Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Best Beaches in Slavonia - Freshwater Paradise

May 12, 2022 - Summer is on the horizon, temperatures are higher and people are already planning how to cool down in the coming hot months. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford or reach the Adriatic coastline for much-deserved relaxation. However, Croatia has countless beautiful rivers and lakes used for swimming and recreation and Slavonia is full of those. A look into the best beaches in Slavonia.

As mentioned before, some people living outside of regions located near the Adriatic coast can’t afford or travel great distances for the ultimate Croatian summer. Because of those limitations, people needed to find ways to cool themselves and relax in their cities during unbearably hot months. Slavonia is definitely one of those regions. Older Slavonians will remember those summers decades ago when only a few families could afford to go to the Adriatic coast, after saving money all year, and others “less fortunate ones”, would go to rivers and lakes near their hometown. Those swimming places were made up on the go - “beaches” were mostly covered with untouched nature and unexplored terrains. Let’s just say they weren’t particularly safe but after a few accidents and realizations that structured swim places can be profitable and safe havens for families with kids, local authorities started investing in swimming and recreational infrastructure on those lakes and rivers. Water quality began to be reviewed for swimmers and after tests showed that the quality is excellent, the building could start. Without further ado, these are the best beaches in Slavonia.

“Copacabana” on Drava River in Osijek - “Kopika” 

The list of best beaches in Slavonia starts with non-other than “Kopika”. One of the most popular river beaches in Slavonia, this is one of the swimming places in Slavonia that you can’t miss. Beach that offers views of iconic places in Osijek like Tvrđa, co-cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, Hotel Osijek, and the Bridge of Youth? Amazing. Since 2020, the beach and recreation center went through a lot of renovations and “Kopika” will shine in its new guise this summer. Modern pools, showers, cabins, and many more, make this beach unmissable this summer.

 

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"Kopika" beach in Osijek (image credits: Mario Romulić)

Križnica Island on Drava River 

This island is located on the Drava River near the small town of Pitomača, the westernmost municipality in Virovitica - Podravina County. Once the border between the Kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia, this ancient island was the last one in the historic Pannonian Sea and its sandy beach attracts swimmers and recreationalists all over the country. Its bike routes, local cuisine, and natural private retreat make this river beach one of the best in the country and it’s an unmissable place to visit for refreshments and relaxation.

 

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Križnica Island on Drava River (image credits: glaspodravine.hr)

Poloj Sports and Recreation Center 

Apart from the Drava, the Sava River and its Poloj beach takes the crown as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. During summer, this beach attracts plenty of swimmers in need of refreshments. The white sand beach that can compete with some on the Adriatic coast, offers a lot of content - sandy fields for volleyball, futsal, places for barbecue, bike and pedestrian routes, and many more. Slavonski Brod and its surroundings is an amazing place for Digital Nomads and other tourists because it offers everything for everyone. So, visit this amazing place during summer, you won’t regret it.

 

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Beach Poloj on Sava River, Slavonski Brod (image credits: Alen Vrlazić/tzbpz.hr)

Lakes Banja in Vinkovci 

Once upon a time, these two artificial lakes had different usage. More precisely, it was used for clay excavations for a brick factory back in the day and only brave men would go and swim there. However, in 1997, the realization of the potential these lakes have for sport, recreation and relaxation hit, and since then, Lakes Banja became a popular swimming place for residents of Vinkovci. The amazing quality of water and clean and tidy beaches are a perfect place for fishermen and people who want to have a proper swim. After that, barbecue, beer, and an amazing time.

 

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Lakes Banja in Vinkovci (image credits: Banja Vinkovci/Facebook)

Ada Island on the Danube River in Vukovar 

Ada is a beautiful Croatian river island on the Danube River covered in a sandy beach and it’s a favorite swimming place in the city of Vukovar. Only 10 minutes away from cities center by boat and ranked among the ten most beautiful and interesting beaches in Croatia located along rivers and lakes. All those interested in peaceful vacations or maybe active vacations and adventures will surely find something for themselves. Amazing tourist offer that includes boat tours, volleyball on sand, and a gazebo full of refreshing drinks under the shade of the forest, makes this one of the best beaches in Slavonia.

 

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Residents of Vukovar playing beach volleyball on Ada Island (image credits: Branimir Bradarić/lokalni.hr)

Lake Orahovica near village Duzluka  

Only 1500 meters away from the historic town of Orahovica, this artificial lake is probably the only proper place to swim in its radius. Last year, this famous lake celebrated its 60th birthday and it’s not stopping soon. This lake is a magnet for fun. From the most popular music festival in Slavonia Ferragosto Jam to the rich recreation offer, Lake Orahovica is an unavoidable place to visit and what’s also really important to mention, its water comes from the mountains! Besides its clear natural water, location is idyllic - just at the foot of Papuk Mountain and the historic fortified city Ružica City that, according to one legend, was a gathering place of fairies. It’s truly looking like a fairytale from Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić novels indeed.

 

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Lake Orahovica is surrounded by historic sightings and mountains (image credits: orahovica.hr)

 

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Ferragosto Jam brings the best of Croatian music every year to Lake Orahovica (image credits: screenshot/ferragostojam.com)

Honorable mentions are recently officially opened for swimmers Bajer Lake in Đakovo, Lake Borovik located west of Đakovo, natural Lake Đola in Darda near Osijek, beaches in Batina and Aljmaš where Drava River flows into Danube River, Lake Petnja, northwest of Slavonski Brod and so many more.

All of these places are rooted in Slavonians' lives. Great tourist offers and safe place for families, makes river and lake beach a must-visit during this summer. Yes, summers in Slavonia can be more insufferable than in, for example, Dalmatia (different climate), but for that, these freshwater beaches make every hot summer durable. Furthermore, it makes it the most anticipated season in Slavonia. Hopefully, this list of best beaches in Slavonia will encourage tourists to come - Slavonians will welcome you with open arms.

For more, check out our travel section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Walk for Life to be Held in Ten Cities

ZAGREB, 27 March 2022 - This year's Walk for Life will be held in ten cities across Croatia on Sundays in May and June, a news conference heard in Osijek on Sunday.

Representatives of the civic group "Walk for Life, Family and Croatia" told reporters that marches would be held in Vinkovci, Varaždin and Slavonski Brod on 7 May, in Zagreb on 14 May, in Split and Imotski on 21 May, in Zadar and Ploče on 28 May, and in Osijek and Sisak on 11 June.

Lidija Blagojević of the civic group said that the Walk for Life was a peaceful walk for every human life from conception to natural death, for the protection of unborn children and their mothers, and for the protection of every family.

The national coordinator of the Walk for Life, Željka Markić, said this year's campaign was taking place in the context of a horrible war in Ukraine, noting that many volunteers of the Walk for Life initiative were involved in collecting aid and providing accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

"The killing of people we have been witnessing every day makes us particularly sensitive to the need to build the culture of life and fight for every human life, from its beginning to its end", Markić said.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 18 February 2022

State Secretary Comments on Air Quality Situation in Slavonski Brod

ZAGREB, 18 Feb 2022 - Discussing changes to the Air Protection Act on Friday, Croatian parliamentarians pointed to the long-standing problem of air pollution in Slavonski Brod, which State Secretary Mile Horvat described as "a complex case."

Horvat said that the authorities of that eastern city on the Sava River, across the city of Brod in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, had sent the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry an action plan for the improvement of air quality six times and that the ministry returned the report six times because the measures envisaged were not good.

He noted that ministry officials in January had meetings with representatives of Slavonski Brod, Osijek, and Zagreb to instruct them how those actions plan should look.

Following talks with the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, concerning the oil refinery in Brod, about which Slavonski Brod authorities had been complaining for years, Horvat said that some progress had been made.

We no longer have the degree of emissions and pollution as before, he said in response to HDZ MP Miro Totgergeli and Social Democrats MP Marina Opačak Bilić, stressing that Slavonski Brod has a number of problems, that pollution there increases in the winter due to traffic and people using wood for heating, which, he said, causes hydrogen sulfide emissions that do not come from the neighboring country.

Most of Croatia has top air quality

Horvat explained that action plans to improve air quality are adopted only by those agglomerations which are found to exceed the annual average of allowed particle pollution.

That is the obligation of their leaders, the Ministry does not do that, Horvat told MPs, confirming that those who put forward a plan must also ensure funds for its implementation.

He also noted that air in most of Croatia was of top quality, while in some urban centers it was below that category.

However, Vesna Vučemilović of the Croatian Sovereignists cited data from the European Environment Agency, saying that the quality of air in Croatia gives cause for concern.

It is estimated that every year there are more than 5,000 premature deaths due to poor air quality, she said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

8th Slavonski Brod Open Curling Championship held at Fortress for First Time

February 5, 2022 - A mighty crowd of Croatian curlers gathered again for Box of Čvarci, the 8th Slavonski Brod Open Curling Championship. 

One of the oldest in Croatia, the Curling club Legija from Slavonski Brod organized the Croatian curling tournament Box of Čvarci (Kutija čvaraka) - Slavonski Brod Open Curling Championship on Saturday, January 29, 2022, at the Brod Fortress ice skating rink, writes Ribafish.

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The last time this competition was held was in 2015. Now, after the rink was removed from the city center, the tournament has returned close to where the first seven tournaments took place and was held at the incredible Fortress for the first time. 

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It all started back in 2003 when Legija was founded in Slavonski Brod, and in 2009, the Slavonski Brod Curling Championship was held for the first time at the City Skating Rink in Klasije. Knowing well the appetites of the curlers, from the first day, it was better known as 'Box of Čvarci (Cracklings)' or 'Kutija čvaraka.'

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After Legija came to life, CK Zagreb and CK Vis were founded, and CK Čudnovati čunjaš was born. They soon made a statute and played.

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They first came to the Zagreb Fair for training and later to the first Croatian championship in Budapest, and history was written.

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In the golden age of Croatian curling, there were over fifty players in both competitions. However, the best part was the atmosphere - happy people who love sports and entertainment, a series of serious games, and much more laughter and joy.

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The clubs quickly realized that they would hardly have the best conditions. Thus, the first tournament was not held on ideal flat-ice conditions. Nevertheless, curling club Legija was named the winner. 

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"Of course, we celebrated it worthy of winning the Champions League and promised that Brod is ours whenever the opportunity arises. And it was always wonderful, in the snow, rain, cold, heat, just like this Saturday in the beautiful sun and a good 15 degrees," commented RibaFish. 

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"As much as the heat pleased us, she made a minesweeper board out of ice, making it challenging for the highest quality curlers. So we finished third out of eight teams, which is irrelevant compared to what we experienced again in Brod.

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Eighteen years, our entire adulthood, we hang out, work hard, burn out, rejoice and grieve, and you have to experience it. The people of Brod bring you brandy, brew craft beers, sausages, peppers, and slice a ton of cured meat. A party that lasts eight hours, and you still have to be concise and precise enough, because it is very easy to break on the ice, I can tell you first hand," he added about the experience. 

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To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

 

Friday, 28 January 2022

PHOTOS: Snowy Riversides and Magical Mountains of Croatia in January 2022

January 28, 2022 – The snowy riversides and magical mountains of Croatia in January 2022 show a spectacular and all-natural winter wonderland.

Snow finally stuck to the streets of central Zagreb for a couple of days this week. Early morning temperatures dropped to the lowest yet of this winter. Despite the chill, clear skies and sunshine days were enough to see the snow soon melt away.

But, far from the city, the snowy riversides and magical mountains of Croatia in January 2022 have kept their white blanket for longer. These all-natural landscapes look epic after the snowfall. For winter walkers and climbers – or even just lovers of photography – these images are way more spectacular than the bright lights and theatre of the Advent season.

Let's take a closer look at the winter wonderland of snowy riversides and magical mountains of Croatia in January 2022.
Gorski Kotar
Delnice, Lokve, Fužine, Stara Sušica, Ravna Gora

261435205_280374700697029_6373214118916472871_n.jpg© Turistička zajednica Gorskog kotara

Delnice2345678.jpg© Turistička zajednica Gorskog kotara

Vladimir_Franolić.jpgFrom above, Dvorac Stara Sušica © Vladimir Franolić

GorskiBranko_Lautar_Višnja_Bolf.jpg© Branko Lautar & Višnja Bolf

Gorski_Fužine_Jezero_Bajer_Marino_Kirinčić.jpgJezero Bajer near Fužine © Marino Kirinčić

GorskiGorskiBranko_Lautar_Višnja_Bolfrtghbn.jpg© Branko Lautar & Višnja Bolf

Japlenški_vrh_Forest_Park_Delnicedfghjmn.jpg© Turistička zajednica Gorskog kotara

GorskiBranko_Lautar_Višnja_Bolfsdfghjmn.jpgAnother view of Dvorac Stara Sušica © Branko Lautar & Višnja Bolf

Risnjak National Park and Snježnik Hrvatski

Risnjak.jpg© Risnjak National Park

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentil.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentildfgbhn.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentildfghbn.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilfgt.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilftgyh.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilgfyhn.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilrftgvb.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

For more about Risnjak National Park, look here

Velebit
Northern Velebit National Park

VelebitNPDejan_Delač.jpg© Dejan Delač

VelebitNPDejan_Delač4rtgh.jpg© Dejan Delač

VelebitNPVedran_Katalinić.jpg© Vedran Katalinić

For more about Northern Velebit National Park, look here

Velebit Nature Park

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentilxdfghnm.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentilrtyh.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentildrtyhgbn.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentil.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentilrf.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Paklenica National Park

PaklenicaMario_Jurina.jpg© Mario Jurina

BojinacPaklenicIvanCoric.jpgBojinac © Ivan Coric Photography

BojinacPaklenicIvanCoricedfgvb.jpgBojinac © Ivan Coric Photography

For more about Paklenica National Park, look here

Kloštar Podravski, Podravina and Koprivnica-Križevci County

IvanN.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanN4rfghjn.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanN1234.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNdfghjmk.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNt5yhj.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNtghb.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNtyuhjnjk.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNtgh.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNsdfghjkm.jpg© Ivan Nemet

For more about the Drava river in Koprivnica-Križevci County look here. For more about the area of Podravina containing Kloštar Podravski and Đurđevac, look here

Slavonski Brod

BrodMirna_Šikić.jpg© Mirna Šikić

Oriovac_na_ribnjacima_Slavonski_BrodAntun_Lukšić.jpgThe wetlands and ponds in Oriovac near Slavonski Brod are not only home to fish - over 50 species of birds visit these waters © Antun Lukšić

For more about Slavonski Brod, look here

Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje Nature Park

ZumerakSvetiGeraDomagoj_Novosel.jpgThe high peak of Sveti Gera, on the western edge of Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje Nature Park © Domagoj Novosel

The author would like to thank each of the photographers who kindly loaned their work to him for this article

Thursday, 20 January 2022

50 Years of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod

January 20, 2022 – In 2022, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod celebrates 50 years as the central stage for culture in Brod Posavina County. Celebrations begin with a performance of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

From statues, sculptures and street processions, to family homes, festivals and schools, the name of famous writer Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874 – 1938) is kept permanently alive on the streets of Slavonski Brod. Famed as an author of children's literature, her fairytales drew on Slavic mythology and have been compared to the work of Hans Christian Andersen.

Ivana_Brlić-Mažuranić_1.jpgStatue of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić in Slavonski Brod

This beloved, adopted daughter of the city also lends her name to Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod (here). The venue is the largest and most prestigious performance space in Brod Posavina County and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022.

Celebrations will begin on January 29. Some 50 years ago, the opening performance in Slavonski Brod's new theatre was made by the esteemed Croatian National Theatre Osijek. Coming full circle, to mark the beginning of the special anniversary year, Croatian National Theatre Osijek will return on the very same evening.

Kristijan_Cimer.jpgCroatian National Theatre Osijek perform 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' © Kristijan Cimer

Rather fittingly, they will perform one of William Shakespeare's most popular and widely performed plays – A Midsummer Night's Dream. Like the works of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Shakespeare's fantastical play takes place in a world filled with fairies.

Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod

Kazališno_koncertna_dvorana_Ivana_Brlić_Mažuranićredtgfvjn.jpgBy night, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod

The Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod opened on 29 January 1972. However, its dedication to Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić happened over two decades into its life. The theatre has only been named after Slavonski Brod's most famous writer since 1994. Before then, the theatre had been dedicated to Valpovo-born Đuro Salaj, one of the founders of the Communist Party in Yugoslavia.

In addition to organizing theatre and music performances, the venue plays an integral part in three of Slavonski Brod's most important and most popular annual manifestations – Dance Days, In The World of Fairytales and Brod's Music Summer.

Kazališno_koncertna_dvorana_Ivana_Brlić_Mažuraniću5yrefdzsxgcfhbhkj.jpgOne of the theatre's most popular assets is its ability to hold outdoor performances. They take place in the courtyard immediately outside.

Held every April - around the birthday of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić - the In The World of Fairytales festival (here) celebrates the life and work of the famous author. In Slavonski Brod, it's not only the theatre that's named after Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić – so too is one of the schools.

Children from Slavonski Brod and from nearby play a huge role in the festival. Up to 5000 of them attend performances of the writer's works at the Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod. The festival also features a street parade with costumed characters from fairy tales by Brlić-Mažuranić.

usvijetubajki.jpgIn The World of Fairytales festival Slavonski Brod

The Children's Theatre Company Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (founded in 1980) has been operating under the auspices of the Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod since 2007. In that time, the company and theatre have strived to preserve and perform some of the lesser-known works by the writer. Some of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić's stories are today out of print. Indeed, some of her writing remains unpublished.

Ivana_brlic_mazuranic_II.jpgIvana Brlić-Mažuranić

Within the further anniversary program, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod will revisit some of the same plays performed at the venue in its very first year. Croatian National Theatre Osijek appeared at the theatre no less than three times in that debut year, so you should expect their return to the stage in Slavonski Brod later in 2022.

Croatian National Theatre Osijek perform William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' from 19.30 on 29 January at Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić Theatre and Concert Hall Slavonski Brod. Tickets are priced 70 kuna.

For more information about Slavonski Brod and Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, look here.

To keep up with happenings in Slavonski Brod, bookmark TCN's pages here.

Monday, 26 July 2021

Kosovo PM Flies in to Visit Injured Bus Passengers in Slavonski Brod Hospital

ZAGREB, 26 July 2021 - The prime ministers of Croatia and Kosovo, Andrej Plenković and Albin Kurti respectively, have visited the passengers injured in the bus accident that occurred on the A3 motorway at Slavonski Brod early Sunday morning. 

The Kosovo-registered bus with 67 passengers and two drivers on board, en route from Frankfurt, Germany to Kosovo, ran off the motorway at Slavonski Brod, eastern Croatia, at 6.20 am on Sunday, as a result of which nine passengers and the driver who was resting were killed. Forty-four passengers were injured.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Kurti flew into Slavonski Brod on Sunday evening aboard a Croatian army helicopter deployed in Kosovo as part of the KFOR peacekeeping mission. He was welcomed by Croatian Prime Minister Plenković, who had visited the injured passengers earlier in the day.

"I am glad that the prime minister of Kosovo promptly arrived in Croatia," Plenković said. Kurti said that this was a hard day for the people of Kosovo, extending his condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wishing a speedy recovery to those injured.

Kurti thanked Plenković for the assistance provided by the Croatian government as well as the doctors at the Slavonski Brod hospital where the majority of the injured passengers are being treated.

"I visited all the patients and I want to thank the hospital's directors and all staff who are looking after the patients," Kurti said. He was accompanied by Kosovo's foreign minister, interior minister, health minister, and presidential chief of staff.

The two prime ministers also visited the passengers who were not injured, who are accommodated in a boarding house in Slavonski Brod.

Plenković reiterated that Croatia would provide all the necessary assistance.

Kurti said that Monday would be a day of mourning in Kosovo.

The Croatian police and prosecutors have opened an investigation, confirming that the driver has been arrested after admitting that he fell asleep for a moment.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Slavonski Brod Ranks Third Worst City in Europe on Air Quality Index

ZAGREB, 17 June 2021 - The eastern Croatian city of Slavonski Brod is the third worst city for the quality of air according to the European Environment Agency (EEA) data which indicates that more than half of European cities still have polluted air despite reduced emissions during the pandemic lockdown.

The worst situation is in eastern Europe where coal continues to be the main source of energy.

The most polluted air was registered in Nowy Sacz in Poland where the biannual average of fine particulate matter on an area of fewer than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), which are considered to be damaging to health, amounted to 27.3 micrograms per cubic meter.

Cremone in Italy ranked second with 25.9 micrograms PM2.5 per cubic meter and Slavonski Brod ranked third with 25.7 micrograms PM2.5 per cubic meter.

Three cities with the cleanest air in Europe were Umea in Sweden (3.7), Tampere in Finland (3.8), and Funchal in Portugal (4.,2).

Poor air in Zagreb too

This year's PM2.5 average in Zagreb amounted to 15.8 micrograms per cubic meter which means the air is of poor quality and presents a moderate health risk. In Rijeka, it was 10.6, which is moderate pollution, according to EEA.

EEA analyzed data for 323 European cities in 2019 and 2020 and determined that only 127 had a PM2.5 level below the limits recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Exposure to fine particulate matter cause more than 400,000 premature deaths per annum in Europe.

The EEA data indicates that the biannual average is only available for those cities that are regularly monitored and do not include all European cities.

EEA notes that the lockdown due to the pandemic resulted in a decrease in the level of nitrogen dioxide released from diesel motors but the level of particulate matter remained high.

The level of nitrogen dioxide fell by 60% in some cities due to the lockdown in April 2020 while the reduction in the particulate matter was less dramatic - with the level of coarse particulate matter (PM10) falling between 20% and 30% in April 2020.

Even though the quality of air improved significantly last year, air pollution remains to be stubbornly high in many cities in Europe, EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said.

For the latest news about Zagreb, click here.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Slavonski Brod Armed Robber Leaves Empty Handed After Shopworker's Refusal

February 18, 2021 – An astonishing end to a terrifying encounter caught on CCTV last night after a Slavonski Brod armed robber was forced to retreat by the brave refusal of a shop worker. She simply told him no.

Last night saw an astonishing end to a terrifying encounter in a shop in Slavonia. Under the cover of darkness and with a hood and mask covering his face, a young man entered the shop, pointed a gun at the lady working there and demanded to be given the store's takings. But, the Slavonski Brod armed robber left empty-handed. The shopworker simply refused to give in to the threat.

Nobody knows for sure what they would themselves do under such circumstances. And, perhaps that's also true of Snježana Iličić, the shopworker who faced the Slavonski Brod armed robber. But, when a confrontation most would find terrifying visited her, she remarkably kept her cool. “I won't,” she said to the Slavonski Brod armed robber, “I don't give money.”

The incident was caught on the shop's CCTV and broadcast alongside an interview with Snježana, her husband and members of the Slavonski Brod community on Croatian TV channel RTL.

“I looked him in the eye and saw he was holding a gun and (I asked him) 'Why?' Snježana told RTL's reporter. To her question, the Slavonski Brod armed robber replied, “Get the money out! This is no joke.”

“I said no”, Snježana recounts. The Slavonski Brod armed robber repeated his demand, “I told you to take the money out.”

“I won't,” she told the gun-toting man. “I simply did (just) that. I don't know... at that moment, that's (just) how I felt. And that's how it turned out."

In the CCTV footage, you can see the Slavonski Brod armed robber looking confused at the brave and barefaced shopworker's response. Eventually, he relents, gives up and simply walks back out of the store.

Snježana told RTL she had not felt a shred of fear during the encounter. It wasn’t until the attempted armed robber had left the store that she was overcome by the stress and shock of the incident. She called the police and then her boss. Snježana is not the shop owner, she only works there. Everyone in Snježana's family is proud of her, as are members of the local community who were interviewed later in the news item. The shop, which is in Bukovlje, Slavonski Brod is open as usual again today, but the owner has given Snježana time off for a well-deserved holiday.

The Slavonski Brod armed robber was caught by police not long after Snježana called them. He was found to be 22-years-old and the media reports that he has no previous convictions for anything similar. He faces up to 12 years in prison, depending on the details of the weapon he was brandishing.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Slavonia Students Spot 300 Spelling Mistakes In Names of Public Places

November 21, 2020 - How difficult is it to learn Croatian? Slavonia students from one high school learned it's really not so easy for people to correctly use their own language

How difficult is it to learn Croatian? Well, it's pretty difficult. Croatians know this best of all and will be reasonably impressed if you make any advances in trying to speak their language. A professor of linguistics from Zagreb University once told this writer that to be able to regard yourself as wholly proficient in the Croatian language, you would have to study it to no less than university level. Naturally, not every speaker of Croatian has done so.

Slavonia students from a high school in Slavonski Brod were recently tasked with looking for mistakes in the use of Croatian language in public places. So complex is the Croatian language, spelling and grammar mistakes are commonplace. The teacher assigning the task, Vesna Nosić from Matija Mesić high school, was no doubt confident her students would uncover some mistakes. However, the grand total of 300 spelling and grammar mistakes the Slavonia students found is possibly more than was bargained for. Particularly as those found were all assigned to public places.

26962181_1551793224935146_5167430988168811831_o.jpgMatija Mesić high school in Slavonski Brod, where Slavonia students made their findings © Matija Mesić high school

The misspelling or incorrect translation of food items on a restaurant or tavern menu is a regular cause of amusement in Croatia. But, the mistitling of public places - streets, squares, companies, monuments, traffic signs and even schools – is perhaps more surprising. These are places you walk past every day.

The Slavonia students were given the high bar of the official standards of Croatian language set by the Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics. Their teacher, Vesna Nosić, has published their findings in the popular science journal Hrvatski jezik (Croatian language), which is published by the institute. Croatian language is something of a national obsession in Croatia, its acceptance as the official language very closely linked to the country's struggle for autonomy. For most of its history, the lands of modern-day Croatia were controlled by empires for whom Croatian was not their language. The use of foreign tongues has been imposed on the population of Croatia for centuries.

The most common mistakes made in the Croatian language are related to the incorrect use of the sounds ć and č, đ and dž. The letters here come from Gaj's Latin alphabet, devised by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1835. It is the Latin script used across the region in which to write the similar languages of Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin (in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro, the Cyrillic alphabet is used as well as Gaj's Latin alphabet).

Albatalad.png
The contemporary version of Gaj's Latin alphabet (it originally contained Dj, which was replaced by đ. This alphabet ihe easiest part of learning Croatian - within 15 minutes, almost anyone can correctly pronounce all Croatian words by using this. In comparison to the Latin alphabet used by English speakers, the letters q,w,x,y are omitted. Instead, we get the additional č, ć, dž, đ, lj, nj, š and ž. Looks difficult? It isn't. Almost all of these sounds exist within the English language. Except for lj which, to English speakers, is torturously missing some kind of vowel © Albatalad

Mistakes between the ć and č or đ and dž sounds are understandable if you can pronounce Gaj's Latin alphabet. And anyone can. The easiest part of learning Croatian is Gaj's Latin alphabet – all of the sounds exist within the English language, all of the letters are always pronounced in exactly the same way (unlike English). The difference in sound between ć and č or đ and dž in spoken Croatian is difficult to perceive if you are not a native speaker (often, even if you are!)

Some of the mistakes found by the Slavonia students are perhaps more forgivable – the standard of Croatian their comparisons was made against is rigid. Thus, pekarna (bakery) instead of pekarnica, or dućan (shop) instead of trgovina were classed as mistakes, but are actually in everyday use on streets across Croatia.

Other mistakes found relate to grammar, spelling and the misuse of upper case or lower case lettering. For instance, Ulica Pavleka Miškina should be written Ulica Pavleka Miškine (the word ending changes to denote it is the street of Pavlek Miškina), Crkva Gospe od brze pomoći, should be crkva Gospe od Brze Pomoći; Muzej Brodskog Posavlja should be Muzej brodskoga Posavlja and Šetalište Braće Radić should be Šetalište braće Radića (denoting it is the promenade of the Radić brothers).
muzej.jpgNot sure which words should be in upper case or lower case in Croatian? Write everything in upper case - problem solved!  © Slavonski Brod Tourist Board

Sitting to one side and watching how others do something, judging them, then informing them they are doing it incorrectly is not the most pleasant way to occupy your time. However, for the purposes of this study, this not-uncommon activity in Croatia is exactly what was asked of the Slavonia students. However, as noted in today's coverage of this story in Index, there is a great saying in Croatian that serves as a response to any unwanted judgments coming from those on the sides - “clean up the trash in front of your own doorstep before you discuss that which lies in front of your neighbour's”. And, that's exactly what the Slavonia students did – and found out that the name of their own school was spelled wrong.

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