Thursday, 7 April 2022

Traditional Festivities in Slavonia - Unmissable Events

7th of April 2022 - There are a lot of festivities you can visit in Slavonia - from beer and food festivals that became really popular in recent years, to modernized cultural manifestations which teach us something new. However, traditional festivities in Slavonia which are held for more than half a century, are still an irreplaceable staple of this region.

When reviewing the list of festivities in Croatia, a tourist or even a Croatian citizen, is shocked by the variety and content Croatia organizes every year for their visitors. Urban, cultural, and gourmand festivals are in forefront of most tours and offers, especially with summer coming soon and since Croatia became a really popular destination among tourists, they also got more interested in the tradition and cultural heritage of the region they visit. For instance, Dubrovnik, which is a jewel of the Adriatic coast, not only attracts visitors with its gourmand offers or beautiful historic sites like Tvrđava, they also have the Dubrovnik Summer Festival (Dubrovačke ljetne igre) which brings visitors closer to tradition and the way native people of Dubrovnik lived centuries ago. This event brings Dubrovnik back to the golden age of renaissance and baroque, the living spirit of drama and music, and many more, which were bestowed upon Croatian cultural and scholarly history. That’s why Dubrovnik is so good at tourist offers, they bring everything to everyone. 

However, with different tourists comes different tastes and recent years showed an increase in interest in Eastern Croatia, more precisely, Slavonia and Baranja, which are labeled as more “rural, folk” regions. Slavonians and Baranians recognized the potential these regions have and started adapting to tourists' wishes and needs. Yes, they devised and organized multiple new festivals that will be held for many years to come but they realized their traditional festivals, which are really popular with lovers of everything related to tradition and locals, need more exposure. 

Đakovački vezovi - Đakovo 

Today, Đakovački vezovi is a well-known and affirmed manifestation of original folklore. The first manifestation occurred in July 1967, as part of then the International Year of Tourism and from the beginning, the event was a great success with people from Slavonia and beyond. The main event kept its original date and it’s held every year in July. Contents of the festival include original folklore from Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srijem, and other parts of Croatia with accompanying events such as the opening of various exhibitions, equestrian events, and other cultural and tourist events. The entire city participates in the event and in 2005, it received the International Tourism Charter (European Federation of Tourist Journalists based in Rome) Merits for Tourism. Thousands of folk costumes pulled from the chest of oblivion, thousands of participants from Slavonia, Baranja, the whole of Croatia, even Europe, and the world, bring us songs, dances, and customs of their homeland for decades in Đakovo. If you’re a gourmet, you’re settled. Hundreds of different dishes are served and ready for degustation. Wine lover? Multiple winemakers with their best wines are ready to show off their products which are a reflection of the beautiful, rich region of Slavonia. Artists, folk, history lovers, and even animal lovers can come and have the time of their lives which makes it one of the largest and most popular traditional festivities in Slavonia. For more details, check out their official website.

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 The opening of "Đakovački vezovi" in 2019 (photo credit: Photo Gallery - djakovacki-vezovi.hr)

Vinkovačke jeseni (Vinkovci Autumns) - Vinkovci

Definitely, the largest cultural event in the region, arguably in Croatia and some would say, in this part of Europe. The First Vinkovačke jeseni was organized in September 1966 and soon became one of the most famous festivals of its kind in all of Croatia. The foreground of the manifestation is the care of traditional folk dances, costumes, and customs in order to preserve various values of folk and traditional life of Slavonia. What’s really interesting is the fact that the manifestation is organized in September because of autumn - a season that rewards Slavonians for their hard work. After its founding, the festival soon began to connect all lovers of cultural heritage, not just Slavonia, but all the regions in Croatia. So every year hundreds of Folklore Societies from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, and many more come to Vinkovci to display their culture to visitors. However, they didn’t stop there. Organizers recognized the tourist potential of their event and upgraded it for modern times, so apart from the main event which signifies a closure of Vinkovačke jeseni, the whole week before the opening is dedicated to its visitors! For instance, the opening of the event comes with a big performance by the local theatre with other guests from all over Croatia and in the evening the concerts of the biggest Croatian music stars begin, every evening of the week! Personally, I watched biggest Croatian performers on Vinkovačke jeseni stage like Dino Dvornik, Severina, Jelena Rozga, Klapa Intrade, Giuliano, Prljavo Kazalište and so many more. It truly is for everyone. Then, when the show of the manifestation ends on the last day of the week with the biggest folklore parade in this part of Europe (nationally televised), with the most popular folk and traditional commentator in Croatia, Branko Uvodić, every visitor feels enriched with Slavonian tradition, cultural heritage, food, art, folklore and more. That’s why Vinkovačke jeseni is one of the biggest traditional festivities in Slavonia and one of the best representatives of Croatian traditional, cultural heritage in this part of Europe. For more details, visit their official page. If you want to read more about Vinkovci, check this TCN article.

 

 

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"Vinkovačke jeseni" parade - the main event on the last day (photo credit: Vinkovačke Jeseni - Facebook page)

Aurea Fest - Zlatne žice Slavonije (Golden Wires of Slavonia) - Požega 

In the middle of Slavonia lies the city of Požega, located in the hilly parts of the region where none of the roads are straight - a place where hills are dotted with roads. Surrounded by the old hills of Psunj, Papuk, Krndija, Dilj, and Požeška Gora and home of the famous Croatian poet, Dobriša Cesarić, it doesn’t seem odd that this city is the home of one of the biggest traditional, cultural and musical events of folklore, tamburitza but also pop music, which has been held in Požega since 1969, with a break between 1981 and 1990. Zlatne žice Slavonije today is a four-day event with more than 40,000 visitors and more than 100 accredited journalists from several countries. Songs, top-tier wines, gastronomy events, concerts, exhibitions, art colonies, sports competitions, folklore festivals and other events are slowly making Požega and the Golden Valley one of the tourist destinations in Croatia in September. It hosted multiple Croatian musicians (mostly “tamburaši”) like Gazde, Zlatni Dukati, Miroslav Škoro, Slavonske lole and so many more. CDs and cassettes were pretty popular back in the day, which meant that almost every Slavonian household had a copy of musical repertoire from Golden Wires of Slavonia! So, if you visit Slavonia, definitely visit Požega in September - great content, songs, dances, food, and most importantly, people. The main event, the concert, is nationally televised on HRT every year. For more information, visit their official page.

For now, we’re stopping here. There are a lot of traditional festivities in Slavonia but these three events are staples of traditional festivities in Slavonia and the whole of Croatia. From entertainment to food and sports recreation, these manifestations are unmissable events if you want to visit Slavonia. Slavonian spirit cannot be recreated anywhere else, so if you want to relax further after a summer tour of the Adriatic, come to Slavonia, they’re going to welcome you with open arms.

For more, make sure to check out our travel section.

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, 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, 1 September 2020

Djakovo: Pay for an Apple as You Pick It from a Tree!

September 1, 2020 - Whoever wants an apple, can come to Marijan's orchard, pick it from a tree and pay 3 kuna per kilogram. Marijan Bakula, a fruit grower from Djakovo, will soon open the door of his truly unique orchard-supermarket.

In the last week of September or the first one in October, depending on the weather conditions, Djakovo-based fruit grower Marijan Bakula will open the doors of his unique orchard - supermarket, so that for the third year in a row customers will become pickers again and be able to get their hands on quality apples at a symbolic price. This year, the price of the queen of fruit, as well as other fruits and vegetables, went up on the shelves (and by more than ten kuna), and Bakula will sell it in his "fruit supermarket" for three kuna. Depending on the deadline for the harvest, there is a possibility that he will lower the price even further, writes Glas Slavonije.

Placement and workforce

"Last year, buyers picked a crop of 800 apple trees in literally a day and a half, depending on whether they picked the apples or picked them up from the ground, but the fruit went so quickly that there was no time for it to fall to the ground, really. All this for 2 to 2.5 kuna/kg. I gave out some of the apples last year for just one kuna. This autumn I'm going with a unique price of three kuna, because last year, when I settled everything, I had net earnings of 1,500 euros. Besides, I received information that the state would protect this fruit at the price of four kuna," said Bakula.

This fruit grower decided on an unusual harvest back in 2018 when he was left without the previous placement of apples from his orchard on one hectare near the fuel station towards Satnica Đakovačka. He came up with the idea of ​​how to get rid of fruit with which he had nowhere to go after losing a customer, and according to the “customer is also an apple picker” model, he also solved his labour problem at the same time. In the first year, he was selling an apple for a kuna and a half, and then for two kuna. His call was immediately met with a massive response - buyer-pickers came individually, in groups, as families, spouses came... some were picking fruit, others were buying it from where it had fallen onto the ground, at a lower price for the winter, in order to make jam, juice and more.

Others are clearing the orchard

"Last year, 15 tonnes of fruit were harvested in my orchard. This year, too, the orchard gave us a lot of fruit," said Bakula, as evidenced by the yellow and red apples on his branches, depending on whether the apple is a Golden Delicious, a Jonagold, an Idared, a Gloucester…

In the first coronavirus-dominated harvest, as Bakula announced, things will take place with disinfectants, gloves, masks at the entrance, and his own bags. He says it is a benefit that this job is all done outdoors. Until the new self-service harvest comes to be, there will be a wooden checkpoint - a lookout in the orchard. "From it, as the highest point here, there's a great view of Đakovo, and customers will be able to drink coffee in our arrangement for free," announced Bakula. This year, he expects that buyers-pickers will take about 25 tonnes of apples home with them.

While he has found a formula for where to go with his fruit, other fruit growers in the Djakovo region are cutting down their orchards - from the former 200 hectares, there are now less than 100 hectares, so fruit growers expect state aid programmes. Last year, with 20 million kuna each for apples and mandarins, state aid paid them grants to mitigate the damage caused by unharvested and unpicked fruit, so that it would not become a source of disease.

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Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Djakovo Company Awarded NATO Certificate

ZAGREB, June 24, 2020 - The HEMCO company from the eastern town of Djakovo has been awarded an Allied Quality Assurance Publications (AQAP) quality management certificate, which was presented to company officials on Wednesday by Assistant Defence Minister Roman Mikulic.

Mikulic said the certificate meant that the company was entering the NATO family and expressed hope it would also be manufacturing equipment for NATO member-countries' forces in the future.

"Products of Croatian companies that produce equipment for the Croatian Army are all of top quality. The Defence Ministry and the Croatian Army strongly support the Croatian defense industry because we believe that our army is as strong as is our defense industry," said Mikulic.

HEMCO was established 28 years ago and employs more than 150 workers.

It manufactures combat uniforms, uniforms for pilots and tank squads, official uniforms and workwear, and safetywear.

(Hina) rml

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Đakovo Social Welfare Centre Shooter Arrested by Police

ZAGREB, July 10, 2019 - The man, suspected of killing a social worker and wounding a legal adviser in the Đakovo social welfare centre on Tuesday morning, was arrested on Tuesday evening after an extensive police search for him, the local law enforcement authorities said.

The man, who escaped the shooting scene on a bicycle, was on the run for a few hours and the police found him near an entry to the motorway outside the eastern Croatian town of Đakovo in the evening.

Minister of Demography, the Family, Youth and Social Policy Nada Murganić, who arrived in Đakovo on Tuesday afternoon to support the local social welfare centre, described the shooting as dreadful.

The social worker Blaženka Poplašen was killed and the centre's legal adviser, Ivan Pavić, was seriously wounded by the shooter, who is presumed to have mental illness and who has a criminal record. According to information provided by the police, the man opened fire from firearms and killed the social worker and wounded the other employee in the centre and then escaped on a bicycle.

The wounded employee was admitted to the Osijek hospital and according to the latest information he is still in a critical condition.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković expressed their condolences to the family of the killed social worker and condemned the shooting in the strongest terms.

The premier said on Tuesday evening that the police were conducting an investigation to establish all the circumstances of the tragic incident.

More Đakovo news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

53rd Đakovo Folklore Festival Starts

ZAGREB, July 6, 2019 - The 53rd Đakovo Folklore Festival (Đakovački Vezovi) started in that eastern Croatian town on Friday evening, this year's partner country being Slovakia.

The festival, launched in 1967 on the occasion of International Tourist Year, has to date grown into the biggest symbol of preservation of traditional heritage.

The event was opened by Slovak Ambassador Peter Susko, Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić, Osijek-Baranja County head Ivan Anušić and Đakovo Mayor Marin Mandarić.

Anušić said that the Đakovo festival was one of the biggest events of the kind in Croatia and the biggest one in Osijek-Baranja County.

Mayor Manadrić thanked Slovakia for accepting the invitation to be the partner-country of this year's festival.

"I'm glad that along with the Slavonian folklore tradition, this year we will also be able to see the folklore tradition of Slovakia as well as a dozen other countries from around the world," he said.

The festival continues on Saturday and Sunday, when its central event will take place - a parade of 61 folklore troupes from Croatia and abroad, with horse-drawn wedding carriages, horsemen and other participants.

The event closes on Sunday evening, with the selection of the most beautiful traditional costumes.

More news about festivals in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Digital Croatia: Best Large ''Digital'' Cities Zagreb and Rijeka

Just how close are we to a real digital Croatia? The answer is unclear and as varied as ever, but some Croatian cities have shown promise with some rather impressive and encouraging results.

As Novac/Gradonacelnik.hr writes on the 23rd of April, 2019, although more and more cities are gradually digitising their business and investing in smart city solutions, and some of the most advanced have almost completely switched to doing solely digital business, generally speaking, Croatian cities are only in the very early stages of the much needed digital transition, just as Croatia is, as a country, at the very bottom in Europe in terms of the digital readiness of general society and the economy.

As the methodology for ranking cities in terms of digital readiness is only at its very beginning even at the European level, stories and analysis of the "smart city" concept development here in Croatia are still very much based on individual experiences, examples and projects.

That is why, in order to gain a real elementary insight into the digitalisation of Croatia's services and the communication of the country's many city administrations with citizens, experts from Apsolon, a consulting company specialising in digital business development, has undertaken the very first major study of the ''digital readiness'' of twenty of the largest cities across Croatia. This study, according to project manager and smart management director at Apsolon, Ivana Novoselec, is the basis for the further development of research tools and methodology that will track the development and progress of Croatia's cities on an annual basis.

In its study, Apsolon divided the cities into three categories - large (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek), middle (Zadar, Velika Gorica, Slavonski Brod, Pula and Karlovac) and smaller cities (Sisak, Varaždin, Šibenik, Dubrovnik, Bjelovar, Kaštela, Samobor, Vinkovci, Koprivnica, Đakovo, Vukovar.)

The digital readiness index at Apsolon was set based on several criteria - the availability of e-services (the number of administrative services and their digitalisation rate in Croatia), the availability of site service information and the development of unified services for making payments in the city, then came the availability of city data, the level of citizen participation in decision making and communication channels between the city administration and citizens, ie, the availability of data and time in which citizens receive answers to their various questions. At this stage, Apsolon hasn't entered into the internal processes in Croatia's city administrations, but rather focused on what services are offered to the city's citizens and how long such things typically take.

After this type of indexing and ranking, the title of the ''digitisation champion'' among the Croatian cities was awarded to the City of Rijeka, thus confirming its status as the best city in the Smart City category which it won last year. Apsolon pointed out that the City of Rijeka has achieved the greatest advances in the systematic raising of the quality of its services, but also the opening of data and communication channels to citizens.

"Rijeka as the most advanced city in Croatia in terms of digitisation and is characterised in particular by the emphasis on openness and communication with its citizens. Its administration is oriented towards clear communication (a very clear centralised e-services approach with well-organised access to all automated services and available forms), openness and participatory management," said project manager Ivana Novoselac.

In many categories, especially those relating to the functional aspects of digitisation (advanced digital services, e-citizen connectivity, etc.), Rijeka is followed closely by the City of Zagreb.

The city of Pula is the most advanced middle-size city in Croatia, which also presents its services and available information to its citizens in a systematic and very detailed way, raising standards in terms of transparency and interaction with citizens, and is certainly a champion among cities with between 50.000 and 100.000 inhabitants.

In relation to the criteria relating to specific functional and technological solutions, Karlovac, Velika Gorica and Zadar follow. For the City of Karlovac the large number of available administrative procedures on its website and responses to citizens' inquiries are generally quick made it stand out from the crowd.

Among the small cities in Croatia, there is no distinctly dominant digital champion, but according to research findings in different aspects of digitisation, Dubrovnik, Samobor, Sisak, Koprivnica and Varaždin appear to be the most successful ones, according to this research. Among the prominent representatives of this category, Dubrovnik is strategically trying to profile as Smart City and has a high quality City Card, e-Visitor platform, is very active on social networks and it continuing to develop innovative application solutions. When it comes to the number of digitally available services, Koprivnica ranks above all.

Samobor, which is particularly active on social networks and is the category winner for social networking, has a very comprehensive and interactive website which separates the site accordingly and has adjusted all of the information for citizens and for visitors, as well as separating foreign visitors from domestic ones.

It should also be noted that Bjelovar is extremely proactive in the field of the digitalisation of its administration, it is working on applicative transparency solutions as well as on internal digitalisation processes. What is particularly commendable is Bjelovar's focus on the digitalisation of its internal processes.

Make sure to follow our dedciated lifestyle page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Novac/Jutarnji/Gradonacelnik.hr

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Croatian Robotics Team from Đakovo Enters Final of International Competition

As Index writes on the 8th of December, 2018, a talented Croatian robotics team from the Josip Antun Ćolčić elementary school in Đakovo has been placed into the final round of the MakeX competition, among sixteen of the best teams in the world.

The members of the Croatian team, Ana Švegli and Iva Mijakić, under the mentorship of Tomislav Milanović, impressed all those present in China where the competition in educational robotics, MakeX, is being held.

The Croatian competition has been organised by the Institute for Development and Innovation of the Youth (IRIM). The aim of this, as well as of all of the other projects, is to enable all students in the Republic of Croatia to have equal opportunities participate in the development of robotics, automatics, and other needed programming skills.

The most successful Croatian robotics team from the national MakeX competition flew all the way to China, and this competition is otherwise IRIM's most extensive educational and competitive project to date, as well as the largest unified robotics competition in the whole of Europe. An afternoon of preparations now awaits the innovative young Đakovo robotics team, and tomorrow will bring the final round of the competition. Other teams are continuing on with technical challenges as an additional part of the competition.

"The tempo of the competition is very demanding, but our team is fantastic. Many of them are getting along well with the teams from China and from other countries, and here, we're (almost) an attraction, everyone wants to get a picture with the teams,'' wrote Paolo Zenzerović of the Institute for Development and Innovation of the Youth on his Facebook profile.

In addition to the competition itself, the presentation of Makeblock products was also held today, and the Croatian robotics team played around with a laser cutter and made a personalised Croatian Makers bear, they also got to see a fully functional wooden mBot robot.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated Made in Croatia and lifestyle pages for more on Croatia's young talent, as well as on domestic innovation and technology.

Monday, 25 June 2018

100,000 Visitors Expected for Folklore Festival in Đakovo

“Đakovački Vezovi” is one of the oldest and largest folklore events in the region.

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