Saturday, 4 September 2021

Croatian School Museum: 120th Anniversary Clouded by Earthquake Damage

 September 4, 2021 - The Croatian School Museum, despite marking 120 years of existence, isn't really in a celebratory mood as it remains closed to the public and awaiting earthquake reconstruction.

With this weekend being the final one for the summer break before the 2021/22 school year begins in Croatia, families in Zagreb could've ideally used the weekend to introduce the kids to the importance of education by taking them to the Croatian School Museum. However, with the building still undergoing reconstruction after 2020's earthquakes, it would be wise to wait a bit longer before going to see the collection of items and historical evidence that tell the story about the development of education in Croatia.

What is interesting to note, however, is that with 2021 marking 150 years since the first Croatian teacher congress that shaped the course of the education system in the country, it is also the year that marks 120 years of the Croatian School Museum.

The museum first opened its doors on August 19, 1901, marking the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Education and Literary Assembly (the oldest association of Croatian teachers, which is still active today). The museum is located at Trg Republike Hrvatske 4 (Republic of Croatian Square), near Zagreb's Croatian National Theatre (HNK).

''The basis of the museum material was made up of objects from the teaching exhibition that was held in Zagreb back in 1871 and 1892, and materials were also donated by various teachers, schools, publishers, and education material manufacturers,'' explains the museum's website.

The new and current permanent exhibition was refreshed back in the year 2000 and many visitors have become interested in visiting the museum since then. With occasional exhibitions, we deal with topics from the history of school and education, and we represent the materials from the museum's collection,'' the site adds. Hrvatski_Školski_Muzej_iap.jpg

© Hrvatski Školski Muzej

The museum has gone through two world wars, one regional war and four different political systems. Štefka Batinić, the museum's headmaster, wrote for the Croatian School Museum blog site about the history of the museum and teaching in Croatia using historical sources from these periods. She noted that during that past, which, in Croatia, much like today, saw society divided owing to various ideological conflicts, teachers were also not spared discussions and different views on how society might move forward.

Still, one can assume that despite reading up on these conflicts which were of paramount significance, teachers were still united in putting their students first despite disagreeing with each other on what the best way to provide them with the most quality education and future was.

It is also interesting to note from Batinić's writing how teachers in charge of teaching new generations of pupils were perceived during the times of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, when events and reforms which were the cornerstone of the current Croatian education system started to unfold.

''Croatian teachers (class teachers, working with the youngest among us) were denied the epithet of Croatian intelligence (in the education community, the term was reserved for the academically educated high-school and university professors), but their tendencies and goals were directed towards the finest practice examples of the teachers' community in Austrian and German lands,'' wrote Batinić.

Batinić's blog also cynically wrote in the caption underneath the photo of a damaged chimney on the museum that ''hopefully, it won't collapse before reconstruction begins.''

''We don't feel like celebrating. We'll celebrate when the reconstruction begins. Some important people from the city visited us recently. We're thankful for that,'' concluded Batinić in her blog post.

With faculties and higher educational institutions seeing progress in the reconstruction process following 2020's earthquakes, other educational institutions and, as we can see, museums, still await their turn for reconstruction as the bitter taste in their mouths grows. It isn't surprising, given that in the eyes of many, this government prioritises neither reconstruction nor education in general.

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

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

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Adriatic Heavy Metals: New Research Dives Deep into the Matter

September 1, 2021 - New research led by the scientists from Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) concerns Adriatic heavy metals. The current concentrations are small but worth monitoring. Learn more here.

With scientists from the prestigious Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) already publishing their results from measuring the salinity of the Adriatic, the new endeavors show that salt isn't the only thing worth exploring in Croatia's geographical and tourist ace.

IRB scientists Abra Penezić, Andrea Milinković, Saranda Bakija Alempijević, and Sanja Frka, alongside their colleague Silva Žužul from the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health in Zagreb, authored a scientific article ''Atmospheric deposition of biologically relevant trace metals in the eastern Adriatic coastal area'' and published it in the renowned multidisciplinary journal - Chemosphere.

The research was focused on sedimentation traces of atmospheric metals on the surface of the Adriatic sea. The metals that were traced in this research were zinc, copper, lead, cobalt, nickel, and cadmium. With all of them being heavy metals (not in a fun, artistic way like Metallica or Iron Maiden) that pose a serious threat to human health, keeping a close eye on their levels in the Adriatic is a more than important task.

''Atmospheric transmission isn't just significant, it's often the dominant way in which natural and anthropogenic (man-made) transfers occur from land to the marine area. Once injected through processes of dry or wet sedimentation, atmospheric flying particles or aerosols become the outside source of nutritious but also toxic matter for marine ecosystems. Atmospheric sedimentation can be of significant value for waters that are poor in terms of nutritious salts, such as the area of central Adriatic,'' informed IRB in its press release.

They added that the coastal area of the Adriatic sea is under the constant influence of man-made aerosols of the urban and industrial areas of continental Europe. In addition, spring and summer see the influx of Sahara dust, and with the coastal area being a high-risk area of open fires, aerosol contribution increases. However, IRB states that the effect of fire aerosols on surface maritime systems still isn't being properly researched to this day.

''In this research, we looked at the variability of the concentration of biologically significant metals in traces and their sedimentation on the surface waters of the central Adriatic. At the Martinka sea station, we did a six-month-long sampling of PM10 particles, total sedimentation matter, seawater from a depth of one metre and the surface microlayer as the border between the sea and the atmosphere,'' explained the leading author, Dr. Abra Penezić.

PM10 is a problematic particle as it remains for a very long time in the atmosphere due to its small size and ability to remain there, warns the Belgian Interregional Environment Agency.

Abra_Penezic.jpg

Dr. Abra Penezić © Ruđer Bošković Institute

The research showed that in colder periods of the year, the increase of metal traces of zinc, cadmium, and lead in the Adriatic is owed to the heating systems and transportation from continental Europe.

In the summer, increased traffic emissions allow nickel, cobalt, and copper to be on the rise. The rain increases wet sedimentation and, along with open forest fires and Sahara dust, they become factors of increasing metal particles. The IRB press release states that while the concentration of this article is small, it is important to constantly monitor these levels.

''The results of this research will contribute to the further knowledge on processes on this specific area and the dynamics of the atmosphere and the sea,'' they explained from IRB.

This research is also part of the BiREADI research project. It began back in 2018 and will last until 2022 with a million kuna budget, the project aims to explore the complex dynamic and mutual influence of the atmosphere and the sea, an important and profound question to answer in respect both to the climate challenges we experience now and those that are yet to come.

Learn more about beaches in Croatia on our TC page.

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

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

First Croatian Teacher Congress: 1871 as the Start of Modern Education

August 31, 2021 - The first Croatian Teacher Congress that took place in Zagreb in August of 1871 and is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2021. TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac brought more details from the historical event that paved the way to the modern Croatian education system.

Scheduled to start on September the 6th, the new school year for Croatian pupils is edging closer and closer. The pandemic is still lurking around dark corners as healthcare workers fear the new wave due to the inadequate vaccination rate among Croatian teachers. In addition, schools in Zagreb and Banovina/Banija region are still dealing with various earthquake reconstructions and many complain that the process going forward is way too slow.

Challenging times, no doubt, but education is one of the fields that has always gone through challenges through history. Looking back through history, 2021 is marking the 150th anniversary of the biggest conference of Croatian teachers known.

From August 23-25, the first Croatian Teacher Congress was held in the City of Zagreb, gathering over a thousand teachers from modern-day Croatian territory and the wider region (with Croatia at the time being part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy). That same year also saw the establishment of the Croatian Education and Literary Assembly (Hrvatski pedagoško-književni zbor), the oldest association of Croatian teachers, which is still very much active today.

''It was the beginning of a new era for Croatian teachers. It was an important event for the teacher's community that greatly influenced on the perception of teachers and their ideas as important elements in building the modern Croatian education system. The first Croatian Teacher Congress took place in the then theatre hall (which is the Croatian Natural History Museum today) during the summer break when teachers, as the following years also show, were very active in undertaking professional activities that could've been organised while the schools were closed,'' wrote Štefka Batinić for the Croatian School Museum's blog.

The leading organiser of the first Croatian Teacher Congress was a teacher by the name of Ivan Filipović, and many teaching-related objects and material proof, as well as memories of that big event, can be seen at the Croatian School Museum in Zagreb on permanent display.

With 80 topics suggested for the discussion, only 12 were selected for the first Croatian Teacher Congress. This indicated both how many challenges were there to address in Croatian education at the time, and how needed it was to continue with such professional events.

Indeed, as Batinić continues, the need for frequency of these types of meetings was recognised by the profession but sadly, and rather unsurprisingly, obstructed by politics.

''A general Croatian Teacher Congress was supposed to be held every three to four years. Another two were held, in Petrinja in 1874 and in Osijek in 1878. None of those, however, broke the attendance record of the first one. The fourth congress was supposed to be held in Dalmatia in 1881, which would also mark the 10th anniversary of the first congress, but with the government at the time forbode the further holding of such congresses,'' explained Batinić.

Despite further congresses being in decline, 1874 saw important reforms made by one of the most respected Croatian bans (leaders and representatives of Croatian territories in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy), Ivan Mažuranić. As the Histedu website writes, Mažuranić brought Croatian education to the jurisdiction of the state, taking it away from church, he introduced PE (physical education) as an obligatory part of education, and he also made school more available to the general population, working also on ensuring better conditions in the school buildings (which in some saw pupils inhale dangerous gases from furnaces used to heat the buildings).

In that regard, 1871 is one of the most crucial years for Croatian education, with the first professional congress and foreshadowing changes Mažuranić introduced three years later. It was a year which, for any teacher that cares about their pupils, should serve as a goal to strive to and a basis on which we might find the same courage and strength to answer the modern issues which plague education in Croatia.

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

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

Monday, 30 August 2021

Digital Activism Solidarity School: Teaching Young People Digital Literacy

August 30, 2021 - If you want to learn more about navigating fake news and contributing to the battle against misinformation, you might want to apply for the Digital Activism Solidarity School in Kaštel Kambelovac. Here's how you can apply by September 10, 2021.

Summer education programmes aren't unusual in Croatia, as TCN reported earlier in May, the five-day Summer Business School organised by Step-Ri Science-Technology Park and the American Embassy in Croatia in June attracted business enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to Rijeka to learn more about the field.

In the final rays of summer 2021, from September 24-26, another education programme will bring its students to learn in the cozy Mediterranean environment of Kaštel Kambelovac. The Digital Summer School, organised by the SOLIDARNA Foundation, aims to promote digital and media literacy to combat the spread of fake news and misinformation.  

As the SOLIDARNA Foundation website states, the three-day workshop will teach the participants to recognise and fact-check fake news. It will also teach people to actively participate in content produced on social media, creating and launching a content alternative to fake news. Finally, the participants will also learn how to use satire in the promotion of human rights and how to communicate their values effectively.

''This workshop is intended for students, socially active individuals and to everyone else under 30 years of age who are interested in manufacturing digital content promoting human rights and fighting against fake news,'' says the public call on the website.

Experts from both Croatia and the wider region will share their knowledge on the subject. The experts include Tijana Cvjetićanin, a journalist at the Bosnian fact-checking site Raskrinkavanje.ba, Emina Bošnjak, executive director of the Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC), Borna Sor, a Croatian satirist (no stranger to TCN) and digital communication expert, Luka Kerečin.

Participation in the workshop is free, with both secured transport, accommodation, and food, but with a limited amount of places. Participants need to bring a laptop with them. Those who want to apply need to send a brief motivation letter about their interests and their past aexperience in activism toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by September 10, midnight at the latest. The title of the mail must be “DIGITAL YOUTH ACTIVISM” and for all additional questions, you can send an inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Founded back at the end of 2015 and guided by the teachings of Eleanor Roosevelt, the SOLIDARNA Foundation says it wants to return human rights home ''to the hearts, minds, and lives of ordinary people.''

''The SOLIDARNA Foundation for Human Rights and Solidarity creates new opportunities for all citizens to act in solidarity, in our common effort to protect human rights and meet fundamental human needs, reduce inequalities and expand freedoms in all spheres of society,'' explains SOLIDARNA on its website.

With digital nomads and the digital industry being a more and more recognisable source of income and business in the country, digital literacy and being able to differentiate between facts and lies on the internet is ever more important.

Learn more about digital nomads with our TC guide.

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

Saturday, 28 August 2021

METMONIC Project: Updating Croatia Weather Tracking System

August 28, 2021 - The METMONIC Project aims to update and make the Croatian weather measuring network more efficient by 2023, providing many benefits for the country.

With the Croatian economy relying heavily on tourism and given that sunny days on the coast outshine the cultural and heritage offer of the country, meteorology, the science of predicting the weather, is vital during tourist season. But it is also vital for traffic, agriculture, and many more, so good weather measuring infrastructure is always a good investment.

In that light, the "Modernisation of the National Weather Observation Network in Croatia", also known as METMONIC, is a valuable project.

As explained by the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service (DHMZ), METMONIC has a goal of establishing a modern and high-quality system of automatic surface meteorological stations, meteorological-oceanographic buoys, and remote measurement systems, including meteorological radars.

„In total, 450 modern automatic meteorological systems will provide traceable, reliable, high quality, and timely information on the state of the atmosphere and the sea throughout the territory of the Republic of Croatia. This will allow continuous monitoring of weather, climate, and climate change and will improve early-warnings of hazardous weather in order to support adaptation systems to climate change and natural disasters, thus providing direct support to sustainable development, increasing security, and preserving human lives and goods“, says DHMZ.

They add that upon reviewing the current meteorological network, they have recognized a need to increase the availability of measured climate variables and the analyses of climate conditions for „the needs of different economic branches and public activities“. Croatian national documents, such as the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Environment and Energy from 2017 - 2019 (MZOE, 2016), Sixth National Communication, and First Biennial Report of the Republic of Croatia under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (NN 18/2014), as well as the Law on National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NN 56/13), also recognized the issues that METMONIC can fix.

Development of human, technical, and scientific capacities, improvement of early warnings to severe weather and natural disasters, developing products tailored to users' needs to achieve sustainable development, and increased international exchange of information are the end-product of the project.

„Current and archived data will be publicly available on the DHMZ website and will serve research institutions, non-governmental organizations, and interested users, especially in the research related to climate change and its impact on vulnerable sectors“, promises DHMZ.

METMONIC started in October 2017, and it is predicted to be completed by June 30, 2023. The project's total estimated value is €45.251.908,75 and is led by Stjepan Ivatek-Šahdan and his deputy, Vesna Đuričić.

From the first weather station in Hvar to the current network of warning systems, forecast models, and laboratories, the METMONIC will hopefully bring further development to the respected, exciting, and challenging scientific field of meteorology.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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

Friday, 27 August 2021

Women and Technology Program: Gender Inclusive Museum on the Go

Aug 27, 2021 -The Women and Technology Program aims to raise awareness of women's contribution to science and technology through a virtual exhibition for the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum.

Established in 1995, the Centre for Women’s Studies in Zagreb is the first non-institutional educational center in Croatia.

Founded by a group of feminists, theorists, scholars, peace activists, and artists, the goal is to provide an interdisciplinary program and expert knowledge on women’s issues, becoming a meeting point for academic discourse, artistic practice, activist engagement, and more.

One example of this non-institutional research and education is the project „Women and technology – Towards the Gender Inclusive Museum“which encourages young people (under 25) to engage in the promotion of the gender-inclusive approach at the museum. Cultural and artistic content, as well as active participation on webinars, have a goal of allowing young people to co-create virtual museum displays with respect to a gender-inclusive approach.

The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum (TMNT) is the partner of the program, as the participants are creating a virtual display for this particular Zagreb museum. The project, as the museum informs, will last until March 2022.

„The project is focused on reinterpreting displays that will acknowledge women's contribution to science and technology and open new perspectives and curator practices. It is important to enroll young people in the process to raise awareness of the need, as well as the possibility of changing the dominating narrative. To do this, they need basic knowledge and skills on museology, design, and art," says the Centre for Women’s Studies in Zagreb website.

The website adds that the question of gender inclusiveness has become more and more relevant in museum practices. Last year's edition of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) magazine, which deals with research, conservation, continuation, and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible, made „Gender and Museums“ the main topic. With ICOM's panel of experts prescribing professional and ethical standards for museum activities on an international level, the topic is an agenda for any museum that wants to uphold its reputation to address.

The virtual display will be connected to the current, physical one of the TMNT's, with QR codes being the connecting point. Webinars and workshops, apart from teaching skills to make the virtual display, will also provide historical education on the women contributing to science and technology.

Marking International Women's Day 2021, TCN earlier this year published an article on Croatia's most influential women. In addition, as women's rights in Croatia, as well as in the world, still face challenges (which includes the USA), American-Croatian psychology professor specialized in women issues, Mala Matacin, gave an interview to TCN referring to the issues women face in Croatia and the US.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about Croatian history, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Croatian Broadcast Exhibition: Zagreb Technical Museum Hosting Event Until October 12

August 26, 2021 - The Croatian Broadcast Exhibition hosted by Zagreb's Nikola Tesla Technical Museum (TMNT) offers visitors a chance to learn more about the rich history of radio and television in Croatia which led to the diverse multimedia world of today.

Named after the famous scientist Nikola Tesla, the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum (TMNT) continues to showcase the history of invention and technology. Since June, all the way  up to October 12, the Museum has been and will continue to host an exhibition called ''Transmitter and connections – 95 years of broadcast in Croatia'', authored by TMNT's curator Goran Rajič. Marking 95 years of radio and 65 years of television in the country, the display is supported by Transmitters and Connections d.o.o.

''There is no doubt that broadcast, embodied in two iconic phenomena – radio and television, marked the 20th century and made way for today's dominance of multimedia, evident in the overall networking and convergion of communication technologies,'' reads the TMNT website.

They added that radio and television made significant contributions to society, from building democracy and pluralism to being symbols of mass consumer and pop culture.

''With a selection of representative objects from the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum and objects used in Transmitters and Connections d.o.o., we're paying tribute to the significant anniversary of broadcasting on Croatian soil, as well as the almost century-long effort of Croatian work and intellectual efforts in its quality,'' explained the TMNT website.

This selection includes various radio and television transmitters, televisions and radios used in Croatia, also accompanied by photos of the most significant locations across the country where transmitters are situated. In addition, the exhibition presents visitors with data that provides less known facts on the size and branching of the transmitters, as well as on the challenges of maintaining the broadcast network.

TMNT also reminds its readers that the first radio transmission in Croatia was achieved on May 15, 1926, by the hard work of the Radio Club Zagreb, and was produced by the German Telefunken company from Berlin. The same date, but this time in 1956, saw the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the radio on modern Croatian territory. Antennas placed on Sljeme, Medvednica's mountain top, saw the very first television broadcast. The most recent technological advancement in the Croatian broadcasting world was seen in 2017 when 16 radio stations started broadcasting on a digital signal.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about Croatian history, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 23 August 2021

Science Faculty (PMF) Earthquake Reconstruction: Croatian Faculties Receive Aid

August 23, 2021 - The Science Faculty (PMF) Earthquake reconstruction money was received in July by the Croatian government and Education Ministry. The aid was given to other high-education and scientific institutes that suffered from the earthquake too.

With August concluding, the academic community is waking up after a summer break. Students are preparing for exams, and professors are grading those exams as both groups boldly look towards new wins and losses in October and another season of active higher education in Croatia. However, with faculties being low-key in the summer, one might have missed an important action in early July when prime minister Andrej Plenković and education minister Radovan Fuchs came to Zagreb's National and University Library. They delivered 42 contracts of assigning non-returnable financial aids to reconstruct infrastructure of higher education and scientific institutions hit by the earthquake. The total amount is 2,140,837,980 kuna, and Zagreb's University Faculty of Science (PMF) received a total of 160.988.403 kuna for its own reconstruction after the natural disaster first hit Zagreb on March 23, 2020, and later Petrinja on December 29, which was also felt heavily in the Croatian capital.

With the University of Zagreb being founded in the middle of the 17th century, teaching and research of natural sciences and mathematics, which led to today's PMF, can be found almost two years after the university was founded, on April 21, 1876. The faculty, in its current form of working, was established on June 8, 1946. Since then, PMF has worked on its educational and research contributions, whose excellence is recognized domestically and internationally.

„The Faculty designs and conducts relevant university studies and scientific research programs which are an integral part of the higher education process in the fields of biology, physics, geophysics, geography, geology, chemistry, and mathematics," says the PMF website.

Today, PMF has seven departments (Biology, Physics, Geophysics, Geography, Geology, Chemistry, and Mathematics), organized into 28 divisions. It has around 4000 students enrolled in undergraduate, integrated undergraduate and graduate, and graduate university studies within 35 study programs and about 1000 students at seven postgraduate studies and one postgraduate specialist study.

„It is less known that the PMF also comprises the Seismological Service and its seismological stations all over Croatia, the mareographic station in Bakar, the geomagnetic observatory in Lonjsko polje, and the green jewel located in the very heart of Zagreb – the Botanical Garden. And in the background of it all are nearly 500 scientists and teachers for whom you will not only be just another name on a sheet of paper but a truly personal and (hopefully) successful story about your future and ours“, explained PMF.

The earthquakes damaged PMF, particularly the buildings of biology and geography departments. Still, it is admirable that amidst its own trouble, PMF found a way to help students of the Faculty of Metallurgy in Sisak, which also took a heavy hit from the earthquake, by donating five new laptops for educational purposes.

As TCN previously reported, citizens of Zagreb had mixed feelings regarding how the city and the government handled the situation in Zagreb. However, Croatian Parliament MP Sandra Benčić from the Možemo Green-left coalition, while commenting on the victory of his party colleague Tomislav Tomašević on Zagreb elections, stated that the citizens he helped filling out paperwork for damaged homes needed to receive European funds for the reconstruction, for which Zagreb needs to apply by June 2022 to receive the aid.

With these moves by the new administration and the aforementioned aids for the high scientific institutions, the steps to recover Zagreb, the center of science, culture, politics, economy, and more in the Republic of Croatia are underway. But, it will still take time for citizens to recover fully from 2020's tragedies.

The results of education and science curiosity pay off. Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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

Friday, 20 August 2021

Iron Age Danube Route Recognised by European Council

August 20, 2021 - The Iron Age Danube Route is a new addition to the Croatian offer, relevant not just for tourism but for science, research, and education, and recognised by the European Council.

The Iron Age Danube Route addresses one of the most fragile, though imposing and attractive prehistoric archaeological phenomena, the Iron Age landscapes. Characterised by monumental structures, such as burial mound cemeteries, flat cemeteries, fortified hilltop settlements, and oppida, as well as elements indicating the complex organisation of space, Iron Age landscapes belong to the period between the 9th and the end of the 1st century BC, according to the official website of the Iron Age Danube Route Association (IADR).

This association was founded back in July 2020 with the goal of enhancing international scientific cooperation regarding the period of the Iron Age, as this is a period marked by an extraordinary corpus of movable and intangible heritage. The focus on the Danube region is, among other things, owing to this heritage being housed in numerous museums across the Danube region, including the most important regional and national institutions.

''Compiling the existing sources of knowledge and creating a strong interdisciplinary and international network of expert institutions from Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia in the fields of archaeology, cultural heritage protection, tourism, as well as local stakeholders, the Iron Age Danube Route Association was founded in July 2020 with the aim of the further development and management of the IADR,''

The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is one of the founding partners of the association, and other institutions from Croatia include the Centre for Prehistoric Research, Kaptol County, Papuk Nature Park, and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb. Other partners include museums and faculties from Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia, all bringing their top experts in the field to the table for the association to work.

And that work paid off. As reported by the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb's website, the European Council granted the culture route certificate to the Iron Age Danube Route which stretches through Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and Slovenia.

''This is the first culture route of The European Council with its headquarters in Croatia“, said the Museum's website adding that the route is managed by the Association.

''The Iron Age Danube Route matched the criteria by the five priority fields of action by the European Council. These include cooperation in research and development, the progression of European heritage and history, educational exchanges, youth culture, engagement within the frame of the current cultural and artistic practices and sustainable cultural tourism development,'' explained the website.

The certificate is important as it enhances the overall visibility of the sight, allowing the public to become better informed about the area, and enriching the overall Croatian cultural and tourist offer, creating new opportunities both for business and for scientific and educational purposes.

Did you know Vukovar is located along the Danube river? Learn more in our TC guide.

For more about Croatian history, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 13 August 2021

Grgur Bučić: The Croatian Scientist Who Measured Hvar's Sunshine Hours

August 13, 2021 - You came to Hvar expecting sunny days and you weren't conned. Meet and thank Croatian scientist Grgur Bučić who started the weather station on Hvar, one of the first in Croatia, which measured how sunny Hvar really is. 

There's nothing worse than when a traveller on a short holiday on the Croatian coast ends up stuck in their hotel room because of bad weather. Unless you want to risk bad weather sabotaging your Adriatic swimming experience, and maybe if you're lucky to get rescued by indoor pools, you should definitely play it safe and go to Hvar. Known for years as the sunniest Croatian island, there couldn't be a safer place to count on a rain-free holiday.

During my time in Hvar town, the forecast showed rain and uncertain weather on the coast, but even the couple of clouds that formed over Hvar quickly dispersed and probably headed over to the mainland, to Split or elsewhere.

In addition to swimming in the Adriatic, Hvar has plenty of heritage and things to see, like the Spanish Fortress (Tvrđava Španjola), lots of churches (such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral), its historical theatre (the oldest municipal theatre in all of Europe, by the way), an archaeological collection in the former Dominican St. Mark’s Church, and the Natural History Cabinet in the Hanibal Lucić Summer Residence – to name a few. In fact, Hvar boasts more UNESCO heritage than any other island in the world.

One of the other interesting sites is also the Former Church and Monastery of St. Veneranda. As Hvar heritage writes, the church was built in 1561 for the needs of Greek Orthodox sailors who were in the service of Venice. Today, the site serves as an outdoor cinema.

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The former church tower, the former weather station © Nina Lelas

Right next to it, back in 1858, famous Croatian nature scientist Grgur Bučić established a weather station, one of the first in the entire country. Being part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the time, the station was part of the Austrian network of meteorological stations. Thanks to the measures taken under Bučić's expertise, the sunny days of Hvar are not a market scheme to attract tourists in need of clear sunny weather, but an actually very well-advertised scientific fact. In addition, for his experiments with sponge development, Bučić received global recognition, and seven species of sponges, crabs, and fish were named after him. He published articles regarding meteorology and oceanography and also studied insects and marine life. He also pioneered numerous archaeological digs across Croatia, including on Hvar.

Back in 2018, as TCN wrote, the station marked 160 years of existence. Organised by the Hvar Town Library and State Meteorological and Hydrological Service, this celebratory event revealed some interesting historical moments from and about the station. These include polar lights, storms, falling meteors, earthquakes, vineyards destroyed by hail, sunken ships, and epidemics. In 1884, based on data from Bučić himself, climatologist Julius von Hann (often looked upon as the father of modern meteorology) published his work ''Klima von Lesina'' (The climate of Hvar town), the first-ever such book on a Croatian town or area.

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Grgur Bučić © MuzejHvar.com

Today, the Bučić tower is locked, and the path to the church now serves as an outdoor cinema, without that many interesting things to be seen. Could the tower be renovated and showcase the instruments this pioneer station used in the past? Perhaps, and it would certainly be a cool addition to the already extensive offer Hvar has for its visitors.

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Veneranda, location of the station, screenshot / Google maps

While waiting to see what the future may bring, it's worth taking a look at this station, not far from the waterfront and the nearby beaches. Express some gratitude and dedicate a refreshing swim to Bučić himself, a brilliant man whose findings gave us scientific, statistical reassurance that Hvar is the sunniest place in all of Croatia.

Learn more about Hvar on our TC page.

For more about Croatian history, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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