Sunday, 17 October 2021

HNL Round 12 Recap: Rijeka and Dinamo Finish 3:3, Šibenik Tops Hajduk

October 17, 2021 - The 12th round of the Croatian First League was held from October 15 to 17, 2021. This round featured the thrilling 3:3 derby between Rijeka and Dinamo, while Šibenik upset Hajduk 2:0. Here is our HNL round 12 recap. 

Hr. Dragovoljac v. Lokomotiva (2:2)

Dragovoljac and Lokomotiva opened the 12th round on Friday, October 15, 2021, in front of 83 spectators. 

Kulenovic scored the first goal of the match for the Lokomotiva lead in the 9th minute. Kacavenda made it 0:2 in the 17th. An own goal by Mersinaj gave Dragovoljac hope in the 30th minute at 1:2 before Lukic equalized in the 58th for 2:2, which was the final score. 

Pasaricek was shown a red card in the 78th minute, forcing Dragovoljac to play with a man down for the remainder of the match. 

 

Dragovoljac is currently in the last place with 10 points, while Lokomotiva is in 6th with 15. 

Gorica v. Istra 1961 (1:1)

Gorica and Istra met on Saturday, October 16, 2021, in Velika Gorica. 

Mlinar scored an own goal in the 12th minute for 1:0 Gorica. Bande didn't equalize until the 53rd for 1:1, which was the final score of the match. 

 

Gorica is currently in 5th place with 17 points, while Istra is in 8th with 11. 

Rijeka v. Dinamo (3:3)

Rijeka and Dinamo met on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at Rujevica Stadium. 

Drmic and Velkovski made it 3:0 for Rijeka already at halftime with goals in the 7th, 38th, and 41st minutes. Dinamo woke up in the second half as Petkovic scored a penalty for 3:1 in the 58th minute, another penalty less than 10 minutes later, and Adric scored the equalizer for 3:3 in the 82nd minute which was the final score. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 1st place with 24 points and one game less, while Dinamo is in 3rd with 23 and two games less. 

Slaven Belupo v. Osijek (0:2)

Belupo and Osijek met on Sunday, October 17, 2021, in Koprivnica. 

Hiros scored for 0:1 Osijek in the 22nd minute, before Nejasmic made it 0:2 just before the halftime whistle. 

 

Belupo is currently in 9th place with 6 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 24. 

Sibenik v. Hajduk (2:0)

Sibenik and Hajduk closed out the 12th round on Sunday, October 17, 2021, in Sibenik. 

Mina scored the first goal for 1:0 Sibenik in the 25th minute. A penalty for Curic made it 2:0, which was the final score. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 7th place with 13 points, while Hajduk is in 4th with 20 and one game less.

You can see the full HNL table HERE

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Istria County Head Welcomes Tighter COVID Restrictions

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - Istria County prefect Boris Miletić on Thursday welcomed tighter COVID restrictions along the coastline because of the spread of the Delta variant, saying it was in everyone's interest to keep the tourist numbers recorded to date as long as possible.

Speaking to the press in Pula, he said arrivals and overnights in the first seven months of this year were at 60% of those in the corresponding period in 2019, a record year for tourism.

"2020 can't be a reference point of comparison as it would turn out that we were 200% better. In July alone, in the first 20 days, we recorded 90% of the arrivals and overnights recorded (at the same time) in 2019."

More tourists than the domestic population in Istria

Miletić said 236,000 tourists were currently staying in Istria, which has a population of 209,000, adding that 38% were staying in private accommodation, 38% in campsites, and 24% in hotels.

"In any case, we have to be maximally responsible because tourists don't want big parties and big gatherings, but to spend their annual vacation normally," he said, adding that he hoped responsibility would be evident at all levels so that this tourist year could be much better than the last.

Miletić said big gatherings were not necessary, except for various festivals like the ongoing Pula Film Festival. He added that big outdoor gatherings were a problem because it was difficult to control that many people and impossible to ban someone from coming.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 19 July 2021

HNL Round 1 Recap: Dinamo Opens Season with Shocking Loss, Wins for Osijek and Rijeka

July 19, 2021 - The 2021/22 Croatian First League (HNL) season opened last weekend with the first round of games played from July 16 to 18, 2021. A look at our HNL round 1 recap. 

Dinamo v. Slaven Belupo (0:2)

Dinamo and Slaven Belupo opened the new season at Maksimir Stadium on Friday, July 16, 2021. 

While the first half went without goals, the reigning Croatian champions were shocked thanks to goals by Krstanovicc and Bogojevic in the 50th and 84th minutes for 0:2. 

This victory was only Belupo's second in its 37 visits to Maksimir. The last time they won was a little less than 17 years ago. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 8th place with 0 points, while Belupo is in 4th with 3. 

Osijek v. Šibenik (3:0)

Osijek and Šibenik met at City Garden Stadium on Friday, July 16, 2021. 

The first half went without goals, which Mierez made up for with Osijek's first goal in the 63rd minute. Bohar scored in the 90th and 95th for 3:0 Osijek.  

 

Osijek is currently in first place with 3 points, while Šibenik is in 10th with 0. 

Lokomotiva v. Hajduk (2:2)

Lokomotiva and Hajduk met in Zagreb on Saturday, July 17, 2021. 

Hajduk took the lead in the 30th minute thanks to Mlakar, though Soldo equalized for Lokomotiva for 1:1 3 minutes before the half. Dabro opened the second half with a goal for the 2:1 Lokomotiva lead in the 47th minute, but Mlakar equalized for 2:2 less than 10 minutes later.

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 6th place with 1 point, while Hajduk is in 5th place with 1 point. 

Rijeka v. Gorica (2:0)

Rijeka and Gorica met at Rujevica on Saturday, July 17, 2021. 

Muric put Rijeka in the lead in the 20th minute for 1:0 at the half. Lepinijca increased Rijeka's lead to 2:0 in the 55th minute, which was the final score of the match.

 

Rijeka is currently in 3rd place with 3 points, while Gorica is in 9th with 0. 

Istra 1961 v. Hr. Dragovoljac (3:1)

Istra and Dragovoljac closed out the first round on Sunday, July 18, 2021. 

Bande scored two goals for Istra in the first half for 2:0 (10', 17'). Matic made it 3:0 at the half. Veljaca scored for Dragovoljac for 3:1, which was the final score of the match. 

 

Istra is currently in 2nd place with 3 points, while Dragovoljac is in 7th with 0. 

You can see the full HNL table

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To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Friday, 11 June 2021

Adriatic Counties To Be Removed From Slovenian Red List

June 11, 2021 - Good news after it was established yesterday that Slovenian tourists would not need to go into self-isolation when returning from the Adriatic counties, according to the decision of the Slovenian Government to remove the Croatian coast from its red list, which will take effect from tomorrow.

At yesterday's session, the Slovenian Government decided that the Adriatic Croatia administrative unit is no longer on their red list. The counties of Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Lika-Senj, Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia, and Dubrovnik-Neretva were thus removed from the list of countries and areas with a high risk of coronavirus infection, reports hrturizam.hr.

Namely, in areas not on the dark red or red list, there is no high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, so a person coming from such an area can enter Slovenia without being sent into mandatory self-isolation if they submit proof that they've been in the area.

Apart from Croatia, Switzerland, the Vatican, the Austrian administrative unit of Tyrol, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and the Portuguese Azores were removed from the red list of European Union countries at yesterday's session. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro are no longer on the same list comprised of third countries. The administrative units of Pannonian Croatia, the City of Zagreb, and Northern Croatia are still on the red list. This means that a person coming from these areas in Croatia is quarantined for ten days due to possible infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus upon returning to Slovenia

The decision to remove the Adriatic counties from their red list, made by the Slovenian Government yesterday, will take effect on Saturday, June 12th.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centers and vaccination points across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Follow the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from April 19-25, 2021

April 25, 2021 - From incredible flight news to The Total Croatia Travel INFO (TCTI) Viber community winning an award, the past week has been exciting. Here are TCN's five highlights of the week in Croatia from April 19 to 25, 2021.

The week started with the exciting introduction of a new direct route between New York and Dubrovnik. While things may have taken a slight turn in the middle of the week, the latest news regarding The Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community ended the week on a high. From Monday to Sunday, we list five events featured on Croatia's news portals on the front pages.

Highlights of the week: TCTI Viber Community, Manjgura, Mediacor Wins 2021 Crisis Management PR Grand Prix 

The Total Croatia Travel INFO (TCTI) Viber community, in partnership with Manjgura and Mediacor, has won the 2021 HUOJ International Grand Prix Award for Crisis Communication. It was a project with a total investment of just 2,000 kunas (US $320) that generated more than 10 million euros of tourism spend for the Croatian economy in 2020. 

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Although the award is associated with TCN, it actually goes to the partners, Croatia's oldest PR agency, Manjgura, and Mediacor. You can check out Manjgura services here and Mediacor here. The project was conceived by Manjgura founder Kreso Macan, who had the vision to see the need and the determination and drive to pull off the project. It was a masterclass of how to achieve the goal. 

Highlights of the week: Forbes Included Istria in 50 Spectacular Places to Visit Post-Pandemic 

Another recognition of Croatia's beauty and tourist offer as the American magazine Forbes included Istria among 50 spectacular destinations for post-pandemic travels. The article states that Istria is an ideal destination for all gastronomy lovers who wish to taste quality olive oil, truffles, prosciutto, wine, and seafood in Istria. It also emphasizes the beauty of Istrian towns and their excellent geographical position.

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Srecko Niketic

"Foodies should consider Croatia's Istrian Peninsula for their next taste-testing vacation. As the crow flies, you're practically in Italy; in fact, there's a ferry that runs between Venice and Pula, Croatia. You'll find truffles, olive oil, prosciutto, wine, and all types of seafood, plus delicacies that are 100% Croatian.

This region is popular with European travelers, but Americans are only just beginning to visit. If you go, be sure to split your time between a coastal city (such as Rovinj or Pula) and inland villages (hill-top Motovun is a favorite)," writes Forbes.

Highlights of the week: United Airlines Flights to Croatia Announced with New York-Dubrovnik Line this Summer! 

United Airlines, one of the largest American airlines, is launching a direct route between the United States and Croatia! After American Airlines permanently canceled the Philadelphia-Dubrovnik route due to the global pandemic, Croatia will directly connect with the United States. 

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Pixabay

Croatia has met all the conditions for abolishing tourist visas to enter the United States, and American guests can plan a vacation in Croatia this summer, so United decided to be the first to react and introduce a direct line to Dubrovnik from New York this summer! United will operate to Dubrovnik as early as July 8 this year with three flights per week. Departures from New York are planned on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, with the return from Dubrovnik a day later.

Highlights of the week: Croatian Tennis Federation Rejects Established Croatia Player for Brother's Social Media Posts? 

A member of the Croatian tennis community and organizer of the Croatia Bol Open, Feliks Lukas, announced on his Facebook page that the Croatian Tennis Federation (HTS) rejected the request of his sister, Tena Lukas, to play at the ITF Zagreb Ladies Open. 

"The Croatian Tennis Federation rejected the request to invite the seven-time senior national team member and #268 WTA tennis player of the world to the ITF Zagreb Ladies Open, explaining it to Tena as follows:

'Because of your brother's Facebook posts, you are not a candidate for an invitation to the tournament!'

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Davor Javorovic

Namely, in its defense, HTS stated that the mentioned tennis player Tena Lukas did not get a wild card because she has practically not been able to beat anyone lately. "As a member of the Croatia national team, Tena Lukas was certainly among the candidates for an invitation to the Zagreb Ladies Open because she deserved this opportunity with her performances in the former Fed Cup (now the Billie Jean King Cup) and on an individual level. However, her latest results were crucial not to be shortlisted this time: she played seven tournaments this year, and she was eliminated in all seven in the first round, either in the main event or in the qualifiers."

Highlights of the week: Croatia Rally Day One: Belgian Driver Thierry Neuville in the Lead 

The 2021 Croatia Rally, part of one of the world's most attractive auto racing competitions (World Rally Championship - WRC), is being held from April 22 to 25 this year. The race is held on across three counties, on the local roads of Zagreb, Karlovac, and Krapina-Zagorje counties.

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Luka Stanzl

The two-day race began on Friday with Belgian driver Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) leads with three-morning victories on the WRC Croatia Rally day one. Even with small delays in the four-afternoon specials, he kept the top spot, while the current and seven-time world champion Frenchman Sebastien Ogier broke into second place (Toyota Yaris).

To follow all news from Croatia, subscribe to our newsletter.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Thursday, 4 February 2021

HNL Round 19 Recap: Hajduk Tops Istra, Osijek Wins 3:0

February 4, 2021 - The 19th round of the Croatian First League was held mid-week, on February 2 and 3, 2021. In this round, Hajduk tops Istra, and Osijek records a 3:0 win against Slaven Belupo.

Osijek v. Slaven Belupo (3:0)

Osijek and Belupo opened the 19th round at City Garden Stadium on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

Brlek opened the scoring spree for Osijek with a goal just before the whistle blew for halftime (45+3'). A quick goal to start the second half by Zaper made it 2:0 in the 52nd minute, and 3:0 in the 55th minute thanks to Bohar. 

 

Osijek is currently in 2nd place with 42 points, while Belupo is in 6th place with 20. 

Dinamo v. Lokomotiva (2:0)

Dinamo and Lokomotiva met for the Zagreb derby on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at Masksimir Stadium. 

Gavranovic scored an early goal for Dinamo in the 9th minute for the 1:0 lead, which was the score at the half. Atiemwen increased Dinamo's lead to 2:0 in the 64th minute, which was the final result.

 

Dinamo is currently in 1st place with 42 points, while Lokomotiva is in 9th with 15. 

Varazdin v. Gorica (2:1)

Varazdin and Gorica met in Varazdin on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. 

While Gorica had the lead going into the first half thanks to a goal by Lovric (0:1), Obregon equalized for Varazdin in the 76th minute, and in the 90th minute, Boban gave Varazdin the lead and ultimately the 2:1 win.

 

Varazdin is currently in 8th place with 18 points, while Gorica is in 3rd with 33. 

Rijeka v. Sibenik (2:2)

Rijeka and Sibenik met at Rujevica Stadium on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. 

Sibenik shocked Rijeka with two goals in the 27th and 32nd minutes by Sahiti and Juric. Pavicic scored for Rijeka in the 35th to make it 1:2. 

It was until the final minutes of the match when VAR ultimately ruled in Rijeka's favor, and after an 11-minute ordeal, Rijeka was awarded a penalty, which Andrijasevic scored for 2:2 (90+10'). 

 

Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 27 points, while Sibenik is in 7th with 20. 

Hajduk v. Istra 1961 (1:0)

Hajduk and Istra closed out the 19th round at Poljud Stadium on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. 

The only goal of the game came in the 16th minute when Nayir scored for Hajduk. The same player, unfortunately, missed a penalty 10 minutes later to increase Hajduk's lead. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 5th place with 23 points, while Istra is in the last place with 13. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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

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Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Sky's the Limit! Visnjan Observatory Crowdfunding Campaign A Success!

January 18, 2021 – The Visnjan Observatory Crowdfunding Campaign has been successfully completed. With 1.300.000 kuna collected, new generations of future Croatian scientists will get a new geodesic dome, accommodation facilities, and a location for testing robotic telescopes.

One of the most prominent Croatian organizations that have been educating future Croatian scientists for several decades will soon be adorned with new equipment and accommodation facilities for many students who have been coming to Višnjan for years to learn about astronomy.

Monitoring and detecting asteroids, but also educating future scientists

The Višnjan Observatory has been at the very top of the world for more than 40 years when it comes to tracking and detecting asteroids, these potentially hazardous and mysterious celestial bodies. According to that, this small observatory in the heart of Istria is ahead of the American NASA. It is one of the five most important observatories for measuring the position of newly discovered objects that could pass close to the Earth.

Its founder, award-winning Croatian astronomer Korado Korlević, is one of the most successful asteroid hunters globally and, according to Minor Planet Discoverers, is the 18th most productive asteroid hunter of all time.

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Višnjan Observatory / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

Between 1995 and 2000, the Observatory discovered over 1,400 new asteroids and two comets. Monitoring and detection of asteroids is undoubtedly an important scientific activity of the Observatory, but perhaps even more important and invaluable for Croatia is the educational function of the Observatory.

The Višnjan Observatory hosts many highly motivated and gifted primary and secondary school students in its practical science camps every year. Some of the former attendees are now scientists at NASA, JPL, and other world-renowned scientific institutions, and some of them are yet to become so.

'Investing in children is the largest and only profitable investment'

In early December last year, TCN reported on a crowdfunding campaign launched to improve the educational capacity of the Visnjan Observatory. Already then, at the very beginning of the campaign, they raised 50 percent of the targeted funds, or 306,000 kuna (the first goal was to raise 635,000 kuna). This enabled them to ensure a beautiful geodesic dome, resembling a habitat on Mars, in which lectures will be held.

Aco Momčilović, the campaign's project manager, says the speed of collecting the donations somewhat surprised the team. However, given the very positive feedback from all who donated, they decided to raise the ultimate goal.

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Višnjan Observatory / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

As they soon achieved the first goal, they continued to increase it over the next month. At the end of the campaign, on January 15, 2021, they collected as much as 1,300,000 kuna, or almost ten percent more than the ultimate goal of 1,185,000 kuna.

This now enables them to build bungalows, accommodation facilities for children, but also their professors, mentors, and other supporters. Since the educational camps last for several days, the Višnjan Observatory wants to make everyone feel comfortable during that time.

With the donations received, Korado Korlević plans to establish a location for testing robotic telescopes and additional accommodation facilities for students. Investing in children, he says, is the largest and only profitable investment.

Construction of new facilities expected this year

Even after the campaign officially ended, people still donate money, which is an excellent indicator of the Višnjan Observatory's influence, as well as the respect for Korado Korlević's hard and dedicated work.

"I also see this campaign as a mini-movement, an initiative that unites different segments of society – entrepreneurs and their companies, scientists in Croatia and abroad. I already know that this action has encouraged some to launch similar campaigns aimed at improving education for young people and promoting science and other long-term most valuable aspects of society," says Momčilović.

Now follows the less visible but even longer part of the job – completing the administration and transferring money, and then launching and achieving the listed goals.

Hopefully, part of the necessary bureaucracy for construction works will be completed by the middle of this year so that the construction of new facilities could start as soon as possible. Depending on the suppliers, the construction works should begin within six months.

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Apart from being known for the Observatory, the small town of Visnjan is rich in historical heritage / Photo: Istrian County Tourist Board

Biggest donators to enjoy gala dinner with Korado Korlević

At the start of the campaign, no one could have predicted that numerous donations would have to be targeted at the quake-hit area by the end of December. Despite that, the desired amount of 1,185,000 kuna was successfully collected for the educational purposes of the Višnjan Observatory.

Organizers believed that support for science would not lack even in the challenging 2020, when science, critical thinking, and the knowledge of future generations are particularly under attack.

"December was an interesting choice. We couldn't do the campaign earlier because not everything was ready. In late December and early January, most of the donations were certainly diverted to earthquake-hit areas. Still, it was interesting to see that we continued to receive donations and that some people obviously donate in more places or still see educational projects as a goal," says Momčilović.

In those six weeks, how long the campaign lasted, about 2500 people donated funds, proving how many people are willing to support science and youth education. To thank the donors, the organizers decided to provide them with "rewards."

Namely, the most generous donors will enjoy a gala dinner with Korado Korlević this year. In contrast, others will be able to participate in his exclusive lectures in the inspiring environment of the Višnjan Observatory, where they will look through telescopes and learn about observing the night sky in Istria in search of asteroids. Some will meet Korlević and ask everything about the universe through the online webinar "Ask the Astronomer," planned for the first half of 2021.

All donors had the opportunity to make electronic thank you notes. A plaque with all major donors' names will be printed in Višnjan on the new facilities' opening day in late 2021 or 2022.

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Višnjan Observatory / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

After this campaign, they want to realize another technological improvement in the Višnjan Observatory, but they still have time to decide on a new campaign.

'The smarter the children, the more society progresses'

As Momčilović explains, this campaign is unique because it does not solve one individual problem at a time but invests in the long-term improvement of children's educational opportunities.

Unfortunately, there will always be a need for humanitarian actions, but he and the core team got involved in this action because they believe that in this way, they support the broader system.

"The smarter and more educated children we have, the more society progresses. With this campaign, we did not aim to solve one of the many burning problems, especially in this post-earthquake time, but to create a part of the system that will give the greatest return on investment in the long run," Momčilović points out.

Unfortunately, most of the donation resources are spent inefficiently, and only about 1 percent of the 'smartest' donations make up almost the entire total global contribution. Therefore, Momčilović says, perhaps the Višnjan Observatory crowdfunding campaign is "the beginning of a smarter and more thoughtful view of humanitarian work."

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Teenage Football Star Rocco Zikovic Joins RB Salzburg For Record €2 Million

January 10, 2021 – Still only 15-years-old, Pula's Rocco Zikovic is following in the footsteps of football megastars Sadio Mané and Erling Haaland with his record teenage transfer to Red Bull Salzburg

Although inside the country Croatians enjoy a wide variety of sports, to outsiders there is only one sport for which Croatia has become known around the world. Football.

The glittering international careers of Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. Their combined efforts in reaching the final of the most recent World Cup sent that reputation into the stratosphere.

Croatian footballing talent has become so well known that the scouting of Croatia's young players is beginning earlier and earlier. However, Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg's recent purchase of promising Pula talent Rocco Zikovic breaks several records. The transfer fee - rumoured to be in the region of an initial €2 million – is the highest ever made to Zikovic's former team, Istra 1961. It is also the highest ever paid for a Croatian player of Rocco Zikovic's age; he is still only 15-years-old.

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Rocco Zikovic © NK Istra 1961

But, by all accounts, Red Bull Salzburg have here done a particularly shrewd piece of business in their acquisition of the player. Rocco Zikovic captained Istra 1961 cadets to the top of the national league last year. He has also played for the Croatian National Football Team in the U-15, U-16 and U-17 age categories. Playing in midfield, he was the captain of the Croatian National youth team that recently won the international Vlatko Marković tournament in Osijek, where Rocco Zikovic was judged player of the tournament. It is during his performances there that Red Bull Salzburg are rumoured to have finally decided on making their move.

Rocco Zikovic is following a long line of youth talent to have been picked up by Red Bull Salzburg

Red Bull Salzburg have a strong reputation for scouting international youth talent and picking them up at the right time. They bought Senegalese player Sadio Mané for €4 million while he was only a teenager before selling him on into the UK Premier League for €13.5 million after just two years. Red Bull Salzburg bought Norwegian international Erling Haaland, one of Europe's most exciting young players, before selling him to Borussia Dortmund in 2019 for a fee reported to be in the region of €20 million. Haaland completed the move having become the first teenager ever to score in five consecutive UEFA Champions League matches

FC_RB_Salzburg_versus_Wolfsberger_AC_(10._August_2019)_11.jpgErling Haaland playing for Red Bull Salzburg in 2019. The club sold him to Borussia Dortmund later that year for a fee reported to be in the region of €20 million © Werner100359

Rocco Zikovic's move to Red Bull Salzburg is all but a done deal. He still has to undergo a final medical and wait until 21 January before he can be announced – that's his 16th birthday. Additional fees earned by his former club Istra 1961 could bring their total from the sale to as much as €3.5 million. It may be too early to place too much expectation on the young player's shoulders just yet, but something tells us that we'll be closely watching this young Croatian footballing talent for many more years to come.

For all of the results and news from the key games of Croatian domestic league football, Croatian international players and the Croatian National Football team, be sure to follow our dedicated sports pages here

Monday, 16 November 2020

The Oldest Lady in Medulin is Croatia Tree of the Year 2020

November 16, 2020 – Sheltering a public square in the pretty Istrian village where she resides, The Oldest Lady in Medulin is Croatia Tree of the Year 2020 and will represent the country in the European Tree of the Year competition 2021

Najstarija Medulinka (the oldest lady in Medulin) is the winner of the Croatia Tree of the Year competition. She beat seven other contenders in a public vote set up by the competition's organisers, the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Areas of Nature of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The Oldest Lady in Medulin will now represent Croatia in the European Tree of the Year competition 2021.

TuristickiMedulin.jpgThe Oldest Lady in Medulin © Sonja Barbara Bader

The Oldest Lady in Medulin can be found in centrally in her village, which lies at the south of the Istrian peninsula. She shelters a public square in the village of Medulin and much merriment has previously taken place at gatherings beneath her branches. In English, this type of tree is sometimes called European nettle tree, Mediterranean hackberry, lote tree, or honeyberry.

The Oldest Lady in Medulin won Croatian Tree of the Year 2020 with 9373 votes. The tree is 115 years old. This species, Celtis australis, is widespread in Mediterranean countries and can grow up to 25 metres in height. It has been said these trees can live up to 400 years. Their branches are pliable when young and so, in the past, the tree has been used to make walking sticks and the handles of some tools. It's small fruits and its leaves are sometimes still used in folk medicine.

As many as 23,238 people this year voted in the Croatia Tree of the Year competition. The tree which came in second place was the London Planetree of Mursko Središće, Međimurje County with 5874 votes, and in third place was Baka Maslina (Grandmother's olive tree) from Kaštel Štafilić in Split-Dalmatia County with 5068 votes.

Voting for European Tree of the Year will open on 1st February 2021 and people will be able to choose a favourite until 28 February 2021, when voting closes. The winner will be announced in Brussels on 21 March 2021 on World Forest Day. Croatia first participated in the European Tree of the Year competition in 2018 and last year narrowly missed winning the competition. The country took second place for its 2020 entry, the 242-year-old Ginkgo biloba tree which stands in front of Castle Janković in Daruvar.

gingko.jpgThe 242-year-old Ginkgo biloba tree which stands in front of Castle Janković in Daruvar, Croatia Tree of the Year 2019 © JU-Priroda-BBŽ

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