Saturday, 13 November 2021

VIDEO: New Footage Shows Incomparable Beauty of Korčula Island in Summer

November 13, 2021 – Beautiful beaches, wonderful nature and the atmospheric stone-paved streets of Korčula Town are showcased in this new video of Korčula island in summer

Croatia is known as a sailing paradise. With hundreds of islands and thousands of kilometres of picturesque, historic shorelines to explore, definitely, it is among the prettiest places to discover by boat.

But, ask any sailor where in Croatia is the most beautiful destination to sail to, and those who know will tell you it's Korčula island in summer. The approach to the island - with Korčula Town gradually becoming bigger, more impressive as you draw nearer - is a treat that's unmissable for anyone who enjoys sailing.

DJI_0205.jpgFrom above, a spectacular panorama shot of Korčula island from summer 2021 © Goran Šafarek

Korčula island in summer doesn't stop being beautiful after you land, as we can see in this new video released by Croatian photographer and video maker Goran Šafarek. The new footage shows us the magical atmosphere of Korčula Town. We are led through its historic stone-paved alleys, past al fresco diners enjoying the long lunchtimes in Korčula's relaxed restaurants and taverns.

_W6A0358_Korculatown.jpgFrom above Korčula Town in summer 2021 © Goran Šafarek

Goran Šafarek started his career as a biologist. So, in his new video we see lots of the nature and natural assets of Korčula island in summer. These days, Goran works as an independent biologist, publicist, photographer and filmmaker. He shot the footage for his new video during a trip to Korčula island in summer 2021. You can check it out below.

Both the author and Total Croatia News would like to thank Goran Šafarek for the kind loan of his photography and video to make this article

If you would like to keep up to date with news from Korčula, be sure to see Total Croatia News's tagged pages here

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Injured Turtle in Korčula Bay: Rescued, Treated, Ready For New Life

July 17, 2021 -  An injured turtle in Korčula Bay sparked immediate action by locals and vets, seeing the turtle being saved and getting a second chance.

Like many other places, towns, locations, and neighborhoods, Korčula also has groups on social media to ease communication among users who share the same place of daily life. Friday afternoon saw residents of Korčula have a big heart, and despite might being stereotypically perceived as laid back, chilled chaps (as for every Mediterranian-culture impacted people), they were quick to act when needed.

A user under the name Antoni Ja, one of the members of the FB group Oglasnik otoka Korčule (Korčula Island Message Board), reported on a 20 kilo turtle floating in the sea in Žrnovska Banja. Floating, the keyword.

„Please do something, so it doesn't get hit by a speedboat or some maniac“, said Antoni Ja.

Other users immediately started to worry if the turtle was injured, and the name of a local vet Vilović was suggested as an address to report the issue.

Sure enough, Vilović examined the turtle, and the 20-kilo turtle turned out to be over 50 kilos. Not quite often seen in shallow waters, but nevertheless a normal turtle size in the Adriatic sea.

„It had a head wound, most likely from the propeller. It is on its way to the Specialist in Split by catamaran“, briefly commented Vilović.

Indeed, as the photo on the FB group published by Ana Jurić shows, the turtle was on its way to Split.

„Kudos to the vet and the guys that organized all this, and the turtle is huge!“ wrote Jurić.

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Zrnovska Banja where the turtle was spotted floating © Visit Korcula

Dr. Mario Gavranović, head of the VET VISION clinic in Split, confirmed that the turtle arrived on Friday night.  „It should arrive in an hour or two. The propeller injury is an old wound and I will first have to examine it to see what is the proper way of treatment“, said Dr. Gavranović.

When contacted on Saturday morning to provide more information on what happened to the turtle, dr. Gavranović wasn't in his office. As confirmed by Aquarium Pula, the reason was Gavranović took the turtle to the aquarium which also has a Marine turtles rescue centre.

"The turtle is alright, on its way and should be in the Centre around midday", briefly confirmed Aquairum Pula.

Pula's rescue centre has been active for around 17 years (with turtles being strictly protected in Croatia since 1995 as one of the most endangered animal species), and Morski.hr wrote in 2019 how the centre cured over 100 turtles. 

Aquarium_Pula.jpg

One of the many rescued turtles by Marine turtles rescue centre © Aquarium Pula

Croatia loves its animals

With vets displaying their expertise, locals on Korčula once again demonstrated their compassion and big heart when it comes to animals. And that compassion is not different from the general mood in Croatia.

With the nourishing of the recently deceased stork Malena being the most famous story of love between Croatians and animals, there were plenty of other examples too. From rejoicing every time whales or dolphins are spotted, when sheep visited the Zadar mall or when a Croatian reality TV star Jasmin Kunišinac raised a fox.

Unfortunately, Croatia also records cases of animal cruelty, such as the poisoning of cats and dogs, and each time Croatian public met it with a fierce backlash and anger for such acts.

Despite quite often arguing about everything imaginable and unimaginable, Croatians also express solidarity with each other when things get tough. For instance, many cities canceled their new year celebrations and relocated the money to Petrinja following its earthquake, as well as Croatian entrepreneurs too. But, many more instances of help were noted over the years.

Learn more about Korčula on our TC page.

For more about animals in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Korčula Island Label Marks Quality Accommodation and Tourism Services

July 8, 2021 - The new Korčula Island label connects all forms of accommodation and special interest tourism providers with a quality label, all to strengthen the destination.

According to the Project Association of Local Tourist Boards from Korčula Island Agreement (Korčula Tourist Board and the Municipalities of Vela Luka, Blato, Smokvica, and Lumbarda), a Public Invitation was sent for inclusion in the project "Korčula Island," reports HRTurizam.

This is a quality labeling project called "Korčula Island." It is a group of standards and benchmarks that seek to create a new basis for connecting nostalgia of all forms of accommodation and providers of services in tourism of special interest with the quality label. It complements the existing categorization system to increase service quality and competitiveness.

The goals of the project are to increase the quality of the tourist offer of all forms of accommodation, strengthen the visibility of the segment and thus strengthen the destination brand, encourage specialization towards different target groups, diversify tourist products and open new markets, create significant strategic advantages and preconditions for extending the season and encourage establishing partnerships of all stakeholders involved in the process for better cooperation and joint promotion.

The quality label is awarded to stakeholders in tourism from the island of Korčula who have expressed interest in receiving this label for hotels, camps, private accommodation, and travel agencies. Also, sub-brands of this label will be created, such as quality labels for the following categories: “Hikers-friendly,” “Bike-friendly,” and “Eco-friendly.”

The completed application form, together with the documentation from the Public Invitation, must be submitted to the office of the local tourist board no later than August 6, 2021. Find out more about the application HERE.

For everything you need to know about Korčula Island, follow our dedicated Total Croatia page

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

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Journalist Clickbait Victim: The Curious Case of Mystery Fish on Korčula

June 2, 2021 -  When TC editor Iva Tatić caught the fish nobody could identify, TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac jumped to action in the hope he will find a marine life scoop. But after the dramatic realization that Atlantic lizardfish is nothing spectacular, he became a journalist clickbait victim. Meet the mystery fish on Korčula. 

It was early evening between 7 pm-8 pm on the eastern Korčula coastline on May 28. After a long week of handling the Total Croatia site, TC editor Iva Tatić decided to chill and went fishing. Instead of managing the multilingual site that brings you the best tips on how to travel and enjoy Croatia, she must've been happy with the idea she can enjoy in Croatia herself, as she was preparing two hooks – one with a squid and the other with the piece of bread. Marine life must be very humble cause instead of a squid (absolutely delicious, either fried or grilled and stuffed with swiss chard), the bread was the taken bait for the careless fish soul underneath the Adriatic surface.

Iva took the opportunity and caught its prey, but pretty soon, happiness for the catch was additionally spiced with curiosity.

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the source of curiosity and happiness © Iva Tatić

„What the hell is this?“ Iva asked the local Korčula fishermen showing them her catch.

And „no idea“ was the consensus by other marine life hunters.

„Locals call it the spider“, said a local fisherman known as Pero to Iva. „It looks like Spiderman“.

Iva didn't feel that Spiderman is an accurate comparison, and as no one really knew the answer, the whole thing went online.

After Iva shared the photos of its catch on Facebook, the online jury narrowed the mystery to two possible suspects: Saurida and Atlantic lizardfish.

Still being new and wanting to gain recognition in the newsroom, I took on myself to investigate what exactly is this Aquaman-Spiderman-love-child. Perhaps it's something invasive, a threat to the lovely Adriatic, and a fantastic journalist story.

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The case, the challenge, the scoop © Iva Tatić

Word on the expert street

A little bit of browsing through the pages of Rovinj Sea Research Centre (CIM), and a few calls, led me to the CIM Senior scientific associate, dr. Andrej Jaklin.

„It looks like Atlantic lizardfish, I saw that fish in person on Pelješac 15 years ago“, said Dr. Jaklin on the phone while looking at the images of the catch I sent him.

Jaklin's memory also seems fit with Pelješac being close to Korčula Island. Still, he said he can't really tell me too much about the fish and recommended it to me to contact dr. Marcelo Kovačić from the Natural History Museum Rijeka. However, dr. Kovačić, a curator for vertebrates, was on vacation, so the call was picked up by Milvana Arko-Pijevac, curator for marine invertebrates.

„I think this could be an Atlantic lizardfish, the head looks like it should, but I'm specialized for invertebrates, mollusks and shellfish“, said Silvana Arko-Pijevac.

So until that point, two experts for marine bio life are certain this is an Atlantic lizardfish (Synodus saurus). Fish, from Atlantic, I thought. Are we talking about an invasive species that manage to come to the northern dead-end of the Mediterranean all the way from the Atlantic? If so, is it hazardous to the domestic sea life of the Adriatic?

Despite recognizing the fish, neither Jaklin nor Arko-Pijevac couldn't say more details, but it's worth noting that the scientific community can once again serve as a role model to everyone who thinks they are experts on everything (both in Croatia but a trend we see spawn worldwide). Instead, my interlocutors accepted and pointed out the limits of their knowledge and suggested me someone who knows more.

Clickbait: It's not just for journalists anymore!

It took me a while to reach Dr. Jakov Dulčić from the Laboratory of Ichthyology and Coastal Fishery at the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split. First, he was not in the office, and later, he was at a meeting. But, with Arko-Pijevac's claim that Dulčić is the best ichthyologist in all of Croatia, it was worth the wait.

Finally, my mobile phone impulses from Zagreb caught dr. Dulčić in Split, and I excitedly asked him for help. To identify and say a bit more about the mysterious fish fishermen in Korčula failed to recognize, but is suspected to be the Atlantic lizardfish.

„I have to see the photos to say for certain“, said Dulčić.

„I already sent them to your e-mail before this call. Can you please refresh your E-mail?“, I asked with hearable excitement in my voice and suspense in my gut.

The suspense only grew as Dulčić was opening the e-mail.

„Found it!“, he said and I almost screamed out of excitement,

„Yes, indeed, that is the Atlantic lizardfish“, confirmed Dulčić with a relaxed voice while I was ready to ask tons of questions about this weird and possibly invasive species.

„But that is neither exciting nor anything special to catch in the Adriatic“, continued Dulčić with the same chilled tone.

I listened to that sentence with a blank expression fortunately, nobody has seen it except the walls in my apartment.

„You might think it's unusual in Croatian waters because of its name, but it's the normal fish that lives in Adriatic“, added Dulčić.

I couldn't help but think what a sour poetic justice. Being a journalist, a member of the profession in which some of my colleagues try to catch views by clickbait, to be hooked (pun intended) on a clickbait in scientific terminology.

„They can be found across the Adriatic sea, everywhere in Croatia. Their population used to be smaller in the previous years, but it recently got larger. It seems they have certain cycles, but it's nothing spectacular“, he concluded.

„But how come none of the fishermen recognized it?“, I asked puzzled.

„Interestingly enough, it is often caught, but it can rarely be seen on the fish market, and that's a place thanks to which you can usually recognize fish“, explained Dulčić.

However, informing and educating fishers and the general public about marine life in the Adriatic is something dr Dulčić and the Oceanographic Institute are very dedicated to.

193315880_10159156276623879_7597329335062958211_n.jpg

Presenting you the Atlantic lizardfish © Iva Tatić

This is evident by the LEKFishResCRO project.

„This project will address the need to improve knowledge on the trends in Adriatic fisheries with novel methods as well as to acknowledge recent changes in fish biodiversity in a complex Adriatic ecosystem. The central objective of the project will be to evaluate the potential use of the LEK in developing the knowledge base for fisheries management and conservation. The strategy employed for this evaluation will be a two-way discussion between fisherman and other stakeholders from one side and fisheries biologists from another side around the subject of what sorts of indicators of ecosystem health would make sense in light of both the LEK of the fishers and the research-based knowledge (RBK) of the fisheries biologists“, says LEKFishResCRO website, and with loads of materials, you can check yourself.

„We collaborate well with fishermen, we work on their education, and with their tips and images they sent from the field we quickly gather research data“, explained Dulčić.

The invasive species are legitimately a threat to Adriatic, and it comes from the Red Sea through Eastern Mediterranean, but these examples are excellent topics for some other articles.

In the meantime, the mystery fish is identified as a mainstream species in the Adriatic. Somewhat newsworthy (maybe?), but this time my ship returned without a scoop from the stormy cruise in the sea of information.

I sent a message to Iva explaining what she caught (which she already found out on her own, she is a good journalist after all), and I only confirmed that she can unfreeze it and eat it safely. Additionally, I found this recipe at least.

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Korčula and Adriatic Sea, Pixabay

Enjoy the Adriatic, but respect marine life

In an attempt to conclude this investigative piece (let's pretend it is one, please) on a socially responsible and eco-friendly note, I asked dr Dulčić if there are any type of fish tourists and locals shouldn't fish because it's on the verge of extinction and if caught it should be returned to the sea immediately. „Such fish is living in areas and conditions where you can't catch it with hooks or nets. But Do not dive out noble pen shells (Pinna nobilis), or disturb mammals such as dolphins. And be careful around sharks and jellyfish“, concluded dr. Dulčić.

Learn more about Korčula on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Sensational Discovery: 60 Million Year Old Fish Fossils Found on Korcula!

April 13, 2021 – What a sensational discovery! Fish fossils found on Korcula, in Žrnovo, in the hamlet of Postrana, are said to be about 60 million years old!

As Slobodna Dalmacija reports, fossil teeth of fish from the order Pycnodontiformes were discovered in Borovčeva jama. This 43-meter-deep speleological object in the center of the Postrana hamlet was discovered by chance more than two years ago.

Namely, Borovčeva jama was named after Tonči Borovac, who was looking for a suitable place to plant a linden tree when he suddenly discovered the pit.

At the Postrana Local Committee's initiative, the pit was explored by a team of speleologists led by Milan Vojinović from Korčula, a forestry engineer and president of the local society for the promotion and preservation of natural diversity "Adriatica."

During Borovčeva jama's research, fossil fish teeth were discovered, which were recently extracted to the surface, after numerous consents and permits.

"As the renovation of the Korcula City Museum is nearing completion, we decided to take the fossil and include it in the permanent museum exhibition. Obtaining permits for this venture was not easy. Still, we received approvals from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the Public Institution for Management of Protected Nature Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. We signed a contract with authorized speleologists to perform works to the pride of the Žrnovo and Postrana residents, and for the benefit of future visitors to the Korčula City Museum," said the Deputy Mayor of Korčula Ivan Šale, a native of Žrnovo.

A depth of 35 meters

But it was harder to pull the fossil out of the pit than to do the paperwork. The pit begins with an awkward narrow entrance. The speleologists descended to a depth of 35 meters, set up a clay hoop, and watered the fossil with a protective rubber, followed by sawing and chiseling of the rock so that the sample could be safely transported to the surface.

It is a Pycnodontiformes fossil, which lived in shallow seas during most of the Mesozoic, spanning 175 million years. Their fossil remains were found worldwide, from the Triassic deposits to the ocean when they became extinct.

They are recognizable by their laterally flattened body and well-developed dentition, which consisted of several rows of rounded teeth with thick enamel surfaces. In short, Pycnodont fish are contemporaries of dinosaurs.

Experts say findings in Croatia are sporadic and limited to Upper Cretaceous sediments along the Adriatic coast. The most common species is Coelodus saturnus, found in localities from Pula to Brač. Some of the specimens from this group of extinct fish are kept in the Croatian Museum of Natural History.

The speleology instructor Branko Jalžić, who, together with his colleague Damir Basar removed the fossil from the Postrana pit, confirmed that this finding would be a valuable part of the Korčula museum exhibition.

Valuable proof and important scientific data

"The project was well-received by all participants, as always when we do underground research on Korcula. We completed the task successfully, the fossil was handed over to the Croatian Museum of Natural History, and it will be returned to Korcula after processing. There is no space in the museum to exhibit a more extensive story from that period, and that is why this small segment will be an important part of the future exhibition. Given the small number of fossils of pycnodont fish, each new find, including this one from Korčula, is a valuable proof of their distribution and important scientific data," explained Jalžić.

He thanked the City of Korcula, the company 'Adriatica,' and the Voluntary Fire Brigade of Korčula, which gave them rooms for sleeping and rest. Many thanks go to Tonči Borovac, who gave them a technique they did not have or they did not have to bring from Zagreb to the island.

He also thank the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Nature Areas of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, which financed the project and without whose support they would not be able to stay on Korcula.

Not the first fossil found on Korcula

However, this is not the first time speleologists discovered old fish teeth fossils on Korcula. Branko Jalžić, a member of the Croatian bio-speleology society, was a part of a cave research team back in 2018 that found fossil fish teeth at least 100 million years old. The teeth were also found in the same pit, Borovčeva jama. This fish probably lived in this area in the Cretaceous period and belonged to a group called bony fish.

They then discovered a total of three fossils, and in the 80s, the bones of a fossil rhino were found on the island of Korcula.

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Fossil fish teeth found in Borovčeva jama on Korčula in 2018 / Adipa.hr

To read more news from Croatia, follow our dedicated page.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Martinje - Saint Martin's Day Celebrated Across Croatia

November 11, 2021 – Saint Martin's Day is today celebrated across Croatia. It's a time to be thankful for the successful harvest that will tide you through winter. We take a look at Saint Martin, his close connection to Croatia and the distinct traditions here that mark his day

Saint Martin or Martin of Tours is one of the most recognised of all Christian saints. He is the patron saint of beggars, wool-weavers and tailors, soldiers, geese and the country of France. He is also the patron saint of innkeepers and winemakers. He is celebrated all over the Christian world on September 11, the day of his burial (Saint Martin died on 8th November, 397, and was buried three days later).

wine-259876_1920.jpegAcross Europe, the long-held celebration of Saint Martin's Day is closely associated with the autumn harvest - in Croatia, particularly the wine harvest in continental regions

The feast of Saint Martin began to be celebrated in France, where he died, before spreading all across Europe and the Christian world. In the northern hemisphere, Saint Martin's Day coincides with a key time of year. It is the end of harvest time, the beginning of natural winter. It is the time for food to be conserved for the forthcoming colder months, the time for animals to be slaughtered and vegetables to be preserved. It is also the time when the year's first new beer and wine first become ready to drink. Depending on the local crops and climate of the country, Saint Martin's Day can be associated with different foods and drinks. But there are recurring associations, in particular throughout Europe. In the great winemaking country of Croatia, Saint Martin's Day is often most closely linked to that particular agricultural endeavour.

Louis Anselme Longa, La Charité de Saint-Martin Huile sur toile. Eglise de Saint-Martin d'Oney.jpgSaint Martin depicted in Louis Anselme Longa's, La Charité de Saint-Martin Huile sur toile

Saint Martin feels at home in Croatia. And well he might. Martin of Tours was born less than 90 kilometres from today's Croatian border, in Pannonia, present-day Hungary. His father was a tribune in the Roman army and, being the son of such, Martin was required to follow in his footsteps. At the age of 18, he was stationed in Amiens, present-day France, probably as an elite cavalry bodyguard of the Emperor, who accompanied the leader on his travels around the Empire. We actually know quite a lot about the life of Saint Martin. So important did he become to the spread of early Christianity in the region, that many details about his life were recorded by a biographer, Sulpicius Severus. Not only did Severus live within Martin's lifetime, but also he actually met him.

Martinje-visit daruvar.jpgA previous celebration of Saint Martin's Day in Daruvar © TZ Daruvar

While Martin was still a soldier, it is said he experienced a vision. One day, as he was approaching the city of Amiens, he met a beggar. Martin instinctively cut his military cloak in two, so he could share his clothing with the poor man. That night, Martin dreamed Jesus was wearing the half-cloak he had given away.

Martin's cloak became a famous relic and was preserved in the Marmoutier Abbey near Tours. During the Middle Ages, it was carried by the king into battle and used as a Holy relic upon which oaths were sworn. When it was not in use, so important was the cloak that it was assigned its own military priest who would watch over it. He was called a cappellanu, his title taken from the Italian word capella, meaning cloak. This is the origin of the word chaplain that we use today to describe a priest assigned to the military. And it is the origin of the word chapel, meaning small church, which comes from the building assigned to house Martin's cloak.

Saint Martin and the Beggar by Anthony van Dyck.jpgAnother depiction of Martin splitting his cloak for the beggar - Saint Martin and the Beggar by Anthony van Dyck

Opinions about the length of time Martin spent in the army vary, as he is said to have renounced violence - in keeping with the Christian faith he had adopted before joining. However long he spent in service, it is to a life of religious devotion he entered upon his departure from the ranks. He travelled back home and is said to have converted his mother in Pannonia to Christianity. Thereafter, he returned to present-day France with his mentor, Hilary of Poitiers, where he helped establish a building that would become the oldest known monastery in Europe, Ligugé Abbey. From there, he toured the region preaching Christianity, spreading his religion and, perhaps unwittingly, also his name.

graddugoselo.jpgIn this picture, the local clergy bless the full harvest in Dugo Selo on Saint Martin's Day © Grad Dugo Selo

Being a renowned Holy man, Martin was asked to attend a sick man in the city of Tours. The request was a ruse. Christians within the city wanted to have Martin as their bishop and had lured him there. Reticent to take up the position, Martin is said to have run away and hidden among a barn full of geese to avoid his persuaders. This is where the association of Martin with geese comes from. In many countries, the cooking of a goose is traditional on Saint Martin's Day, including Croatia. Not everyone has always been able to afford such a grand bird - poorer families have traditionally served duck, turkey or, more recently, chicken on Saint Martin's Day. The traditional accompaniment in Croatia is layers of pasta known as mlinci.

mlinci.pngMlinci, sheets of thin pasta, traditionally served as an accompaniment to a roasted bird in Croatia, especially on Saint Martin's Day

As bishop of Tours, Martin had a much greater responsibility and area to minister over. In these early days of Christianity, it was all too common for force and the military to become involved in the conversion of non-believers. But, Martin had renounced violence. He used an alternate method - the power of persuasion. Martin is said to have been such a formidable opponent in discussion that royalty would often refuse to grant him an audience for fear he would inevitably leave with the terms he sought. He regularly campaigned for the forgiveness and freedom of prisoners, even those whose religious views he opposed.

kutjevo2.jpgSome of Croatia's best white wines come from Kutjevo in Slavonia - it's no surprise to see them go big for Saint Martin's Day © Kutjevo doo

From the late 4th century to the late Middle Ages, a 40-day period of fasting starting the day after Saint Martin's Day was observed over much of Christian Europe. This long period eventually relaxed and receded, becoming known as Advent – the time of spiritual preparation for Christmas. However, what remained was the great feast enjoyed just before the fasting commenced - Saint Martin's Day.

visitmedimuje.jpgA typical scene from St Martin's Day in Medimurje © Visit Medimurje

Martinje or Saint Martin's Day in Croatia

In Croatia, Saint Martin is the patron saint of Beli Manastir in Baranja, Virje in Koprivnica–Križevci County and Čepinski Martinci in Slavonia. Each has a church named after Saint Martin. These are far from the only places where Saint Martin's Day is significant in Croatia. In Istria, as work in vineyards would come to an end, winemakers would often come together to taste the fruits of their labour together. Saint Martin's is celebrated across several days there, from village to village, and tradition holds that the new wine most liked on Saint Martin’s Day will be the best wine next year.

3bc7aa7f337d2b6d218588b9fca9e94f_L.jpgCelebrating Saint Martin's Day is a long-held tradition in Croatia, as this old photo from Požega City Museum attests

Like Istria, northern and eastern continental Croatia have an extremely strong reputation for producing great white wine. It is the harvest of the white wine grapes that most closely coincides with Saint Martin's Day, so it's little surprise to see it marked so significantly in these regions. In particular, Sveti Martin na Muri in Međimurje, all of Koprivnica–Križevci County, Požega and Kutjevo in Slavonia, Daruvar in Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Velika Gorica, Sveti Ivan Zelina and Dugo Selo in Zagreb County are big fans of Martinje. But, many other places where white wine is made also celebrate Saint Martin's Day, such as within Šibenik-Knin County. In the more easterly parts of Slavonia, they traditionally celebrate their wine with a blessing of the fields on Saint Vincent's Day (22 January).

purica_4-maja-danica-pecanic.jpgTurkey and mlinci is a dish commonly served on Saint Martin's Day in Croatia. Both the turkey and mlinci of the Zagorje region are protected by the EU for their distinct place of origin © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Within these regions, in particular, the folk custom of 'Baptising' the wine, to purify it, is a part of proceedings. In many places, this is even done by a real priest. The ceremony frequently takes place on town squares and is enthusiastically attended by locals. After the lighthearted formalities, the celebrations are usually extended with food, music and, of course, wine.

grad daruvar.jpgAnother scene from a previous Saint Martin's in Daruvar © Grad Daruvar

Outside of continental regions, the island of Korčula is one of the few places in southern Dalmatia where Saint Martin's Day is seriously celebrated. The party there starts the night before, with children making a procession with lanterns. This is a commonplace way to celebrate Saint Martin's Day in The Netherlands, some parts of Germany and Belgium. Indeed, so significant is the day in western Flanders, Belgium, that children receive their annual gifts on Saint Martin's Day instead of December 25th. They don't go that far on Korčula, but they do make special foods for the occasion and celebrate Saint Martin's Day, like many places in Croatia, with joyous song and dance.

47_KUTJEVO3.jpg© Kutjevo doo

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Croatia Filming Locations Are Best Again As Succession Bags 7 Emmys

September 23, 2020 – Following incredible success with Game Of Thrones, Mamma Mia and others, Croatia filming locations prove to be the best again as HBO's Succession wins 7 Emmys

Historic Dubrovnik was always pretty enough to attract people from far and wide. But, following its appearance in TV show Game Of Thrones, interest in visiting the walled city went through the roof. Tourists were not the only ones who wanted to come.

HBO drama Succession is just the latest hit to take advantage of the spectacular scenery while filming in Croatia. The show has just bagged no less than seven prestigious Emmy awards for the season partially filmed in Croatia. In the drama series category, it picked up Emmys for Best Leading Male Role, Best Guest Role, Best Casting, Best Directing, Best Screenplay and Best Picture Editing.

10_02_succession_s02-sept20-hbo.jpgCast members filmed aboard a yacht with beautiful Croatia and its Adriatic waters as the backdrop © HBO

The shooting took place over 12 days in July 2019, primarily on a yacht on which the show's central characters, the Roy family, were taking a holiday. The Croatia filming locations used were the waters around Cavtat, Korcula, Mljet and Sipan. The series ventured into more urban areas of Croatia and, for those scenes, filming locations in Zagreb and Rijeka were sourced. The German-built Solandge was the yacht used in the filming and costs as much as $1.1million (£850,000) to rent for one week.

19690220-7610097-Finale_The_second_season_of_Succession_came_to_a_close_on_Sunday-a-69_1571931109237.jpgThe Roy family aboard the yacht Solandge in Croatian waters © HBO

Now in its third season, Succession centres on the dysfunctional Roy family, owners of a global media and hospitality empire. It stars British actor Brian Cox as the ailing family patriarch with Kieran Culkin heading up the otherwise all-American cast. A total of 613 people worked on the shooting of Succession in Croatia, of which 595 were Croatian (161 film workers, three trainees and 431 extras).

20139614-7610097-image-a-72_1571931767347.jpgSolandge is currently one of the most luxurious yachts in the world © Moran Yachts

In recent years, major movies such as Star Wars, Robin Hood and one installment in the long-running James Bond series have joined the likes of Game Of Thrones and Mamma Mia in enjoying Croatia filming locations. However, filming in Croatia goes back much further than that. During the 1970s and early 1980s, no less than three Oscar-winning movies used Croatia filming locations - Fiddler on the Roof (1971), The Tin Drum (1979) and Sophie’s Choice (1982).

You can read more about filming in Croatia and Croatian filming locations by reading our dedicated section here

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Monday, 7 September 2020

PHOTOS: It's True! Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia on Holiday

Total Croatia News broke the story last Friday. And now it's finally been confirmed - it's true, Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia

News travels fast in Croatia. Nowhere does it travel quicker than on the ever-reliable News pages of Total Croatia News. Unless, of course, you count Croatian gossip.

TCN journalist extraordinaire Iva Tatić was relaxing on the island of Korčula, playing with her dog, when last week she heard an eyebrow-raising piece of gossip through the open window. “Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia!”

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Iva Tatić's dog, one of the first to hear about Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia

Ever the professional, Iva leaned out of the balcony to ask a neighbour to confirm the rumour. “That's what they're saying” replied the neighbour, above a small street filled with laughter. The cause of the chuckles? Not only are Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia, but they've also asked for the entire islet of Vrnik to be evacuated so they can enjoy a private visit. “Hmm, difficult request,” thought Iva. Vrnik is an inhabited island. People live there throughout the year. There are probably around 100 people there right now.

Much to the disappointment of her dog, Iva's journalistic instincts took over. She sat down at the computer and set about trying to corroborate the rumour so that she could break the news. At her time of writing, she was unable to do so. There was simply nothing in any other media confirming Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia.

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How Iva Tatić broke the story about Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia last Friday. Her's was the first story to announce the pop star's arrival. It has since been confirmed that the celebrity couple are indeed aboard the pictured yacht, Lana. Iva Tatić took this photo of the yacht from the shores of the island of Korčula, where she likes to spend much of her summer

But, sometimes a journalist's instinct is all they need. Iva confirmed that the yacht Lana had been seen in the surroundings of the Korčula archipelago. She went to the shoreline and it was there! From a distance, she managed to grab a photo. At 107 meters in length and capable of accommodating 12 guests and 31 crew, this is no ordinary yacht. Some special visitors were definitely holidaying here.

Knowing that Beyonce and Jay Z had been here nine years ago, on Hvar, and two years prior to that had been in Dubrovnik, Iva went with gut instincts and published the story, being careful to mention it was uncorroborated. Her article was the first to break the news of a visit that is now 100% confirmed. It's true, Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia.

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Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia, pictured on Instagram

The yacht Lana was spotted further up the coast on Saturday, around the Kornati archipelago. Then, in the afternoon of the same day, tourists visiting the island of Žut were finally able to corroborate Iva's story. They managed to grab pictures of Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia. They were dining in an otherwise deserted restaurant, Fešta on the island. The visit coincides with Beyonce's 39th birthday.

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Iva's story was confirmed by Croatian portal Zadarski.hr one day after Iva published when they were able to show photos of the couple dining on the island of Žut

This being visit number three for Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia, we wouldn't count out a return visit next year for her 40th. The couple clearly love coming to Croatia. If they do come, be sure to look out for Total Croatia News again breaking the story. Since the writing of her article, Iva Tatić and her dog have been taking their cuddling sessions much closer to Iva's open window.

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Iva Tatić's dog "Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia? I don't care! Where did my cuddles go?"

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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Hot Scoop: Is Beyonce in Korcula?

September 2, 2020 - Sometimes you overhear the best scoop in the streets. For instance, is Beyonce in Korcula?

The news is almost completely uncorroborated, but it comes from a source we have reason to trust, and it's not the first time Korcula has seen major celebrities in 2020 (need we remind you of Magic Johnson or Owen Wilson?) The story goes that Beyonce and her entourage are on a yacht in the Korcula archipelago and that they've requested the entire islet of Vrnik to be emptied for their visit. 

While many celebrities have chosen to come to Croatia for their holidays this year, which is quite different from any other year, we've seen no other reports of Beyonce returning to Croatia this year. The story of one of her previous visits is well-documented, with her daughter Blue Ivy supposedly getting her name after a bit of Croatian coastline. The grapevine has, at this moment, not produced any news regarding Jay-Z's location. 

 

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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Small Korčula Municipality Boasts Family Incentives

In the last six years, a period of time which has seen about 380,000 people leave Croatia, just two families left this island municipality...

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