Monday, 17 August 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: Visit Traditional Croatian Life at Grandma's House, Bakina Hiza

August 17, 2020 - Continuing our One Minute Ludbreg series looking at the attractions of this pretty town in northern Croatia, a journey back in time to Grandma's House, Bakina Hiza. 

One of the things that I have noticed over the years in Croatia is how much private initiatives contribute to the colour of the country's tourism offer. There are some major - and very colourful - examples of this, such as the incredible SalajLand near Zagreb with its 4 million Christmas lights. 

But all over the country, there are private initiatives offering another aspect of tourism in Croatia. Most are labours of love, and some of them are very impressive indeed. 

Take a walk down a quiet residential street in Ludbreg, a short walk from the main square and the Centre of the World, and one low-level house stands out from its neighbours. But it is only when you enter inside that you understand its real magic and wealth of treasures. 

Back in 2007, Franciska Schubert founded the association 'Zene iz Centra Svijeta' (Women from the Centre of the World), assembling a group of retired teachers to collect traditional things from Ludbreg's past to preserve their heritage for future generations. 

Their achievements, while not publicly lauded too often, are really quite outstanding, and the house, garden and outbuildings have become a fascinating museum detailing so many aspects of life in Ludbreg in years gone by, from traditional clothing and a typical house, to agricultural tools and a wonderful collection of toys. 

It is a great family visit, allowing the older generation to reminisce among long-forgotten items from their distant childhood, while educating the younger generation on how things used to be. 

Check out Bakina Hiza in our latest edition of One Minute Ludbreg, and then explore the town in the rest of our videos below. 

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

Friday, 14 August 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: Olympic Gold Javelin Throw from the Centre of the World

August 14, 2020 - What happens if you start from the centre of the world? Meet the Olympic Gold javelin throw from Ludbreg. 

It is almost 4 years to the day that the Croatian town which translates as Crazy Hill went absolutely crazy, as locals took to the streets to celebrate the success of their new local Olympic champion. 

For far, far away on the other side of the planet, local Ludbreg girl Sara Kolak, aged just 21, was crowned Olympic gold javelin champion after stunning the competition with a personal best of 66.18 metres. 

Kolak returned to Ludbreg to a great party, and the new local heroine had her fantastic achievement marked in a number of ways. Local winery Strucic produced a special Sara Kolak label in her honour, while a more permanent record of her incredible success was marked on the main square of the town, just a few metres from Ludbreg's most famous attraction - the centre of the world. 

Sara built on her Olympic success in Lausanne the following year, where she threw what is currently the 8th longest throw in history. All this is recorded on the main square in front of the statue built in her honour with those famous 66.18 metres. 

The milestone throws are recorded further down the square in front of Sara's statue, and you can stand behind her and dream that you too could one day be an Olympic champion. 

Learn more about Sara's achievement and the statue in her honour in the latest edition of the new TCN series One Minute Ludbreg, which is putting all the considerable secrets of this rather unusual town into one place. 

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

Saturday, 8 August 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: World's Largest St Vincent Statue Protects Wine Road

August 8, 2020 - St Vincent, or Sveti Vinko as he is known in Croatia is the holy protector of wine. Meet the world's tallest statue dedicated to him on the Ludbreg Wine Road. 

One of the things that I have noticed in Croatian tourism is that there is a lot more to each destination than reaches the English-language tourism brochures. Over the years, I have learned to ask a couple of questions to locals and to watch untold treasures appear before my very eyes. With tourism information mostly based on the coast until quite recently, this has also helped me to appear to be a better writer than I am by being the first to write about interesting destinations completely off the tourism radar. 

I can think of no better example in this regard than the pretty little town of Ludbreg in Varazdin County. Ask the majority of Croatians what they know about Ludbreg, and the answer will be the same - it is the centre of the world. And apart from that, little is known.

But the more I visited the town, the more I realised that it has some other rather unusual attractions, enough I decided to turn into a YouTube series, in partnership with the town of Ludbreg, called One Minute Ludbreg. A chance to explore the town and its 20+ attractions in one YouTube channel ahead of your visit. 

We have already seen learned of the Croatian Government promise delivered 250 years late in Ludbreg, as well as the reason why the chief restorer of the Sistine Chapel is a regular visitor (both of those videos are below). And Ludbreg also has a wine claim to fame. 

Unlike more famous wine regions in Croatia such as Dalmatia, Ludbreg has its very own wine road which was founded back in 2010 and this year celebrated its tenth anniversary. St Vincent is the protector of vineyards, and in October 2011, the Ludbreg Wine Association, Trsek, unveiled a new monument which would help ensure the protection of its vineyards - the largest statue of St Vincent in the world. The statue affords wonderful views of the vineyards and surrounding area, stretching into Hungary, and you can learn more about it in our third episode of One Minute Ludbreg below.  

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

Monday, 3 August 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: Why the Sistine Chapel's Chief Restorer is a Regular Visitor

August 3, 2020 - Continuing our One Minute Ludbreg series uncovering the secrets of the town, find out why the chief restorer of the Sistine Chapel in Rome is a regular visitor.

Driving through the pretty towns of northern Croatia, at first glance the town of Ludbreg looks like any other. Well-ordered streets, low-level housing, churches dominating the skyline, a central square, and plenty of greenery. 

But Ludbreg is no ordinary town. 

Best-known for its claim to be the centre of the world, it is also home to the only certified miracle in Croatia. 

And much, much more. 

In the second of our series, One Minute Ludbreg, which captures the town's many and varied attractions in one minute videos, today we enter one of the magical doors of Batthyany Palace, the most impressive building in the town. And a building which is home to many treasures, including the chapel where the 1411 Eucharistic Miracle of Ludbreg took place. 

Enter the main building of the palace, however, and you will witness miracles of a different kind, administered on a daily basis. For here you will find the Ludbreg Restoration Institute, whose dedicated artisans are painstakingly restoring many Croatian art and cultural treasures which have been damaged by war and decay. 

One of just three such centres in Croatia, the work of the centre has been internationally recognised, most notably for its stunning restoration of the wooden church of St Martin in Stari Brod, near Sisak (see lead photo), for which it won the 2017 Europa Nostra Award. 

And the centre has many leading international conservation experts as regular visitors to its workshops and conferences, including the chief restorer of the Sistine Chapel. Learn more about the Ludbreg Restoration Centre in the second in our series, One Minute Ludbreg.

You can subscribe to the One Minute Ludbreg YouTube channel here, where we will be adding two new videos a week over the next 10 weeks. 

Why not check it out before your next drive through the region, to see all the magical things you perhaps didn't know about the town which is anything but ordinary. 

Check out the first in our series, released last week - A Government Promise Delivered After 250 Years.

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

To learn more about this charming town, check out Marc Rowlands' Discover Ludbreg: the Croatian Road Less Travelled

Friday, 31 July 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: Croatian Government Delivers After 250 Years

July 31, 2020 - Meet One Minute Ludbreg, a new series highlighting the attractions of perhaps Croatia's most unusual town, each in a minute. 

It is more than 4 years since I first visited the town of Ludbreg in Varazdin County, which I named at the time the most fascinating, unusual little town in Croatia

And it really is.  

Best known in Croatia for being the centre of the world, its real claim to fame (unknown to many people in Croatia) is that it is home to the only certified miracle in all Croatia

And let's not forget the Ludbreg Restoration Centre, one of the leading restoration centres in Europe.

As well as... 


Ludbreg has a number of attractions, but they are hard to buttonhole into one place, as they are so diverse that they really need to be explained on their own. 

So we came up with the idea of showcasing the 20 or so things of interest in Ludbreg - quite enough for a full day's sightseeing and overnight relaxation in the form of a video series called One Minute Ludbreg. 

In an era of reduced budgets, but enhanced technology, perhaps this can become a working model for other destinations to showcase their points of interest for tourists. 

In the first of this 20+ part series, meet the promise made by the Croatian Government back in 1738, which was only finally fulfilled in 1994, at the height of the Homeland War. 

One Minute Ludbreg will be a regular TCN feature over the next ten weeks, with two videos a week. Next up, the reason with the chief restorer of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is a regular visitor to Ludbreg. 

We hope you find the series interesting and informative, allowing you to discover things that you perhaps did not know about certain destinations. I was much encouraged in Dubrovnik last week when a business colleague told me he was from Dubrovnik, and that there was nothing an Irishman could tell him about his home town. After watching the first four videos, he took his words back. 

Big thanks to Ludbreg Mayor Dubravko Bilic and Ludbreg Tourist Board Director Andrea Horvat for their full support and excellent assistance in arranging everything. 

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

You can follow the One Minute Ludbreg YouTube channel here

To learn more about Ludbreg, check out Marc Rowlands' piece on TCN - The Croatian Road Less Travelled: Ludbreg

Sunday, 24 May 2020

One Minute Ludbreg, a Local Tourist Board Initiative for Virtual Croatia

May 24, 2020 - The world has changed, and so has destination promotion. Meet One Minute Ludbreg, a low-budget video project to make a destination's attractions virtually available in one place. 

It would be wrong to assume that all local tourist boards are the same in Croatia, and some are working very hard to promote their destinations. You can get an idea of who in the coming weeks from our new Virtual Croatia page, which is the result of an offer of a free promotional article putting all the destination's virtual tools in one place for the first time. So far we have done Zagreb, Hvar, Sinj, Klis, Trogir, Stari Grad, Opatija, Omis, Brela and Rogoznica. You can see these articles here. Time is my enemy at the moment, but I now have about another 25 from the submissions I have received. Next on the list are Lumbarda, Vukovar, Inland Dalmatia and the island of Brac, which will be one article, with all 8 Brac tourist boards contributing. 

And there is another project from a local tourist board which predates corona that I want to tell you about. It is called One Minute Ludbreg. 

Late last year, the town of Ludbreg invited me for a meeting to see how I could help the town with its promotion and tourism strategy. I had a productive meeting with the Mayor of Ludbreg Dubravko Bilic and Ludbreg Tourist Board director Andrea Horvat and agreed to work with on a number of strategies to try and boost tourism, as well as raise the profile of the town's successful economic story. 

I have always liked Ludbreg, since my first visit with Elizabeta Dolenec, the then Varazdin County Tourist Board director back in 2016. You can read those initial impressions in Ludbreg, the Most Fascinating, Unusual Little Town in Croatia?

Andrea and I had a good chat about the destination and the possibilities, and we have been quietly working on a number of initiatives, some of which were interrupted by corona, of course. These include a project with Polish tour agencies to bring pilgrims en route to Medjugorje to Ludbreg. Unlike Medjugorje, Ludbreg has a Vatican-certified miracle which you can actually visit. In fact, it is the only certified miracle in Croatia that you can visit, which makes Ludbreg officially Croatia's miracle capital. I was shocked how few locals in Zagreb even knew this. 

Another concept we decided to work on was One Minute Ludbreg. Ludbreg actually has lots to see, but many of these attractions take 5-10 minutes each. It is actually a very fun family destination just an hour out of Zagreb, with several good restaurants and three hotels. And if you are religious, why not come for Sunday Mass in a church with a certified miracle on view? 

How to capture all the different attractions to present them to future guests? We came up with the concept of One Minute Ludbreg. A video introduction to each attraction, which would be available on the Ludbreg YouTube channel. 

I have very little experience with presenting on video, and I have a lot to learn. We made a start, to see how it would go, more for Instagram than YouTube (hence the portrait v landscape) with our first One Minute Ludbreg video about the Sara Kolak javelin monument on the main square next to the Centre of the World. The video was shot and edited by Gustavo Vilera. 

Corona came, and lockdown on Hvar meant that this aspect of One Minute Ludbreg would have to be put on hold. 

But Hvar did give us the chance to get more experience, and I have been having lots of fun putting various parts of this gorgeous island online, with my local knowledge and anecdotes to give extra value.  

We now have a concept finally, and I was delighted to be back in Ludbreg this week to resume filming. 

I will be back again on Thursday with TCN intern Janja to spend the day filming with the mayor, the winemakers and other attractions, with the first video in the series due in a couple of weeks.  


One Minute Ludbreg is a simple, low-cost concept that can be done by anyone. It gives potential tourists just a little bit more to help them get to know the destination and decide if they want to visit.  

If you are interested in working with us on the One Minute Ludbreg concept in your destination (as a tourist board, hotel group or private individual), please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. subject 1 Min Ludbreg. 

You can follow the One Minute Ludbreg series when it goes live on our Virtual Croatia section.  

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

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