truffles aren't the only things hunted in the region's woods – game makes its way into some delicious Istrian food dishes.

tartufi_pljukanci_1-maja-danica-pecanicdgfadsgadfvbgdz.jpgHomemade pasta with truffles - classic Istria! © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Other produce the region is famous for include honey, Istrian prosciutto (prsut) and Istrian olive oil. In 2020, Istria was voted the world's best olive oil region for a sixth consecutive year. You can find it in most Istrian pasta dishes, salads and on almost every dining table. Delicious.

olive-oil-1596639_1920_1.jpg

You can find different local specialities in villages all over Istria, usually informed by the crops most grown nearby or the produce popularly made there. These are celebrated at food and drink festivals which regularly occur in villages and towns throughout the region. Go to any of these if you can. They're a brilliant opportunity to try some of the best traditional foods of Istria, and you'll be able to wash it down with excellent Istrian wine varieties like Malvasia or Teran.

imagefrittty.jpgAsparagus is just one of many ingredients for which the Croatian region of Istria is famous, seen here made into a frittata or omelette © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Some famous Istrian food dishes include Manestra, a minestrone-type soup made with vegetables (and sometimes meat or bones are used to flavour), Istrian žgvacet, a more meaty stew, asparagus (which is often eaten with eggs or made into an omelette or frittata) and speciality beef dishes which come from the region's rare, indigenous Boskarin cow.

What do they eat in Croatia in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast?
split-3712767_1920_1.jpgThe city of Split on the Dalmatian coast

The food eaten in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast is classic Mediterranean food. Croatian waters of the Adriatic sea are very clean and offer up a stunning range of seafood. Fish like sardines, tuna, seabass and bream are incredibly popular and are often served simply grilled, sometimes flavoured with olive oil, salt, garlic and nothing more. A popular – if not ubiquitous – side dish to accompany grilled fish is blitva, which is a hardy green chard that thrives even in the extreme heat and nutrient-weak soil of the region. It is traditionally cooked with potatoes and flavoured with olive oil and salt.

fish-3684985_1920_1.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? Sea bass grilled and served simply is an unforgettable meal of any holiday in this part of Croatia

Other seafood such as squid, octopus, crab, scampi and prawns are popular in Dalmation cooking. Many get the same simple treatment as the fine fish – they are grilled simply, black bars of mild charring from the grill scarring their surface upon serving. Octopus also makes its way into a delicious salad, often served as a starter. Dalmatian seafood is also used in risottos, with prawn risotto and black cuttlefish risotto particular favourites.

fish-725955_1920_1.jpgOctopus salad is a popular starter in Dalmatia

Many more varieties of fish than the famous ones mentioned can be found in coastal fish markets (there are great ones in Rijeka, Kvarner and in Split). You'll find various varieties of fish used in delicious stews and soups served in Dalmatia. Brudet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like in Istria.

4_gastro-stew-optimized-for-print-maja-danica-pecanicyfkufjf.jpgDalmatian food found on the coast often relies heavily on the gifts of the Adriatic sea. This dish, known as Brudet (Brodet in some places) is a fish stew/soup popular all through Croatia's coastal regions © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

A popular traditional method of cooking in Dalmatia is 'ispod peka' – food cooked under a metal bell-shaped covering upon which hot coals and embers are placed. These long and slow-cooked dishes often contain a mixture of meat and vegetables and could be comparable perhaps to a Moroccan tagine – but without north African spices. This method of cooking holds a theatre that matches its great taste, but many places ask you order a day in advance if you want to try it because the cooking time can be long. Octopus, lamb, pork and beef are the most popular choices to be found cooked 'under the bell'

Pekazaton.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? A dish of great theatre is 'peka' - food cooked 'under the bell'. Try the one with octopus! © Zaton holiday resort

Dalmatia is famous for smoked prosciutto (prsut), smoked, dry-cured bacon (pancetta) and lamb. You'll see both whole sucking pig and whole roasted lamb cooking on spits above flickering flames all across Dalmatia. Dalmatian lamb is full of flavour. Unlike elsewhere, where it is flavoured with garlic, rosemary, other spices or even anchovy, Dalmatian lamb is seasoned only with salt and a little olive oil. It needs nothing more and this is the absolute truth. A highlight not to miss.

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Elsewhere, Dalmatia is famous for its cheese. The cheeses from island Pag are particularly famous – usually hard in texture, full of flavour and not inexpensive. You'll find them served alongside prsut and olives on the buffets of any parties or official functions and are best enjoyed with local wines. Croatia's most powerful red wines come from Dalmatia. If that's your kind of wine, this is one of the best regions in the world.

e0210f36257c3dffb45491df5f1ba0c8asfjpaioshfGAILSDHGFLsdfsadhgasjd.jpgWhat food do they eat in Dalmatia in Croatia? The cheese from the Dalmatian island of Pag is extremely famous © Croatian National Tourist Board

Apart from peka, another famous Dalmatian coastal dish is Pašticada. Like peka, an authentic Pašticada requires pre-ordering – it takes a minimum 24 hours of preparation time to make a good one, as the beef used within it is marinated. Finding a truly great Pašticada is difficult. The best are cooked with care, love and attention within the home and are served for special occasions. If you're lucky enough to try one of those, recapturing that distinct fruity taste will be difficult and many restaurant-ready versions will disappoint.

1440px-Pasticada_1.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Dalmatia on special occasions? Pašticada. If you try the best, it will likely be homecooked © Popo le Chien

A lot of Dalmatian coastal food is comparable to that found all along the Mediterranean shoreline. One distinct anomaly is the city of Omiš, whose cuisine is supplemented by its position at the mouth of the huge Cetina river. You can read a detailed article about the cuisine of Omis here.

What kind of food do they eat in Croatia within inland Dalmatia / the Dalmatian hinterland?
gorchf.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? It varies. In the city of Drniš, they are famous for making a distinct prosciutto (prsut) © gorchfin

The Dalmatian hinterland is one of the great gastronomic regions of Croatia, yet it remains largely undiscovered by the crowds visiting the coast. It can be tough to leave the beautiful beaches, but a trip behind the mountains is worth it for multiple reasons, not least the food.

It really is the shortest of journeys to make. For that reason, the cuisine of inland Dalmatia contains all the treats you'll find on restaurant menus by the coast (but probably at half the price!) In addition, they have their own specialities you're unlikely to find by the sea.

drnyyyyyyy.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? Drniški Pršut © Tourist Board of Drniš

In the city of Drniš, they are famous for their cheese and distinct pršut, in Imotski they're known for a delicious almond cake. In the hinterland behind Omiš, you'll find Poljicki Soparnik – a truly authentic Croatian dish. In the villages around the Neretva valley, close to Metkovic, you'll find frogs and eels used in local cuisine.

soppy.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The hinterland behind the city of Omis in Dalmatia is one of the few places you'll find Poljički Soparnik, a truly authentic Croatian food © Marc Rowlands

Continental Croatian cuisine and traditional Mediterranean cooking collide in the Dalmatian hinterland – it really is the best of both. Much of the lamb Dalmatia is famous for comes from the foothills on either side of the Dinaric Alps and meat plays a perhaps bigger role in Dalmatian cuisine than it does on the coast.

What food is Croatia known for in Zagreb?
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Compared to just ten years ago, the Zagreb food offer has exploded in its number of options. You can find Japanese sushi, Chinese food, Levantine food, Mexican food, Indian food, food from Sri Lanka, Lebanese and Arabic food, Thai food and Turkish food in authentic Zagreb restaurants and other food outlets. You'll also find some of Croatia's best burger joints and pizza restaurants in the capital. These excellent imports now rival the classic Balkan grill/barbecue joints for the attentions of restaurant-goers and those who order takeaway.

fallyfffs.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, these days you can eat food from all over the world - including delicious falafel © Falafel etc.

If you're only in Zagreb for a short amount of time, please don't miss the grill experience. The Croatian capital really does have some of the best in the country and it's a much more authentic experience than a burrito or sweet and sour pork with fried rice.

turkeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Foods like burek, kebab and baklava can be found all over the Balkans, a remnant of the time the Ottomans were here. But, the best baklava in Croatia is available in Zagreb, made by Turkish guys at La Turka © Mateo Henec

Alongside the pljeskavica, cevapi, sausages and pork steaks on the Balkan grill menus, you'll often find stuffed meat options. Some of these are very popular in Zagreb. It could be a burger, with bacon included or one filled with cheese. Or, it could be a chicken, turkeys, pork or veal portion, tenderised and flattened with a cooking mallet so that it can be rolled around cheese and ham and cooked in breadcrumbs, like the famous Zagrebački odrezak.

magazinnnnn.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? DO NOT miss the grill restaurants in Zagreb. Magazinska Klet, just behind Autobusni kolodvor (intercity bus station) is a really good one © Magazinska Klet

Zagreb food is much more influenced by continental European cooking than the menu found near Croatia's coast. Austrian influences can be seen not only in the city's rich architecture – its cakes and pastries are comparable to some found on just the other side of neighbouring Slovenia.

Strukli is a Zagreb speciality – a baked or boiled pastry dish which can have different fillings and accompanying sauces, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sour cream and cream being among them. Another distinct element of the Zagreb food offer is gablets – small dishes of food, served in restaurants at lunchtime, for a below-normal restaurant price. These are a great way to sample traditional Croatian food inexpensively. Ask a local for a recommendation of where does the best.

1440px-Štrukli_iz_Okrugljaka_1.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, they are very proud of the dish known as štrukli © Bonč

A modern European city of almost a million people – approaching a quarter of the country's population – it goes without saying that not a large percentage of Zagreb's land space is devoted to farming and agriculture. So, when we are discussing the food, plus much of the produce and menu of Zagreb, in many cases what we are actually talking about is the food of a much wider region surrounding the city. Zagreb County produce plays a big part in the cuisine of Croatia's capital. So too does that of the agricultural area which lies on the other side of the mountain Medvednica, which dominates Zagreb's skyline. That area is traditionally known as Zagorje.

sommy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In much of the capital of Zagreb, the food and cuisine is actually informed by the areas surrounding, like Zagreb County. The pretty hills of Samobor in Zagreb County © Samobor Tourist Board

What food do they eat in Croatia in Zagorje and northern Croatia?
zgrrlksfh2.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The unspoiled rural landscape of Zagorje 'over the mountain' of Medvednica, informs much of what we class as Zagreb cuisine  © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje produce forms the basis of much that you'll find on the menu of Zagreb. This traditional region today stretches across several Croatian counties, each containing rolling hills, with vineyards rising above agricultural fields. It is very often a very pretty landscape.

dsjkafjgfJGVK1111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Pffft! Forget the food, I want to eat this impossibly pretty landscape! This is Zagorje © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

The food of Zagorje is traditionally the food of an agricultural region – simple, hearty fare, using the freshest produce that grows in the fields surrounding. Soups (in particular, a famous creamy potato soup), stews and bean-based dishes sit alongside sausages, filled pastries and fowl on the Zagorje menu.

militin11111111111111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Zagorje mlinci © Mlin Jertovec doo

The region's cuisine is famous for some distinct inclusions. Polenta is used more in the Zagorje kitchen than in other regions. You'll likely find a greater choice of fowl here than anywhere else in Croatia. Duck, geese, guinea fowl, pheasant, chicken and turkey can be found on the Croatian food menu and many of these are commonly found being farmed in Zagorje. Such birds can be found in the diet of Croatians right the way through Zagorje and up to the most northern part of Croatia, Medimurje.

majaturk.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagorje, turkey and other birds are usually served with pasta sheets called mlinci. Both Zagorje turkey and Zagorje mlinci are protected at their place of origin at an EU level © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje turkey is Croatia's most famous. Like other bird dishes cooked all across Croatia, it is frequently served alongside distinct pasta sheets called Zagorski Mlinci, which is cooked in the bird's roasting juices and fat. In Zagorje, they are known for their baking – excellent pastries, both savoury and sweet, and their speciality grain breads, make their way across the mountain and into the hungry capital. Look out too for a savoury strudel they make with a mushroom filling. Yum! And, if you venture as far up as Medimurje, look out for one of their specialities called Meso 'z tiblice. Like much of continental Croatia, in Zagorje, locally made cheeses are an important part of traditional food, as are preserved meats and sausages.

What food does Croatia eat in Slavonia?
donjion1111.jpg What type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat fresh food from their gardens or fields © Croatian National Tourist Board

As a rule, Croatians don't really like their food too hot and spicy. In an unpublished section of an interview with a Croatian Michelin restaurant chef, TCN was told that this appreciation of more milder flavours even extends to a reticence to eat older, aged and fully flavoured game and other meat. This conservative palette and minimal appreciation of strong spicing can be seen throughout the Croatian menu. And, in many cases, it's understandable. When produce is so fresh and full of flavour, it only impedes a dish to mask the taste of these ingredients with spices. The one region in Croatia that absolutely loves bold flavours within its traditional food is Slavonia.

slavvuy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have a much more spicy menu than the rest of Croatia © Romulić & Stojčić

A huge traditional region running east of Zagreb, across the flatlands of the Pannonian basin, right up to the border with Serbia, Slavonia is today divided up into several different counties. Also, within the history of this traditional region, two distinct regions share space alongside Slavonia in the Pannonian basin – Syrmia and Baranja. It perhaps does a disservice to these two small regions that they are often just swept under the broader title of Slavonia. Each makes its own incredible contribution to the Croatian menu.

Slawonien-850x491jdkssfADS.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have two huge rivers bookending the north and south of their traditional region - the Drava and the Sava © Croatian National Tourist Board

In Croatian Syrmia (the other half of this traditional region lies across the border, in Vojvodina, present-day Serbia), you'll find some of the best white wines produced in continental Croatia. In Baranja, they are masters of preserved meats. The smoked, dry-cured bacon here may not be as famous as Dalmatian pancetta, but you'd be hard pushed to decide which was better. One of Croatia's oldest and best-regarded meat producers, Belje, is from Baranja.

Baranja is also famous for kulen, a sausage made only from premium cuts of pig and coloured red by a generous spicing of paprika. But, like so many parts of this region's menu, kulen is also made in Slavonia proper. The land is the same meaning much of the menu is the same so, please consider the following inclusions to be common in all.

MK4_5082rommyslav.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? A selection of Slavonia and Baranja cold meats. Baranja kulen is the irregular-shaped sausage in the top left of the platter © Romulić & Stojčić

Slavonia's close proximity to Hungary is responsible for much of the strong spicing and flavours of the region's food. Paprika, in sweet and mild and more hot and piquant styles, can be found in many dishes of the Slavonian cookbook. Indeed, although the condiment ajvar is popular as an accompaniment to grilled meat everywhere and therefore made all over Croatia, it is in Slavonia that you'll regularly find the spiciest (although even theirs is milder than some brilliant, more brutal versions made elsewhere in the Balkans). Paprika makes its way not only into preserved sausages like kulen but also into Slavonian soups and stews.

Kulen_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Slavonian kulen. Slavonian kulen does not have the same irregular shape as Baranja kulen © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Two great rivers border the north and south of Slavonia – the Drava and the Sava, with smaller ones running off or into them through the entire region. These produce a wealth of river fish which are popular in the Slavonian diet.

Throughout almost all the year in Slavonia, it is common to see large Šaran (carp), gutted and butterflied, then impaled outside on branches bored deep into the earth. This allows them to be suspended next to open fires which impart an incredible smoky flavour in the cooking of the fish. These Šaran frequently grow to incredible sizes in the big two rivers. The sight of this al fresco, traditional cooking method, known as u rašljama, is impressive, unforgettable and mouth-watering.

Šaran_Ivo_Biocina.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Šaran (carp) u rašljama © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Šaran also can be found among other river fish in the favourite Slavonian stew of fish paprikas. Richly red from paprika, you can again see this impressively cooked outdoors in Slavonia. Traditional heavy pots are suspended over open fires by the riverside, the dish bubbling and steaming above an intense heat. You would traditionally eat its liquid part first, as a soup, before delving into the fish parts that remain in the bottom (it's advisable to eat it only in this way as it's the best way of avoiding the many bones so typical of the river catch).

fishpap.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Fish paprikash (fiš paprikaš, sometimes shortened to simply fiš) © Romulić and Stojčić

Comparable to fish paprikash but made with meat is the Slavonian favourite of Cobanac. Again, boldly flavoured with paprika, this stew is bolstered in its punch by the use of hunted meats such as venison and wild boar. It is hands down one of Croatia's best dishes. You can find similar game meat used in Slavonian hunters stew and perklet, another thick and tasty dish informed by Hungarian neighbours.

cobanac81269598126589.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Cobanac, a hearty, spicy stew made in Slavonia using wild meats © Youtube screenshot 

Slavonia and neighbouring Vojvodina was once the breadbasket of much of the former Yugoslav federation. Here, this land that was once underwater is incredibly rich in nutrients. Indeed, in harder times, many people from all over the region came to live here, assured of finding work in the region's thriving agricultural industry. Slavonia today is not nearly so integral to the supply of the whole domestic nation's food, but agriculture still thrives here. And, the land is still rich.

areal05donji.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat river fish and fresh fruit and vegetables grown in their own, often large back gardens © Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board

In Slavonia, many live a rural life and even in some towns and large villages, Slavonian houses have huge gardens behind them which are traditionally used for growing vegetables, fruits and nuts or rearing chickens and pigs. Some Slavonian households engage in all of these and others too keep beehives (Slavonian honey is famous and comes in a variety of exciting, different flavours). The products of their labour ensure the freshest ingredients end up in Slavonian home cooking (although, some of their fruits are diverted from the dining table to the pursuit of making rakija). The personal rearing of animals for food also produces a culture in which none of the animal goes to waste.

Krvavica_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Krvavica © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Alongside standard or garlic and paprika flavoured sausages like kobasice, or the aforementioned kulen, in Slavonia you can find Švargl, a terrine made from offal, Čvarci, deep-fried rind (pork scratchings) and krvavica, a Croatian blood sausage. Although perhaps straying far from Italian traditions, Slavonia is also responsible for what is arguably Croatia's greatest style of pizza. Slavonska pizza is a hefty festival of different types of pork meats, loaded with onions and cheese too. It's already a gut-buster but, order it with an egg on top and when you burst the yolk to run across your forkful, you'll forget that pizza was ever Italian in the first place.

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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Hidden Dalmatia: Incredible and Mysterious 10 Rajcica Wells near Klis

February 17, 2021 – One of the most mysterious and beautiful sites in the Dalmatian hinterland behind Split, the incredible 10 Rajcica Wells - off the road between Klis and Drniš - are ripe for discovery by those wanting to escape into nature and they're the perfect place for picnics

The road from Klis to Drniš can sometimes feel like a step back in time. The 20-minute drive from the bustle of coastal city Split up to Klis is one that more and more visitors are wisely choosing to take. Perched in the high foothills of the Dinaric Alps, Klis's spectacular fortress, featured in Game of Thrones, is a captivating visit. The views it offers of the seaside city below will leave you breathless.

klisfortress7gdjkbgfasjkb.jpegThe view of Split from Klis Fortress © Ivan Limić

Pulling out from the suburbs of Split, the sights and sounds of towering apartment blocks, tourist-filled streets and city buses ebb away and the road climb begins. But, after visiting Klis Fortress, if you take the road to Drniš, things change again.

As you head through the village of Prugovo, the tell-tale signs of tourism decrease – perhaps a villa, here or there, maybe some modern buildings. But, between Prugovo's settled areas, a vista of classic inland Dalmatia opens up. A dry and sun-soaked landscape, filled sporadically with the green of trees and bushes and the weathered grey of Dalmatian rock. The edges of fields are marked by traditional dry stone walls. By isolated houses, trellises carry vines – tomatoes, grapes.

Prugovosjadfkjjldas.jpgPrugovo © Općina Klis

Between Prugovo and Gornji Muć, where you'd turn left for Drniš, the buildings are few and far between. A vast expanse of unblemished Dalmatian countryside sits on either side. On the road here, you're as likely to be passed by an agricultural vehicle as you are any car.

But, long before you reach Gornji Muć, there's an almost anonymous turning on the left. A simple road sign preceding announces the names of villages you've likely never heard of. At first sight, the road looks to lead up only to a red and white communications mast. Beyond it, a shallow valley on the right contains houses of the settlement Gizdavac. Otherwise, you're surrounded by slight, rolling hills and the low-lying bushes of an unadulterated wilderness.

Gizdavac-Prugovo_0204_2010_-_panoramio.jpgGizdavac / Prugovo © d.graso

A little further, if you take a right on the road – heading for Brštanovo and Nisko, instead of Lećevica - a gentle incline again but, here, there are no settlements. No sounds. The stone walls that previously edged your travel have gone. Your passage is now bordered only by roadside bushes. And then, as if from nowhere, tall, thin pines shoot up on either side. It's the first shadow seen on the road for quite some time.

150970951_328784161884992_3375819499453421533_n.jpg© Iva Kegalj / Don't miss Klis

The light soon returns, but on the route through Brštanovo and on to Nisko, the trees seem to fight for a place on the landscape – succeeding in some section. In others, it's the agricultural fields of settlers that have reclaimed the wilderness. The land here is a mixture of greens, some indigenous and agrestal, others purposefully placed in neat rows. The landscape is still.

If signposts to Brštanovo and Nisko were thin on the ground, you'd need a sharp eye - or to know exactly where you're going - if you're heading to the incredible secret this area holds. No fanfare heralds the 10 Rajcica Wells. They can't even be reached by car.

88naslovnabunjaies.jpgThe 10 Rajcica Wells near Klis © The Mladichi

To get to this mysterious oasis, you take your car to Nisko,and then keep an eye out for the sign which marks the way to tiny settlement of Čulići (the 10 Rajcica Wells can also be accessed from Lećevica). The short walk required from where you eventually is an enjoyable stroll through all of the landscapes you've just passed – wild countryside with Dalmatian rock erupting between the green or forestland, where you walk beneath the shade of pines. An agricultural road has recently been reconstructed to aid your passage through the forest. That your view is obstructed by these trees grants a thrilling sense of drama when, eventually, the meadow containing the 10 Rajcica Wells is finally revealed.

LRM_EXPORT_521965739794720_20190803_125832736Ante_Mula1.jpg

The 10 Rajcica Wells (Bunari Rajčica) near Klis

Aside from an old stone wall that runs through the meadow, the 10 Rajcica Wells are the only telltale signs that this land has ever been touched by the hands of man. No buildings or telegraph poles are insight. No sounds interrupt the calm of the incredible scenery. If you're not alone at the 10 Rajcica Wells when you visit, it's because this is a popular place for those in-the-know to come for picnics. But, the 10 Rajcica Wells has the effect of calming all who come. The picnics taken here are respectful of the peacefulness, if not overwhelmed by it.

P3000412Limic3.jpgPicnic at the 10 Rajcica Wells (Bunari Rajčica) near Klis © Ivan Limić

When the weather is not quite right for picnics, the 10 Rajcica Wells are visited by an even smaller number of well-informed guests. Walkers and hikers take to the trails and come to gasp at the sight. Although, they too are not likely to be alone.

P3000416Limic2.jpgThe 10 Rajcica Wells (Bunari Rajčica) near Klis in glorious colours of autumn © Ivan Limić

Throughout the year, horses come to drink from the wells, as do a few cows who graze in and around the meadow. They've got used to sharing their dining room with humans. Some are curious and friendly, they might even approach, delighting any younger group members who get up close. Sometimes they might even be too friendly – a picnic sandwich or two has been known to be taken by the meadow's mooing residents. Perhaps they think it's a buffet? Best hold tightly onto your lunch – although there's little danger of the placid cows sneaking up to you. Most wear bells around their necks. Their ring is sometimes the only sound to pierce the silent scene.

IvaKegaljDontmissKlis5.jpg© Iva Kegalj / Don't miss Klis

If you've travelled from Split to discover the 10 Rajcica Wells - and you really should – this is a Dalmatia completely opposite from where your journey began. Just a kilometre or so from the county boundary between Split-Dalmatia and Sibenik-Knin, there's no sea here, no advertising hoardings, no intruding music or enticement. Here, the offer is peaceful nature and the wonder of your imagination.

881Bunjario.jpgRajcica Wells (Bunari Rajčica) near Klis © The Mladichi

Nobody is really sure who built the 10 Rajcica Wells. Some presume it was the Ottomans. But, around the locale, you'll often find people who refer to them as the 'Roman wells' (this would make them over 1000 years old). Others think that they are older still, built by the Illyrian tribes who perhaps also let their animals drink from the 10 Rajcica Wells. Indeed, in a submitted thesis, Croatian student Mate Puljak suggested that the name Rajčice (rather than emanating from a very modern Croatian word for tomato), is actually a name that comes from the surname of the Rajčić (Raichich) family, who he claims pre-date the Romans.

Screenshot_182.pngThe placement of the Rajcica water wells corresponds to the constellation of the Pleiades, claimed Croatian student Mate Puljak, suggesting the wells pre-date the Romans

"These are ritual water wells and their arrangement in space corresponds to a mirror image of the constellation of the Pleiades," he says. Myth from the nearby locale has it that they have never once dried up. In the days before village children could easily take a bus to the beach, the 10 Rajcica Wells were the summertime spot where many learned to swim. Year-round, their parents would visit the wells to draw drinking water for their family's homes.

882Bunjariii.jpgNear the start of David Lean's monumental 1962 film 'Lawrence of Arabia', Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) sets off on a journey of many nights camel ride through the desert accompanied by a Bedouin guide with whom he is newly acquainted. They soon become friends. In one of the movie's most iconic scenes, another Bedouin, Sherif Ali (Omar Sharif) arrives from a distance by camel before shooting dead Lawrence's Bedouin guide for drinking from a well that belongs to him. In the ensuing exchange, to an angry and upset Lawrence, Sherif Ali points at the lifeless body and spits “He was nothing! The well is everything!” People of the Dalmatian hinterland are not nearly so protective over their wells. Although, local legend does have it that, in the recent past, each of the 10 Rajcica Wells was 'owned' by 10 different families of the region, 'theirs' being the one exclusively assigned for use by the family and their animals © The Mladichi

The people of the Dalmatian hinterland are rarely selfish. What they have, they'll invite you in to share. And the 10 Rajcica Wells are no exception. To that end, in addition to the recently reconstructed agricultural road, a further access road for the 10 Rajcica Wells will be made, educational nature trails will be appointed around the site and a viewpoint added. The picnic area will be arranged and better signage will open up the 10 Rajcica Wells to visitors. The cows may soon have more guests with whom they share their meadow. Although, they probably won't mind. Residents of the Dalmatian hinterland know that their secrets are too good to keep for themselves.

Screenshot2020-04-07at10.40.52Ante_Mula2.jpgRajcica Wells (Bunari Rajčica) near Klis © Ante Mula

On these links you can read the other features in our Hidden Dalmatia series:

Drniš - Drniški Pršut and Meštrović Roots

Soparnik - 100% Authentic Croatian Food

The Fantastic Food of the Cetina River

Wild Rides on the Cetina River

Total Croatia News would like to express sincere thanks to Ivan Limić, Općina Klis, The Mladichi, Iva Kegalj, Don't miss Klis and Ante Mula for the photography used in this article which, without their assistance, would not have been possible

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Heavy Rain Fills 11 Imotski Lakes To Almost Record Highs

January 20, 2021 – Famous for its Red and Blue lakes, there are in fact 11 Imotski lakes located around the Dalmatian hinterland city. Due to high rainfall, their rising water levels are nearing the highest point in living memory

Inaccessible without advance preparation and experience, visitors to the Red Lake in Imotski can only admire the spectacle from the upper edges. The lake is referred to as 'red' because of the red clay colour of the rock face which surrounds the water below. There's a challenge traditionally tasked to those brought here – see if you can throw a stone from the brim into the water. It's harder than it looks. The walls are steep and wide, the water a good long way below. Except for now. Like the water in all 11 Imotski lakes, the water level is currently at the highest point is has been for as long as anyone can remember. The height of the water in the Red lake alone exceeds 309 meters.

AnyConv.com__RedLakeCroatia.jpgImotski's Red Lake © Tieum512

Heavy rainfall over recent months is the cause for the high and rising water levels in the 11 Imotski Lakes. In December 2020, about 700 litres of rain per square metre was recorded in the area, practically filling all 11 Imotski lakes, as well as the river Vrljika.

High water levels are recorded in Galipovac Lake, Lokvičićko Lake (or Mamić Lake), Prološki lake and the Knezović lake. The water level in the Vrljica River is still high. Along with the picturesque Green Lake, named after the beautiful, icy turquoise green appearance of its water, the 11 Imotski lakes are an appealing topography for hikers, walkers and climbers to explore. Accurate data on the height of the water in Imotski's Blue and Red Lakes was recorded within the past few days.
imotle.jpgPhoto of Lokvičićka jezera, one of the 11 Imotski lakes, taken by Josipa Rimac Vlajčić and a team from the Imotski Mountaineering Society during a mid-January expedition © HPD Imotski Facebook

In the Blue lake – the one closest to Imotski centre and a popular summertime swimming and recreational site - the current water level is at 91.5 metres. It is still rising. Whether the water level will reach the record 102 metres recorded in 2012 will depend on rainfall within the region over coming days. Rains do not necessarily have to fall in Imotski to fill this or some of the other 11 Imotski lakes – they are fed by underground channels which flow from Bosnia.

Reporting on the rising water in Slobodna Dalmacija, local photographer and writer Braco Cosic informed that Imotski-based surveyor Ante Škeva had measured the current water level of Red Lake as a quite considerable 309 metres on Tuesday. If there was ever a time to take on the challenge of hitting its water surface with a stone, it is surely now.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

PHOTOS: Extraordinary Plants of Klis Fortress Show Two Sides of Dalmatia

January 2, 2021 – High on the mountains, overlooking the city of Split, the historic settlement of Klis stands on the border between two distinct climate regions – the Mediterranean and the Dalmatian hinterland. The sometimes rare and extraordinary plants of Klis Fortress are characteristic of both. A new book details the flora you can find on both sides of the Dinaric Alps

The views from Klis are spectacular. The great city of Split lies below you, perched on the edge of the glistening Adriatic, beyond it, the islands of Čiovo, Šolta, Brac, Vis and Hvar. It's a view that has been admired for over 2000 years.

klisfortress7.jpegThe view from Klis Fortress

That's how long a fortress has stood here. Restructured and rebuilt several times over the millennia, within the walls of the impressive Klis Fortress lie much of the recent history of these lands – of the Illyrians and the Romans, the arrival of both Slavic people and of Christianity, the defence of Christian Europe from the Ottomans. So steeped in history are these walls, little wonder the fortress was chosen as a filming location for the popular Game Of Thrones series.

Klisfortress2.jpegKlis Fortress

With its view so irresistibly inviting the eye, you could be forgiven for missing the plants of Klis Fortress. That's unfortunate. The fort straddles the top of the Dinaric Alps – one half existing within the sub-Mediterranean climate of the Dalmatian hinterland, the other on the distinctly warmer side of the Adriatic. This creates a unique environment for a wealth of flora. Not used as a fortress since the threat of Ottoman invasion subsided, these days the structure usually welcomes only tourists. The plants of Klis Fortress have reached into the grounds of the buildings, indeed into its very walls.

Cymbalariamuralis_Ivy-LeavedToadflax.jpegCymbalaria muralis - Ivy Leaved Toadflax within the walls of Klis Fortress

One person for who the plants of Klis Fortress did not go unnoticed is Ivan Limić. He lived in Klis all of his life, before leaving to get his degree, then a masters, at the Forestry department of the University of Zagreb. Today, he works for the Institute for Adriatic Crops and Karst Reclamation (IAC) on a PhD student's position. Having a specific interest in botany, he knows the plants of Klis Fortress better than most and after he met botanist Vedran Šegota of Herbarium Croaticum while in Zagreb, they decided they should work on a project together. After several years of work, that project - a book, 'Biljke Tvrdave Klis (Plants of Klis Fortress)' – has finally been released. Although helmed by co-authors Vedran and Ivan, it has actually been a project that involved a much greater group of contributors, not least the community of Klis and some of the best botanists in Croatia.


Ivan Limic, in Black pine tree(Pinus nigra) in Pakline place.jpg
Ivan Limić, co-author of 'Plants of Klis Fortress', relaxing in a Black Pine

TCN talked with Ivan Limić to find out more about the book and about the plants of Klis Fortress

I first met Vedran when I started volunteering at Herbarium Croaticum Zagreb. I was in the city doing my degree. My main interests are forest silviculture and soil erosion, karst melioration, assessment of atmospheric deposition, study of flora, plant determination in Mediterranean region forest ecosystems and the effects of forest fires in those areas. We talked about doing a joint project because we shared similar interests. Vedran came to visit me in Klis and I wanted to show him around the fortress, but looking specifically at the flora. That's when we decided we should do a book about the plants of Klis Fortress.

Geraniumpurpureum_LittleRobin.jpegGeranium purpureum, the little-robin

I walked around Klis Fortress all my life. When you live in a place, you not only acquire so much information about that place over the years, you also have an emotional connection to it. That's not something you can read in every book. Hopefully, with our book, we managed to get a sense of that emotional attachment across, so that you can really feel the place.

Agave_americana_Limic_14.jpegAgave americana

In a way, the special thing about the plants of Klis Fortress is that they are not so special at all – they are extremely characteristic. But, they are characteristic of two completely different climate regions.

On the south side of Klis Fortress, it is very warm and sunny – the Mediterranean climate. You can find species like Aleppo pine. On the northern side of Klis Fortress, it is colder – the sub-Mediterranean climate. Here, you can even get snow in winter and the most common species is Black pine. Two completely different climate regions in just a 50 metre stretch diagonally along the ground. That's what makes it extraordinary.

Salvia officinalis_Sage.jpgSalvia officinalis (sage)

The plants of Klis Fortress include more than 300 species. We have around 100 of them listed in the book. Of those, 16 are species endemic to this area. Some of those are extremely rare - you can find them in very few places in Croatia - such as Fibigia triquetra. That plant is actually one of the reasons why this book exists. When I was a child, people used to tell me that some of the plants of Klis Fortress were very unusual and very rare. I used to walk around the fortress, looking at all the plants, trying to guess which ones were the unusual and rare species.

Fibigiatriquetra_AdriaticFibigia.jpegFibigia triquetra

The man who first identified this as a unique, endemic species actually discovered his first specimen inside Klis Fortress. All of the studies and writings he made about the plant were done here. That plant is now the symbol of Klis Fortress.

Polypodium_cambricum_Limic_4.jpegPolypodium cambricum

You can find our book in Klis library. Anyone can borrow it. It's also available at the entrance to Klis Fortress, where you buy the tickets. We wanted to give the opportunity to anyone who comes here to learn about the plants of this region – that's why we made such an effort to have the book in five languages. It was designed as a guide to the plant species of the whole Mediterranean mountain region in Croatia, so it's not just for the plants of Klis Fortress or the people who come to Klis Fortress itself.

Klis-Tordylium1.jpgTordylium

Most of the photography in the book was done by ourselves. It was important to take the photographs across four different seasons. That's one of the reasons it took almost two years to write this book.

latin_Inulaverbascifolia_eng_Inulaverbascifolia.jpegInula Verbascifolia

As we were making progress on the book, people in Klis began to find out what we were doing. It ended up becoming a project of the wider community. The mayor of Klis supported the project financially so that we were able to publish the book professionally and the library of Klis edited and published the book.

Ephedra_major_Limic_3.jpegEphedra major

Others contributed to the design of the book and the translations, of course. Almost all of them donated their time and work to the project for free. It is quite difficult to translate some of this specific text correctly and we wanted to get it absolutely right.

Agaveamericana_CenturyPlantMaguey.jpegAgave americana

In the end, we ended up getting contributions from Italy and France, we had one colleague from the French embassy who helped and some of the best botanists we have in Croatia contributed to the book to make sure everything was absolutely correct. For that reason, the book was approved and recommended by the Botanical Society of Croatia and can be found in the Botanical library.

book.jpg

All images © Ivan Limić / The Plants of Klis Fortress

Monday, 9 November 2020

Dalmatian Hinterland Buzzes as 1600 Projects Worth 61 Billion Kuna Designed

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of November, 2020, in Caporice in the Dalmatian hinterland, 162 million kuna has been contracted for small family farms (OPGs) from European Union (EU) funds. An impressive 1,600 projects worth as much as 61 billion kuna were also designed in the often wrongly overlooked Dalmatian hinterland, HRT reports.

As much as 74 million kuna - of which two thirds have been provided from European Union funds - covers the worth of the Competence Centre in the Business and Service Centre of the Caporice Economic Zone located near Trilj. The centre would implement research and development programmes that should provide the local economy of the area with a much better position on the market.

To start with, work has begun on a line of fifteen innovative pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food products based on medicinal and aromatic herbs. In the Caporice plant, although the capacity is even higher, an average of 7,000 litres of milk are processed per day - but not just any old milk.

''For a good product, the most important thing is good raw material, naturally produced in the traditional way from local pastures. We make sure it doesn't come from large farms, because our product is specific. We're engaged in the production of hard cheese from three types of milk and in this process the natural ingredients come to the fore. It's best when they're from the domestic area,'' explained the advisor of Pudja Dairy's management, Darko Cobanov.

Cheese with lavender, basil and sage

The Dalmatian hinterland is an area rich in and diverse aromatic and medicinal herbs, which, the experienced producers are convinced, would go well with top-quality cheeses. They've won awards and noticed that cheeses that have additives - lavender, immortelle, scream, basil and sage - win in many categories. Although they've been used since ancient times, wild plants have not yet been utilised to their full potental, stated the acting director of the institution CEKOM 3LJ, Ivan Susnjara.

''We're just the little Dalmatian hinterland. We don't have large agricultural areas. If we want to be innovative in something, we must first use what we do have. Various studies have showcased the benefits and values ​​of active substances in medicinal plants and now, through the Research Centre, it's going to be easy for us to apply it with enterprises,'' said Mate Pastar from the RERA S.D. public institution.

Innovation in cooperation with the faculty and the Rudjer Boskovic Institute

''The idea is that other partners prepare the medicinal herbs within the project in the form of essential oils or in dry form, and the analysis of their effectiveness will be conducted by renowned institutions across Croatia,'' added Darko Cobanov. This would involve the Rudjer Boskovic Institute and the Zagreb Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture, all the way to the Institute for Adriatic Cultures and Karst Reclamation and the Faculty of Chemistry and Technology in Split.

''The Rudjer Boskovic Institute will deal with this part of the chemical characterisation of non-volatile compounds and at the same time on the evaluation of biological activities or potential, which means that we actually want to determine whether or not a medicinal plant actually does boast any antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant capacity, immunostimulating, regenerative, or antiviral properties,'' explained Dr. sc. Rozelindra Coz-Rakovac from Zagreb's Rudjer Boskovic Institute.

''Since we have all the equipment for modern extraction techniques and analytical equipment, we're going to work on trying to come up with new compounds. We'll work very hard on the development of CO2 extracts. We in Osijek were the first to start doing it, but on a laboratory scale - we didn't try to transfer it to an industrial scale. Each plant contains bioactive substances, so we'll try to reach those that are important for the development of new products,'' announced the Vice Dean for Science of the Osijek Faculty of Food Technology, Prof. dr. sc. Stela Jokic.

Value-added products guarantee a better market position and, not only survival, but also further development and growth for the Dalmatian hinterland

''There is no life for entrepreneurship and new entrepreneurs without creating the proper conditions for that. There can be no demographic story without any new jobs. To give the opportunity to sixteen educated young people to have their bread and earn their salary here and to attract businessmen in a ring relationship, to create new jobs - this is the only thing that can preserve the Dalmatian hinterland and its people, and not only in the hinterland but across Croatia,'' emphasised the mayor of Trilj, Ivan Sipic.

''The interest of others speaks for itself as a driver of these projects. We have incubators and we receive inquiries from those interested on a daily basis. Everything you see around us makes no sense if there is no one to use it, if there is no product from it. Farmers must have space to create new value-added products,'' repeated Mate Pastar.

Thus, they contracted a massive 162 million kuna for small family farms from European Union funds alone, and the activities they're currently working on and implementing are worth three times more than that amount, while more than 1,600 projects worth as much as 61 billion kuna have been designed in and for the Dalmatian hinterland.

 

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Thursday, 1 October 2020

19 Incredible Dishes: The Best Vegetarian Food In Croatia

October 1, 2020 - Happy International Vegetarian Day! To celebrate, we bring you a list of 19 meat-free snacks and meals that make up the best vegetarian food in Croatia


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Starting a feature of the best vegetarian food in Croatia with a picture that has what looks suspiciously like meat in it comes at the top of a long list of dumb moves made by this writer - vegetarians, please forgive me. It was an impossible picture to find and this Youtube screenshot of a non-vegetarian option was the only one available on open license

Krpice sa zeljem

A lowly peasant dish made from cabbage and pasta, krpice sa zeljem neither sounds too appetising on paper nor looks inviting in its rather bland appearance. But, when you've no money left and need to fill your stomach, this is a great option. It's seasoned simply with salt, pepper and oil. Although most Croatians wouldn't do it, it's nice with butter or a butter and oil mix instead. Always use white pepper, not black, to accompany the salt in this. Some people make it with bits of pork too, like the one we have unfortunately pictured.

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Youtube screenshot © Andreina kuhinja

Granatir / Pašta s krumpirom

Also known as grenadir marš (grenadier march) or pašta s krumpirom (pasta with potatoes), this is a simple dish from Slavonia and is popular in other parts of northern continental Croatia. Onions and potatoes are the exciting ingredients, but the flavour comes from the ground paprika powder so prevalent in Slavonian food. Further away from Slavonia, you might find spring onions added and it seasoned instead with white pepper. You can really imagine the Austro-Hungarian troops of old marching on full stomachs of this cheap dish. Vegetarians fond of this meal might try exchanging the spring onions for leek (poriluk), for a change.

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Vanjkuši are probably the most obscure of all vegetarian food in Croatia so, again, we couldn't find a picture. Their name can be translated as pillows © Jay Mantri

Vanjkuši

Some in Croatia might not have heard of vanjkuši (also known as vankuši or jastuci). They are a distinct speciality of the old region of Moslavina, located to the east of Zagreb. Vanjkuši are not wildly exciting in colour, but these baked pastry rolls filled with egg, cornmeal and cottage cheese are a tasty snack or extravagant side dish, seasoned with salt, white pepper and sometimes butter and/or cream.

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© Nenad Damjanović / Croatian National Tourist Board

Pera

This little-known snack from Vrbovec is a much more authentically-Croatian take on pizza. The thin crust is topped with fresh cow’s cheese, sour cream and egg (sometimes cornmeal too), cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven and then cut into triangles for sharing.

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© Rainbow Pizza

Pizza

Yes, it's Italian. But most of the food on the Croatian menu either comes directly from other nations - Turkey, Bosnia, Hungary, Austria, Greece - or is inspired by them. Pizza is included because it's on sale everywhere in Croatia and almost everyone eats it. Like that other Italian favourite, ice cream/gelato, Croatians are brilliant at making pizza. It is possible to buy inferior pizza in Croatia, but you're not wise to do so - just look a bit harder. There is a great pizza available almost every place you go in Croatia.

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© Bonč

Štrukli

Sometimes štrukli is claimed by Zagreb. But, it's suspiciously close to dishes prepared in both Slovenia and Austria. We prefer to allocate this boiled or baked pie-type dish to Zagorje, the agricultural region over the mountain, north of Zagreb. The land, agriculture, food and recipes of Zagorje inform the capital's cuisine more than anywhere else. Štrukli comes with all manner of fillings, although the most popular (and the best we've tried) comes filled with cheese.

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© BiHVolim

Zeljanica

Zeljanica is burek made with spinach. Except in Bosnia, where burek je samo s' mesom! (burek is only with meat!) There, it is only called zeljanica. Nobody in Zagreb is going to shout at you if you ask for burek with spinach. The spinach is wrapped in rolls of pastry before being cooked, the outside layers baking, the inside layers being steamed. Fans who cook this at home should really try a combination of spinach and feta-like or fresh cheese - it's delicious, but almost never on sale to the public.

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© Kokini recepti

Ćoravi gulaš

A peasant stew translated as blind goulash, this thick and tasty soup-like dish boasts potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, parsley and sometimes peas. It is flavoured with ground paprika, salt, pepper, bay leaves and garlic. Best eaten with artisan or homemade crusty bread, this is a brilliant light lunch or inexpensive evening meal.

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© Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Fritaja sa šparogama

Asparagus is one of those foods, like sprouts, which you probably avoid as a kid, but can't get enough of when you grow up (after you've lost your extra taste buds). They certainly can't get enough of it in some parts of Istria, where there are festivals dedicated to the delicacy. You're sure to find fritaja sa šparogama on the menu of the best traditional Istrian restaurants during the vegetable's growing season. This egg-based dish also contains onions, olive oil, simple seasoning and often herbs. It's great for breakfast, brunch or lunch, eaten with crusty bread and it's a super treat when served with goats cheese and cold Istrian white wine like malvasia. Yum.

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© V Cirillo

Maneštra

Another dish from Istria, these days this stew-like soup is sometimes flavoured with meats. But in its traditional peasant serving it is a vegetarian favourite, comprised of beans, potatoes and sweet corn and flavoured with garlic and parsley.

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Burek is the most common vegetarian food in Croatia © Nikola Škorić

Sirnica

This is burek with a cheese filling, except in Bosnia where... you know the rest.

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Stews like Đuveđ make up a large percentage of the vegetarian food in Croatia © Rainer Zenz

Đuveđ

Đuveđ, sometimes called Đuvec, is a stew of Turkish descent. Its ingredients vary depending on who's cooking and what's in season, but it's not uncommon to find all of the following in this inviting dish - tomatoes, onions, carrot, courgette, aubergine and rice. Flavour can come from a variety of herbs, including oregano, thyme, rosemary and/or marjoram, depending on the chef and region, also salt, pepper and paprika powder.

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Of all the burek / pies in the list of best vegetarian food in Croatia, Bučnica is perhaps the most extravagant © Bučnica fest

Bučnica

Bučnica is arguably the most extravagant of all the burek/pies as its filling has the greatest number of ingredients. Inside its layers of pastry, you will find pumpkin, fresh cheese, sour cream, eggs, butter, salt and pepper. It's seen more frequently in autumn after pumpkins are harvested.

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© zeevveez

Sataraš

Though small in ingredients and simple to prepare, it's really easy to make a mess of sataraš. For the best results, always cook the ingredients in this order - onions, then peppers, tomatoes towards the end. This light vegetable stew is from Hungary and their best version uses the lightest of fresh peppers and the freshest tomatoes. Garlic is often added. Similar to French ratatouille, in other regions, they add courgettes and chilli powder to the dish. This is essentially simple, inexpensive, peasant food. To ramp it up to gastro-levels, try cooking one or all elements separately and then combining together at the end, like a salad. This works especially well with the peppers. Approaching sataraš in this non-traditional way preserves the individual flavours of each vegetable and stops it turning into a uniformly tasting mush.

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Pasta with truffles, one of the most opulent offerings of vegetarian food in Croatia © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Fuži s tartufom

This Istrian pasta dish shines its spotlight on locally-sourced truffles. You can find it made with both the more common black truffles or the rarer (and more expensive) white truffles. If it's made with truffle oil, give it a miss - it's not the real deal. Unusually for a pasta dish, this one often makes use of butter. It adds to the luxuriousness of the taste.

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© Чакаровска

Krumpiruša

You might hear one or two people insist that Croatians don't usually eat meals that include more than one carbohydrate. This small number of people are usually from Zagreb and presumably forgot about krumpiruša (or indeed that many ask for bread to accompany their sarma - which contains rice - and is served atop mashed potato). Krumpiruša is lowly in ingredients, but one of the most satisfying pastries in Croatia. For the best results, again, use white pepper to season if you're making it at home.

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Youtube screenshot © Sašina Kuhinja

Zlevanka

To an outsider, zlevanka sounds like the name of the charming lady who rents you a holiday home in Montenegro. It's actually a speciality sweet pie from northern Croatia (particularly Međimurje), a peasant dish made with eggs, sugar, salt, cornflour, milk, fresh cheese or sour cream, yeast and oil. The cornflour is essential to give it the snack its distinct yellow colour. You might also see it called bazlamača, zlevka or kukuruznjača. Even sweeter versions are available which include apple or poppy seeds.

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© Cyrus Roepers

Gibanica

Popular all over the Balkans, in Turkey, Syria and in German-speaking nations, the origin of gibanica is a fight for some other writer. We're only concerned with the delicious taste of this strudel, which stars egg and cottage cheese. It can be served as a sweet or savoury snack.

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Soparnik is the undisputed king of vegetarian food in Croatia © Marc Rowlands

Soparnik

Profiled recently in a popular TCN feature, soparnik is the king of Croatian snacks. It is the rarest, usually only found in the Dalmatian hinterland behind Omiš. It is also the most authentically-Croatian item of food on this list. Blitva (a hardy, green chard), a little onion and salt are the filling inside this delicate, thin pastry, which is cooked in huge rounds on a traditional wood-fired oven. Delicious olive oil and tiny pieces of garlic are placed on top while it is still warm.

If you want to try some of the best vegetarian food in Croatia, check out this list of vegetarian restaurants

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Saturday, 13 July 2019

Water Supply, Wastewater System to Be Improved in Dalmatian Towns

ZAGREB, July 13, 2019 - The water supply and wastewater management system in the towns of Trilj, Otok and Dicmo in the Split hinterland will be reconstructed and improved by the implementation of a 248 million kuna project co-funded by the European Union, and to this end two agreements were signed in Trilj on Saturday.

Under this scheme, 133 million kuna will be set aside as non-repayable funds from the EU Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014 - 2020 .

The water network and sewerage pipes as well as wastewater treatment facilities in the Trilj-Otok-Dicmo agglomeration will be reconstructed and extended in compliance with the relevant EU directives.

Attending the ceremony, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković underscored the importance of the project for the Cetinska Krajina region.

He also cited figures on a rise in the number of contracts concluded by Croatia on EU-funded projects.

During the term of this government, contracts have been concluded for 70% of EU funds as against 9% at the start of the term, and that means 7.5 billion kuna, said the premier.

Of that amount, 2.6 billion has been absorbed, and this will also accelerate as now large-scale projects are in the pipeline, according to the premier's explanation.

All that brings about palpable effects for the quality of life of citizens, he added.

Trilj Mayor Ivan Šipić said that the project would help to revive the region and create hundreds of jobs.

More news about EU funds can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Dalmatian Hinterland: Tourism Ideas in Imotski Reach New Heights

As Braco Cosic/Novac writes on the 13th of June, 2019, Imotski locals are definitely entering the core of tourism with their hearts and souls. They've combined their traditional hospitality with a beautiful setting and well-equipped holiday homes, as well as a range of more excellent offers and adaptations for guests visiting this part of the Dalmatian hinterland.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the reviews made by international guests are so good for Imotski, nor is it odd that Imotski locals who rent out properties to tourists already have many, many weeks reserved.

Not even Istria can boast of what Imotski can at the moment. This twenty percent higher number of overnight stays achieved in the first five months of 2019 compared to the same period last year finally confirms that the Imotski region has become a recognisable tourist destination in this part of Croatia, Slobodna Dalmacija writes.

And now, the owners of about three hundred or so holiday homes in the Imotski area, most of them located in very quiet, more rural areas, are finding all possible ways of combining all they can in terms of tourism, surprising their international guests. They feel that within what Imotski already offers, which is peace and a quiet environment, beautiful scenery and landscapes, cycling and hiking trails, kids' playgrounds... there must be something else to add into the mix, too.

And that's exactly what's been being talked about for a long time now, and that's the offer of local Imotski cuisine. Collaboration with small family farms is one of the most serious and obvious options to take this idea to the next level in terms of tourism, but Imotski locals have found yet another solution.

A great example was found in Runovići. In September last year, Marijan Puljiz decided to join the respectable group of private renters in Imotski. Activating all of his hard-earned savings in decorating his new home, and this summer, he's begun to rent out his four star star "Đikano" to tourists for the first time. But he didn't just stop there, Marijan went a step further.

"I wanted to offer  sport and recreation and healthy homemade food to guests, and all of that is within reach. Simply said, about thirty meters from the house is a sort of ''self-service''. The house has finely decorated rooms, fireplaces, and kitchens. There's no imported material. The stone and wood is from Imotski, and the environment around the house is full of greenery. The swimming pool is also lined with domestic material. There's a gym, and all of the most important content that you'd see on the Azur coast. The tennis court is Olympic sized, and its quality is such that the state championship could be held on it.

And what's special is what I offer them [guests] for free, without any charge. Around the house, they have a whole green ''self-service''. In the gardens I own, there are orchards, I give vineyards, homemade, clean food and fruit and vegetables without any artificial fertilisers or pesticides,''

This Imotski local who is taking his tourism game up a notch also has other gardens boasting peppers, cucumbers, beets, potatoes, carrots, salads, rocula, blitva, spinach and more. Not to mention grapes.

''Practically since mid-June to the end of October they have a self-service full of home grown products. The guests are free to take as much as they like, and thank God, the gardens are full,'' noted Marijan.

If a guest wants some homemade cheese, prosciutto, bread with homemade flour, or domestic chicken meat or some other meat in cooperation with my friends who are healthy food producers, I'm ready to bring them all of that,'' added Marijan.

"I want all of my offer to be domestic from Imotski, because we have that and we can do it,'' is Marijan's main message.

Follow our dedicated travel page for much more.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Can Dalmatian Hinterland Expect Significant Tourism Growth?

While having increased in popularity over the last couple of years owing primarily to active tourism, the Dalmatian hinterland tends to live in the shadow of its coastal cousin, but is all that about to change?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of December, 2018, the calculations of the Institute for Croatian Tourism show that the number of overnight stays in Split-Dalmatia County could rise by 30 percent, mostly in the Dalmatian hinterland, by more than 200 percent. The study in which these figures were presented was entitled "Measuring Sustainability of Tourism in Practice".

Tourism Institute researcher Zoran Klarić explained that Split-Dalmatia County tourism would be able to achieve a presumed growth of 30 percent, but only if certain obstacles are dealt with and removed before that goal, Slobodna Dalmacija reports.

"When it comes to the biggest development obstacles, we've come across an unacceptable situation with waste disposal, a power system on the edge of durability, a water supply system that depends on a single source in the case of Split, inadequate drainage, and very weak traffic power, plus parking spaces," said Klarić.

He explained that tourism in that particular county was explored through five parts: Split, the Split riviera, the Makarska riviera, the Dalmatian hinterland, Brač, Hvar, and Vis. In addition to the Dalmatian hinterland, which could account for 200 percent growth, the biggest potential for growth lies on the nearby island of Brač, where calculations show potential of up to 50 percent growth, Slobodna Dalmacija writes.

Through the additional number of guests who could come to Croatia over the coming years, the institute calculated that the potential increase of tourists could be as much as 250,000 per year. According to estimates, the largest number of overnight stays would be made by Makarska riviera (two million) followed by the Split riviera (one million and 950 thousand), while Split would see as many as 670,000 overnight stays realised.

In the coming years, the number of hospitality and tourist zones could increase, to 145 with a total of 95,000 beds on offer.

"It's almost twice the capacity available today in this type of accommodation," the institute noted, adding that there is currently no indication that the growth of tourism in private accommodation which otherwise currently accounts for about 80 percent of Split-Dalmatia County's overall accommodation capacity today will be limited.

Despite these indicators, which can be taken in both a positive and a negative way, tourism has some limitations in parts of the aforementioned county. The lack of labour is a big problem, and one which will continue to grow, and the Makarska riviera has a particular issue with its overall beach capacity.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated travel and lifestyle pages for more. If you're interested solely in the Dalmatian hinterland, make sure to follow Total Inland Dalmatia.

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