Monday, 11 January 2021

Varazdin Old Town Nominated For Croatia's Second European Heritage Label

January 11, 2021 – Comparable to UNESCO's World Heritage List, the European Heritage Label is given to sites that have played a significant in the history, culture and values of Europe. If successful, Varazdin Old Town will be only the second site in Croatia to receive the classification

They say that Northern Croatia has more castles, fortresses and stately homes than any other region in the country. And they are probably right. Not that the names and locations of all are widely known either in the country, and certainly not outside. Truth be told, some of the structures included on Northern Croatia's list of important buildings have lain derelict for centuries. In others, the decline has been more recent. The best way to preserve such buildings seems to come from reimagining them for contemporary use, rather than simply preserving them in aspic or amber.

That is something that Varazdin Old Town does extremely well. All of Northern Croatia's famous castles do this well - Čakovec castle, Trakošćan, Veliki Tabor and Gornja Stubica. It's the reason they are famous. By opening up their doors as museums and event spaces, they attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and they get to tell their stories. And the story of Varazdin Old Town makes it perfect for the European Heritage Label.

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Varazdin Old Town is today inhabited by the Varaždin City Museum. They give guided tours around the fortress that was once the full extent of Varazdin Old Town. This city museum is the best way to learn about Varazdin's extraordinary buildings, culture and history. The museum has undertaken this role, and that of preserving items from Varazdin's past, since 1925. It has four permanent exhibitions and six major departments – Archaeology, History, Cultural History, Ethnographical, Entomology and the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters, some of which are inside the Old Town fortress itself.

prassinsky-sermage-1.jpgThe Gallery of Old and New Masters of Varaždin City Museum © City of Varazdin Tourist Board

The Old Town fortress itself is medieval in origin, its construction having begun in the 14th century. Its Gothic towers were added a century later and the collection of buildings was remodelled and added to right up to the 19th century, in response to its inhabitants and its purpose.

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For defence against the Ottomans in the 16th century, it was reconstructed as a Renaissance fortress – high earthen walls with bastions were added, and a double moat. During the past, many noble families have lived here - the Counts of Celje, John Ungnada, George of Brandenburg and Croatian Ban Thomas Erdödyja and his successors. Indeed, Varazdin was once the capital city of Croatia, ruled from these very buildings. In its changing use, architecture and occupancy lies the story of not only the development of Croatia but that too of Europe and it is this that makes Varazdin Old Town eligible for the European Heritage Label.

The European Heritage Label is awarded to sites that bring to life the European narrative and the history behind it. The European Heritage label is currently awarded only every two years. So far, the only site in Croatia to receive the European Cultural Heritage Label from the European Commission is the Neanderthal Museum in Krapina. Its label was awarded in 2015.

1440px-Krapina_Neanderthal_Museum_Photo_3.jpgThe Neanderthal Museum in Krapina, also in Northern Croatia. It received its European Heritage Label in 2015 © Zeljko Filipin

Friday, 18 September 2020

VIDEOS: Amazing New Google Project Shows Croatian Culture to the World

September 18, 2020 - Incredible new video series explore Croatian culture, its natural assets, and the country's rich traditions, a collaboration with Google

Steeped in history and tradition, Croatian culture is incredibly diverse. Recognised as being of high value to the country's appeal and its understanding of itself, many items from this rich heritage appear on the protected UNESCO list.

The Croatian National Tourist Board has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture and partners The Museum of Arts and the Museum of the Sinjska alka to produce an incredible series of videos that explore this cultural heritage.

From arts & crafts to music and dance, natural assets and architecture, the new videos show off the rich menu of traditions assets that make Croatia such an incredible country. With so many items included on the protected UNESCO list, there's always something more you can learn about Croatia, no matter how many times you visit.

Lace-making, costumes of folklore, ancient instruments, time-honoured recipes, beloved festivities and distinct, regional styles of music are just some of the facets of Croatian culture explored in the videos. Now, people from all over the world can explore Croatian culture and heritage before they even arrive. The menu of videos and accompanying media is presented in both English and Croatian.

Some of the videos in the series are not new, but they have been selected by the Croatian National Tourist Board for inclusion as they are the best at showcasing their particular aspect of Croatian culture. Alongside the video presentations, there are a wealth of photographs and informative texts. You can view the whole new collaboration with Google Arts & Culture here

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Friday, 8 May 2020

Hvar's Arsenal Wins European Heritage Award

May 8, 2020 — Hvar's Arsenal won a “Europa Nostra” award, the continent’s most prestigious prize in the heritage field, honoring the rejuvenation an unavoidable focal point in the city’s port.

One of Hvar’s enduring symbols won in the category of “conservation” for the renovation and strengthening of the Arsenal’s load-bearing structure. 

The “Europa Nostra” awards recognize successful conservation and restoration initiatives. Hvar’s Arsenal joins 21 other projects in 15 countries which also earned a “Europa Nostra”.  It’s now eligible for the Public Choice Award, decided by an online vote on the European Heritage site.

Independent juries composed of experts from across Europe chose the winners, following a detailed evaluation of applications submitted by organizations and individuals from 30 European countries.

The jury noted that “this respectful revitalization project has adapted a very significant building to the modern needs of the community and adds a new cultural dimension to the tourism of the area. The stratification of the 16th-century building and the later 18th-century theater has been properly recognized in the conservation works.”

The City of Hvar, the Ministry of Regional Development, Split County and Ministry of Culture financed the project. Split-based Spegra carried it out. The company has rehabilitated significant structures for over three decades. It has also fixed Mostar’s Old Bridge, the Bishop’s Palace in Ston, and many other recognizable historic icons in the region.

“This is a joint recognition of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the Ministry of Culture, the Conservation Department in Split, us in Spegra,” the company’s director Berislav Borovina said. “It is proof that we have done the right thing. The world has recognized this and placed us alongside the highest quality European companies in terms of the restoration of monumental heritage.”

The Arsenal was originally a Venetian shipyard, erected in 1292 to repair and refit war galleons until the Ottomans destroyed it. Hvar’s residents built its replacement — the current stone building — in 1612.

The building needed the rejuvenation. Wear-and-tear began betraying the building’s four centuries of existence. Spegra’s work added no extra weight, creating “invisible” improvements while increasing the Arsenal’s stability.

The project took decades of effort, starting with studies and a conservation report that started in 1989, a four-year reconstruction of the load-bearing structure, as well as a lengthy renovation.

The work paused after Roman artifacts and the remains of a first-century building emerged from the ground under the Arsenal. 

“It is a very demanding facility that required a high percentage of skilled labor and top craftsmen and workers, and it is specific in its dislocation,” Borovina said. “The execution was very complex, and this is one exemplary example of modern renovation and strengthening of the structure for some future times.”

Its upstairs space was the first public theater in Europe, letting commoners peasants and aristocrats mingle.

The building reopened last year, joining a flood of restorations wrapped up on the 150th anniversary of organized tourism on Hvar. It included both the Arsenal and the theater, and the Hotel Palace Elisabeth.

This isn’t the first time Croatia’s won a Europa Nostra award. In fact, many of its landmark structures and events earned the designation over the last two decades, including the Alka of Sinj Museum and the Betina Museum for Shipbuilding.

Friday, 5 April 2019

First Croatian Olive Oil for Children - Brachia Kids

There's no denying that Croatian olive oil is second to none, and we're not the only ones who think it. Croatian produce has won award after award and the long coastal traditions of olive growing, picking and harvesting in Croatia are worthy of just as much praise as the final results of that hard work are.

As Morski writes on thr 4th of April, 2019, the respected Brač brand of olive oil, Brachia, has launched Brachia Kids, the first Croatian olive oil made just for children of kindergarten and elementary school age, reports Journal.hr.

''Brachia Kids brings the fresh and intriguing taste of organic olive cultivation from ecological [olive] growing from the island of Brač. These flavours are ideal for children when it comes to falling in love with the taste of olive oil. This new product is intended for parents who understand the healing properties and the great nutritional value(s) of olive oil, and who want to introduce it to their children's diet,'' said Leopold Botteri, the co-manager of the Brachia cooperative.

Part of the main role in popularising the consumption of olive oil for children will also be played by its attractive packaging, which has been made by Izvorka Jurić and Jurica Kos.

''We've designed the packaging so that the product is attractive to children, fun to use, and also educational, in order to develop their awareness of the importance of the regular use of olive oil. The body of a glass vial (0.25 dcl) has been partially placed in a box that, together with the black tip of the bottle, forms a crayon, and within which six crayons are actually housed. Following the dissolution of the box, there is a fun colouring book with illustrations of olive trees and leaves and various tasks for children to complete. Olive oil nourishes the body, and the puzzle and colouring on the packaging, acts as food for the brain. Together, they make a complete product for the healthy development of children,'' explained packaging designer Izvorka Jurić.

In addition to the premium olive oil of Brachia Maslina and the latest Brachia Kids product - Izvorka Jurić has designed products for the lines of Brachia sort oils, ecoBrachia and Brachia & Friends. All of these products, including Brachia Kids' olive oil for children, are now available for purchase in UJE stores across the Republic of Croatia.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Journal

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Torpedo - Croatian Invention Which Changed Naval Warfare Forever

At the Croatian Maritime Museum in Split, the most valuable specimens of torpedo weapons have been being exhibited from the world's first torpedo factory, in Rijeka. This British-Croatian invention took the world of naval warfare by storm, and its two creators, one from Rijeka in Croatia and the other from Bolton in England, are being honoured.

As Morski writes on the 30th of March, 2019, the museum's curators Petra Blažević and Ljubomir Radić formed a new museum exhibition of the torpedo collection back in 2016. The occasion was the 150th anniversary of the emergence of torpedoes, which was once the most prominent weapon to have existed in naval warfare, the prototypes of which were created by Giovanni Biagio Luppis Freiherr von Rammer, sometimes also known by the Croatian name of Vukić, a Croat born in Rijeka, who served in the Austro-Hungarian Navy.

We often hear that the torpedo was entirely invented in Croatia, but in terms of international recognition, that honour goes to the the British public, more specifically to Robert Whitehead, an English engineer born in Bolton in northern England, who gained his fame for the development of the very first effective self-propelled naval torpedo.

Luppis, born in Rijeka with family ties to the southern Dalmatian region of Pelješac, had the desire to create the so-called "coast guard,'' which was a self-managed ship loaded with an explosive to protect the coast from attacks coming from the sea. Since he had no funds for the development of such a project, nor did he have the proper engineering knowledge for the task, he connected with the manager of the Rijeka metals factory, Robert Whitehead, a Brit.

From their friendship and cooperation there came a weapon called a torpedo, and how frightening it was to gaze upon this newly-made weapon, French travel writer Victor Tissot testifies, who, after his stay in Rijeka, referred to it as "the most terrible of all sea monsters".

Soon after the ''birth'' of the torpedo, Luppis went to live in Italy and sold his share, production remained in the hands of his friend Robert Whitehead, who was still across the Adriatic sea in his factory in Rijeka. By the end of the 19th century, most of the world's navies started to acquire the Rijeka-made torpedoes and warfare at sea became unthinkable without the use of this weapon, at least until the end of the second world war.

As a natural continuation of the valorisation of this truly outstanding torpedo collection, which has been inherited by the Croatian Maritime Museum in Split, the authors of the exhibition have created a book with a catalog of the collections.

''Both the exhibition and the book bring out the historical context of the torpedo's creation, the biographies of both Luppis and Whitehead, and a series of interesting uses of torpedoes on torpedo boats. The bilingual book, which in honour of the torpedo's British and Croatian creators, has been published in Croatian and English, was promoted to the public back in February at the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum in Zagreb and then again in March in Split,'' said Radić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more on Croatian history, inventions, heritage, and much more.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Cres and Susak Show Why Sheep and Olives Work Well Together

As is the case with many Mediterranean countries, the relationship between olives and the Croatian coast runs deep, it is a story that would take all the time in the world to tell and it boasts a plethora of different personal meanings for many individuals and their families.

Olives and the coast go hand in hand and the entire practice of olive picking has well and truly withstood the test of time and the various winds of change that time has brought with it over the many centuries that have passed. Skills and knowledge are passed down through generations, and traditions are upheld through time.

Despite the modern world in which we're increasingly being dragged feet first into, many families along the Croatian coast, from the extreme south of Dalmatia to the Kvarner region, bring things to a standstill when ''olive time'' comes along. During that special time of year, families are bonded again and again through the picking of the olives, and the work that follows.

As Morski writes on the 22nd of March, 2019, the northern Adriatic islands of Cres and Susak were presented at the fourth International Congress on the revitalisation of terraced landscapes in the Canaries.

Dr. Goran Andlar from the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb and Tanja Kremenić from Cres who is currently doing her PhD in Padua discussed the terraced landscape of the Croatian island of Cres, which embodies a kind of olive and sheep cooperation, writes the portal Otoci.net.

''The olive-sheep model was a very interesting component of the presentation to the public, and we take it for granted, it's natural to us. Sheep are natural fertilisers, they're natural cleansers of excess vegetation and they're bred extensively so they does not represent any sort of big extra effort for humans. Why is it so important that we preserve terraced landscapes?

If they're not used, there is a risk of erosion and a loss of fertile anthropogenic soil. They are also very important today because they represent an alternative to mechanised high-intensive agriculture and are an example of the implementation of pertinent concepts of development such as "sustainable development" or the "circular economy" in reality, but here on the ground,'' stated Tanja Kremenić.

At one congress back in 2016, which was held in Padua, the beautiful island of Cres presented this charming sheep-inspired theme with a poster, and then a one-day trip to the island of Cres was organised for the participants of the congress.

Give our dedicated lifestyle page a follow for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Otoci.net

Saturday, 2 February 2019

UNESCO and Croatia: World Heritage Site – Dubrovnik Old City

Let's take a look into one of the best-known heritage sites in Croatia and the city that attracts millions of visitors each year. This in-depth article about Dubrovnik comes at about the same time as the 40th anniversary of the inscription of Dubrovnik's old city on UNESCO's World Heritage list, and the 10th anniversary of inscribing Festivity of St. Blaise onto UNESCO's List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Conveniently enough, we're at the beginning of a very special month for Dubrovnik, for an event which has been happening each year on February the 3rd.

Well known as the ''Pearl of the Adriatic'' or more recently as the popular Game of Thrones filming location (Kings Landing), Dubrovnik has been one of the historically most important Mediterranean ports since the thirteenth century. Dubrovnik has numerous preserved Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces, and fountains. It did get damaged during the earthquake in 1667, and more recently during the Homeland War, but it still kept its beauty.

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To understand just why Dubrovnik has so much heritage and how it has been so well preserved, let’s take a look into this remarkable city's very long history.

The Dubrovnik Republic, which represents the golden period of Dubrovnik's history, perfectly regulated the city and life within it through its statute and other historic documents. This well-preserved city has been able to afford to lie on its Laurels owing to this, as well as its good geographic location and economy which was for centuries based on maritime and merchant activities.

The latest archaeological research discovered that there was a settlement dating back to the sixth century at this location, and this expanded with the arrival of Croats in the seventh century.

Travel and traffic between east and west during and after the Crusades resulted in the development of maritime and merchant centres in the Mediterranean and Adriatic in the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries. Another important event in the history of Dubrovnik was the Zadar Treaty, which in 1358 liberated Dubrovnik from Venetian rule while other Dalmatian towns fell under Venetian rule in 1420 and remained under their control up until the end of 18th century.

This is the reason why Dubrovnik was able to develop much more quickly than the other Dalmatian towns.

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In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Dubrovnik was one of the most significant maritime and mercantile centres of Adriatic together with Venice and Ancona. Dubrovnik expanded its territory by using contracts and purchasing the land around the town including the islands, such as Mljet, Lastovo, the Elaphites, and of course Lokrum. The independence of the Dubrovnik Republic was completed by the fifteenth century when they had the independent election of the rector and council, and set their own currency, their own state flag with the image of St. Blaise, independent legislature and the right to establish consulates abroad.

The state authority was based on the great council which had members of aristocratic families in it. They appointed the members of the Senate and the small council which was the executive body of the great council. The rector was appointed on a monthly basis as a nominal symbol of authority.

In the fifteenth century, Dubrovnik had a well-organised transit trade route with the Balkan inland. In 1525, due to the Ottoman expansions in the area, the Dubrovnik Republic decided to pay tributes to the Ottomans and in return, they had the right to free trade throughout the growing Ottoman empire. The Dubrovnik Republic had no army on its own but managed to preserve its independence by being neutral in international conflicts and using the tutelage of powerful countries. The only rival of the Dubrovnik Republic was the envious Venetian republic.

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The Dubrovnik Republic's golden age started in the sixteenth century – back then, Dubrovnik's merchant navy matched those across the rest of the globe with its quality fleet of 180 to 200 ships. These ships were used for long and dangerous journeys through the Mediterranean and the Black sea, as well as ocean journeys to northern ports in England and Germany, even going as far as India and the Americas. Material prosperity helped to shape a humanist culture and the Republic received a great level of achievement in its urban and architectural development that has been maintained to the present day in its literature and poetry, sciences, and in many other fields of art and culture.

In the seventeenth century, the general crisis of the Mediterranean maritime affair also affected Dubrovnik's maritime trade. The catastrophic earthquake in 1667 was another awful event for the Dubrovnik Republic. In the eighteenth century, Dubrovnik got another chance at the economic revival of maritime trade under a neutral flag. In 1815, Dubrovnik joined other parts of Dalmatia and Croatia. In more recent history, Dubrovnik was damaged during the Homeland War, with the worst attack happening on December the 6th, 1991.

Now, let's see what can be found in Dubrovnik when it comes to valuable heritage which has been recognised by UNESCO and numerous people who visit Dubrovnik each year.

Dubrovnik's City Walls

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Dubrovnik's city walls were established in the thirteenth century and were systematically and continuously perfected over several hundred years, until 1660, when the last tower, the St. Stephen’s Bastion, was finished. The walls stretch for over 1940 metres and consist of the main wall, sixteen towers, three forts, six bastions (bulwarks), two corner forts (cantonatas), three pre-walls with several turrets, three moats, two barbicans, two drawbridges, and one breakwater.

This is one of the best-preserved fortification systems in Europe with three forts: Minčeta, Bokar and St. John. The walls are up to 22 meters high in some places, with a thickness of between 4 to 6 meters from the mainland side, and from 1/5 to 3 metres on the seaside.

Among the many known and unknown builders of the wall and its construction, some of them are: Paskoje Miličević, Nicifor Ranjina, Marin Držić, Župan Bunić, Miho Hranjac, Juraj Dalmatinac, Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi of Florence, Onofrio and Simeone Della Cava, Antonio Ferramolino of Bergamo, Giovanni da Siena, Bernardino di Parma, Marcantonio Bettaci of Florence, Seporoso Mateucci of Fermo and Giovanni Baptista Zanchi of Pesaro.

The shape of the walls was definitely defined by available weapons of the time and the various defence techniques of the past. The first walls were built when the first settlement was consctructed back in the eighth century, and Dubrovnik enjoyed the natural protection of the sea, with the walls acting as additional protection for Dubrovnik's citizens.

You can enter Dubrovnik's city walls next to Pile Gate, St. John's Fort and St. Luke's Fort.

Minčeta Fortress

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Minčeta fortress is placed on the highest north-western part of the city. It is a large circular tower with a big battlement suspended by a stone support. The first quadrangular tower was constructed by Nikifor Ranjina in 1319, the architect Michelozzo Michelozzi gave it its present form and it was completed in 1464 based on the design of Juraj Dalmatinac, who was famous for numerous works in Dalmatia among which the best-known is the Šibenik cathedral, another UNESCO world heritage site.

St Luke’s Tower

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If you walk eastward along the city walls towards Ploče gate, you will get to St. Luke’s tower. In 1467. Paskoje Miličević designed the bulwark for the old St. Luke’s tower with openings for cannons. The tower controlled the access to the harbour.

St John's Fort

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This is the first quadrangular pier tower and it was constructed back in 1346 in order to protect the city harbour in the southeast, and its outlines are still visible on the western wall. The shape of the fort we know today was completed in the sixteenth century when the whole complex got bigger and outer wall was extended.

Bokar Fort

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This fort was important for defending the city. The gate and the bridge, as well as the moat are located at Pile. The semi-circular tower was designed by Florentine architect Michelozzi in the fifteenth century.

Lovrijenac

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This fort is set on the 37-metre-high cliffs outside of the city walls. You can reach it by walking along Pile bay and climbing the steep, stone stairs. This fort was built to protect the entrance to the city from the west. The fort's construction began in 1018 and it was completed in the sixteenth century. The walls are 4 to 12 metres thick. The entrance door boasts the Latin inscription: Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro (Freedom is not sold for all the gold in the world). There lies the chapel of St. Lawrence and its courtyard where occasional performances and plays are held today.

Revelin Fort

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Revelin fort was built outside of the city walls and it was once part of the defence complex of Ploče Gate. The lower part of the fort was built in 1463, and was then rebuilt in 1538. The fort protected the eastern part of the city and the entrance to the city harbour. It has three entrances and is surrounded by a moat and the sea on three sides. Ivan Rabljanin kept the foundries for casting cannons and bells in the large interior. Now it is used as a place for Dubrovnik summer festival plays.

Pile Gate

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Just outside the city walls lies Pile – here, you first have the seaside promenade constructed outside of the walls. Here you enjoy an amazing view of the city walls and of Lovrijenac fort. If you enter the city through Pile Gate, the first thing you will see is the stone statue of St. Blaise. There is a stone bridge and a wooden bridge which lead to the outer gate, then to the renaissance semi-circular tower. When you pass through the inner gate, you enter Dubrovnik's main street – Placa or Stradun.

Stradun

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Placa or Stradun is the main street in Dubrovnik. Stradun is 298 metres long and the statute of the city from 1272 determined the final plan for the city and its main street. The houses on Stradun are built in baroque-style architecture with shops on the street level. Stradun has its modern-day shape after the earthquake in 1667, when a large number of gothic and renaissance palaces were sadly destroyed. Even today, Stradun is the main centre for all the events in the town.

Large Onofrio's Fountain

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When on Stradun, one of the main sights is the large Onofrio's fountain. This is a large polygonal fountain with sixteen stone carved maskerons which provide running water. The fountain was designed by Onofrio Della Cava who also designed the small fountain at the other end of Stradun – the fountains were built for public use in 1438 when fresh water was brought to the city from Rijeka Dubrovačka. The fountain is now connected to the new waterworks system. The cupola was damaged during the 1667 earthquake and later reconstructions sadly failed to restore it.

Small Onofrio's Fountain

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Sailko

Small Onofrio's fountain was designed in 1446 and the stone mason work was handled by Pietro di Martino di Milan. Located in a niche to the city guard building, it is part of the original setting for the carnival play “The tale of Stanac” by the famous Dubrovnik playwriter Marin Držić.

City Guard Building

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The City Guard building was the admiral’s residence during the fifteeth century. It was restored in the twentieth century and it is now the entrance to the cinema.

Rector's Palace

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The Rector's Palace is one of the most important pieces of heritage on the Croatian coast – this was the administrative centre of the Dubrovnik Republic – it is built in a gothic style with reconstructions in renaissance and baroque style. It was damaged in the fifteenth century by gunpowder explosions and restored by Onofrio Della Cava in late gothic style in 1435. The second gunpowder explosion in 1463 destroyed the western facade
and the two famous architects Juraj Dalmatinac and Michelozzo worked on reconstruction. After the earthquake, the atrium was partially reconstructed with a baroque staircase. During his one month mandate, the rector lived in the palace which was the place of both the minor and major council hall, the rector’s residence, the city's courtroom, the administration office(s), the prison, and even for arsenal and gunpowder storage.

Above the entrance door lies the inscription: Obliti privatoru publica curate (Forget your private business, concern yourselves with public affairs).

In the atrium sits the bust of a rich sea captain and benefactor, Miho Pracat, this work was done by P. Giacommetti in 1628. The Miho Pracat statue is the only statue in the city for the common people – The former Dubrovnik Senate decided to do this 1638. The bust is placed between two columns in the eastern wing of the Rector's palace atrium. He was not only a rich seaman who left his wealth to the Republic, but a ship owner and a very skilled merchant. This was an enormous honour as the Dubrovnik Republic never built statues for its contemporaries, and found it inappropriate to have statues in public places. Today, the Rector's Palace is the home of the Dubrovnik museum.

Ploče Gate

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Ploče gate is the eastern entrance to the city. When you pass through this gate, you will see two small churches. This entrance is fortified and had inner and outer gates with stone bridges from the fifteenth century onwards, and there lies a statue of St. Blaise, the city's patron saint.

Luža and the City Bell Tower

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After passing through Ploče gate, you will end up in front of Luža and the City Bell Tower. The bell tower, built in 1444, once had figures called Zelenci who struck each hour with their hammer. The bell tower was damaged in the earthquake and it was rebuilt in 1929, while the Zelenci figures were replaced with replicas.

Sponza Palace

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Right next to the bell tower lies Sponza Palace. This building is the best example of Dubrovnik's highly specific gothic-renaissance style. It was constructed in the sixteenth century based on the design of Paskoje Miličević. It was built in a rectangular shape and has a portico and an atrium. On the main wall lies the inscription: Fallere nostravetant, et fall pondere, meqve pondero cvm merces ponderat ipse deus (We are forbidden to cheat or falsify measures and when I weigh goods, God himself is weighing them with me).

This was the liveliest commercial centre of the city and in the seventeenth century, it became the meeting point for members of the Academy who discussed literature, the arts, and science. Today, it’s the home of the Dubrovnik archives.

Church of St Blaise

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TZ Dubrovnik

The Church of St. Blaise is one of the most important buildings in Dubrovnik. St. Blaise is the patron saint of Dubrovnik who has been celebrated every year on February the 3rd, and this festivity is part of the city's UNESCO intangible heritage. The church got its present form is from 1715 and is a shining example of Venetian Baroque. It was built by Marino Gropelli upon the request of the Dubrovnik Senate. It was damaged in the earthquake, and then again in the fire in 1706.

In that fire, everything was destroyed except the silver statue of St. Blaise. This statue was then kept in the small church of St Nicholas on Prijeko before being brought back to its original place in 1715. This statue is one of the most valuable sculptures in Dubrovnik and the saint holds the city model, from which one can see how Dubrovnik once looked long ago. St Blaise has been being celebrated in Dubrovnik from the tenth century onwards, when he saved the people of Dubrovnik from a surprise Venetian attack with a solemn warning.

Orlando’s Column

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Pixabay

In front of the Church of St. Blaise lies the most important symbol of statehood and freedom for Dubrovnik – Orlando’s column. Orlando’s column was constructed by Bonino di Jakopo and Antun Raguso. Erected in 1419, Orlando’s column, with the statue of a medieval knight, stands in the square and presents Roland, the eighth-century knight from the Chanson de Roland. The reason this statue is in Dubrovnik is probably because it was brought by King Sigismund, a Hungarian and Bohemian king who was the patron of Dubrovnik Republic.

Additionally, there is a legend that says Roland saved Dubrovnik from Saracens and defeated them near the island of Lokrum. Senate decisions were announced in front of it. This statue was also a punishment spot and a pillar of shame. The white flag of the Dubrovnik Republic with the image of St. Blaise remained on the column until the abolition of the Republic in 1808. Now the Croatian flag flies there, and the flag is changed only during the Festivity of St. Blaise and during the Dubrovnik summer festival. This year, Dubrovnik is marking the 600th anniversary of the construction of Orlando’s column, and therefore 2019 is considered to be the year of Orlando.

Buža Gate

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From Prijeko to Ruđer Bošković street (the place where the famed eighteenth century Croatian scientist, physicist, astronomer, and poet was born) stands the gate that was built back in 1907.

Gundulić Square

Gundulic Dubrovnik

Behind the cathedral lies Gundulić square which is home to the statue of Ivan Gundulić, one of Dubrovnik's best eighteenth-century poets – this statue is the work of Ivan Rendić, and on the base of the statue there are bronze relives with scenes from Gundulić's epic poem - Osman. Ivan Gundulić was born in 1589 to an old and respectable aristocrat family. He later became famous on his own merit for his valuable works. This is the place where the green market in the morning sets up. What is interesting is that in front of the statue there are hundreds of pigeons waiting for their meal every single day – the city funds ten kilos of corn to feed the pigeons.

Jesuit Church

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Pixabay

From there, if you go up the baroque stairs you will reach the Church of St. Ignatius or Jesuit church which is the home of Dubrovnik's most beautiful baroque complex. This church is the work of Ignazio Pozzo and right next to it is Collegium Ragusinum, the famous Jesuit school. Collegium Ragusinum was initially founded because the people of Dubrovnik were dissatisfied with their Italian teachers. The first steps for this to happen were initiated in the sixteenth century but it wasn't until the end of seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century that works started. Collegium Ragusinum hosts a massive 10,000 volumes with incunabula and manuscripts by Dubrovnik's numerous writers.

City Harbour

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TZ Dubrovnik

The city harbour got its look back in the fifteenth century - the most recognisable part of it is the three arches of the large arsenal. East from the large arsenal there is the fish market gate and then three arches of small
arsenals where smaller ships were repaired. At the location of the large arsenal today lie the city cafe and the theatre.

Lazarettos

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Ramon

Lazarettos (Lazaretti)

This was the place for the first quarantine built in the fourteenth century in order to isolate travellers and goods from eastern countries. There were eight buildings and five courtyards which were renovated in the sixteenth century. This complex included large warehouses and lodging for the extended stay of merchants and travellers. In the seventeenth century, this was the largest merchant transit centre on the Adriatic and one of
the best-organised quarantines in the entire Mediterranean.

With this sheer amount of invaluable heritage that is still standing today after all these centuries, Dubrovnik definitely deserves to be considered one of the greatest towns in the world, and its popularity in terms of tourist visits and global interest is very much understandable.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Prevlaka: Works Begin on Fortress in Which Naval Museum Will Open

Works have begun in the extreme south of Dalmatia, just before the Montenegrin border. Prevlaka fortress, the renovation works on which have been being awaited for some considerable time now, have finally started. Prevlaka fortress, which sadly sat neglected and delapidated for years, will be renovated and eventually turned into no less than a naval museum.

As Morski writes on the 3rd of January, 2019, thanks to the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, Prevlaka fortress will get a new lease of life and a sense of purpose. The raising of the scaffolding and the beginning of the works on the renovation of the almost entirely abandoned Austro-Hungarian fortress of Prevlaka have finally been announced.

''It's clear that 2019 will be the same as it has been throughout many past years for the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, fruitful and careful attention due to the wish to preserve our heritage for generations to come,'' said Niko Kapetanić, President of the aforementioned Dubrovnik-based society, who expressed his satisfaction at the start of the works on the reconstruction of Prevlaka fortress, located at the southernmost point of Croatia, almost right on the border with Montenegro, and from which the coastline of Montenegro can be seen.

To briefly recall, this area of extreme southern Dalmatia was under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Croatia until quite recently, and the state left Prevlaka fortress in the hands of Croatia's southernmost municipality, the Municipality of Konavle. Together with the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, the municipality will eventually open a museum dedicated to the Austro-Hungarian Navy in the fortress, with special emphasis placed on the Croatian component.

This isn't something that is particularly cheap to oversee and do, and according to some of the best experts on such matters in the world, ranging from naval uniforms to historic weaopons, to parts of old ships, the final result will be a complete cross section of the former Austro-Hungarian Navy. The plan is also for Prevlaka fortress to house an aquarium displaying an array of Adriatic fish, a souvenir shop, a lookout point, and an accompanying catering facility.

These plans have been revealed by Kapetanić, who didn't really want to speculate on what the price would or could be, but added that it would surely be tens of millions of kuna.

Back in September 2017, Minister of State Property Goran Marić pointed out that while Konavle might well geographically be at the very edge of Croatia, it doesn't mean that it also needs to be at the very edge in terms of relations with the state.

''It's in our interest to bring this project to life and that this [piece of state] property doesn't fall. We like the project that is intended for this property,'' Marić said.

Make sure to stay up to date on Prevlaka's progress and much more by following our dedicated lifestyle page.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Intangible Heritage of Croatia – Cheesecloth Cheese – Sir iz Mišine

December the 7th, 2018 - The intangible heritage of Croatia is complex and varied, so let us take a look at yet another one, which involves cheese. The preparation of cheesecloth cheese, locally called sir iz mišine, is a long tradition in Dalmatian inland, Dinara, Velebit, Lika, and the western Herzegovina area.

When the initial production of this piece of intangible heritage of Croatia first began isn't known, but even the ancient Illyrians prepared this type of sheep cheese. One of the theories says that production began when milk stored in sheep paunches accidentally started the fermentation process. This kind of milk had whey and cheese, which during that time, became a tradition to make.

The way of making the cheese hasn’t changed much from the beginning. Back then, the cheese was made from whole sheep milk but today it's done with skimmed sheep, goat, or cow milk too. It is preserved in sheep or goat paunches which gives it its typical smell and spicy flavour. It is usually produced during summer from extra sheep milk and it can be consumed from autumn onwards.

In order to make this cheese, one should follow several procedures. First, the paunch should be appropriately prepared, then the milking should be done and milk preparation should follow right after it. The whey should be prepared too. Making and preparing the sheep or goat paunch is important as it ensures good cheese making. The paunch should be properly washed, disinfected and dried from 15 to 30 days.

Knowledge and skill with regard to this craft is traditionally inherited from generation to generation. When everything is ready, the brewing process can start and the product can be stored in the paunches. Finally, the stored cheese needs to age, and then it is ready.

The brewing begins right after the milking and the brewing time depends on the temperature (ranges from 31-35°C to 35-40°C) and the strength of the whey. When the mixture forms a certain structure, the first layer is turned over to even up the temperature of the whole batch, then, it is cut into cubes and should rest until the whey turns into a greenish – yellow colour.

This cheese mass is then put in cloths and subsequently pressed.

After pressing the cheese, salt is added until there is enough cheese to be put into the paunch. If the paunch is filled with cheese one-time only, this ensures better quality. When the paunch is filled, the cheese is shredded and then crumbled. It is important to remove all the air from the paunch to ensure that it matures in controlled conditions (12-15°C). It takes 2-3 months to achieve its specific characteristics and to be ready for consumption.

To produce one kilogram of cheese, you'd need 7-8 litres of skimmed milk or 7-9 litres of fresh sheep or mixed sheep/cow milk. To produce 12 to 15 kg of cheese and 7-8 litres of slurry, you would need 100 litres of whole sheep's milk. The mature cheese is then taken out of the paunch and stored in low temperatures with the appropriate humidity and level of hygiene.

The area where this cheese is made is usually agricultural regions where you can find livestock like sheep, lambs, and goats. To keep this tradition going and in order to continue this type of cheese production, it is important to help to preserve small family businesses and agricultural estates which are involved in making it.

Nowadays, there are some differences in production as the sheep and milk used are different from the traditional type. In addition, technology is used to produce the cheese which makes it higher quality in the modern day.

Despite technology's influence, it is important to preserve most of the traditional ways of making the cheese active by passing down knowledge of this tradition. The final product is often a very rare find on markets and in stores but it can be found on agricultural estates and villages where they still make it.

Make sure to follow our lifestyle page for more information on the intangible heritage of Croatia and much more.

 

SOURCE(S) (text and photos): HAH, Agroklub

Saturday, 1 December 2018

UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Croatia – The Art of Dry Stone Walling

December the 1st, 2018 - Dry stone walling can be seen all along the Adriatic coast as well as in the Dalmatian hinterland and beyond. Now inscribed onto UNESCO's list, let's take a deeper look into this piece of the intangible heritage of Croatia.

On November the 28th, 2018, UNESCO inscribed two more pieces of intangible heritage from Croatia made UNESCO's prestigious list. The first one was Medjimurska popevka, a type of traditional singing, and the second was the art of dry stone walling.

This article will look into the art of dry stone walling and the traditions related to it. This piece of heritage is already on the list of the intangible heritage of Croatia, and in 2015 and 2016 an international effort to nominate this heritage for the UNESCO Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was made. The main coordinators for the nomination from Croatia were the Ministry of Culture and the 4 Grada Dragodid association.

Dry walling is the construction of a stone wall by stacking stones upon each other without the use of any connection material like cement, except sometimes dry soil. The stone used is usually not processed. Its product is “suhozid” or dry wall (other names for it depending on the region are gromača, međa, mocira, mocir, masiera, redina, prizida, zid, mrtvi zid, mrtvi mir etc) which can be often found along entire Adriatic coast as well as in the Dalmatian inland area.

Another characteristic product of this way of this type of building are smaller objects made completely of dry stone, which were used for different purposes. The stability of the dry stone structures is ensured by selecting and properly placing the stones. These dry stone structures are an example of a type of construction which lives in harmony with nature and this inscription aims to preserve the know-how of building it. The practice is usually passed down with practical application adapted to the specific conditions of different areas in which it is typically made.

Dry stone walls are spread along the Adriatic coast, as well as inland, and the walls created via this technique resist the test of time. Their self-preservation is good example on how we can learn more and cherish such a sustainable way of building. There are different types of construction – from dry stone walls around houses, gardens, vineyards to shelter buildings or even actual houses and their elements. These buildings can act as the inspiration for a new period of dry stone construction, and the people still building in this manner could be a valuable source of information.

One incredible example of preserved dry stone walls is Croatia's very own ''fingerprint island'' – Baljenac, with 23,35 km of dry stone walls on the island. The organisation 4 Grada Dragodid, whose website is filled with information about this piece of heritage was founded in 2007, but its very first beginnings are from 2002. Back then, the first international dry stone workshop in the village of Dragodid, close to Komiža on Vis, was held.

The main activities of the Dragodid association include organising and managing dry stone workshops, and researching dry stone heritage with local partners and those who still use this method of construction in the modern day. Another international organisation was founded recently and its goal is to form a cultural route of European dry stone heritage as part of the wider cultural routes programme.

There is even a website, which is the open public inventory of the Croatian dry stone heritage where anyone can add a contribution in order to broaden public knowledge on dry stone wall construction and its distribution along the Adriatic coast and in the hinterland.

A contribution can be added by sending in a photo and all the available information on the dry stone building, structure or ambient, accompanied by the accurate location information. They even have a mobile app which makes the whole process even easier. With activities like this and the welcome recent UNESCO recognition, dry stone walling heritage will definitely remain an essential part of local traditions and the intangible heritage of Croatia.

SOURCE(S) (text and photos): UNESCO, Ministry of Culture, Dragodid, Suhozid.hrTotal Croatia News, Jagul Wine Cellar

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more information on the intangible heritage of Croatia and much more.

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