Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Yoga in the Centre of the World, as Active Ludbreg Summer Begins

July 6, 2021 - Many tourists may be heading to the coast this summer, but there is plenty happening in continental Croatia, including Active Ludbreg Summer, which kicked off on Saturday. 

What kind of unique experiences can you have in Croatia? Yoga in the centre of the world, perhaps?


Tourism in continental Croatia has a very different look and feel to lazy days on the beach, and the more I look around the towns and villages of continental Croatia, the more I admire their different approaches. 


One such town is Ludbreg, a destination I have been writing about for some time now, in partnership with the Ludbreg Tourist Board. A town which is famous for its claim to be the centre of the world and home to the only certified miracle in Croatia has been working hard at improving its tourism over in the last couple of years. The opening of Archaeological Park Iovia earlier this year was a major milestone for the town's tourism, and the park is also proving popular - learn more about the opening day here.


In addition to the museum, the town has upgraded its access along the river and is putting more emphasis on the use of a beautiful location - Otok Mladosti (Island of Youth) - a short walk from the centre. Otok Mladosti is a natural haven just outside the town, which is used for a number of events and concerts, as well as being a popular local fishing spot. 


The town is also promoting active and healthy tourism, with cycling increasingly important as an activity, and it was the 34th Ludbreg Biciklijada which was one of the highpoints of the town's active summer programme, as Active Ludbreg Summer 2021 kicked off on Saturday.


While the cyclists took to the roads, there were a range of other activities for people to enjoy, with plenty of family fun. 

A new beach bar with DJ was opened on Otok Mladosti, one more addition to the Ludbreg tourism offer. 


One of the most popular parts of the Saturday programme was the family competition, starting at 14:00, with challenges including tug of war, jumping in bags, frisbee, and an egg and spoon race. 

Attention then turned to the river, with the chance to try out kayaking and canoeing. 


And the evening session turned to zumba and fitness. 

You can get a sense of the fun of the day in this video above. 

Active Ludbreg summer continues - you can find the events for the rest of the week below, as well as following the latest on the dedicated Facebook page


For a more comprehensive look at this rather unusual town, check out the TC Ludbreg in a Page guide

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Discover Active Ludbreg: Canoeing, Kayaking, Cycling, Hiking, Walking

May 12, 2021 – From canoeing and kayaking on the Bednja to cycling and hiking through the forests and foothills of the Kalnik Mountains, Active Ludbreg is the best way to see the countryside in this particular part of Varaždin County.

The pretty town of Ludbreg is used to hosting visitors. Site of the only Vatican-recognised miracle in the Balkans, in regular years Ludbreg usually welcomes more than a million followers of faith. However, many come just for the day.

Pilgrimage is certainly one good way to see a specific side to Ludbreg. But, there are several different facets to this charming little town. And, there are good reasons to stay for a couple of days or so. Not least, Ludbreg's active options - canoeing, kayaking, cycling, hiking, walking.

RE09f7f61c87fd55e0794b26bfd64c367a_XL.jpgLudbreg's Youth Island (Otok Mladosti) - the perfect place for walking and recreation - is fully accessible to all, including wheelchair users © Ludbreg Town

Active Ludbreg is a great way you can better experience what the town has to offer. You'll see so much more of the countryside that surrounds. When you take on Active Ludbreg, each day can be different. Active Ludbreg options are the perfect reason for you to stick around for more than just a day.

Active Ludbreg: Cycling

RE167022019_3800997676663245_5154362747282020553_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

A diverse scenery of forests, fields, hills, flat plains and river valleys will fill your eyes as you cycle around Ludbreg. Furthermore, there are several Active Ludbreg cycle routes to suit your mood, group or ability. With the family, you can leisurely tour all the sights of the town on the traffic-free City Route. Heading out of town and into the countryside, the Trekking Route gives a fuller picture of Ludbreg greenery. It won't make much of a demand on you.

RE166715448_3800992799997066_7370923313728976288_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

Stepping up a gear, the Gravel Route is aimed at recreational riders who like to keep fit and get off-road. Perfect for mountain bikes, the rises on the route will open up some great scenery as well as challenging your legs. Lastly, the Road Route offers a physical challenge for serious cycling enthusiasts. Good for speed cyclists and racers, the higher gradients here demand at times you fully exert yourself on the asphalt.

RE166904625_3800992213330458_9221334015058037297_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

Additionally, Ludbreg is located on several recognised international cycling routes. the cross-border Happy Bike route will take you across the Hungarian border, as does the Mura-Drava route. Ludbreg is also very close to the Croatian section of the EuroVelo 13 route. This epic 9,950 km cycling tour retraces the old 'Iron Curtain', from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. Why not stop off in Ludbreg if you're taking on part of this challenge?

If you want to learn more about the cycling routes of Active Ludbreg, then look here.

Active Ludbreg: Hiking and Walking

REludbreg-kalnik-2.jpgWinter 2021 trip into the nearby Kalnik mountains by Mountaineering Association Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Forming a partial natural border between Varaždin County and Koprivnica-Križevci County, the northern edge of the Kalnik Mountains gently stretches down to Ludbreg in the form of wood and forest-covered hills. This beautiful and fresh landscape is perfect for walkers, hikers and runners.

RE20150510_132509.jpgThe good people of Mountaineering Association Ludbreg in the forest-covered foothills of the Kalnik Mountains near Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Active Ludbreg's Crazy Hill Green Trail is an untaxing 10-kilometre route through the fresh and peaceful wooded hills south of the town. You can take this on as a run or simply just a pleasant two-hour walk. At 16 kilometres in length, the Crazy Hill Blue Trail passes through a similar topography. Again, it is not demanding and so can also be walked. The payoff of taking on the trail's final rise is a beautiful view of the woods stretching all the way into the Kalnik mountains. Want to make a day of it or give yourself a serious challenge? Ludbreg's Crazy Hill Red Trail throws down the gauntlet in the form of a 34-kilometre route for the physically fit.

RE20200315_134701.jpgWinter 2021 trip into the nearby Kalnik mountains by Mountaineering Association Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Of course, not all of the footfall through Ludbreg needs to be physically exerting. You can take most routes at whatever pace you like, including the 23-kilometre Kalnik Hiking Trail. And, for a more recreational time in the fresh air, a trip around Ludbreg's Youth Island (Otok Mladosti) is immediately accessible, including wheelchair users.

If you want to learn more about the hiking and walking routes of Active Ludbreg, then look here.

Active Ludbreg: Kayaking and canoeing

REIMG_20200924_131447-01.jpegCanoe and kayak on the Bednja in Ludbreg @ Nikolina Breber

The latest offer of Active Ludbreg is kayaking and canoeing on the Bednja river. Starting its journey way to the west, near the Slovenian border, in truth, the Bednja has already run 100 kilometres by the time it reaches Ludbreg. In spring and autumn particularly (but, sometimes also in summer), the water level is high enough for you to take a canoe or kayak down the river's final run towards the Drava river. Here, you get to see wild nature up close. On the river banks, low bushes overhang the water's edge. Behind them, an avenue of shading trees along the river's length.

REIMG_20200924_120804-01.jpegCanoe and kayak on the Bednja in Ludbreg @ Nikolina Breber

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Archaeological Park Iovia - Ludbreg Officially Opens!

May 11, 2021 - The archaeological park Iovia - Ludbreg was ceremoniously opened in Ludbreg on Monday as one of the city's largest and most important projects.

First, the news of the opening of the new archeological park Iovia - Ludbreg on Monday:

Podravski reports that the museum was opened by the Minister of Culture and Media, Ph.D. Nina Obuljen Koržinek with the mayor of Ludbreg Dubravko Bilić and the director of the restoration institute and honorary Ludbreg citizen, doctor of science Tajana Pleše.


"It is not every day that archeological sites are opened, arranged, researched, and presented in this way, organized according to all international standards, and look how archeological parks should be developed and managed. This locality and other projects funded by the European Union have an important tourist component. When the pandemic situation calms down, this will certainly be one reason for visitors to come to Ludbreg. It is a real pleasure to witness an event like this at this time, and I believe that today's opening is an encouraging announcement of returning to life as we knew it before the pandemic," said Minister Obuljen Koržinek at the opening and thanked everyone who participated in the project.


The mayor of Ludbreg, Dubravko Bilić, said that Ludbreg is a city that is recognized for using European funds. The archeological park project is one of the most important city projects.

"This project was for us the first large registered project that turned Ludbreg into a city of European projects. I remember how much effort and time was put in by everyone who worked on the application to finally submit the application on the last day and thus knock on Europe’s door. Fortunately, the project was approved and received 14.3 million kuna in grants, while the rest came from the Ministry of Regional Development and the City of Ludbreg. In the end, the value will be close to 19 million kuna. The importance of the project is, on the other hand, invaluable because it activates all our potentials in tourism and the economy and presents Ludbreg as a rich place where visitors have something to see," said Mayor Bilić in part of his address and thanked everyone who helped implement the project.

The director of the restoration institute and honorary citizen of Ludbreg, doctor of science Tajana Pleše, also addressed the audience, emphasizing in an emotional speech that such parks are extremely rare and that it is a great honor to be a part of it.


As the presentations continued, I took a step back to take some pictures, and I was struck by just how much of interest there is in this unusual town. I have been mildly fascinated with Ludbreg since my first visit back in 2016 when I wrote Ludbreg, the Most Fascinating, Unusual Little Town in Croatia? And every visit brings something new, in this case the opening of Archeological Park Iovia. 

Here, in just a few square metres, in a quiet destination not known for tourism, we can see the Centre of the World, the church which houses the only certified miracle in Croatia, a monument to local javelin heroine, Sara Kolak, who won Olympic Gold in Rio in 2016, and the newly opened museum and park. 


As most destinations are tightening their belts, Ludbreg's chiefs are investing to improve both the town and the tourism offer. It was great to catch up with the King of Straw, as he put the finishing touches to his straw model of Ludbreg's oldest lady, Erika the rhino. 

Marc Rowlands' feature story yesterday on the rise of active tourism in and around Ludbreg shows that tourism is very much alive in this part of continental Croatia.


I really liked the layout of the three-storey museum in front of the park. The top floor will be great for workshops.


And a new conference facility in the basement. 


As for the exhibition itself, it was perfectly presented, even if some of the exhibits made me feel empathy after all my recent stress and travel. 


Three clear timelines, side by side - Croatia, the world, and Ludbreg. While the exhibition on the wall is in Croatia, it is available in several languages via multimedia. 

A great addition to an already interesting town, which you can get to know in more detail with our One Minute Ludbreg series, in association with the Ludbreg Tourist Board, starting with the story of that miracle.

To learn more about Ludbreg, visit the dedicated TCN section.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Ludbreg City Day Celebrated with Special Ceremony

March 23, 2021 - According to a document of Pope Leo X dated March 19, 1513, Ludbreg City Day is celebrated on that very date.

As Večernji List reports, with the holy bull or the papal scriptures, Pope Leo X declared Ludbreg as the shrine of the Precious Blood of Christ, which is why he made a pilgrimage to this small town in Podravina for more than six centuries at the beginning of every September.

Given the global pandemic and the measures in place, Ludbreg City Day was marked in a more modest but again appropriate way. Although there were no major events, cinemas filled with laughter while watching theater performances, concerts, and the like, a solemn session was held at which appropriate awards and recognitions were presented to deserving individuals.

The city of Ludbreg is about to open a new tourist attraction in the heart of the city - Iovia Archaeological Park, and the Island of Youth is being arranged, which is becoming an increasingly popular gathering place for residents of all generations. Ludbreg is also a green city that rehabilitated a landfill a few years ago, underground and semi-underground containers have been set up in the city and settlements, and in 2019, it finished tenth in terms of allocations for agriculture. The economy also plays an important role in all this, and the mayor of Ludbreg, Dubravko Bilić, spoke about it at a solemn session.

''Investment in the economy and figures are often mentioned, so it should be said that over 150 million euros have been invested in the Ludbreg economy over eight years, both European and local. Today, Ludbreg is an important center of economic development of the county and does not stop in that development because we expect another important investment soon. We have created an optimistic, safe, and supportive climate for all who are willing to invest and develop good business stories and thus make Ludbreg a recognizable economic environment. We have received many awards for these efforts, but the most important recognition is the record low unemployment in the city and the highest average salary in the industry in the area," says Ludbreg Mayor, Dubravko Bilic. Speaking about the reforms, he especially emphasized changing the model of local committees' work.

"We have tackled the reforms ourselves, and by changing the work model of local committees, we have invested more than 14 million kuna in the balanced development of all settlements. Almost 3 million kuna has been invested in the new project model of civil society organizations, and around 20 million kuna has been invested in sports, which are still awaiting reforms,' says Bilić and adds that he is especially proud of two things.

It is a socially sensitive community of all generations, intertwined with the care of children and young people from kindergarten to student age, where the return of a high school to Ludbreg is especially important as a link between education and the needs of the economy. Almost 38 million kuna was invested in this sector. The second is investing in social programs such as support for newborns, scholarships, cooperation with our retirees, and all those who found themselves in trouble, in which an additional 6 million kuna was invested.

 "We recognized the concern for environmental protection and the importance of ecology for the future of Ludbreg. We removed landfills from the city center and invested 50 million kuna in green transformation, placing us among the 10 most successful cities in Croatia in environmental protection. In this green transformation, we recognize the opportunity for new investments in solar and geothermal power plants and the production and application of green hydrogen as the fuel of the future for public transport, municipal and truck transport, and industry, but also floriculture and vegetables. This is the most important reform that we must embark on as a city in order to ensure a healthy future for our children," emphasizes Mayor Bilić.

Champion of EU funds

The biggest backbone for years is certainly European projects, thanks to which most of the projects have been realized. In 2019, the city of Ludbreg won the title of champion in the category of EU funds. From 2013 until today, 115 million kuna has been invested in various sectors of society through projects.

"We turned to serve our city, where politicians and institutions need to serve their fellow citizens democratically. The mayor and city services turned to EU projects, the results of which are visible. From 2017 to 2020, EU projects covered 2,512,646.45 kuna for salaries, almost a one-year amount for all employees," said Antun Šimić, President of the City Council of Ludbreg.

At the solemn session on the occasion of the City Day, Varaždin County prefect Radimir Čačić also addressed the gathered people.

''Here there is a clear picture in the awareness that when you take leadership somewhere and are responsible for the betterment of others then there is one important message: No one is able to light a fire for another if he cannot for himself. In other words, you have to feel that power in yourself, which can then be passed on to other people. If you manage to skip your dimension then it deserves recognition. This city is small, it cannot be what it is not, but in any case, it has results that exceed a certain dimension, it is achieving its shifts. Ludbreg is a city that proves its ability in many parameters, especially when we talk about European projects. We will cooperate very well this year as well, because the north deserves to be even more influential, to direct state political decisions. For that, of course, instruments and people with knowledge are needed," said prefect Čačić.

The most developed small town in northwestern Croatia

The session was also attended by Melita Mulić, Advisor to the President of the Republic for Human Rights and Civil Society and an envoy of the President of the Republic of Croatia.

"When we talk about Ludbreg, its long history, and great tradition come to the fore, which in comparison with the rapid technological development of modern civilization is becoming increasingly important. She is our anchor with lasting values, ​​to which we can always return and be inspired to face contemporary challenges. In particular, they came to the fore in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, which not only changed our established life and habits but also forced us to reconsider the current way of managing society and nature. More than anything, we need content that is optimistic and stronger social cohesion, and I do not mean only the past but also the future. The city of Ludbreg has clearly defined its contents of the future and has become the most developed small town in northwestern Croatia," said Melita Mulić.

Ludbreg City Day is always an opportunity to thank prominent individuals. Dr. Tajana Pleše from Zagreb was declared an honorary citizen of the City of Ludbreg. The City of Ludbreg Award was given to Vitomir Namjesnik and Štefica Pavković. The plaque of the City of Ludbreg was awarded to the Children's Salon "Pinocchio" and the association "Women from the Center of the World". Letters of thanks from the City of Ludbreg were presented to Ivan Črepinko, Tomislav Horvat, Zlatko Hrelja, Vladimir Katalenić, Đurđa Kokanović and Ivica Vidović. The best students, Dea Busija from the Elementary School Ludbreg and Diana Laura Jantol from the High School Ludbreg, were also awarded.

"Preparing for this letter, I tried to see what connects all the winners. In addition to contributions to the development, promotion, and reputation of the City of Ludbreg, reading the nominations of this year's and previous winners, it became clear to me that all of us, regardless of the field in which we work - from humanitarian work, sports, crafts, culture or heritage - and unconditional commitment to the same goal; a better life for Ludbreg's men and women. By erasing the boundaries of working and private time with their engagement, the results were achieved, which the City of Ludbreg recognized and decided to award with these high recognitions," concluded Pleše.

You can find the original article here.

More information on the City of Ludbreg official site.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Active Tourism on a Crazy Hill: Ludbreg Spring Outdoor Festival Begins!

March 16, 2021 – Croatian city of Ludbreg, also called the center of the world due to its geographical position, becomes the center of sports games in March as the Ludbreg Spring Outdoor Festival begins.

To encourage the development of Ludbreg into an outdoor excursion destination, the new sports festival – Welcome Spring – started last Saturday in this Croatian city, also known as the center of the world. The Ludbreg Spring festival began with an exciting kayak race.

On the river Bednja, which flows through the very center of Ludbreg, the forces were measured by different types of rowers in several categories. The exciting Watermark Kayak Race attracted curious citizens on Saturday morning, who watched the open championship of the Ludbreg city in kayaking on the 300 meters long route.


Ludbreg Tourist Board Facebook

In addition to the kayak race that started the Ludbreg Spring outdoor festival, the Ludbreg Tourist Board tried to bring kayaking closer to people by organizing a free kayak demonstration hour on the island Mladost in Ludbreg.


Ludbreg Tourist Board Facebook

Since this small town in Zagorje is already known for trail running and cycling, as well as for the beautiful nature that surrounds it, the Ludbreg Spring festival is an excellent meeting place for sports fans. To popularize the active outdoor lifestyle, Welcome Spring Festival will attract sports fans to Ludbreg with more sports competitions every weekend in March.

The schedule includes:

Centrum Mundi road running – March 21, 2021

On City Day, Ludbreg honors the entry fees for the already traditional road race "Centrum Mundi." This 10-kilometer race is officially scored for the Northwest Croatia Cup. In addition to the competition race, a 2.5 km long race for citizens will be organized.

Gravel cycling race – March 27, 2021

The beautiful and exciting but also demanding route of the Gravel race around Kalnik (the so-called "up-down" route) requires good preparation. Hence, its trail, as well as other helpful information, are available online. You can buy the tickets here.

Crazy Hill Trail running – March 28, 2021

The legendary Crazy Hill Trail race – now that it is official – will run on three tracks: green (10 km), blue (16 km), and red (34 km) so that runners of all profiles can find their place. You can register here.


Ludbreg Tourist Board

Welcome Spring festival is unique and intended for everyone, which is proved by the fact that there are two races for people with disabilities in wheelchairs. Namely, the road race for people with disabilities in wheelchairs will be held together with the Centrum Mundi road race with a route of 2.5 km, and the cycling race as part of the Gravel race with a route of 10 km.

In anticipation of spring, the positive and active energy of the Ludbreg landscape allows sports competitors and visitors to enjoy sporting events in this charming town. With its flat and hilly surroundings, the landscape of Ludbreg offers a multitude of opportunities for pre-season warm-ups and winter training testing.

Ludbreg Spring outdoor festival is here to encourage citizens to restart with sports activities. At the same time, for those who have diligently maintained their shape, it gives opportunities to show themselves in the best light.

For the latest news from Ludbreg, check out the dedicated TCN section.

Friday, 5 February 2021

2.7 Magnitude Quake Registered in North Croatia on Friday Morning

ZAGREB, 5 February, 2021 - A tremor measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale was registered near the northern town of Ludbreg on early Friday morning, Croatia's Seismological Survey reported.

The epicentre of the earthquake, which was registered at 0430 hours Friday, was seven kilometres south of Ludbreg.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Ludbreg Winemakers' Wines Thrive Due to God-Given Microclimate

January 23, 2021 – The feast of St Vincent's Day, Vincekovo, could not be celebrated this year due to the epidemiological situation, but Ludbreg winemakers continue to focus on their wine production. Thanks to the very favorable climate, the Ludbreg area is suitable for planting vineyards, and local winemakers hope to soon get their well-deserved place on the Croatia's wine list.

Vincekovo, which was celebrated yesterday, January 22, in the Ludbreg area, used to be celebrated in Globočec when the plantations were blessed. The main event was a traditional and unique exhibition of young wines from the Ludbreg and surrounding vineyards, which was canceled this year due to strict epidemiological measures and a challenging situation.

It is an additional blow for all caterers who suffered the most in the corona crisis and wine producers. Local winemakers and winegrowers will wait for some better times to meet and rejoice with friends.

Sanja and Tomislav Stručić, top winemakers from Ludbreg, who met with TCN in Ludbreg last year, told their business story for the Epodravina.hr portal.

Family vineyard three kilometers from the center of the world

"We were pleased by the announcement that we could reopen our doors in February, but if we won't open until Easter, as announced, the season is questionable. We are very affected," says winemaker Sanja Stručić.

However, despite the pandemic, wine lovers are not resting. Caring for the vineyards is a year-round work, essential for producing good wine. The season begins now when the first pruning is done and lasts until the harvest.

"Last year, we estimated that, given the situation with the coronavirus, we would have stocks of wine. Therefore, we reduced the grape yield during pruning in the spring. We left grapes for sparkling wine and wines to age. We want to produce quality, not quantity, that is, high-quality wines," says the Stručić family.


Sanja and Tomislav Stručić with Paul Bradbury in 2020, Total Croatia News

Their beautiful wine-growing hills, clean air, excellent wine, and hospitality evoke the love of land and viticulture that began in 1984 with a family vineyard just three kilometers from the center of the world. Sanja's father, Dragutin Crnković, once planted the first vineyard there, passed on his love of viticulture to his daughter, and introduced her to the wine business.

Emphasis is on the premium line of nature wines

Sanja's husband, Tomislav, also fell in love with winemaking and viticulture. In 2000 they founded the Winery, and in 2017 they produced the first sparkling wine in the region. They are the new wine style leaders in Varaždin County, and today they create top and quality wines.

Stručić Winery has become one of the most famous and successful and began more severe production in 2002. The emphasis is on the premium line of wines represented by nature wines. The premium line consists of carefully selected bunches hand-picked from selected vines. Sanja showed her love, passion, and care for each of these grapes before they become wine.

"Only ripe grapes are picked from the petiole by hand, clean and healthy. Fermentation on own yeasts and grapes, without the addition of selected yeasts, produces natural wines. This top line comes in different bottles and has different labels. We have been making it in small batches, approximately 750 bottles, for four years now, every year with a new vintage," says Sanja.

Back in 2016, Stručić family even produced a special edition of Sara Kolak Chardonnay to celebrate the local Olympic javelin gold-medal winner.

Journalists who encourage stories about gastronomy, tourism, and hedonism are also responsible for the turn in wine production. The Stručić family decided to take advantage of the microclimate and their plantations' position, which enable them to produce excellent raw materials for the production of different wine styles.

"We researched and realized that our region is a microclimatic God-given. While visiting various wine fairs and festivals, we realized we want to make different wines. The exhibitions were an incentive for us to expand our knowledge to be as good as possible. We also visited wineries in Italy to get a better insight into their viticulture and winemaking that is at a high level, and to apply experiences and some wine secrets in our vineyard and cellar," says Sanja on how they started producing sparkling wine and natural wine.

Produced the first sparkling wine in the region

The family vineyard initially had 3,500 vines and was later expanded with new plantations. Today, they cultivate three and a half hectares of land with 14,000 vines. It consists of plots named after the youngest members: Lucija, Luka, and Petra, and the newest plantation was named after their niece Katarina. The plots are registered by varieties and years of planting. The rulers of their vineyard are Graševina, Chardonnay, Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon, Portuguese and Yellow Muscat.

"We produce Graševina, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Rhine Riesling, and mixed wines. Poštenjak is a blend – a mixture of Graševina, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. We make fruit wines and liqueurs, and sparkling wine. We produce about 25,000 bottles a year," says Tomislav.


The opening of the Ludbreg Wine Road about ten years ago encouraged a stronger development of their winery. Thus, in 2017, Vinarija Stručić produced the first sparkling wine from the Ludbreg vineyards, which has the label "blanc de blancs" (namely "white from white"), which means that only white grapes were used in its production, that is, Chardonnay.

"After top quality wines, every winemaker wants to produce sparkling wine. It is the crown of your work, as if, for example, you have won the World Cup. The production of sparkling wine was our desire for a step higher. And now, three years ago, we are doing batch after batch," Sanja points out.

The Croatian Wine Institute, which evaluates and issues a quality certificate, rated their sparkling wine as top quality. And there is only five percent of top wines in Croatia, so they expanded their production in 2018 with rose sparkling wine from the Portuguese. It is a unique rarity in Croatia, produced by only one other winemaker on Plješivica.

Microclimatic conditions with a continental climate favor the quality ripening of grapes, so the Podravina and Zagorje regions are God-given for sparkling wine production. The Ludbreg vineyards' climate is ideal for producing light wines with little alcohol, sparkling wine, and wines of late harvests.

Decanter quality certification

Stručić Winery sells its products throughout Croatia. In Ludbreg, visitors can taste their wines in the Bonaparte coffee bar, which they own, as well as the Amalia catering facilities, Pivnica Mejaši, and Hotel Crnković.


"Rhine Riesling is mostly associated with the name of our winery. It is our flagship and our most sought after wine on the market. Then follow Graševina, Chardonnay, Portuguese, Sauvignon… Premium wine lines, sparkling wines, aged, and nature wines are distributed to the Adriatic coast," says Tomislav.

The secret behind the Sučić Winerys's success, Sanja points out, is harmony, great love, patience, a lot of sacrifices, and constant investments. Proof of quality arrived last August when the Stručić Winery won a bronze medal for Chardonnay and recommendations for Rhine Riesling and Graševina at the most influential wine evaluation – the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 in London.

"It is a confirmation that we make quality wine. With these recognitions, we have increased visibility," says Tomislav with satisfaction.

Ludbreg vineyards on the wine list of Croatia

For wines to achieve top results, a lot of education, work, and knowledge is needed, so the Stručić family cooperates with the leading Croatian sommelier and Decanter judge Siniša Lasan. With Varaždin County's cooperation, Siniša visited several wineries and tasted wines, discussed problems, and gave his view of the current situation in winemaking in the county.


Continental tourism is in the beginning. Tourism Ministry began to give it importance and encourage it only a few years ago.

"The Ludbreg and Varaždin vineyards are neglected. They are not marked on Croatia's wine list, and our winemakers are very hardworking but self-effacing. A dozen of us from all over the county will have to sit down, compare wines, listen to the profession to style them if necessary so that we stand out together with quality. I believe that we will soon mark our vineyards on the wine list, which would raise the price, and we could sell our wines more easily on the doorstep," Sanja is optimistic.

"Viticulture is a demanding activity that requires a lot of attention because wine is alive and should be continuously monitored. Without love for the vineyard and wine, there is no progress, "the Stručić couple agrees.

However, the biggest reward in their work is that the interest in winemaking is shown by their 17-year-old son Luka. He wants to enroll at the Faculty of Agriculture and become a wine expert, oenologist. Thus, when the time comes, to the family's satisfaction, the winery will be taken over by the third generation, which will cultivate, enrich, and further create new top-notch wines.

To read more about Ludbreg, follow our dedicated page.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Zlatko Canjuga Constructing 25 Million Kuna Ludbreg Shopping Centre

December the 10th, 2020 - ENS, a company owned by Zlatko Canjuga, is set to construct a 25 million kuna Ludbreg shopping centre, but not everyone in the town at the ''centre of the world'' is too pleased about the move, regardless of the numerous economic benefits the centre will bring.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the new Ludbreg shopping centre worth as much as 25 million kuna will be built right next to the already existing Spar and Ludbreg sanctuary, on city land. The piece of land which covers 7732 square metres came with a price tag higher than two million kuna, and the sale of it was approved by the City Council at a recent session which had only the one item on its agenda, local portal Podravski.hr writes.

Although the owners of this new Ludbreg shopping centre will bring about economic relief during these unprecedented times and are as such announcing the opening of 40 employment positions for locals, the people of Ludbreg are not thrilled with the construction of yet another shopping centre.

"Another one? There are too many of them anyway", "Why another one", "Instead of a new factory, we're getting yet another shopping centre"… comment irritated Ludbreg locals who appear sick of the sight of more construction, despite the potential job opportunities such investments bring.

Zlatko Canjuga's investment doesn't seem like a good idea to them and some locals have mentioned that the construction of a library was originally planned on that piece of land which will now be home to ''yet another'' Ludbreg shopping centre.

The background of Zlatko Canjuga, the owner of ENS is otherwise a former HDZ Secretary General and ex advisor to former Croatian President Dr. Franjo Tudjman.

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Thursday, 3 December 2020

Rudolf Fizir, Great Croatian Aircraft Designer, Wanted to Connect Adriatic Islands with Seaplanes

December 3, 2020 – It's been 100 years since Rudolf Fizir, one of the greatest Croatian aircraft designers, came back from Germany to his hometown Ludbreg and started building his own aircraft.

Imagine that seaplanes are connecting all Adriatic islands, while every place on the mainland and the islands has its own airfield. Well, a century ago, one Croatian aircraft designer had exactly the same idea.

Rudolf Fizir, who was one of the greatest men in Croatian aviation history and the most famous and most effective Croatian aircraft designer, was driven by a great desire of converting landplanes into seaplanes. During his life, he constructed a total of 18 types of motorized aircraft (13 planes, 3 seaplanes, and 2 amphibians), some of which were also mass-produced.

Although Croatia has never had its own aircraft industry, Croats have designed and built aircraft from the very beginning of aviation. Although Slavoljub Penkala was the first, the most famous and most effective Croatian aircraft designer was Rudolf Fizir.

First aircraft at 22

Rudolf Fizir was born in 1891 in Ludbreg, where he finished primary school. He attended the Secondary Vocational School in Zagreb, but was soon sent to the Technical High School in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, and then to the Technical Faculty in Toulouse, France.

After leaving Toulouse, he began to realize his dreams at Wismar in northern Germany, on the Baltic coast, where he enrolled at the Aeronautical Engineering Academy. There, in 1913, as a 22-year-old student, he constructed his first aircraft, but the construction of this sport biplane remained only in the plans. He graduated as an aeronautical engineer in 1915. During World War I, he had worked in many car and aircraft factories in Germany and Hungary during which he had amassed extensive experience in aircraft: Fokker Flugzeugwerken in Schwerin, the Hansa und Brandeburg Fleugzeuwerken, and the Hansa-Lloyd-Werk near Berlin.

However, in 1920 he decided to return to his homeland and his hometown of Ludbreg.

From the garage to the construction office

As an undeniably talented engineer from Ludbreg, he was one of the founders of the military and civil aviation in the former Yugoslavia. In Croatia, which was the cradle of aviation, both in the Slavic South and in the Balkans, he did not find the possibility of action, because the new Kingdom of SHS concentrated all aviation activity in Serbia.

When the project to build a Zagreb aircraft factory failed due to Serbian interests, Fizir moved to Novi Sad, where he worked in the air force command. He was simultaneously building his aircraft in his garage in Petrovaradin. His home workshop grew over time and he got a construction office where many young aeronautical engineers and constructors grew up with him.

According to his designs, modifications of trophy military aircraft were made, and thus the small Brandeburgs, the first domestic aircraft, were created. However, the first fully domestic aircraft called the Fizir F1 was constructed in 1925. This aircraft had such good aerodynamics that in September 1927 it won first prize in the Petite Entente competition, in the category of aircraft with engines above 400 hp. More than 50 pieces of these aircraft were mass-produced in various versions.

Fizir also produced five seaplanes under the name Veliki Fizir (Big Fizir) and air amphibians.

Fizir FN – his greatest success

He also built a school two-seater, which proved to be excellent, so it was adopted as the basic school type of the Yugoslav Royal Aeroclub. It was produced in a series with various engines in more than 190 copies, and it was named Fizir N (N for "nastavni", meaning teaching), and later Fizir FN. Fizir FN is also his greatest success, or as he named it "Zmaj" ("Dragon"). It was a two-seater with dual controls and it was characterized by the ability to fly at low speeds with exceptional stability, which are the characteristics of top school aircraft. It was in use for 30 years after World War II as an instruction aircraft. On various types of his aircraft, nearly a thousand military pilots completed flight school.

Interestingly, his aircraft were often named after the engines he used, such as Fizir-Wright, Fizir-Titan, Fizir-Jupiter, and Fizir-Mercedes. Since his aircraft were mostly made out of wood, they were very economical to produce.

Fizir did not follow the power of the engine but paid more attention to the construction of the aircraft itself, and his aircraft are characterized by simplicity and precise construction.

In 1930, it was produced in a variant with floats for landing on water surfaces, called FN-Hydro, in a series of five copies. It was his first amphibious aircraft, which was also the first domestic amphibious aircraft in history. Fizir was building his seaplanes guided by the idea of connecting all Adriatic islands with seaplane lines and creating a network of airfields on the Adriatic. To this day, only one restored copy has been preserved in the Technical Museum in Zagreb.

He constructed for the rest of his life

By World War II, Fizir had built both a tourist monoplane and the first domestic sports aircraft with a closed cabin. During the war, Fizir served in the NDH Air Force as head of the technical office and head of the technical service. At the same time, he founded the Institute for Aircraft Design at the Technical Faculty in Zagreb where he taught aircraft construction as an associate lecturer. From 1921 to 1940 he was an aircraft designer in Zemun.

After the war, from 1950, he worked as a motor-wheel constructor at the Zagreb ZTM engine factory in Zagreb, which was transferred to Belgrade soon after excellent results. Fizir also worked as a civil aviation inspector and continued to construct aircraft even in pension. He constructed a new sports aircraft and built a four-seater FA-2 amphibious vehicle. It was built in the Croatian Aerotechnical Institute in 1960, and the only copy was used in the Crikvenica Aeroclub. In that work, he was caught by pneumonia, from which he died.

Fizir's work and contribution are still appreciated today

The end of all his constructive lucidity did not receive recognition in the former Yugoslavia. However, just before his death, he received the highest design diploma from the French. In 1960, the International Aviation Federation (FAI) based in Paris awarded him the prestigious Paul Tissandier Diploma for his overall contribution to world aviation. By the way, this award is given to those who have distinguished themselves by special efforts in aviation in the private and sports field.

Since 1961, a memorial aviation competition Fizir-Cup has been held in his honor in his native Ludbreg, which has kept the tradition to this day.

The building of the Center for Culture and Information "Dragutin Novak" in Ludbreg has been adorned with a memorial plaque with his image since 1971, and the same institution published a book 15 years ago on the occasion of an expert meeting on his life and work. The Ludbreg aero club and a Ludbreg street also bear his name.

Ludbreg High School, in cooperation with the City of Ludbreg, constructed the installation "Fizir's Plane", which is on display today in the park of the old town.

To read more about Ludbreg, follow our dedicated page.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: What is Inside Batthyany Castle in Ludbreg?

November 29, 2020 - Continuing our tour of Croatia's most unusual town, the latest episode of One Minute Ludbreg takes us inside Batthyany Castle.

One of the things I love most about exploring Croatia is that the unexpected is around almost every corner. I have lost count of the number of times I have entered a building and been blown away by the unexpected discoveries inside. 

One building where that is definitely the case is Batthyany Castle in Ludbreg, easily the most impressive and important building in the town. Most visitors only see the castle, which dates back to 1320, from the outside. This is a pity, as the inside is even more exquisite, as you can see from the latest in the TCN series, One Minute Ludbreg. 

If you thought that Croatian administrative buildings were all stuffy relics of the socialist past, take a tour of the office of Ludbreg Mayor, Dubravko Bilic, surely the most beautiful office in all Croatia? 

And what a location! Right next door to the chapel which saw the only certified miracle in all of Croatia, back in 1411. 

Still looking for more? Check out the magic being done on a daily basis at the Ludbreg Restoration Centre. 

One castle, many treasures. See more in the video below, and below that, the other videos in the One Minute Ludbreg series.  

The One Minute Ludbreg video series is a project in paid partnership with the Ludbreg Tourist Board.

To learn more about Ludbreg beyond its stereotype as the centre of the world, read Marc Rowlands' Ludbreg, the Croatian Road Less Travelled

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