Sunday, 24 April 2022

From Požega to Ilok: Best Bike Tours in Slavonia

24th of April 2022 - A few days ago, the world commemorated Earth Day, so it’s only convenient to present one of the most ecological and recreational ways of transportation - bikes, or in this case, bike tours. A look into the best bike tours in Slavonia.

Spring is in full swing which means a yearly reminder of recreational tourist offers Croatia, or in this case, what Slavonia has to offer. Bicycles are a huge part of Croatian lives. Bike clubs, amateur cyclists, and regular people who want to be part of these events became more and more frequent and stayed part of these movements and events. Of course, with every recreation or hobby, there’s always a potential for tourist opportunities. For example, Dalmatia with its already diverse tourist offers incorporated bike tours, which suit really well with the geographical location of the region. Hilly and somewhat mountainous terrain with the scent of sea salt and a view of the Adriatic Sea, attracts every tourist who wants to experience the beauties of the Dalmatian region recreationally. Even islands like Brač, Hvar, and Korčula where you can transport your bikes with catamarans, have various offers of bike tours. Istria does an amazing job as well and northern Croatia with Međimurje, Zagorje, and Zagreb regions attracts more and more bike lovers every year!

However, the full circle couldn’t be rounded without the region of Slavonia which is doing an amazing job in promoting its land and presents new and creative tourist offers every single year. From Požega and its Golden Valley to the wine roads of Srijem and Baranja, bike tours in Slavonia could easily have one of the best tourist offers in Croatia. So, without further ado, let’s start with the best bike tours in Slavonia.

Vinkovci, Vukovar - Srijem county 

If you want to explore Vinkovci and surrounding places a bit more adventurously, definitely consider these available trails which stretch through the whole Vukovar-Srijem county. There are a few different types of surfaces available - macadam, earth, gravel, grass, and asphalt, which are intended for riding mountain or other types of quality bikes. The trails are marked in blue, red and yellow and they all have one thing in common - the bridge on river Bosut in the center of Vinkovci which is the start of every bike trail. The blue trail is 19 kilometers long and leads from Vinkovci to the village of Borinci to a rural home called “Antin Stan” in Ivankovo and back to Vinkovci. The red one is 15 kilometers long, moving the new dam on Bazjaš canal to the Kunjevci forest and back to the center of Vinkovci. Last official trail is marked with yellow color and is the longest, around 21 kilometers, stretching from bridge on Bosut towards rural house and picnic area Sopot in direction of Rokovci. After that, the trail continues to Kunjevci forest and back to Vinkovci. If you’re ever interested in trying these bike tours, contact the Vinkovci Tourist Board for maps of these routes here.

 

biciklističke_rute_vinkovci_bike_tours_in_slavonia.pngColorful bike tours in Slavonia around Vinkovci, (Screenshot: Master plan grada Vinkovaca za promet)

Apart from these official bike trails, there are a few routes that go further in Vukovar-Srijem county:

  • Danube cycling route (EuroVelo 6) - This one passes along the Danube River and its length is 138 kilometers in Croatia. Probably one of the most popular bike routes in Europe cuts through Vukovar-Srijem county, connects with cycling route Srijem and continues toward the Black Sea. The route can be checked here.
  • Srijem route - Connects the southern area of Vukovar-Srijem county with the northeastern part. Its starting point is the center of Vinkovci near the popular Lamp and goes through Rokovci, Andrijaševci, Cerna, and Gradište towards Cvelferija (9 villages of Županja’s area) then through Gunja, Vrbanja, and Drenovci to the city of Otok.
  • Route Otok - This bike route offers two possibilities: the first one is a ride across Privlaka to the city of Vinkovci and the road from Nuštar and Bogdanovci to Vukovar while the other route is going through the village of Komletinci to Nijemci, towards Tovarnik and Ilok.

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Route Otok and Srijem with other bike tours in Slavonia around Županja area, (Screenshot: tz-zupanja.hr)

Even though the area of Vukovar-Srijem County seems small, it has a lot to offer. Golden fields of wheat and sunflowers that have been just planted, sun in the sky, multiple options for eating and drinking, and most importantly, the people. If you need quick transport, buses and trains are available - most of the time.

Osijek, Osijek - Baranja County 

Besides already mentioned EuroVelo 6 Danube River route that goes through Osijek and its county as well, there is the Greenway Cycling route that connects Croatia and Hungary with the goal of cross border relations, building up tourism and eco-tourism in the area along the Danube-Drava Rivers. There is already a great piece on our dedicated to cycling Total Croatia Cycling site, about the Greenway route and the whole project that took place in 2016. You can read it here.

Another European bike route goes through Slavonia - EuroVelo 13 or “Iron Curtain Trail”. The name stems from the fact that the border was part of the infamous “Iron Curtain”. Beautiful landscape, pristine forests, Drava River in all its glory, and of course gorgeous cities along the way - Beli Manastir, Belišče, Valpovo, Donji Miholjac, Koprivnica, and many more. Of course, great food and drinks for relaxation. For more information about this route, check here.

When it comes to cycle tourism, Osijek and Baranja regions are top-notch. It’s not a surprise that Osijek has the most cycle paths in Croatia which spread through the whole city. If you own a good bike and love cycling moreover public transport, Osijek is a great city for you. Here are a few suggested bike tours exploring Osijek and its surroundings:

  • OSIJEK - UŠĆE KARAŠICE - OSIJEK: This route starts from the city of Osijek and goes to Višnjevac. After that, there is a wooden bridge towards the west that continues through beautiful forests and natural landscapes near the Drava River. The route stretches all the way to fishing house located on mouth of Karašica and Drava rivers. The length of the route is around 20 kilometers and it’s not particularly complicated. Suited for mountain and track bicycles. You can check the details of the route here.
  • OSIJEK - KOPAČEVO - BILJE - OSIJEK: This time, the best city exit is the one towards Podravlje where the ride goes to Kopačevo and the reception center of Kopački rit. Beautiful landscape and the only traffic participants are cyclists, pedestrians, and animals. From there, the route goes through Kopačevo, Bilje in Baranja all the way to Osijek. This bike route is around 32 kilometers long and suitable bicycles are mountain and tracking ones. Visual details can be found here.

A few others are:

  • KOPAČEVO - ZLATNA GREDA - TIKVEŠ - KOPAČEVO, route details
  • BIZOVAC – ČOKADINCI – KOŠKA – LADIMIREVCI – BIZOVAC, route details
  • KNEŽEVI VINOGRADI – KOTLINA – KAMENAC – KARANAC – KNEŽEVI VINOGRADI, route details.

On the other hand, Baranja used its tourist offer of great food, wines, and other products and, most importantly, beautiful wine yards that unfurl through the whole region to the maximum.

Wine roads are the most popular routes in Osijek - Baranja County, so it’s not surprising that out of a total of twelve tourist and wine roads in the county, just in Baranja are eight. During these bike tours, tourists can visit multiple wine cellars along the way and explore beautiful landscapes. For all details about wine bike tours in Baranja, check here. Beautiful nature park Kopački rit also included bike tours recently for an easier and more exciting experience of Slavonian nature and enriched tourist offer even more. Check the website here.

Požega, Požega - Slavonia County 

When we talk about cycling or any other type of recreation, we have to mention the center of Slavonia. The Hilly mountain terrain of old Slavonian mountains Papuk, Psunj, and Krntija, make this region even more exciting for bike lovers. Thirty marked bike trails make Požega - Slavonia County a place for one of the best bike tours in Slavonia. Besides the already mentioned EuroVelo route and other state bike trails, Požega and its surroundings offer an amazing variety of bike trails for everyone. If you thought Slavonia is flat, you’ve been grossly deceived. The landscape around nature park Papuk is a great reason anybody trying these routes needs to have high-level body fitness.

  • The so-called “Green route” that passes through the Požega Wine region - beautiful wine yards (almost similar to Ilok’s or Baranja’s wine roads), hills, and exquisite views of old mountains. Route details.
  • Požega vistas trail is another one that stands out in that region - This trail has all sorts of terrains - from asphalt ones in the old town of Požega to forest trails and open landscapes with dirt roads, all the way to Požeška gora and trails and obstacles that pumps up the adrenaline, passing by old wells and trails of old, ancient life and back to Požega. Route details.
  • The trail through fields and meadows - goes through traditional Slavonian villages and hilly places rich with agriculture. Exciting long upward and downward roads between villages and eventually back to Požega. Route details.

For more details about the most exciting bike tours in Slavonia, definitely check here.

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Papuk (photo credit: Mario Romulić)

To conclude this list, we need to shoutout few honorable mentions that definitely deserve their own article: off-road routes of Virovitica - Podravina County, muddy, exciting forest roads around rivers, sunny fields of Podravina, and glimpses of Western Slavonia, which has probably one of the best bike trails in Croatia. Pannonian bike roads pass through the calm landscapes, across the hills, through the woods and fields, along rivers, streams, and lakes. With the wind on your face, definitely discover the beauty of Pannonian cycling trails. For more details, check here.

Slavonski Brod and Brod-Posavina County with a must-visit to the monumental Brod Fortress, the largest of continental Croatia with its unique Tambura Museum. Posavina villages of Klakar, Donja, and Gornja Bebrina offer even more pleasures and forests that express the greenest places in Slavonia. Lipik, Pakrac and their Lipizzaner and Kuna Trail... What are you waiting for? For more details, check counties official website.

After an exhaustive analysis that can reach five more such articles, it’s only left of us to invite you and visit these beautiful places. From Požega to Ilok, these truly are one of the best bike tours in Slavonia, but not just that - in Croatia as well. For more cycling articles, visit our dedicated website.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Traditional Festivities in Slavonia - Unmissable Events

7th of April 2022 - There are a lot of festivities you can visit in Slavonia - from beer and food festivals that became really popular in recent years, to modernized cultural manifestations which teach us something new. However, traditional festivities in Slavonia which are held for more than half a century, are still an irreplaceable staple of this region.

When reviewing the list of festivities in Croatia, a tourist or even a Croatian citizen, is shocked by the variety and content Croatia organizes every year for their visitors. Urban, cultural, and gourmand festivals are in forefront of most tours and offers, especially with summer coming soon and since Croatia became a really popular destination among tourists, they also got more interested in the tradition and cultural heritage of the region they visit. For instance, Dubrovnik, which is a jewel of the Adriatic coast, not only attracts visitors with its gourmand offers or beautiful historic sites like Tvrđava, they also have the Dubrovnik Summer Festival (Dubrovačke ljetne igre) which brings visitors closer to tradition and the way native people of Dubrovnik lived centuries ago. This event brings Dubrovnik back to the golden age of renaissance and baroque, the living spirit of drama and music, and many more, which were bestowed upon Croatian cultural and scholarly history. That’s why Dubrovnik is so good at tourist offers, they bring everything to everyone. 

However, with different tourists comes different tastes and recent years showed an increase in interest in Eastern Croatia, more precisely, Slavonia and Baranja, which are labeled as more “rural, folk” regions. Slavonians and Baranians recognized the potential these regions have and started adapting to tourists' wishes and needs. Yes, they devised and organized multiple new festivals that will be held for many years to come but they realized their traditional festivals, which are really popular with lovers of everything related to tradition and locals, need more exposure. 

Đakovački vezovi - Đakovo 

Today, Đakovački vezovi is a well-known and affirmed manifestation of original folklore. The first manifestation occurred in July 1967, as part of then the International Year of Tourism and from the beginning, the event was a great success with people from Slavonia and beyond. The main event kept its original date and it’s held every year in July. Contents of the festival include original folklore from Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srijem, and other parts of Croatia with accompanying events such as the opening of various exhibitions, equestrian events, and other cultural and tourist events. The entire city participates in the event and in 2005, it received the International Tourism Charter (European Federation of Tourist Journalists based in Rome) Merits for Tourism. Thousands of folk costumes pulled from the chest of oblivion, thousands of participants from Slavonia, Baranja, the whole of Croatia, even Europe, and the world, bring us songs, dances, and customs of their homeland for decades in Đakovo. If you’re a gourmet, you’re settled. Hundreds of different dishes are served and ready for degustation. Wine lover? Multiple winemakers with their best wines are ready to show off their products which are a reflection of the beautiful, rich region of Slavonia. Artists, folk, history lovers, and even animal lovers can come and have the time of their lives which makes it one of the largest and most popular traditional festivities in Slavonia. For more details, check out their official website.

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 The opening of "Đakovački vezovi" in 2019 (photo credit: Photo Gallery - djakovacki-vezovi.hr)

Vinkovačke jeseni (Vinkovci Autumns) - Vinkovci

Definitely, the largest cultural event in the region, arguably in Croatia and some would say, in this part of Europe. The First Vinkovačke jeseni was organized in September 1966 and soon became one of the most famous festivals of its kind in all of Croatia. The foreground of the manifestation is the care of traditional folk dances, costumes, and customs in order to preserve various values of folk and traditional life of Slavonia. What’s really interesting is the fact that the manifestation is organized in September because of autumn - a season that rewards Slavonians for their hard work. After its founding, the festival soon began to connect all lovers of cultural heritage, not just Slavonia, but all the regions in Croatia. So every year hundreds of Folklore Societies from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, and many more come to Vinkovci to display their culture to visitors. However, they didn’t stop there. Organizers recognized the tourist potential of their event and upgraded it for modern times, so apart from the main event which signifies a closure of Vinkovačke jeseni, the whole week before the opening is dedicated to its visitors! For instance, the opening of the event comes with a big performance by the local theatre with other guests from all over Croatia and in the evening the concerts of the biggest Croatian music stars begin, every evening of the week! Personally, I watched biggest Croatian performers on Vinkovačke jeseni stage like Dino Dvornik, Severina, Jelena Rozga, Klapa Intrade, Giuliano, Prljavo Kazalište and so many more. It truly is for everyone. Then, when the show of the manifestation ends on the last day of the week with the biggest folklore parade in this part of Europe (nationally televised), with the most popular folk and traditional commentator in Croatia, Branko Uvodić, every visitor feels enriched with Slavonian tradition, cultural heritage, food, art, folklore and more. That’s why Vinkovačke jeseni is one of the biggest traditional festivities in Slavonia and one of the best representatives of Croatian traditional, cultural heritage in this part of Europe. For more details, visit their official page. If you want to read more about Vinkovci, check this TCN article.

 

 

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"Vinkovačke jeseni" parade - the main event on the last day (photo credit: Vinkovačke Jeseni - Facebook page)

Aurea Fest - Zlatne žice Slavonije (Golden Wires of Slavonia) - Požega 

In the middle of Slavonia lies the city of Požega, located in the hilly parts of the region where none of the roads are straight - a place where hills are dotted with roads. Surrounded by the old hills of Psunj, Papuk, Krndija, Dilj, and Požeška Gora and home of the famous Croatian poet, Dobriša Cesarić, it doesn’t seem odd that this city is the home of one of the biggest traditional, cultural and musical events of folklore, tamburitza but also pop music, which has been held in Požega since 1969, with a break between 1981 and 1990. Zlatne žice Slavonije today is a four-day event with more than 40,000 visitors and more than 100 accredited journalists from several countries. Songs, top-tier wines, gastronomy events, concerts, exhibitions, art colonies, sports competitions, folklore festivals and other events are slowly making Požega and the Golden Valley one of the tourist destinations in Croatia in September. It hosted multiple Croatian musicians (mostly “tamburaši”) like Gazde, Zlatni Dukati, Miroslav Škoro, Slavonske lole and so many more. CDs and cassettes were pretty popular back in the day, which meant that almost every Slavonian household had a copy of musical repertoire from Golden Wires of Slavonia! So, if you visit Slavonia, definitely visit Požega in September - great content, songs, dances, food, and most importantly, people. The main event, the concert, is nationally televised on HRT every year. For more information, visit their official page.

For now, we’re stopping here. There are a lot of traditional festivities in Slavonia but these three events are staples of traditional festivities in Slavonia and the whole of Croatia. From entertainment to food and sports recreation, these manifestations are unmissable events if you want to visit Slavonia. Slavonian spirit cannot be recreated anywhere else, so if you want to relax further after a summer tour of the Adriatic, come to Slavonia, they’re going to welcome you with open arms.

For more, make sure to check out our travel section.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Pozega Company Plamen Rewards Employees for Getting Vaccinated

February the 5th, 2022 - The Pozega company Plamen has recorded some extremely encouraging results, mostly related to exports, despite these continually challenging times. More controversially, it decided to reward its employees for getting vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by providing monetary bonuses.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the company's procurator Vinko Matijevic, the Pozega company Plamen generated a massive 280.6 million kuna in revenue last year, which is an increase of as much as 67 percent when compared to the previous year. Net profit amounted to 49 million kuna and was 70 percent higher, Radio Vallis Aurea wrote on Thursday.

Exports amounted to an impressive 246.7 million kuna and increased by 72 percent. The number of workers increased by a fifth during the year, or about 70 more than the previous year. Today, about 420 people work for Plamen. But that's not all: the average net income is around 8,200 kuna per month, which is a growth of 15 percent, and the minimum monthly wage provided by this company is 6,542 kuna.

It's worth noting that the Pozega company Plamen is a highly successful and well established company that exports almost 90 percent of its cast iron products, and is also known for its fireplaces, stoves and other metal products used for similar purposes, reports Danica.

The Pozega-based company recently came into the public spotlight after the director invited all of its unvaccinated workers to apply for vaccination against the novel coronavirus, as well as for those who need to receive a third dose to do the same. If they do so and get vaccinated or boosted, they receive about 340 kuna net on their January salaries.

If they don't get vaccinated, as of February the 1st this year, they will no longer receive salary incentives in the amount of 400 kuna gross per month, nor will they be included in the distribution of the company's issuance of a 13th salary. In addition to that, unvaccinated Plamen employees will not be able to perform managerial functions within the company, the director wrote on the company's bulletin board. It is not known if his call met with a response from workers.

For more, check out our business section.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Croatian Book Month Kicks Off in City Library in Požega

ZAGREB, 16 Oct, 2021 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek formally opened this year's Croatian Book Month in the renovated and updated city library in the town of Požega on Friday.

In 2021, the Croatian Book Month, which takes place across Croatia from 15 October to 15 November, includes 218 participants and over 1,600 programmes. Most of the participants are school libraries and libraries in the local communities as well as museums, publishing companies and associations.

The main programme is the online national quiz to encourage reading, which is being held under the slogan "Six Authors Seek a Reader".

During the ceremony in Požega, Minister Obuljen Koržinek recalled that this year, 100 million kuna (€13.3 million) was allocated for book and reading promotion. The outlays for this purpose are being distributed to all those who participate in the chain of making a book and for reading encouragement.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 30 August 2021

PM, Local Officials Discuss Damage Caused by Bad Weather in Požega

ZAGREB, 30 Aug 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday visited Požega to discuss with local officials the removal of damage caused by torrential rain and hail in that Slavonian city in June and July, after which he attended a local folklore festival.

"The government has backed right away all counties and cities affected by bad weather, securing funds for the removal of damage," Plenković said ahead of talks with local officials, adding that the talks would also focus on economic development.

The government has allocated HRK 20 million (€2.66 million) for the removal of damage caused by bad weather in the area of Požega. According to preliminary data, torrential rain and hail that hit the area at the end of June and in July have caused damage to family houses, crops and commercial facilities in the amount of HRK 70 million (€9.33 million).

Accompanying Plenković on his visit were Defence Minister Mario Banožić and Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Bottles are Filled, Aurea Fest Požega Can Begin!

August 25, 2021 - Aurea Fest Požega returns from August 27 to 29, 2021! 

The traditional Požega festival is unthinkable without top-quality wine, so it's a good thing that long-term cooperation between Aurea Fest Požega and winery Kutjevo d.d. continued this year as well, with the bottling of festival wine in the Kutjevo podrum.

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Slobodan Kadic

"This festival is by far the biggest promoter of the whole region. For this year's festival wine, we have prepared a top-quality Graševina from the 2020 vintage, the champion of the Graševina Festival, and the best-selling top-quality bottle of Croatian winemaking. The second wine is Maximo nero vintage 2016, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. These are wines that have won great prizes from numerous competitions. Congratulations to my colleagues from Aurea Fest Požega for managing to organize the festival at a high level, and I hope that from next year we will return in true glory without restrictions," said Dino Galić, member of the Kutjevo d.d. management board. 

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Slobodan Kadic

"I am honored to be in this place again and to start the festival as we have been doing for years. We are glad that this year, in a slightly better environment than last year, the festival will be held and that the tradition will continue. See you from Friday to Sunday in Požega," said the Aurea Fest Požega director Ivan Bunjevac.

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Slobodan Kadic

"The Požega Music Festival of Tamburitza Music is truly a Požega brand, paired with the brand of this whole region, viticulture and cellaring, in which the oldest institution in the area Kutjevo d.d. is in the lead. Congratulations to the Požega Tourist Board and the Aurea Fest Association for managing to organize the festival in these unusual circumstances so that the tradition is not interrupted," said the Mayor of Požega, Ph.D. Zeljko Glavic.

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Slobodan Kadic

"I am really looking forward to the beginning of a beautiful event that has lasted for fifty-two years in the city of Požega, a city rich in historical and cultural heritage, but also a city known for songs, tambourines, and the festival that spreads the name of Požega throughout our country and beyond. We invite all people of goodwill to come to Požega after these difficult circumstances to find content for themselves and make beautiful memories. It is an opportunity for the whole county because only in synergy and togetherness can we create new values," said Požega-Slavonia County Prefect Antonija Jozić.

The organizers also presented to the media the program of Aurea Fest Požega 2021, which can be found on the festival's official website www.aurea-fest.com.

On Sunday, HRT will broadcast live the "Golden Strings of Slavonia," while the Big Band and Berda Band concert will be recorded and broadcast later. It should also be noted that the festival will take place following all epidemiological measures. This specifically means that visitors will be able to enter the Holy Trinity Square parking lot next to the stage on Friday and Saturday but will have to present a Covid passport or a negative test or proof of Covid-19 recovery. The number of visitors is limited to 300 people. On Sunday, only invited guests will be able to sit in this space. In the square outside the parking lot, visitors will be able to move freely.

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

Friday, 18 June 2021

New Croatia Fan Song from Slavonia for EURO 2020: Introducing 'Sweet Little Homeland' (VIDEO)

 June 18, 2021 - A new Croatia fan song from Slavonia is here for EURO2020 - introducing "Sweet Little Homeland" (Slatka Mala Domovino)!

A new Croatia fan video has arrived from Slavonia, just in time for Croatia's second-round match of Group D against the Czech Republic at EURO 2020! The two nations meet in Glasgow tonight at 18:00 CET. 

"The atmosphere from the recording of the fan song "Slatka mala Domovino" We are still doing the mastering, I believe that the song will be out a few hours before the game and that the players and fans will be able to listen to it."

Creator Hrvoje Podobnik Gero reveals how the song came to life. 

"I sang the chorus of the song 4 months ago. It was in the midst of the struggle of the civic initiative to save Požega Square from the intention to turn it into a concrete sidewalk. I guess that's when the patriotic charge awoke in me. In my sleep, I came out of the playing field and the fans sang "Sweet little homeland, my country Croatia, you gave me your heart, I will give you everything". I woke up and sang a chorus on my cell phone. When I woke up in the morning I couldn’t remember the chorus but luckily I recorded it.

I didn't have inspiration for the rest of the lyrics since I only got it a week before the first game. I immediately threw myself into filming, found a producer and people who wanted to participate. It was very tricky to perform this, I really did my best and I hope the fans will accept the song well.

The most important thing for me is that the players hear it before the match with the Czech Republic and that it gives them an incentive to win," said Gero. 

Sweet little homeland, my country Croatia.
You gave me your heart, now I will give it to you.

Do you think this song will give Croatia the motivation they need to win tonight? We do! 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Croatia's First Enogastronomy Study Programme: Students to Learn About Pairing Indigenous Wine and Food

May 25, 2021 - As reported by Večernji list, the Polytechnic of Požega will from the next academic year offer Croatia's first enogastronomy study programme.

The first study programme in the field of biotechnical sciences is focused on the quality and health of food and beverages, primarily in the hospitality and tourism sector.

At the Polytechnic, they point out that the current development of gastronomy in Croatia must not be left to chance and that the need for the education of experts in this area is becoming increasingly important.

There are now three national gastronomy study programmes in Croatia, but this is the only study programme of enogastronomy, which means that the science and study of wine will play a significant role. But, the key difference is that this is the only STEM study programme of its kind.

"Unlike the other two study programmes, which are predominantly economic and in which marketing and communication dominate, 70 percent of our courses revolve around cooking and only 30 percent are marketing and management," explains doc.dr.sc. Berislav Andrlić, Vice Dean for Development of the Polytechnic.

Although the enrollment quota in the first year has been reduced to 30 full-time students who will study at the expense of the Ministry of Science and Education in Požega, due to the specifics of the study, students from all potential tourist areas of Croatia are expected. A smaller number of students is fitting because cooking involves professional practice with a chef, for which work in small groups is ideal, but the program content includes a number of courses related to indigenous dishes from all parts of Croatia, from Dalmatia and Istria to Slavonia.

"We believe that such a study in Požega is needed for two reasons. The first is the resources we have in the environment, and the second is the needs of the labor market. We have conducted a survey among businessmen, hotels owners, restaurants, and family farms on the Adriatic and on the continent, and more than 70 percent said that they needed such food and beverage managers, restaurant and hotel managers, i.e. people who will know how to create menus and do guest management, and at the same time know how to produce food. So, it offers a combination of both occupations, both sales, and food production, which is not the case with other programmes that are mostly based only on sales," Andrlić points out.

Upon completion of this programme, students will acquire a Bachelor's in engineer food technology, majoring in enogastronomy, which is an innovation compared to other similar faculties where they were bachelors of economics. Potential employers will be all economic entities that are primarily engaged in tourism, i.e. food production on the one hand and tourist catering on the other. With students who complete the study of enogastronomy in Požega, they will get both of these functions in one person.

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

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Pozega-Slavonia Hunters Send Two Tons of Game to Earthquake Area

February 2, 2021 – In an admirably understated manner, Pozega-Slavonia hunters humbly pitched in to the relief efforts and sent two tons of game to those in the earthquake-affected area of Sisak-Moslavina

It's fair to say that in this day and age, hunters often get a bad rep. There are far more people in the world today who abstain from eating any meat – vegetarians and vegans – than those who go hunting. Changing times. For sure, it wasn't always this way.

In Croatia, hunting associations play a vital role in maintaining the beauty and accessibility of the country's rural landscape. Not that you much hear about this aspect of their undertakings. Perhaps they are typically just rather understated people?

You might easily come to that conclusion when considering the recent humanitarian action undertaken by Pozega-Slavonia hunters. Organised by the county hunting association and county officials, Pozega-Slavonia hunters from each of the region's district societies contributed in an effort to send the game taken by each – mostly deer and wild boar - to the earthquake-hit areas in Sisak-Moslavina County. They so far managed to send a whole two tons!

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At the same time, Pozega-Slavonia hunters from the county association began collecting funds for the families of those tragically killed in the 29 December earthquake. They have so far collected some 50,000 kunas that will be directed to the intended recipients through the Croatian Hunting Association.

“This is a small help, but undertaken with an open heart,” said a representative from the County, who jointly organised the effort.

“We go to visit friends,” he said, in reference to the delivery of the Pozega-Slavonia hunters game, “and a Slavonian does not go empty-handed. We have loaded more than a ton of meat here (in this shipment), but there will be more because in co-operation with Croatian Forestry, Brod-Posavina County and the Radinje hunting ground, today we will take (in total) about three to four tons of game.”

“(Perhaps) the people of Moslavina will remember Slavonia next time they eat Slavonian čobanac (a local specialty stew, made from game) because she (Slavonia) is always thinking of her (Moslavina),” he concluded.

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“Lovački savez Požeško – slavonske županije (Hunting alliance of Pozega Slavonia County) was the main organiser,” Mateja Tomasevic, Head of the County office told TCN. “Within it, there are 28 separate societies of Pozega-Slavonia hunters. They all participated in the humanitarian action.”

Among the 28 contributing societies were Hunting Associations 'Fazan' and 'Košuta' from Pakrac, 'Psunj' from Orljavac, 'Šljuka' from Brestovac, 'Jelen', 'Šijak', 'Sokolovac' and 'Sveti Hubert' from Požega, 'Dilj' from Buk, 'Vidra' from Sapna, Čaglin, 'Slavonac' from Kutjevo, 'Strijela' from Bektež, 'Papuk' from Biškupci, 'Sokol' from Bučje, 'Seljak' from Jakšić, 'Vepar' from Kaptol, 'Krndija' from Našice, 'Vranovac' from Vetovo, 'Šljuka' from Pleternica, 'Fazan' from Ruševo, 'Vražjak' from Sesvete, 'Sjeverni Dilj' from Seoce, 'Slavuj Gaj' from Poljana and 'Kuna' from Paka. Over 1300 residents of the county belong to one of the Pozega-Slavonia hunters associations.

Bravo!

AnyConv.com__BZENICA_LOVNO-STRELJASTVO_POZESKA-ZUPANIJA-1.jpgSome of the members of the Hunting Associations of Pozega-Slavonia County © Hrvatski Lovački Savez

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Saturday, 7 November 2020

Museum of Becarac, Pleternica, Celebrates Slavonia Folk Song

November 7, 2020 – Protected by UNESCO, the unmistakable Slavonian folk song style will get deserved attention at the new Museum of Becarac in Pleternica.

There are lots of pretty little towns in Slavonia like Pleternica. The average outsider often has no way of distinguishing between them. But, Pleternica is determined to stand out. In a smart and considered move, they've decided to become synonymous with a UNESCO-protected element of Slavonian and Croatian culture - Bećarac.

Last year, Bećarac Square was opened in Pleternica. Soon, the town will become home to another symbol of heritage preservation – the Museum of Becarac. The Museum of Becarac will be located right next to Bećarac Square in the center of the town.

Bećarac is a traditional and humorous type of folk song originally from Slavonia. It has an unmistakable sound. It is characterised by a rhyming, call-and-response type of delivery and is performed acapella or accompanied by the traditional Slavonian folk music style of tamburitza. The melody of Bećaraci remains constant, only the song words differ as it continues or is again performed. In this way, Bećarac is more akin to the traditional storytelling aspect of folk music than it is an individual song.

The first verse is sung by the choir leader and forms a logical thesis; it is repeated by the choir of gathered men. The second verse is a humorous antithesis, also repeated by the choir (but often broken by laughter). Bećarci is usually performed at the peak of a party as a drinking song after the crowd is sufficiently warmed up by wine and music. A series of bećarci can last indefinitely. Their words are often made up spontaneously. The creator of the lines of lyrics can draw on many different sources of inspiration - recent happenings, local stories, reputations, past songs and much more. The style is embraced by almost every band who you will ever hear play tamburitza music - young, old, traditional, or modern. Thus, the subject matter and language used can vary greatly, as does the appeal of the humour and the lyrics. If a writer creates a popular motif, it can be remembered, repeated and even replied to at later instances. It may travel outside of its source of origin in the same way traditional folk music always has. 



Bećarac was declared an intangible part of cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011. The name bećarac comes from the word bećar, meaning reveller, and the word is often used to describe young Slavonian bachelors.

Museum of Becarac to present Slavonian heritage in a modern way

As Požeški vodič reports, the Museum of Becarac project was presented at the beginning of 2020. The 1400 square meters that the Museum of Becarac will occupy has already been designated during the construction of Bećarac Square.

Below the stands of the square, it is planned to house a souvenir shop and a cafe. The Museum of Becarac itself will be built on two floors. The first is already visible when you walk through the passage under the stands. The larger part of the museum will be located underground, in the basement space. The museum is expected to open at the end of 2021.

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Bećarac Square in the center of Pleternica, under whose stands the Museum of Bećarac will be located, is designed as a reminiscence of golden Slavonian fields and sunny hills / D. Fabijanić, The City of Pleternica

"The Museum of Bećarac will be a presentation of heritage with all modern techniques: music, video, and visual recordings, and at some point, you will even have the feeling that you are running through wheat fields," said Antonija Jozić, the Mayor of Pleternica.

Apart from Slavonia, the Croatian regions of Baranja and Srijem are also home to bećarac, and it belongs to them equally. Furthermore, it is also performed in parts of southern Hungary and Vojvodina. It is a part of traditional culture throughout much of the Pannonian Basin. Like its UNESCO protection, its continued performances seek to preserve a special Slavonian tradition. This dedicated museum will also contribute to doing just that.

"Folk costumes and other objects will be exhibited in the museum, too, because it is very important, but we will use other methods to contextualize these objects. First of all, this is not a museum of folk costumes, but a museum of folk song bećarac. And it is performed. So we have to figure out how bećarac will be in focus all the time, but then we will, of course, talk about other anthropological, ethnographic, and historical phenomena related to bećarac," explained Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir, founder and director of Muza company which participated in the presentation of the museum project on January 13, 2020.

The Museum of Bećarac is part of a large project called "Svijet graševine" (The world of graševina), which is being carried out by the City of Pakrac, with the City of Pleternica as one of the partners. Out of the total 65.7 million kuna of the project, 30 million kuna is intended for the Museum of Bećarac, while the rest is intended for the City of Pakrac's "Spahijski podrum" project and branding.

The rich city cultural treasury

The Museum of Bećarac is designed as an extension of the tourist offer of the small Slavonian town. Pleternica has about 11,000 inhabitants, but every year, one event attracts as many as 100,000 pilgrims there. It is the Novena of Our Lady of Tears, whose sanctuary is located in the heart of Pleternica and for which the city of Pleternica is otherwise known. It is held every year from 23 to 31 August.

The June Days of Amateur Creativity called LIDAS are also important for Pleternica, during which the splendor of the cultural treasury of this region is presented. The children's tamburitza festival "Cvjetići glazbe" (Flowers of Music) is held on those days and is the only one of its kind in Croatia. Due to the parish church of Sv. Nicholas, who is the patron saint of the city, Pleternica City Day is celebrated each year on December 6th.

Pleternica has been looking for a "trigger" for a long time to help them attract even more tourists, and they finally recognized it in bećarac.

"Many years ago, at the suggestion of one of my fellow citizens, we protected the name of the Museum of Bećarac at the Intellectual Property Office because we felt that it could be a good story that would bring tourists to Pleternica. As European funds were available to us, we developed the project and, now we are in the phase of completing equipping the museum. I believe that from the end of next year we will be able to count the tourists who will come to Pleternica," the mayor Jozić told Večernji list.

An interpretation center rather than a museum

The museum currently produces all video and audio materials, applications, art installations, and procures all exhibits, and to consistently convey the spirit of Slavonian tradition to visitors, preparations by museologists, experts, and ethnologists are indispensable.

"The museum we are working on is not a classic museum, it is more of an interpretation center, that is, a visitor center. We will show all tourists who come what bećarac is and what Slavonian life is. And then, of course, when they visit the museum, we hope that they will visit all our other beauties, from wine roads and cellars to family farms," says Antonija Jozić.

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