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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Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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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.

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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, 10 February 2021

Croatian Pioneers and Inventors: Croats Who Changed the World

February 10, 2021 –For a relatively small country, Croatia punches above its weight in terms of global impact. Croatian pioneers, inventors and artists have changed the lives of millions and the world in which they live. Here are just a few of them

For a relatively small country, Croatia punches above its weight in terms of global impact. And, no, this time we're not talking about football or olive oil. Croatian pioneers, inventors and artists have changed the lives of millions and the world in which they live. Now, a new exhibition is about to open in Zagreb which collects Croatian pioneers together in just tribute.

'Croatia to the World' is the title of the exhibition and it looks at not only Croatian pioneers and inventors but also prominent scientists, artists, writers and researchers. The exhibition, which is jointly organised by the Croatian media title Večernji list, opens on February 12 in Zagreb's Meštrović Pavilion, otherwise known as the House of Croatian Artists. 1500 exhibits demonstrate the ingenuity and achievements of Croatian pioneers, with each accompanied by text that tells you about the individuals and the significance of their work.

Ranging from household names to the unjustly overlooked, here are some of the Croatian pioneers from the exhibition who have changed the world.

Croatian pioneers who changed the world

Ruđer Bošković

rudjer-boskovic.jpgRuđer Bošković (1711 – 1787) © Zagreb City Libraries

It's difficult to imagine the mind Dubrovnik-born polymath Ruđer Bošković was blessed with. He was a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, engineer, writer, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian and also became a Jesuit priest. Perhaps today remembered best for his visionary predictions in the realms of physics - including the idea of the relativity of space and time and the constant speed of light - and his lasting discoveries in the field of astronomy, the most trivial of which is perhaps the easiest to explain (he discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon) in his time, he was famed across Europe for much more besides. The world-famous Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, Croatia's largest institute of natural sciences and technology, now stands as a permanent testament to him and his achievements.

Josip Belušić

1584015909josip_belusic.jpgJosip Belušić (1847 - 1905) © Public domain

An Istrian-born inventor, Josip Belušić's best-known creation is the speedometer, which instantaneously informs the speed of the vehicle in which you're travelling. His invention was installed in every motorised vehicle manufactured thereafter, including motorbikes, boats and cars.

Faust Vrančić

FaustVRANCIC123.jpgFaust Vrančić (circa 1551 – 1617) © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Born into a well-connected family, it is not possible to attribute Faust Vrančić's breadth of vision solely to a privileged youth and education. His documented imaginings and inventions extended to water, wind and solar energy, mill workings, agricultural machinery, the building of bridges and a forerunner of the parachute which, while later than Leonardo da Vinci's sketchings, is believed to have been the first to have actually been built and tested. A memorial centre on the protected island of Prvić, near his birthplace of Šibenik, is a great place to learn more about him.

Ivan Blaž Lupis Vukić

Luppis-Johannrijek.jpgIvan Blaž Lupis Vukić (1813 – 1875) © Prirodoslovna i grafička škola Rijeka

The great Croatian city of Rijeka had a big part to play in the era of modern Naval warfare, not least for Croatian pioneers developing the torpedo there. Ivan Blaž Lupis Vukić headed a commission to develop the first prototypes of the self-propelled torpedo, perfecting early designs with the help of English engineer Robert Whitehead (from Bolton, near Manchester - the writer of this article went to school with his descendants - Ed).

Antun Lučić

Anthony_F._Lucas1.jpgAntun Lučić (1855 – 1921) © Public domain

Born in Split but raised further up the Adriatic coast in Trieste, after completing his studies in engineering, Antun Lučić must have imagined he might forever apply these skills on the Adriatic ships he subsequently sailed on as a member of the Austro-Hungarian navy. But, his destiny lay elsewhere. Something persuaded him to stay on for longer while he was visiting his uncle near Detroit, Michigan. The Great Lakes which lay just ten kilometres to his north are so vast, perhaps they reminded him of the Adriatic and he felt at home? He scored a job in a local sawmill, but he couldn't suppress his engineer's instinct and set about improving their saw machinery. It was perhaps his success in doing so that persuaded him to return to more engineering-based endeavours. He went to work as a mechanical engineer in the mining industry, in which he stayed for 13 years. He ended up working for a salt mining company. By this time he'd learned the relationship between salt deposits, sulphur, natural gas, and oil deposits so, when he visited the Sour Spring Mound, south of Beaumont, Texas in 1899, instinct told him that something worth drilling for lay beneath this distinct topography. He was right. It took a fair amount of begging and borrowing to attain the funds required to drill to the necessary 347 metres but, on 10 January 1901, mud and water erupted from the drill hole, followed by a stream of crude oil that reached 46 metres into the air. The eruption lasted nine days, flowing between 70,000 and 100,000 barrels per day, before finally being brought under control. The significance of his work cannot be overstated. As well as the many innovations he constructed specifically for this kind of drilling and capping, Lučić is considered to be the founder of modern petroleum reservoir engineering. He helped revolutionize world fuel use, transformed the economy of southeast Texas, made the automobile a viable, widespread transport option and made the city of Houston the centre of an American oil industry, which thereafter surpassed Russia as the world's leading producer. Lučić subsequently served as the lifelong chairman of the American Committee for Oil and Gas.

Saint Jerome

1754px-Italian_Emilian_-_St_Jerome_in_Penitence_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgSaint Jerome In Penitence © Dulwich Picture Library. Saint Jerome lived circa 342/347 – 420

Born on the borders of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia, Jerome of Stridon was a priest and writer who is best known for his translation of most of the Bible from Hebrew into Latin. It took him some 20 years to complete and he went to live in the region once known as Judea (today's Israel) in order to fully learn the language. Beyond any religious reference, his work still shapes the laws, customs and culture of the European continent today - much of its construction has its foundations in his Bible translation and commentary.

Nikola Tesla

AnyConv.com__N.Tesla_1.jpgNikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) © Public domain

Arguably the most famous of all Croatian pioneers, Tesla was an inventor and hugely innovative engineer who applied his visionary mind to the fields of early x-rays, wireless power supply, electromagnetic radiation, radio waves and much, much more. However, he is best known for pioneering the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system by which electricity is safely distributed to every home, street and business to this day. Over 130 streets are named after him in Croatia.

Herman Potočnik Noordung

Herman_Potocnik_Noordung.jpgHerman Potočnik (1892 – 1929) © Public domain

Often eclipsed in modern memory by the achievements of the American space programme, the first astronaut in space was actually Russian Yuri Gagarin . He completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Yet his achievements perhaps help eclipse that of a Pula-born Croatian pioneer who was concerned with space travel some three decades earlier. Way back in 1928, Herman Potočnik Noordung published his sole book, Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums - der Roketen-Motor (The Problem of Space Travel - The Rocket Motor) in which, over 188 pages and 100 handmade illustrations, Potočnik set out a plan for a breakthrough into space and the establishment of a permanent human presence there. He conceived a detailed design for a space station, regarded by Russian and American historians of space flight to be the first architecture in space, described the potential use of orbiting spacecraft for detailed observation of the ground and how the special conditions of space could be useful for scientific experiments.

Andrija Štampar

AndrijaStampar1.jpgAndrija Štampar (1888 – 1958) © Štampar

Nothing short of a genius, Andrija Štampar was a selfless proponent and pioneer of public health. He ignored class, conventions and ruling regimes in order to benefit the health of millions of everyday people, all over the world, and insisted that anyone holding the position of doctor should do the same. He was imprisoned more than once for his efforts but, undeterred, pursued a path of education and reform, helped to form the World Health Organisation and saved millions of lives.

Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić

Ivana_brlic_mazuranic_II.jpgIvana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874 – 1938) © Public domain

Both born and married into families within the upper echelons of Croatian society, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić is regarded as Croatia's greatest writer for children. Though written over a century ago, her books like 'The Brave Adventures of Lapitch' (Čudnovate zgode šegrta Hlapića) and 'Croatian Tales of Long Ago' (Priče iz davnine) still remain popular. In the latter, she invented fantastical fairytales that referenced ancient folklore, earning her comparisons to Hans Christian Andersen. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature no less than four times and was the first female to enter what is today the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Benedikt Kotruljević

Benedikt_Koturljevic.jpgStatue of Benedikt Kotruljević in Zagreb © Suradnik13. He lived 1416 – 1469

The double-entry bookkeeping system described first by 15th-century merchant, economist, scientist, diplomat and humanist Benedikt Kotruljević remains integral to modern accounting.

Andrija Mohorovičić

AndrijaMihlvc.jpegAndrija Mohorovičić (1857 – 1936) © Davorka Herak and Marijan Herak

No less than the founder of modern seismology, Andrija Mohorovičić was the first person to establish that the geologically alive Earth is covered with large plates whose movement and collision are the cause of earthquakes. He determined the thickness of the Earth's crust and predicted the effects of earthquakes on buildings, as well as working within the areas of meteorology and climatology. He founded the Meteorological Observatory in Zagreb, which remains internationally significant in seismic measurements.

Ivo Andrić

AnyConv.com__1739px-S._Kragujevic_Andric_na_vest_o_N._nagradi_1961.jpgIvo Andrić and his wife in 1961, upon hearing he had been awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature © Stevan Kragujević

In his best works 'Travnička kronika' and 'Na Drini ćuprija', Ivo Andrić (1892 – 1975) offered staggering depictions of the lives of his multi-ethnic countrymen in Bosnia under Ottoman rule. No stranger himself to the volatile changing of regimes in the Balkans, he wrote them while confined to an apartment in Nazi-occupied Belgrade, which today exists a museum in his honour. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961, having been chosen over the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck and E. M. Forster. He donated the entire prize money to the purchase of books for libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Julije Klović

Julije_Klovic_2.jpgPortrait of Julije Klović by El Greco © Public domain. He lived 1498 – 1578

The making of a great book was a much more laboured and careful undertaking in the 16th century, their pages adorned not only with text but vivid ornamental decorations, known as illuminations. Julije Klović's were the greatest of them all. He was the foremost illuminator of the Italian High Renaissance, and arguably the last very notable artist to work within this long tradition. His now priceless works exist in some of the world's most prestigious museums, although an impressive number were brought to Zagreb in 2012 for an exhibition at the famous Klovićevi Dvori gallery, which is named after him.

Marko Marulić

Marko_Marulic_Zagreb.jpgStatue of Marko Marulić in Zagreb © Suradnik13

Born into an aristocratic Dalmatian family, Marko Marulić (1450 – 1524) is today revered in Croatia as the father of the Croatian renaissance, one of the first writers to describe his language as Croatian and something of a national poet. His achievements do actually extend beyond the national obsession – his Christianity-informed writings on humanist and ethical matters were largely produced in Latin and subsequently translated into many languages. His use of the word 'psychology' is the oldest known in literature.

Ivan Meštrović

600-biografija-753-Kopirajmestro.pngIvan Meštrović (1883 – 1962) © Archive of the Ivan Meštrović Museum

The pre-eminent sculptor of his era, you genuinely need to be in the actual presence of Drnis-born Meštrović's major works to understand them. They do not live solitary existences. Instead, they inhabit the space around them, creating indelible memories of time and place. In doing so, his globally famous works help define the cities of Split, Chicago, Belgrade and Zagreb. Incredible!

Marco Polo

Marco_Polo_Mosaic_from_Palazzo_Tursi.jpgMosaic of Marco Polo displayed in the Palazzo Doria-Tursi, Genoa © Public domain. He lived 1254 – 1324

In the age of television and the internet, it's difficult to imagine parts of the world being completely unknown. But, at the time of Korčula-born Marco Polo's travels and subsequent writings, that's exactly what China and the Far East were to the inhabitants of Europe. His book, 'The Travels of Marco Polo' shockingly revealed these lands and their people to a fascinated European populace. Collated over 24 years of life and exploration in the East, the details of his travels helped join these two continents together and the book became the third most translated in the world, after the Bible and the Qur'an.

Gjuro Armeno Baglivi

1525px-Portret_van_Giorgio_Baglivi_op_34-jarige_leeftijd_Georgius_Baglius_aetat._34_titel_op_object_RP-P-1909-5657.jpgPortrait of Gjuro Armeno Baglivi © Public domain

Gjuro Armeno Baglivi (1668 – 1707) was a scientist and physician who helped drag physicians' knowledge of the workings of the human body (and treatment of illness) away from ridiculous, near-baseless assumptions that had existed from the times of Ancient Greece right up until the 17th century. His correct identification that the inner organs were more crucial to functioning health, rather than the nature of the fluids they produced, lead to an early era of human biological understanding that was the first to be based on a scientific observation comparable to that of today.

David Schwarz

HE9_1061scwarz.jpg David Schwarz (1850 – 1897) © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Raised in Županja, Slavonia, David Schwarz was a woodcutter whose own curiosity and problem-solving instincts lead him towards engineering pursuits. Completely self-taught, he successfully set about redesigning woodcutting machinery and thereafter became interested in mechanics and technology. In a rather bold leap, he turned his interest to airships and designed a radical new ship with a rigid envelope made entirely of a relatively new building material - the lightweight metal aluminum. Realisation of the project nearly bankrupted his woodcutting business and made him a laughing stock, but the project eventually got the funding it needed and, after two unsatisfactory models had been tried, Schwarz's airship was successfully flown in Germany, although not until several months after Schwarz had sadly died. Industrialist Carl Berg, who had both funded the project and supplied the aluminum, went on to provide aluminum parts and expertise from the project in the building of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's similarly rigid airships.

Marcel Kiepach

marcel_kiepach_1krz.jpgMarcel Kiepach (1894 - 1915) © krizevci eu

Marcel Kiepach died a soldier on the Russian front in 1915 at the age of just 21. Though all who knew him are surely now also dead, the loss of this young Križevci-born man lingers, because you can't help but think what might have been. Kiepach was a child prodigy. As a boy of just sixteen, he patented a maritime compass that indicates north regardless of the presence of iron or magnetic forces and an improved version in 1911. He patented a dynamo for vehicle lighting that generated power from the mechanical drive of the vehicle itself, which was thereafter used on both cars and bicycles, and he also patented a power switch. Who knows what innovations this youngest of Croatian pioneers would have brought to the world had his life not been cut so short?

Ivan Vučetić

HTE_0823vuketic.jpgIvan Vučetić (1858 – 1925) © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Ivan Vučetić pioneered the use of forensics in law enforcement, specifically fingerprinting. He greatly expanded on previously established ideas in order to make the first positive identification of a criminal in a case, correctly identifying a murderer from a fingerprint left at the scene.

Slavoljub Eduard Penkala

hbl9032penkala.jpgSlavoljub Eduard Penkala (1871 – 1922), one of the Croatian pioneers whose work changed everyday lives © Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography

Naturalised Croat Slavoljub Eduard Penkala was an inventor who, at the time of his death, held 80 patents to his name, including ones for a hot water bottle, a rail-car brake and an anode battery. However, it is for his innovations with pens and pencils for which he is best remembered. He further developed pre-existing ideas for the retractable/mechanical pencil and the first solid-ink fountain pen. One of the Croatian pioneers able to transform his innovations into a successful business, his company TOZ Penkala still operates in Zagreb today – although it's not where we originally get the word 'pen' from, the company and founder's name played a part in this name maintaining its popularised standing.

Franjo Hanaman

Dr._Just_Sándor_és_Hanaman_Ferenc.jpgFranjo Hanaman (seated) and Alexander Just © Public domain

Of all of the Croatian pioneers who changed the world, the biography of Franjo Hanaman (1878 - 1941) is frequently written as the shortest. And yet, you can see his chief innovation inside almost every room you walk into. Franjo Hanaman, from Drenovci, Slavonia, invented the world's first tungsten filament electric light-bulb. The invention was also applied in improving early diodes and triodes. Sometimes it takes just one bright idea to guarantee your place in history...

Lavoslav Ružička and Vladimir Prelog

Lavoslav_Ružićka_1939.jpgLavoslav Ružička (1887 – 1976), one of the Croatian pioneers who won a Nobel Prize  © Nobel Foundation

Vukovar-born, Osijek-educated Lavoslav Ružička was a chemist whose work had wide-reaching implications over several sectors of society. In his early career, his innovations were of benefit to the perfume industry. But, thanks to his lifelong devotion to education, he was drawn into another field. He became interested in steroids and sex hormones and secured his place as a giant in the world of pharmaceuticals with the first synthesis of testosterone. His laboratory thereafter became the world centre of organic chemistry and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1939. His greatest achievements in chemistry actually lay ten years further ahead, though these are nowhere near as easy to explain. He retired in 1957, turning his laboratory over to the younger Croat who for so many years he had mentored - Vladimir Prelog. So much more than a footnote within the story of Lavoslav Ružička, Vladimir Prelog's contributions to the world are also not easy to understand, nor explain as a layman, but he too received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He did so in 1975 for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions.

Vladimir_Prelog_ETH-Bib_Portr_00214.jpgVladimir Prelog  (1906 – 1998) © ETH Zurich

Total Croatia News would like to remind this is only a sample of the Croatian pioneers included in the exhibition. While the number of men included in the exhibition of Croatian pioneers does greatly exceed the number of women, more women are actually included in the exhibition than are represented in this short overview – notably from the fields of opera, ballet, art and photography

Friday, 18 September 2020

PHOTOS: Dinara Nature Park - Croatia's Latest Area of Protected Countryside

September 18, 2020 – Some of the most spectacular views in Croatia can be enjoyed from the mountainous peaks of the soon-to-be designated Dinara Nature Park

On Thursday 17 September 2020, a bill was presented to the Croatian parliament seeking to designate Dinara as the country's next Nature Park. A mountainous region of bountiful vantage points which gift spectacular views, it is also home to the source of the Cetina river and many species of rare flora and fauna. Here, we look at some of Dinara's singular beauty.

118296830_3151739395053360_1702581076563600301_o.jpgThe Dinara mountain © Knin Tourist Board

Rich in natural assets, Croatia already has eight national parks and eleven nature parks. The new Dinara Nature Park would include the Dinara mountain, the Croatian side of Troglav and Kamešnica mountains, the source and upper course of the Cetina River and the Hrvatačko, Paško and Vrličko fields which run along it, a total of almost 63,000 hectares in the Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties.

1024px-P1030043_2.jpgThe source of the Cetina river © Cabrio2

116016279_3121203964773570_8130670753145189708_o.jpgAnother view of the Cetina's source © Knin Tourist Board

Dinara Nature Park - source of the Cetina river

Dinara Nature Park is the source of the Cetina river. Several springs occur at the river's start, near a village called Cetina, not quite halfway between Drniš and the nearby Bosnian border. However, there is one spectacularly coloured lake attributed as the main source. It is several hundred metres deep and is within eyesight of two defensive medieval fortresses, Glavaš and Prozor.

116016279_3122150518012248_3606236428092847625_o.jpgThe foothills of the Dinara are filled with wildflowers © Knin Tourist Board

The mountain peaks of Dinara Nature Park

Standing at 1831 meters, the Dinara mountain is the highest peak in Croatia. Adrian Horos is the ancient Greek name for the Dinara mountain - it means 'border of the Adriatic'. Included within the Dinara Nature Park, the Troglav mountain is even higher. But, Troglav straddles the border with Bosnia. Its peak, standing at 1913 meters, is located on the other side.

100991422_3067354443491856_4877565663943589888_o.jpegThe Dinara Nature Park area has an extended season for hiking and mountaineering, a benefit of its cooler summer temperatures © Knin Tourist Board

Although uninhabited, Dinara is a popular place for hiking and mountain climbing. The activities extend through much of the year and ramblers and gifted with incredible views of Peruća lake and the Svilaj, Promina and Troglav mountains.

Flora and fauna of Dinara Nature Park

Gently rolling hills and fields lie on the approach to the mountain and are filled with wildflowers. Around 750 plant species live in the proposed Dinara Nature Park area. More than 110 are already afforded special protection and 55 are endemic to Croatia.

3241px-Gypful.jpgA Griffon vulture, one of the rare inhabitants of the Dinara Nature Park © Pierre Dalous

The Dinara Nature Park's forests and river-cut valleys are home to animals like the brown bear, wolf, lynx, wild boar, badger and rabbit. The lakes and relative isolation make it a favourite of indigenous or migratory bird species such as the golden eagle, snake eagle, grey falcon, griffon vulture, pheasant, quail, woodpecker and warblers. Around 15 species of endangered lizards, snakes and amphibians also live here.

mountain-5400309_1920.jpeg© Biljana Jovanovic

Geology of Dinara Nature Park - waterfalls and caves

Several caves and waterfalls have been formed in the area's karst rock, the influence of the water which has passed through the region for millennia. One of the waterfalls, Topoljski Buk, also known as Krčić waterfall, is some 22 metres high. You can find it close to the village of Kovačić, near Knin.

Krcic_Knin_Croatia.jpgThe Krčić waterfall near Knin © Wikipedia

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Friday, 18 September 2020

Six of the Best! Croatian Protected Produce On Sale in China

September 18, 2020 – Six items of Croatian protected produce are among the 100 European items to go on sale in China

Six items of Croatian protected produce are among the 100 European items to go on sale in China. In a reciprocal deal, 100 Chinese products will also be recognised and recommended on the European market.

34933c5e0f633c5d1e4f45c5b0cd6dc9_XL.jpgDalmatian prosciutto © TZ Vrgorac

Baranja kulen, Dalmatian prosciutto, Drniš prosciutto, Lika potatoes, Dingač wine and Neretva mandarins are the premium six Croatian protected produce chosen to be among the European 100. All of the Croatian protected produce is already recognised at a national and at an EU-level and designated its status based on its unique place of origin.

Dingač.jpgDingač wine © Silverije

339ed3435d099dd0a91c267af376e8f0_XL.jpgNeretva Mandarins

The European products will be specially marked and receive special privileges when they go on sale in China. Alongside the Croatian protected produce, other items on the European list are French champagne, Greek feta cheese, Italian Parma prosciutto, Italian mozzarella, Irish whiskey and Portuguese port. On the Chinese list of products are distinct varieties of rice, bean and vegetable products, some of which will already be popular with Europeans who eat or cook Chinese cuisine.

_DSC5737_DxO.jpgDrniš prosciutto © Tourist Board of Drniš

The full list of Croatian produce protected at an EU-level currently includes Istrian olive oil, Dalmatian prosciutto, Pag cheese, Lika lamb, Poljički Soparnik, Zagorje turkey, Korčula olive oil, Istrian prosciutto, Sour cabbage from Ogulin, Neretva mandarins, Slavonian honey, Drniš prosciutto, Cres olive oil, Pag salt, Baranja kulen, Bjelovarski kvargl, Varaždin cabbage, Pag lamb, Šolta olive oil, Meso 'z tiblice, Zagorje mlinci, Krk prosciutto, Lika potatoes, Slavonian kulen, Krk olive oil.

MK4_5082.jpegBaranja kulen, featured within a traditional Slavonian platter © Romulić & Stojčić

b9def02b6d20f4f0adb6e889f99af491_XL.jpgLika Potatoes

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Saturday, 29 August 2020

Hidden Dalmatia: Drniš - Drniški Pršut and Meštrović Roots

August 29, 2020 – Hidden Dalmatia returns to the hinterland and there, the historic hillside town of Drniš has plenty to shout about, not least the best prosciutto in Croatia and world-famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović.

It can be hard to explain the Bura to summertime visitors. They bask in the sunshine, swim in the crystal-clear Adriatic and feast on the best seafood, meats, fruits and vegetables given up by the idyllic-looking land which surrounds them. They rarely stay in Dalmatia long enough to experience the autumn and winter months, when the body-bracing Bura comes into play.

It's easier to explain the Bura to those who see the at times alien-looking surface of island Pag - long stretches of rock, scorched until near barren, stripped of all but the hardiest vegetation by this intense, seasonal wind and the corrosive layer of sea salt it lifts onto the surface. There's less evidence of this force of nature within the lush, green surroundings of Drniš, a town perched in the hills of the Dalmatian hinterland, just 30 kilometres behind Šibenik. Yet it is these winds, along with its singular, sub-Mediterranean micro-climate, that lend the town's famous Drniš prosciutto (Drniški pršut) its unique flavour.

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Drniš © Micki

Found less frequently by visitors than it deserves, the town of Drniš is nevertheless not unrecognised. It is known as the childhood home of Croatia's most famous sculptor, Ivan Meštrović and the town museum holds many of his works. And of all the wonderful prosciutto produced in Croatia, only four types are protected at an EU-level, under their distinct place of origin. That produced in Drniš is one of them.

The winds that attack Drniš and its settlements come from almost every direction, just like the numerous invading forces – Turks, Italians, French, Habsburgs, Venetians, even the Yugoslavian National Army - who have previously stormed the town. From Velebit and the Dinaric Alps comes the cold Bura, from the Adriatic, the warmer Mistral (or Donjak). The force of wind can be very strong, although the houses and vegetation are used to withstanding such. The devastation left by the aforementioned armies has been considerably worse – Drniš has been rebuilt several times, and visible scars remain.

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The remnants of former fortifications, one of the town's many scars © Croatian National Tourist Board

Like the homes, flora and people of Drniš, there's a necessary resilience to the animals which also live here. The two most famous domesticated sorts are sheep and pigs. Animal husbandry is one of the oldest-known occupations of the residents of this settlement – indeed there are traces of pig farming in the region that date back to 1500 years B.C. Though less famous than the lamb from Lika or Pag, that which comes from Drniš is a rare and spectacular treat. But, Drniš sheep are traditionally more renowned for their milk.

This is no place for cows. Nor is anywhere close by. For centuries, the local cheese-making tradition was instead reliant on sheep's milk. The yield of milk from these animals is not great, nor can it be taken when needed for freshly arrived lambs. So, what little could be collected was preserved as cheese inside sheep skin. Fermented in these conditions for several months, the process lends the cheese a full and highly distinctive taste. It is subsequently more than able to stand up to the strong flavours of the smoked prosciutto, punchy red wines and crusty, artisan breads with which it's often served.

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Dalmatian cheese, stored in sheep skin (Sir iz mišine) © Croatian National Tourist Board

These days, improved transportation means you can get cow's milk everywhere. But, so popular is this method of preservation and the special flavour it imparts, that these same sheep skins are nowadays also used to make a slightly milder cow's milk version of this famous Dalmatian cheese (Sir iz mišine).

More picky with their diet than the pigs raised here, sheep from Drniš must be taken into the hills to graze. There, the hardy animals feast on the wild grasses, herbs and flowers found between rocks on the terrain. Foraging alongside them in days of old, the accompanying shepherds must have been just as hardy. Over 100 years ago, one such shepherd was the father of Croatia's most famous sculptor, Ivan Meštrović. Though just a peasant, he was the only literate man in the village of Otavice, just outside Drniš, although family reading was restricted to the one book they owned - the Bible. It was from this book that his son, Ivan Meštrović learned to read and write, Ivan's mother reciting its stories and guidance every night from memory. As a boy, Ivan would follow his father to tend the sheep and would hear epic song-poems of heroic history and myth ring out around the hills.

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Ivan Meštrović © Archive of Ivan Meštrović Museum

Both of these educations would later inspire his work, but not until he first walked from Drniš to Split aged sixteen to begin an apprenticeship as a stonemason. It was to be the first step on a path that would see him become the pre-eminent sculptor of his era. His works help define the cities of Split, Chicago, Belgrade and Zagreb, with several also residing in Drniš streets.

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'The Ploughmen'  © Roberta F

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'Vrelo Života' in Drniš © Roberta F

These include a relief called 'Orači (Ploughmen)', another of St. Roko, a statue, 'Mother and Child', a well-positioned drinking fountain called 'Vrelo Života (Source of Life)' and the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Ružić, near Otavice, where he, his mother and father rest. There are a further 50 Meštrović pieces residing in Drniš City Museum, many of them, like the building itself, a gift to the town from former mayor, Nikola Adžija (1875 – 1972).

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'Mother and Child' © Roberta F

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'St Roko' i© Roberta F

Before Meštrović set ties between Drniš and Split in stone, that link had actually already been made. The town was connected to the city, and to Šibenik, in 1877 by one of Croatia's first railways, built to transport rocks and the results of mining from the area of Drniš. Today, on a smaller scale, the descendants of that industry remain, supplying stone and building materials. However, the export of prosciutto is now much better known.

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© Tourist Board of Drniš

So renowned is Drniš prosciutto that the locale cannot produce enough pigs for the demand. But, as it is the process of preserving and the micro-climate than grants the distinction, fresh pig meat is brought from outside to bolster production. After slaughter, the meat of Drniš prosciutto must be shaped and coated in sea salt within no more than 72 hours. It then sits for 7-10 days, depending on the weight, then pressed for 15-20 days. Afterward comes the smoking.

Dalmatian prosciutto is the other protected Croatian variety that is smoked. However, birch, beech and oak are the woods used in this process - in Drniš they use immortelle and almond. After smoking, it is air-dried and matured for one to two years.

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© Tourist Board of Drniš

Records of prosciutto production in the area may stretch back to the 14th century, but that from Drniš only became a known market brand in the mid 20th century. Indeed, Drniš prosciutto was served at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 (and a gift of the same, sent to her in 2002 to celebrate her 50 years on the throne). Production of prosciutto in Drniš hit a peak at around this time but, gradually, other regions stepped ahead and became better known. They were simply better able to market themselves than inland Drniš, assisted by their seaside location and frequent visitors.

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© Tourist Board of Drniš

That has thankfully been redressed since the EU designation was awarded and the intense ruby-red ham of Drniš is justly receiving a revival. Since 2013 it has been celebrated annually in late August at the town's International Prosciutto Festival, where its shiny, thin strips of sweet and aromatic meat are paired with traditional Dalmatian sides and assessed next to prosciutto from all over Europe.

The Drniš wind orchestra, klapa singers and tamburica players entertain at the festival, joined by visitors in raising a riotous toast to Drniš's fabulous pršut. As well they should. For although slightly off the beaten track, with Ivan Meštrović and this distinct prosciutto as strings to their bow, the town of Drniš has plenty to shout about.

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The Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, the last resting place of Ivan Meštrović and family, in Otavice, near Drniš © Zrno

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

Wild Rides on the Cetina River

Soparnik - 100% Authentic Croatian Food

Unique in Croatia - the Fantastic Food of the Cetina River

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Monday, 26 August 2019

Prosciutto from Dugopolje Named Champion at International Festival in Drniš

August 26, 2019 - Dugopolje prosciutto producer Smjeli was named the best at the 6th International Prosciutto Festival in Drniš.

At the 6th International Prosciutto Festival in Drniš, which was held from August 23 and 24, the championship title was taken by Smjeli prosciutto from Dugopolje, the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK) announced on Saturday, pointing out that HRK 150 million has been invested in the production of prosciutto in five years.

The two-day International Prosciutto Festival brought together gastronomy enthusiasts in Inland Dalmatia and exhibitors from Croatia and the region.

"Although the current production of prosciutto does not even meet 50 percent of the needs of the domestic market, it is encouraged by the fact that over the past five years more than HRK 150 million has been invested in new prosciutto production plants," said HGK Vice President of Agriculture and Tourism Dragan Kovačević at the opening ceremony of the event on Friday in Drniš, reports N1.

Kovačević points out that prosciutto is the key to the Croatian tourism we strive for, and is an added value for guests with higher purchasing power. Namely, guests in Croatia are looking for an authentic experience and learning about lifestyles and traditions through the wine and gastronomy offer, and products with the protection of geographical origin can achieve twice the price on the market.

At the EU level, Croatia has as many as 21 traditional indigenous products protected by geographical indication or designation of origin, including four different Croatian prosciutto types from Istria, Krk, Drniš, and Dalmatia. 

“We believe that the prosciutto producers, especially the large ones, will better organize raw material production through the cooperative system, and that in the future we will meet the needs of our industry from our own pig breeding. Good raw materials, with standard production technology, is a key prerequisite for superior quality prosciutto,” Kovačević said.

The organizers of the 6th International Prosciutto Festival are the Tourist Board of Drniš with the City of Drniš, and the Association of Drniš Prosciutto Producers. 

The festival aims to encourage the production and promotion of indigenous and traditional products, handicrafts based on tradition and originality, other cultural and traditional content, and the development and promotion of the overall tourist offer of the town of Drniš with an emphasis on gastronomy. Namely, besides prosciutto, which was awarded over the weekend, producers of cheese, wine, honey, and other local products were presented at the Drniš festival.

The prosciutto festival is also an opportunity to get to know the natural and artistic beauty of the Drniš area, the Krka National Park, the Čikola Canyon, and the works of Ivan Meštrović, in addition to gastronomy.

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

Saturday, 24 August 2019

20 Million Euro Invested in Prosciutto Production in Croatia

ZAGREB, August 24, 2019 - An official of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Dragan Kovačević, has said during the ceremony of opening a prosciutto festival in Drniš that over the past five years 150 million kuna has been invested in new plants for prosciutto production in Croatia.

"Although the current prosciutto production meets less than 50% of the demand in Croatia, the encouraging fact is that in the last five years, 150 million kuna has been invested in new plants for prosciutto production," Kovačević says adding that prosciutto can be an additional value for the tourist trade.

The two-day international festival in the town in the Dalmatian hinterland was opened on Friday, and apart from the promotion of prosciutto, also homemade cheese, wines, honey and other local food were put on display during the event.

Five years ago, 250,000 prosciutto hams were produced in Croatia, and currently the annual production is 400,000. The portion of domestic raw material in those final products has risen from 10% to 50% over the past 10 years. Consumption of prosciutto has increased by 50% over the past five years.

So far, Drniš, Istrian, Krk and Dalmatian prosciuttos have been included in the EU register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications. Thea are among the 21 Croatian traditional products protected by this EU register.

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

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