Saturday, 2 November 2019

PHOTOS: CroDrone Captures Incredible Aerial Images of All Saints Day around Dalmatia

November 2, 2019 - Croatia marked All Saints Day on November 1 by heading to the cemeteries to honor those who are no longer with us. A look at how the holiday was marked across Dalmatia.

You might have noticed that on Friday, much of Croatia came to a halt to mark All Saints Day, observed as a national holiday in the country. It is a day where people across the country flock to cemeteries to light candles, lay flowers, and pay respect to the loved ones lost. 

It is a holiday where bus lines are rerouted to facilitate travel for those going to the cemetery, where taxi companies will offer discounted or free fares, and where many of the nation's largest shopping malls will close their doors.

Even a few days before the holiday, you'll notice locals heading to flower sellers lined along the streets, or to commercial supermarkets, to beat the rush and ensure they have the best bouquet to honor the dead. 

As you can imagine, the images from November 1 are anything but bleak - and CroDrone captured just how colorful the holiday is across Croatia. 

Check out how All Saints Day looked in Imotski, Imotski Poljice, Split, Runovici, Zagvozd, and Dugopolje in Dalmatia.

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

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Meet Manastir: Imotski's Islet and Current Excavation Site

October 30, 2019 - Did you know that the Imotski region has its own islet, with an excavation currently underway? Meet Manastir.

This islet is located along the western edge of the Imotski field, in Prološko Blato - and with its distinctiveness and beauty, it’s so small that it could fit comfortably into the frame of a football field.

The area around it on the west side consists of three beautiful lakes in the Lokvicici municipality, and on the east and south sides, it is surrounded by the water of Prološko Blato, which only slightly recedes in the late summer days and early fall, so that this islet, called Manastir or Školjić, remains dry for a short time. 

You might be familiar with the fact that the Imotski region even had another island in the Runovici municipality, though it has been dry for decades. The island referred to in this story, however, conceals and preserves the rich history of the Imotski region.

Namely, while it is full of juicy fig trees and cherries, Manastir is the current excavation that is provoking a lively interest in Imotski locals. 

Slobodna Dalmacija's Braco Ćosić writes that Manastir, or Školjić, was one of the symbols of the resistance of the entire Imotski region to the Turkish rule, which oppressed the people of Imotski for a full 224 years, from 1493 to 1717. This islet always gave hope that after two centuries of occupation, freedom would come. 

So, what will the excavators find on Manastir?

Here is what we do know: It was precisely the Imotski Franciscans who inherited the Benedictines in the Imotski region at the end of the 14th century, who lived there during the Turkish rule, from 1600 to 1715.

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Braco Ćosić

Thus, it was only in 1715 that the Franciscans left Manastir. Two years later, on August 2, 1717, Imotski and the Imotski region were finally liberated from the Turks, though Manastir remained abandoned to this day. Overgrown with foliage and weeds for years, it would sometimes receive a stray visitor, a farmer from a nearby vineyard, a shepherd who kept sheep or cows nearby, or one of the many fishers after carp in Prološko Blato. 

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Braco Ćosić

Ivan Alduk, Head of the Conservation Department of the Imotski Ministry of Culture, is leading the excavation. 

“After five years of hard work and cleaning, because the terrain at Manastir was very inaccessible and difficult, we finally started with the archeological excavations of the oldest preserved Franciscan monastery in the Imotski region. While we are talking about this, there is a debate among my associates about what we have found so far. It is clear to us that the monastery was very large at that time; it is nearly fifty meters in length, has a ground floor, a floor, and the first room we dug up is a monastery dining room, or chapel. We will see this when we see the documents. We are delighted and satisfied with what we are finding and if the Ministry of Culture continues to support us, as they have so far, continuing the research will be interesting,” says Alduk.

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

Friday, 25 October 2019

Innovator from Imotski Wins Prestigious Award, Attracts Investor Attention

As Slobodna Dalmacija/Braco Cosic writes on the 25th of October, 2019, young innovator Mario Ljubičić from Runovići near Imotski in Split-Dalmatia County managed to win the prestigious Grand Prix award at the 17th Arca International Innovation Fair in Zagreb.

In collaboration with his cousin Ivan Ljubičić, the author of the bicycle software, he won this prestigious award in a competition of more than 200 innovators from across twenty European countries. Mario Ljubičić exhibited his "talking bike", which is as impressive as is the conditions its young creator has put behind it when it comes to potential investors.

Croatian innovation quite clearly knows no bounts, and despite the doom and gloom the media loves to pedal, there is a lot to be proud of in this little but extremely talented little country. This, yet another success story started not from Zagreb, but from the rugged Dalmatian hinterland, more specifically the Imotski region. This young innovator presented his invention and stated quite clearly that although he has had offers from abroad, he wants to stay right where he is - in Imotski.

''I must admit that this is the greatest recognition in my career as an innovator, but also the greatest recognition for the Faust Vrančić Society from Šibenik, through which I went to the Zagreb Fair. I can say that the experts who evaluated the innovation were really delighted with what my cousin Ivan and I presented. With my electric car, I have won gold and first prizes at many trade shows, but this year's "Arca" Grand Prix award is ​​the very top of the top. I was not even aware of the actual importance of this award,'' said the Imotski-based inventor.

''At the fair, I also received specific offers from investors, but my first and basic condition was that if we were already going into bicycle production, that it would need to be done in the Imotski region and that young people from our region should be employed as part of the project. Now I'm going to start making about twenty copies of the "talking bike" and I've already found subcontractors for individual parts. The most important things I do alone and everything else will be assembled here in Runovići,'' concluded Mario Ljubičić.

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

Friday, 27 September 2019

Makarska Riviera, Imotski and Vrgorac to Promote Cycling Tourism Together

September 27, 2019 - The Makarska Riviera, Imotski and Vrgorac, which includes Biokovo, are actively working together to promote cycling tourism in the county.

HRTurizam writes that one of the projects that will promote this outdoor segment of tourism is the cycling spectacle ‘CRO Race’, which starts from Osijek on October 1st and rides to Biokovo and Makarska on the third day.

Specifically, CRO Race is organized by Top Sport Events, which has proven itself through the successful organization of all ‘Tour of Croatia’ editions over the past four years. This year, the race will include six stages, covering more than a thousand kilometers across Croatia. The race will be broadcast on six continents of the world.

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When it was previously organized as ‘Tour of Croatia’, the race also passed through the Makarska Riviera, Biokovo and Zabiokovlje, and footage of the race itself was shown in 190 countries, which contributed globally to the promotion of this part of Split-Dalmatia County. It is the result of a collaboration between the Makarska Tourist Board and Spot, which through its brand "Trail - Full Cycling Experience", develops the Makarska Riviera, Biokovo and Zabiokovlje as a cycling tourism destination. 

"Beautiful nature, spectacular views, along with quality roads, accommodation facilities, and the gastronomic offer makes the Makarska Riviera and Biokovo ideal for cycling tourism. It is an enormous potential that can be greatly developed with a serious approach and program,” announced the race organizer Vladimir Miholjevic.

"We will cover all places of the Makarska Riviera, and cyclists will go through all their centers. It will be spectacular! Thanks to fantastic television footage from earlier races that toured the world, a group of UK reporters arrived, riding across Biokovo on a fascinating road leading to the very top. They were thrilled! They wrote a great report, published on 7-8 pages, a subtle, honest, personal experience. Those of us who live in this destination realize that we really do not appreciate it enough only when others open our eyes. Cycling tourism can only do good to the destination, and discover it in a new way, with a different perspective,” he explains, pointing out that it is necessary to develop infrastructure that includes cycling paths, as well as other services that cyclists need.

Miholjevic notes that he participated in the meeting with the tourist board and hotelier and is pleased that the potential has been recognized and that there is a will to develop it.

"The Makarska Riviera, Imotski and Vrgorac is a unique area along Biokovo, ideal for the development of cycling tourism, so we have contracted with Spot, who will then propose measures that we will take to raise the offer to a higher level, complement it with all that the modern cycling tourist needs, and promote it. The development of cycling tourism is one of the strategic plans for the development of our destinations for the development of the post-season and pre-season,” said Hloverka Novak Srzić, Director of the Makarska Tourist Board.

Spot is trusted with developing the destination for cycling tourism. “We are currently reviewing the condition of existing trails and looking for new ones. After determining the complexity of the route, we go to different stakeholders. Of course, it defines how the route is prepared, its equipment, services, and other things. We also educate business people who are familiar with the specifics of our guests, as well as the local governments, who will be educated on ways to maintain the route,” explains Karlo Kucan, the company's director.

"After that, there is the promotional part in which we include hotels, prepare photo, video and printed materials, and in 2020 and 2021, we will present the Makarska Riviera at four tourist fairs. The destination cannot be branded overnight,” Kucan emphasizes, adding that “we cannot have adrenaline parks on Biokovo because of the karst, which does not allow it, but we have an excellent opportunity to develop mountain biking. On the coastal part, we are somewhat restricted by the traffic on the highway, but that is why the hinterland of Biokovo is an uncut diamond for cycling tourism."

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Could Green Lake Further Develop Tourism in Imotski Area?

Septemeber 17, 2019 - Could the Green Lake be the next ‘Red’ or ‘Blue’ lake of the Imotski area?

Braco Cosic writes for Slobodna Dalmacija that the Green Lake in Ričice, located in the Proložac municipality, apart from its main purpose, which is to collect water for irrigation in the Imotski field, provides opportunities for additional exploitation.

Due to its beauty, the environment in which it is located, and its underwater resources, it is suitable for investments that would give some new and valuable content to the fast-growing tourism in the whole Imotski region. However, it could also bring back the youth to the otherwise displaced Ričice.

The Green Lake, along with the other widely known natural lakes in Imotski - Blue and Red, can certainly contribute to the development of this area, believe tourist forecasters. The lake has a capacity of up to 30 million cubic meters of water. In the most generous water flow conditions from neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina and domicile small streams, about 25 million cubic meters of water flows into the lake - but then, at certain points, a lot of water is lost through underwater discharges.

Therefore, the Croatian Water investment, with the assistance of the County, has already been approved to prevent this from happening. The water level would otherwise rise when there are about ten million cubic meters of water in the lake. Its width extends from the very edge of the center of Ričice to the main dam on its eastern side.

That said, the lake has excellent prerequisites for organizing both small sailing regattas and rowing competitions. Its underwater world, which is home to indigenous carp, offers great opportunities for sport fishing, and finally, in the summer, swimming in clean water. The natural environment of the lake, surrounded by high gorges, green meadows, and hiking trails, is a real challenge for fans of walking, running, and family outings.

“We are aware of all the benefits of our jewel and we have seriously taken up the demanding work to finally embark on presenting it to he tourism market,” said Željko Tandara, President of the Ričice Native Ecological Association.

“We are aware that the whole lake is under the jurisdiction of the Croatian Water, and that, in cooperation with them, but also our Municipality of Proložac, and finally the Imota Tourist Board, which covers the entire Imotski region, we need to find a way to revitalize the Green Lake, which can both irrigate our field and give much to the tourist offer,” Tandara added.

Finally, why not use its facilities to bring young people back from our area? Therefore, the idea is the Čelinka area has beaches for swimming, then beaches for the disabled, mini-camps, hiking trails. There are quite a few of entrepreneurs from Ričice and the Imotski region who would be very happy to invest their money in this precisely. 

The momentum of the Imotski region has spread to Ričice. Already next year, there will be several wonderful holiday homes with swimming pools, gyms, and other amenities. And since they also have the Green Lake at their fingertips and all its natural benefits, why should tourism not be a chance for displaced Ričice residents? I forgot to mention the clean and healthy food here, whether it be from the animals or vegetables, and that can be a great advantage of our region,” Zeljko Tandara concluded optimistically. 

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

Monday, 26 August 2019

From Mercedes to Tourism, Imotski Goes From Strength to Strength

When one thinks of a holiday in Dalmatia, images of the sparkling Adriatic sea, palm trees and a summer breeze making the shadows dance along the old facades of stone buildings likely come to mind. Oh, and Ožujsko of course. Imotski, a town located in rugged inland Dalmatia, probably isn't a place that crosses your mind. It should.

While coastal Dalmatia offers glamorous yachts, a gorgeous sea, beautiful views and some of the most incredible sunsets in the world, inland Dalmatia, or the Dalmatian hinterland, is often forgotten about. Having lived for centuries in the shadow of its coastal cousin, the Dalmatian hinterland was all but bypassed, unless you were lost, that is.

Things are beginning to change, and now, the Dalmatian hinterland has a variety of specialised tourism offers ready and waiting for foreign tourists. Imotski, a Dalmatian town once best known for having the most Mercedes', is now taking a turn away from German engineering, and aiming towards tourists. Many of whom will likely be German, too, of course.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of August, 2019, Imotski's tourist board is hoping to achieve about 100,000 overnight stays this year, a figure which has so far never been reached.

''The season is good. We've had a sure July and August. The guests are mostly from Germany, Great Britain, and France,'' said Marko Mendeš, the owner of a holiday home in Imotski. They invested a lot of effort and money into it, and it appears to be paying off, writes Dnevnik.hr.

''This was an coincidence, actually. I used to work in the islands as a waiter and always said that something could be applied here [in Imotski]. People were narrow-minded, and they thought: Yeah, right, who would come to you, Imotski isn't on people's maps, we're like this, we're like that,'' Meneš said, explaining people's dislike for the idea.

But Imotski has already exceeded its number of overnight stays in the last year, and the town now has about 250 holiday homes. With a special ''recipe'', too.

''At the end of 2017, we launched an initiative to create a new Imotski (Imota) Tourist Board, which is responsible for all nine local government units. This has facilitated many projects from the development strategy of the entire Imotski region, to the development of the tourism strategy development by 2025, we're much more serious,'' said Luka Kolovrat from TZ Imota.

Guests admire the area, especially the lakes. Imotski is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. Last year alone, over 70,000 overnight stays were realised.

''It's amazing, it's beautiful. I've never seen a lake so blue. Magical,'' said a visitor from New Zealand.

''This is one of the best lakes in the world. And we can swim in it,'' said a visitor from much closer to home in Poland.

Imotski is now hoping to achieve about 100,000 overnight stays this year, and surpass tourism figures it has ever seen before.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for more information on Imotski and much, much more. If you're interested in inland Dalmatia/the Dalmatian hinterland, give Total Inland Dalmatia a follow.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

How Did Imotski's Blue Lake Turn THAT Blue? Experts Weigh In

The Blue Lake phenomenon in Imotski has caught the eyes of everyone in Croatia as it swapped its rather deep blue color for a lighter hue after abundant rain and a sudden flow of water from underground springs.

This phenomenon even attracted the attention of a team of experts at the initiative of the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Values in the Split-Dalmatia County "Sea and Karst", who have tried to scientifically prove the rapid change of the lake, as well as the causes and consequences of such changes, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on May 13, 2019. 

“The Blue Lake seldom changes color and is mostly associated with a sudden rise in water levels. At the bottom of the Blue Lake, there are estavelles, cavities in the karst massif, which may have an abyss and springs depending on the surrounding groundwater level.

The rapid growth of water levels is the result of activated estavelles, and this is in the role of strong springs. The powerful flow of water through underground karst canals increases the dissolving of minerals that can be found in the predominantly widespread limestone rocks.

The first results of water analysis from the Blue Lake indicate an increase in calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which is derived from limestone. Calcium carbonate in rocks appears as mineral calcite which is white in color, and because of its increased water concentration, it changes the way water absorbs and reflects the light.

Thus, on this occasion, the lake water takes on an unusual turquoise color, and the Blue Lake, with its beauty and unparalleled tinge of blue has again captured the attention of Imotski citizens and their guests,” said Branimir Jukić, a senior expert from the "Sea and Karst” study, adding that the microbiological analysis of the algae excluded the flowering process as a cause of color change.

The bright turquoise color of the lake has attracted many visitors, and it may not be going anywhere soon thanks to increased groundwater flow and rising water levels in the lake.

The current depth of the lake is 36 meters, and this aesthetic anomaly has not affected the quality and purity of lake water.

The team of experts who investigated this phenomenon includes Dr. Sc. Ivo Andrić from the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy in Split, prof. Dr. Sc. Nenad Buzjak and Ph.D. Marija Gligora Udovič from the Zagreb Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Ph.D. Ana Kovačić from the Institute of Public Health SDŽ, and dr. Sc. Milan Čanković from the Institute for Marine and Environmental Research at the Ruđer Bošković Institute, along with "Sea and Karst."

HPD "Imotski" also regularly visited the Blue Lake,  took water samples and submitted them for analysis in laboratories in Split and Zagreb. The lake water analysis continues to be carried out at the PMF in Zagreb and the Ruđer Bošković Institute.

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

Saturday, 4 May 2019

World's Biggest Welcome in Croatia: Day 43 - Imotski to Makarska (Bike, Foot)

May 4, 2019 - Putting Croatian adventure tourism on the map, with the biggest welcome in the world. Day 43 of this incredible 2011 adrenaline trip covering 2,500 km along the Croatian coast. 

The World's Biggest Welcome, an ambitious adventure tourism project in 2011 in Croatia enters Day 43 of this 2019 appreciation of one of the finest tourism promotion projects ever in Croatia.  

The plan? To showcase the diversity and fabulous offer of adventure tourism in Croatia by following a GPS route the length of the Croatian coast in the shape of the word 'Welcome' - thereby creating the biggest welcome in the world from a hospitable tourism country. 

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Day 43 moved from Imotski to Makarska via Biokovo.

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45 kilometres for the day: 30 km bike ride from Imotski to Turija, followed by 5 km on foot from Turija to Makarska to continue forming the ‘M’ in ‘Welcome’.

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Day 43 started in Zagvozd. Marko stopped to have coffee at the Red Carpet cafe.

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And it wouldn't be a trip to Imotski without noticing their biggest symbol - Mercedes.

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The team at Actor's Square in Zagvozd.

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An old Turkish well in Zagvozd that holds regular water polo tournaments. 

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Climbing up Biokovo.

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Lacko making his way up with an impressive backdrop behind him.

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Sv. Jure road.

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Lacko fighting the wind.

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Then they met a group of Czech tourists who decided to leave their van and climb afoot for the last 30 minutes.

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Mislav, Lacko and Tea above Makarska.

A key part of the project was promoting tourism, and the official website has details of the key places visited during the day. 

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Makarska.

You can see the entire project on the Welcome website, as well as much more of Luka Tambaca's stunning photography on the Welcome Facebook page

Tune in tomorrow for Day 44, as Lacko moves from Makarska to Bol.

To follow the whole project from the start, follow the dedicated TCN page

Friday, 3 May 2019

World's Biggest Welcome in Croatia: Day 41 (Off), Day 42 - Šestanovac - Imotski (Bike, Alpinism)

May 3, 2019 - Putting Croatian adventure tourism on the map, with the biggest welcome in the world. Day 42 of this incredible 2011 adrenaline trip covering 2,500 km along the Croatian coast. 

The World's Biggest Welcome, an ambitious adventure tourism project in 2011 in Croatia enters Day 42 of this 2019 appreciation of one of the finest tourism promotion projects ever in Croatia.  

The plan? To showcase the diversity and fabulous offer of adventure tourism in Croatia by following a GPS route the length of the Croatian coast in the shape of the word 'Welcome' - thereby creating the biggest welcome in the world from a hospitable tourism country.

Day 42 moved from Šestanovac to Imotski. 

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40 kilometres for the day: 35 km bike ride from Šestanovac to Imotski, followed by 5 km of alpinism at the Blue and Red Lakes in Imotski to continue forming the ‘L’ in ‘Welcome’.

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After resting on Day 41, the group began Day 42 on the ferry from Supetar to Split. 

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The group then explored Kuk nula, a secret atomic shelter built during Yugoslavia. It is situated near Zadvarje and could take up to 300 people in one year.

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The outside of Kuk nula and the pillars which used to hold a net that served as protection from bombs.

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After a quick lunch, the group hopped on bikes and headed towards Imotski. 

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Lacko passing through Lovrec.

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Mislav looking down at Galjipovac and Prolosko blato.

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Lacko and Cedo on a steep cliff above Galjipovac.

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Lacko climbing back.

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Mislav at the Red Lake.

A key part of the project was promoting tourism, and the official website has details of the key places visited during the day. 

You can see the entire project on the Welcome website, as well as much more of Luka Tambaca's stunning photography on the Welcome Facebook page

Tune in tomorrow for Day 43, as Lacko moves from Imotski to Makarska via Biokovo by bike and on foot.

To follow the whole project from the start, follow the dedicated TCN page

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Split-Dalmatia County Secures Four Million Kuna for 300 Families in Rural Areas

Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blaženko Boban introduced a new stimulating demographic project on Wednesday titled ‘This is Your Home’, which aims to create the necessary conditions for young families in rural areas. The project hopes to increase the number of inhabitants and bring balanced economic development in these areas of Split-Dalmatia County, reports Dalmatinski Portal on March 13, 2019. 

“We are witnessing that in the rural part of our County people are migrating not only from Croatia but also to the urban centers within Croatia. Through a series of measures we have had so far, we present the top measure today. We divided the County into settlements where we dissected each settlement in our County based on the development index, based on demographic indicators, which was the basis for classifying the categories we included in this program. The public call for this program will be released tomorrow, and the interest for this program is already extremely high. At this point, we have secured 4 million kuna, and our ultimate goal is to bring back or keep 300 families in the areas covered by this incentive program throughout three years. Our wish is for this measure to be an incentive for all local communities in our County. Some of them have already expressed interest in participating in these programs through their own budgets,” Boban said.

Four million kuna has been secured for the construction and reconstruction of buildings for young families in rural areas. In the Split-Dalmatia County area, more than 200 settlements, 32 cities, and municipalities have been divided into five categories according to the development index and four categories according to the number of children covered by this co-financing program.

The project includes financing the purchase of land for construction, professional supervision costs, developing project and technical documentation, constructing or reconstructing uninhabitable buildings, and more. 

The value of individual grants is from 40,000 to 120,000 kuna for family grants. Applications are welcome from spouses or single parents up to 45 years of age and families that want to build their home in Split-Dalmatia County in areas within the development index.

You can see which areas are included in the project here

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

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