Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Istria 100 by UTMB: 9th Edition Runs through Istria this Weekend

April 6, 2022 - This year's Istria 100 by UTMB race in Umag gathers more than 1,000 runners from around the world. Among them so far is the largest number of Elite runners who have all announced breaking the track record!

Marko Gregurić, CEO of Istra 100 by UTMB®, and Alen Paliska, the director of the race, unanimously stated:

“A race full of excitement awaits us! Most of these runners have already run the track in one of the previous years, but the track changed significantly in one of the segments compared to last year. Many of our loyal competitors who have been coming for years commented that the changes have further raised the track's difficulty. This is why the race has become even more attractive for those always looking for a bigger challenge. We are especially pleased with the great response of the Elite Runners, whose participation further confirms the value and quality of our race in the world!"

Depending on the length of the trail they have chosen, from Friday, April 8 until Sunday, April 10, runners will start from Labin (168 km), Lovran (128 km), Buzet (68 km), Motovun (40 km) and Grožnjan (20 km). Runners can travel through the most picturesque parts of Istria. From the beginning to the end of the race, runners will encounter sections of technical terrain, passages through ancient medieval towns, deep forests, and muddy valleys, all enhanced with enjoying the beautiful view that stretches to the Adriatic Sea.

Istria_100_by_UTMB_-_photo_Dejan_Hren.jpeg

Dejan Hren

All roads and races lead to the finish line in Umag, where volunteers and hosts will greet the competitors. Each runner will be awarded a finisher's medal, and the most successful will be on the podium in Umag on Sunday at 1 pm at the winner’s ceremony.

Traditionally the strongest international ultra trail race in Istria is this year part of the UTMB® World Series trail platform. The goal of the World Series trail platform is to provide runners with exclusive access to the top trail sport but also the final of the world series of races, UTMB® Mont-Blanc. UTMB® World Series consists of 30 international trail races, and Istria 100 by UTMB® with that it is part of this selected society and the first race in the history of the World Series cycle of races.

Those interested can follow the racers through the LiveTrail® web and application. In addition, the organizer made additional efforts to provide insight into watching the race via Sports Television and video transmission on the Istria100 by UTMB Facebook page, where you can follow the runners LIVE.

Istria 100 by UTMB continuously confirms the high quality of organization and service to the race participants, which is why the Civil Headquarters of Istria and all locations support the race.

The City of Umag, Umag Tourist Board, HEP, Ina Croatia, global sponsors UTMB® World Series Hoka, Dacia and Wahoo, and other partners and sponsors recognized the potential and impact of Istria 100 by UTMB on the development of sports, tourism, and related services in Istria and Croatia, and have been happy to continue their cooperation for many years.

Ultra trail race Istria 100 by UTMB will be held from April 8 to 10, 2022

● Race start: Labin (168 km), Lovran (128 km), Buzet (68 km), Motovun (40 km) and Grožnjan (20 km) )
● Live monitoring of the race via Sports Television and video transmission on the Facebook page Istria100 by UTMB
● Monitor live results through the LiveTrail® web and app
● Presentation of Elite Runners will be held on Thursday, April 7, 2022, at 6 pm in Umag at the sports hall, Školska ulica 14
● More information about the race is on the official race website

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

Friday, 25 February 2022

Croatian Traditional Jewellery: Istria's Medieval Earrings, Rediscovered

February 25th, 2022 - Medieval earrings discovered on several archaeological sites in Istria served as inspiration for authentic souvenirs: beautiful replicas in silver and gold, made by local artisans

Our ancestors seem to have loved shiny things as much as we did: traditional garb in all parts of Croatia included precious jewellery pieces such as earrings, bracelets, brooches and pendants. 

Some date back to medieval, ancient or even prehistoric times, and are nowadays displayed as museum exhibits. Others have stood the test of time, with traditional motifs passed down from generation to generation and remaining popular accessories to this day. 

And then there’s some traditional jewellery that falls into both these categories. Medieval earrings found on several archaeological sites in Istria were rediscovered in recent times and recreated with beautiful replicas in silver and gold, made by local artisans and whoheartedly embraced by the public.

The initiative to revive the ancient heritage of Istria in the form of jewellery largely came from goldsmith Klaudija Vorić, owner of Claudia Zlato jewellery shop in Svetvinčenat, now closed. Since the early 2000s, Vorić had been making jewellery inspired by traditional Istrian symbols. About ten years ago, she launched the initiative to make replicas of historic earrings in order to create high quality souvenirs for each given destination in cooperation with local authorities and relevant tourist boards. Vorić was the one responsible for the revival of Žminj, Buzet and Barban earrings on this list, and it's only right we give credit where credit is due.

Join us on a little themed tour of Istria as discover accessories of times past that now have their modern versions, readily available to all who wish to wear a piece of history. 

 

Žminj earrings / Žminjski rićin

It’s said that all the roads in Istria lead to Žminj, so it only makes sense to start our journey in this picturesque inland town.

Earrings and rings were uncovered at the early Croatian cemetery in Žminj, showing that the local women used to wear jewellery as early as in the 9th century. How’s that for tradition?

zminj.PNGMedieval earrings discovered in Žminj / Archaeological Museum of Istria

The earrings found at the necropolis were part of the rural folk costume worn in the Žminj area in the 9th and 10th centuries. They were made of silver and bronze and are grouped into several categories according to design and origin, with the most prominent type featuring so-called ‘strawberries’, hollow granules made of silver with elements of filigree and mesh. Some feature closed hoops, pointing to the fact they were most likely worn interwoven in hair or looped on hair strings.

Nowadays, the original finds are kept at the Archaeological Museum of Istria in Pula. They inspired a beautiful authentic souvenir, the Žminjski rićin (Žminj earring), designed after the medieval pieces and slightly modified to fit modern standards of jewellery wear.

zlatarnadavid1.jpg

The gorgeous pieces are nowadays made of silver and gold, and are manufactured in Pula by David jewellery.

In Žminj, earrings and rings are available for sale at the floral studio Heidi as a unique tourist souvenir, complete with a leaflet introducing the history of the Žminj jewellery in three languages.

118951668_1070107190089440_346707340667034873_n.jpgŽminj rings / Zlatarna David Facebook 

Barban earrings / Barbanski rančin

Earrings dating to the 11th century were unearthed in the small town of Barban. The medieval earrings have the form of a hoop with three small beads adorning the bottom part.

Similar to the ones found in Žminj, they were determined to be a part of folk costume typical for the period between the 11th century, when Istria was a part of the Holy Roman Empire, to the beginning of the 14th century when the region was taken over by the Venetian Republic.

lg_3843_nausnica_iz_barbana.jpg

Medieval Barban earring / Archaeological Museum of Istria

The initiative to bring the traditional Barban earrings into the modern era was also launched by Claudia Zlato jewellery, with the project devised by Jasminka Benazić and executed in cooperation with the Archaeological Museum of Istria, the Municipality of Barban and the Barban Tourist Board.

119054846_1070502886716537_5295468936080403712_n.jpgBarban earring / Zlatarna David Facebook

The result are beautiful wearable earrings, made in several sizes and materials and inspired by the cultural heritage of Barban.

 

Dvigrad earrings / Rančin Dvegrajka

On to Dvigrad, a ruinous medieval town in Limska Draga valley, where two unique types of earrings were discovered, made of bronze and dating to the 9th century.

Both types are simple hoops, one with a thin wire wrapped around the bottom part (see image below), the other adorned with a bead. Several other kinds of earrings were found in the Dvigrad area, but since they share features with various types discovered on archaeological sites elsewhere in Istria, it was decided to only make replicas of the two designs unique to Dvigrad. 

The wearable souvenirs are made by David jewellery from Pula, whose owner, goldsmith Luiđi Đinić, said it takes up to five hours to make a single pair. The delicate hoops are entirely handmade, and available in silver, silver-gilt, and silver gilded rose gold versions.

Like the other artefacts, the historic Dvigrad earrings are kept at the Archaeological Museum of Istria and were declared a cultural asset of the Republic of Croatia back in 1968.

 

Buzet earring / Buzetska naušnica

Delicious truffles aren’t the only precious thing found in the north of Istria, as the history of the hilltop town of Buzet and its environs goes all the way back to the Bronze Age.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that beautiful historic jewellery was discovered in Buzet as well, a type of bronze earring dating to the 7th century and known as the Buzet earring in archaeological literature.

buzetska_nausnica_002.jpgMedieval Buzet earrings / Buzet Tourist Board

Bronze earrings are most commonly found at the early medieval burial grounds of the native population and the Illyrian-Celtic people who inhabited the area between Buzet and the west coast of Istria.

The original pieces are kept at the Regional Museum of Buzet, and a silver replica was created as an authentic souvenir of Buzet. Two kinds are available, one being a near identical copy of the medieval earrings, other slightly modified and equipped with a clasp to be more easily wearable.

 claudiazlato.jpgBuzet earring / Buzet Tourist Board

 

Umag earrings / Umaška naušnica

We’ll end our little tour in Umag, a coastal town in the north-west of Istria. Although best known for the ATP tournament, Umag has much more to boast, including priceless historic finds such as the so-called Umag earring.

The bronze earring is shaped as an elliptical hoop adorned with three beads and a large engraved pendant, altogether cast in a one piece mold. It was found during archaeological research conducted in Umag in 2005, at the ruins of an early medieval church that burned down in the 9th century.

umag.jpg

 

A silver replica was made by the local goldsmith and filigree master Njaci Široka, creating an original Umag souvenir that is available for sale in his shop.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Fishermen in Istria Struggling With Jellyfish Infestation

February 20th, 2022 - The barrel jellyfish is mostly harmless to humans, but sure seems to be a menace to fishing nets due to its size - and numbers. Fishermen have been struggling with an invasion of huge jellyfish in the north of Istria that shows no sign of subsiding

An infestation of large jellyfish has been a source of headache for fishermen in Umag and Savudrija for two months now, so much so that some have given up and are not even going out to sea anymore. There are so many of them, and they’re so big and heavy that they destroy the nets as the fishermen lift them out of the sea, reports Jutarnji list.

Danilo Latin, a fisherman from Savudrija, says it’s not uncommon for them to pull out one ton of jellyfish at a time. He’s never seen such a thing before, and fishermen in general don’t know how to go about it. 

‘This has been going on for two months. It’s never been this way. Last year, [the jellyfish] appeared for a short while in March and that was that. This year they just won’t leave, and we don’t know when we’ll be able to go out to sea again. There are so many of them that even us fishermen are starting to feel uneasy. A friend of mine was recently at sea and told me that he’s never been scared to look at the sea before. He had a feeling as if it were ghosts under the surface’, said Latin.

Latin and other fishermen who are dealing with the jellyfish invasion in northern Istria are calling for the situation to be declared a natural disaster.

‘We can’t go out to sea as we only suffer damage. Some of the jellyfish weigh up to eight kilograms. And we don’t even know when we’ll be able to sail out. We informed experts at the Institute of Agriculture and Tourism in Poreč of this, and invited the Ruđer Bošković Centre for Marine Research in Rovinj as we wish for this to be declared a natural disaster. As far as I know, the scientists from the Rovinj institute haven’t yet arrived to see what’s going on. We reached out to the Department of Agriculture of Istria County and they told us they had never dealt with this issue. It’s new to everyone’, Latin said, adding it wasn’t only an issue in Umag and Savudrija, but also in the waters of Slovenia and the Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Scientist Barbara Sladonja from the Centre for Invasive Species of the Institute of Agriculture and Tourism in Poreč wasn’t able to say with certainty when the jellyfish would pull back and if it would happen before summer.

‘It’s the barrel jellyfish (Lat. Rhizostoma pulmo). This jellyfish is naturally found in our waters, and over the last hundred years or so, it has made an occasional appearance in large numbers. It’s the so-called jellyfish bloom phenomenon, seen in many jellyfish species, including the barrel jellyfish. In recent years, such blooms have been lasting longer and longer. It can’t be said for sure when it will pull back. Judging by the last few years, they already should have retreated, but their population remains large. We hope this won’t last until summer’, said the scientist.

She explained there were several reasons why the jellyfish would appear in such large numbers.

‘One reason is the sea temperature being too high. The barrel jellyfish population should decrease significantly in winter due to low temperatures. This year, it apparently hasn’t dropped low enough, and the population kept growing. In addition, marine food chains have been disrupted by several factors’, said Sladonja.

Experts from the Ruđer Bošković Institute from Rovinj said they were monitoring the phenomenon and that this jellyfish species is among the bigger ones found in the Adriatic. They can weigh up to 10 kilos each.

Until they fall back, it’s only the Ministry of the Sea that can help the fishermen. According to Ezio Pinzan, head of Istria’s Department of Agriculture, Istria County doesn’t have the funds for it.

‘We have to see what’s going on and how to prevent it from happening again next year. The Ministry has an aid package of 50 million kuna in the works, which they’ll distribute to our fishermen for this difficult situation’, said Pinzan.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

10th Indirekt Music Festival in Umag Announces First 5 Artists

February 17, 2022 - After a two-year break, the 10th Indirekt music festival will be held in Umag on June 10 and 11 this year! 

How does an extended weekend at sea sound, embraced by the pine forest shade, warm rays of the sun, and the scent of festival season in the air - bold with the art and riffs of musicians who have conquered and shaken the domestic, regional, and international music scene?

Meet the smallest, biggest festival of the summer - Indirekt! 

Not everyone can unite the best of the domestic and regional independent scene in one weekend. Still, the Indirekt Festival team has succeeded, which has built a community of artists and musicians for ten years. This team thus uses a decade in action to draw the line under the domestic and regional scene and celebrate the achievements of those musicians who once slowly but surely stepped to musical maturity from a small, independent stage located in the far west of the country.

Indirekt presents: ABOP, Rolo, Nemanja, Stray Dogg, and The Black Room

Beginning with the after party, Indirekt presents electric group ABOP, one of the most successful Croatian instrumental bands, consisting of drummers Ivan Levačić (ELEVEN, Kries, Chui) and Ivan Vodopijec (Elemental), bassist Erol Zejnilović (Elemental, Kries), and Ivan Božanić (Pips, Chips & Videoclips) and Bogumil Kulaga on synthesizers. Delta, an album whose mix is credited to the pioneer of techno in this area Petar Dundov, brought them three Ambassador Awards, three nominations for the Rock & Off Award, and a bunch of new fans who will look forward to their performance at this year's Indirekt.

 

Another successful group during the pandemic is Nemanja, an acclaimed psych-funk band whose songs seem to have been written for the sea, with the sound of the waves. Nemanja is Luka Šipetić, an author and musician active in Para Lele and NLV, who recorded and released the albums Tarot Funk (2019) and Cosmic Disco (2020). He is accompanied by drummer Matej Perić, percussionist Karlo Lugarić, bassist Laura Matijašević, and synthesizer and organist Leo Beslać. For a complete impression, there are also video projections of Branimir Štivić (Će Zoone), which are an indispensable backdrop to their live music. Their rhythms have won over listeners worldwide: from Japan, through Brazil to the US and Canada. They also performed side by side with bands like Algiers and Kikagaku Moyo. During the album's promotion, they sold out KSET and Medika in Zagreb, and they also played in Ljubljana, Belgrade, Novi Sad, and throughout the region. In addition, they had their first live performance at Indirekt, so they are happy to return after their well-deserved success.

 

ROLO perfectly describes the very core of the festival - with their creativity, they re-examine and change the existing molds. This is evidenced by their latest album Ponte Rosso, which highlights the recognizable influences of three bands - Leut Magnetik, Wizard Of Stone Mountain, and False Mustache, where the members of this band come from. Earlier this month, they also released Stuntman, announcing their self-titled album.

 

On the wings of the new single Motel Monaco, Rijeka rockers The Black Room are returning to Indirekt to present their new album of the same name. The latest release is inspired by their latest European tour, during which they discovered other faces of cities in the region and their hidden corners that took them back to some forgotten times. The top audio production signed by Matej Zec (Let3), thoughtful visual aesthetics, and flawless realization have already given them a reach far beyond the borders of our small country, and the new album could very well move those borders even further. Jakov Katalinić, Leo Ventin, Kruno Kukuljan, and Ivan Ritoša will show concertgoers why it is so good to listen to live music again.

 

From Lisinski to Močvara, from Indirekt to collaborating with Devendra Banhart - this band has been through everything and is also going back to where it all, in a way, started. If you are a fan of Americana, you certainly know how much the audience adores Stray Dogg, a band led by Dukat Strajnić. With four albums, over ten years of gigs, and at least as many tours in Europe, they have gained cult status among fans of sound that rely on American and British folk and modern indie rock bands. The band arrives on the Indirekt stage in complete composition. You know you don’t want to miss this unique phenomenon on the regional scene.

 

Five bands and five great reasons to secure your tickets now for this year’s Indirekt, a festival that over ten years has built a dense network of fans who love music and to share that love with others. Early bird tickets will be available on Entrio until March 15 for 100 kuna for two festival days or 80 kuna for one day. And since this is only a third of the program, who knows what other ace is hiding up their indie sleeves. 

The program is co-financed by the City of Umag, the Umag Tourist Board, and funds from the competition, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian Music Union.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Croatian Plava Laguna Strengthening Brand, Change for Hotels Coming

January the 2nd, 2022 - The Croatian Plava Laguna company is going to be spending 2022 strengthening its brand, and there is quite the change coming to its hotels.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, as of this brand new year, the facilities operating under the Croatian Plava Laguna brand in Umag will no longer operate under the brand of the Spanish Melia, instead, all of the the facilities of the company will be repositioned under the brand and name Plava Laguna, the company recently reported.

As has since been learned from the Croatian Plava Laguna company, this will not mean a complete ''break up'' with the well known Spanish hotel chain, as their cooperation is set to continue according to the new model, which includes only sales being carried out through the Melia channel.

“After Plava Laguna's rebranding back in 2018, the company is continuing to strengthen the brand. As such, from the 1st of January, 2022, we're going to be moving the current Sol and Melia facilities from Umag to put them under the Croatian Plava Laguna brand. This means that from the beginning of 2022, all facilities in Umag with Melia and Sol in their names will officially operate under the brand and name exclusively under Plava Laguna,'' it was explained in their company announcement.

As is already known, the Croatian Plava Laguna inherited the contract with Melia from Istraturist, which the Luksic group purchased way back in 2014 from Zagrebacka banka.

Zagrebacka banka initially joined Istraturist in 1996 after the transformation of the company, and two years later, Melia Hotels International was hired for sales and operations to apply international standards to their tourism services. This remained Melia's only engagement in all of the Republic of Croatia. Plava Laguna then launched the new brand into business in 2018, as a completion of the merger of Umag's Istraturist.

"With this merger, one of the largest tourist companies in all of Croatia was created, which manages four resorts (Park, Plava, Zelena and Stella Maris), as well as nine camps, which operate on the market under the brand ''Istracamping'' by Plava Laguna. Thus, Plava Laguna will enter 2022's summer tourist season with a unique portfolio under its belt, which will enable the strong standardisation of processes and activities, as well as the creation of new and unique Plava Laguna products and services,'' the company pointed out.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Umag ATP Tournament Starts

ZAGREB, 19 July 2021 - The ATP tournament started in Umag on Monday and at the beginning of the event, Goran Ivanišević, a Croatian tennis legend, arrived in this Istrian town from the USA where he was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Goran Ivanišević, is the ambassador of one of Croatia's best-known tournaments at the Stella Maris Resort in Umag. The Plava Laguna Croatia Open tournament runs through 25 July.

Ivanišević will attend matches played on the court named after him.

"I'm really happy to be in Umag. Summer isn't summer without this week in the Stella Maris Resort. Croatia's players interest me the most including Serdarušić, Ajduković, Sabanov, but also young upcoming stars like Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune. In addition to Gasquet, Krajinović, Lajović, and Bedene, we will see some great tennis," said Ivanišević.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Friday, 19 March 2021

International Poetry Day Croatia: Non-Croatian Poets about Croatia

March 21, 2021 - In honour of International Poetry Day Croatia, TCN's Ivor Kruljac met with non-Croatia poets to share their views on Croatia through their art.

Since 1999 and the 30th General conference of UNESCO, March 21 is recognized as International Poetry Day. As said by the United Nations official website, the date was dedicated to poetry to celebrate „one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity“, which history remembers practiced in every culture on every continent. 

„Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings“, states the UN.

Supporting linguistic diversity and an opportunity of endangered languages to be heard within their communities along with encouragement to bring back the oral tradition of recitals, the promotion of poetry teachings and poetry in the media, as well as connecting this ancient art form with other art forms such as music, painting, and theatre, are all goals of the International Poetry Day. And here at TCN, we want to do our part and connect poetry with what we always struggle to report on: Showing all aspects of Croatia.

To the fans of contemporary poetry, it's no secret that poets today are very much alive, productive, and regularly present their work. If not in books then at poetry events, open-mics, and on social networks – either from their private accounts, blogs, or in groups dedicated to this wordy-art.

We asked non-Croatian poets through social networks and private group chats dedicated to poetry who either visited Croatia or know about Croatia to send us poems about Croatia with a promise that the top 5 will be published and authors presented. Now, to be fair, while the author of this article is a poet, that is far from being a legitimate poetry critic and the rest of the TCN's editorial team (at least to public knowledge) aren't even poets. The idea was to pick the poems based on how it resonates with us as individuals who gave the art a chance. The academic acknowledgment is nice, but resonating with the audience, the everyday people, should be the goal of any art publically displayed, right?

To be honest, there wasn't really any competition as, by the end of the deadline, we received only four poems. Nonetheless, the beauty of these poems and great resonation with TCN was there and we are happy to publish these poems and ranked them, from fourth place to the very best. You can decide for yourselves which poem you like best (and the messages you see in their work), but here the four poems that „knocked on the doors of our mailbox“ (metaphorically, quite poetically, speaking).

#4: „Croatia“ by Jesus McFridge 

Poets such as Charles Bukowski and Walt Whitman are very well known by their name, but just as in many other arts, poets are no exception in sometimes preferring to use pseudonyms to present their work while keeping their identity unknown and privacy secured. Such is the author that goes by the name of Jesus Mcfridge. Quite active in a Facebook group Poetry Criticism For Cool Cats, he revealed in his application that he is from California and described himself as a „24-year-old American that watches too much television“. He added that his knowledge of Croatia is limited to the country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but he has fallen in love with the Croatia national football team's checkered uniforms. Despite never visiting Croatia, after „Croatia's tragic loss in the 2018 World Cup final“, he found himself also crying just as many Croatians did.

„In this poem, I have attempted to capture the feeling of this tragic loss that we have shared together, despite the vast seas that separate us“ concluded Mcfridge in his application.

His bittersweet poem simply titled „Croatia“ indeed brings some painful memories but presented in a short and funny way allows us to look at the past in a brighter way, bring back smiles, and give us the strength to cheer for our Croatia national team as they prepare for the next trophy hunt.

 

Croatia

They

Almost won

The world cup

But

Mandzukic scored

An own goal.

Jesus_Mcfridge-c-_Jesus_Mcfridge.jpg

Jesus Mcfridge © Jesus Mcfridge

#3 „Daniela's song“ by Christian Sinicco (English translation by Daniela Sartogo)

Christian Sinicco was born in Trieste, Italy, and his poetry is published in various anthologies and magazines and an editor of the magazine Argo with which he has dealt with the widest overview of poetry in the Italian dialect from 2000 to the present day. He published three books of poetry: „Passando per New York“ (Lietocolle, 2005), „Ballate di Lagosta“ (CFR, 2014) and „Città esplosa“ (Galerie Bordas, 2017). He won the first Italian Slam Poetry Championship and served as the president of the slam poetry association LIPS - Lega Italiana Poetry Slam (2013-2014) and is the current vice president of Poiéin. He is also active in a global initiative of slam poets organizing the world slam championship which early results can be followed on Twitch.   

He participated in numerous book festivals including four festivals in Croatia: Zagreb Contemporary Poetry Festival, Forum Tomizza (in Umag), Pula Book Fair, and Rijeka Book Fair.

His second book of poetry „Ballate di Lagosta“, translates as Lastovo Ballads and it's actually a preview while Sinicco plans to soon publish the full book dedicated to this beautiful Croatian island on the southern coast.

„I was on Lastovo several times. I know a poet from there, Marijana Šutić and I spent a vacation there with other poets such as Ivan Šamija and Silvestar Vrljić“, said Sinicco in his application where he offered a poem from „Lastovo ballads“ which already seen its presentation on a prestigious literary site Versopolis.

„Daniela's Song“ may not bring out the most visual and most explicit Croatian motives, but the discrete and specific localization of Croatia is there all wrapped in a love poem to touch the heart and help us remember the summer sweethearts and romance in Croatia.

Daniela's song

I.

She talks about how beautiful it is without knowing where to go

perhaps into the water of the sun like her cheek

simply necessary as the wet dream

in a wider galaxy if it can be understood,

she seduces you through valleys and dusty vineyards

with eyes towards the bay with the waterfall:

Za Barje the sign said, and so also barked the dog tied

under the cypress – his teethed mouth was the buried reason

the fishermen had left him there – near a house

covered with ivy and blackberries, in which had grown

an apple tree with sour fruits and roses

that only you will taste:

avoiding the asphalt and dirt road holes you followed Daniela

targeting yourself and the asphyxia of your life

that follows the path to erect the intelligence of the species

that on the concept of work has built its republic of theft,

then you saw her dancing on the beach between the warm rocks

and the boat pulled out of the lobster pot, the fishermen are back:

good and evil are triangles of waves that spread

on the sea towards the two islands where we swam

– the fish are not aware of it,

and so the man under the pine and his child

with the mask, another fisherman with the fishing line,

only you maybe on the petals you bite as the words

 

II.

after quite a while we are outdoors and eat figs

at dusk time on this meadow

sliced on the wooden bowl,

we take the bread and tear it many times

because paradise is close to the fire

and the village to our left rises white in pink

made with scales like the barracuda

Korčula has no intention to leave our sight

I shouted as my usual self

you lit the candle and made me notice

we are not alone, but you can stay calm

slowly also the hut

and its fire have become attractive

calming the natural tension

of a darkening sky, not preventing us

from tasting the happiness

of a grilled fish, of tomato and capers

you are attractive when you smile

with a glass of water on the lips

too quietly they get up,

wanting to be born in the response they seek outside

the people at the tables next to us, and from the cottage

where they grill they come to clear up

a woman and the cook, as in a ceremonial

we ask for the check with the hands

they will be intertwined when we emerge from the field

toward the parking lot where we’ll get in the car

and head out to the highest point

of a series of bends, before descending to the valley

the vault of stars surprises us

we stop everything, propped on pillows of a land

that is still hot, we’re sure

that the star will fall, and it comes true

 Christian_Sinicco-c-Daniele_Ferroni.jpeg

Christian Sinicco © Daniele Ferroni

#2 „The Lakes of Plitvice“ by Vanni Schiavoni (English translation by Graziella Sidoli)

Born in Manduria, Italy, but living in Bologna, Vanni Schiavoni published five poem collections: "Nocte" (1996), "The Suspended Balcony" (1998), "Of Humid and Days" (2004), "Salentitude" (2006), and  "Walnut Shell" (2012). He also published two novels "Like Elephants in Indonesia" (2001) and "Mavi" (2019) and edited the poetic anthology "Red - between eroticism and holiness" (2010). Most recently, he also published poetical plaquette „Croatian Notebook“ which features twelve poems dedicated to six Croatian sites: Plitvice Lakes, Kornati, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, and Dubrovnik. Schiavoni wrote the "Croatian Notebook" after a week-long journey in the summer of 2017. His birthplace Manduria is located in the region of Puglia which is 30 miles away from the Pelagosa (Palagruža), the most distant Croatian island, and his surname originates from the name of the Slavonia region in Eastern Croatia.

„For me, it was not just a holiday trip but a journey in and out of everything that I am, a travel diary through which to bring out the game of mirrors between me and that place, between what I am and where I come from and what I have encountered“, said Schiavoni. This journey impacted him with images of the signs of Italy engraved in stone, mournings of the war, communist history („most heretical Communist party in the east in front of the largest Communist Party in the west“, as Schiavoni puts it) and as he added, „the same Adriatic Sea which gives both of us fishes and earthquakes“.

His poem „The Lakes of Plitvice“ is a lovely description of the mixture, the game, and visual eye-candy of the waters in Croatia's oldest National Park, and it linked with a search for bravery and the encouraging point that good and beauty can defeat evil and change it to something better.  

THE LAKES OF PLITVICE

The first day they always plunge down into the same spot

the river rapids that come to the encountering

of the white river with the black river

and the more we think ourselves ready with our shrewd eyes

the fewer the adjectives made available to us before that wonder:

the green rush pushes our pupils towards a wild frenzy

it pushes them inside the tearful torrents by our feet

in the shrouded darkness of the sequential caves

and in the vertical caverns sculpted

as if by a hand capable of it all.

Yet Judas must have passed by this place

and though perhaps not the one with burning lips

a simple Judas must have become lost

in this mysterious grid of remorse.

These lakes fall into lakes as lashings on yielding branches

they flow into other waters and so they rain

endlessly

and perfectly untouched.

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Vanni Schiavoni © Dino Igmani

 

#1  „Dubrovnik Rock“ by William Vastarella

After Schiavoni and Sinicco, our first-ranked poet is the conclusive evidence there is something so incredible about Croatia it really inspires poetically-inclined neighbors across the Adriatic. Born in Napoli in 1974, William Vastarella is a teacher of Italian Literature, geography, and History. He's has a Ph.D. in semiotics from the University of Bari and writes for several literary and cultural magazines in Italy. He also edited several poetry anthologies as well as semiotic essays. Vastarella visited Croatia several years ago and had a cultural and relaxing holiday on the seaside. „I found her so full of the Mediterranean spirit that I wrote a poem in Italian. I tried to translate it in other words, trying to leave intact the sounds of that memory“, said Vastarella about his poem on Dubrovnik.

The poem „Dubrovnik Rock“ is fantastic in the way, Vastarella visually invokes the images from the history of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) Republic and the relationship it had with Italians at that age with the waves of the Adriatic Sea as the link between Italy and Dubrovnik but also between past and present.

 

Dubrovnik Rock

Other singers claim to feel

singular vibes in the waves

Nearby this shore,

and so do I.

Ragusa, Dubrovnik

A name is not enough

To trap a soul.

I ask myself

Who’s the other side

Of the other side

As the seawater shuffles.

I touch with my finger

and now I know it’s real

the steel and the wood of the boat

powerful works of man

that wipe out weapons

and I ask no more.

I realize

we have been both

pirates and emperors

centurions and barbarians

through the centuries

each one to the other

a flurry flow

of slavers and Slavs,

slayers and saviors.

Sometimes when the north wind blows,

melting the white in waves,

painting clouds of amazing blues

mirroring the water in the sky,

space seems to become so narrow,

so easy the neighborhood,

then all

the voices of the ancient age

of an ancient game

of thousands lost

in that spot of time,

that spot of sea,

mutate in a mute roar singing

in which merge the rage of riot

and the call for help of a lot

castled in the rock

waiting for a drop of rain to drink

or friend sails on the horizon.

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William Vastarella © Vito Signorile

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

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

People Also Ask Google: How to Get to Istria, Croatia in 2021?

February 17, 2021 – In Google's "People also ask" feature, the hard questions are the ones that start with "how." It is not always easy to find answers how to do something or how to get somewhere. However, in this article, we will try to explain how to get to Istria, the biggest and famous Croatian peninsula.

Located in the most western part of Croatia, Istria is a peninsula known for its rich cultural heritage, as well as it's delicious gastro offer that includes world's best wine, olive oil, and truffles. Last year, Istria was named world's best olive oil region for the sixth consecutive year, which is one more reason why Istria is an unavoidable place to visit when in Croatia.

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Sources: Istria.hr, Pexels, Romulić and Stojčić

We will let you explore the charms of Istria for yourself, but first, we will try to help you how to get to Istria.

How to get to Istria Croatia by car?

Istria is one of the best, if not the best traffic-connected Croatian coastal region. Thanks to its geographical position, it achieves a record number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays every year, and the cities of Poreč and Rovinj are at the very top of Croatian tourist destinations.

The largest number of tourists come to Istria by land, by personal vehicles, from the close countries of Germany, Austria, and Italy. If you're coming to Istria from those countries, or from that direction, you must pass through Slovenia.

There are four main border crossings with Croatia and Slovenia in Istria. The first ones are Plovanija and Dragonja/Kaštel, from the direction of Koper, marked in red on the photo below.

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Screenshot Google Maps

The road to Plovanija goes along the Slovenian shore, and the border crossing Dragonja/Kaštel is on the road E751. After the Croatian border, that road connects with the most famous and most important road in Istria – the so-called Istrian Y, a Y-shaped highway, which connects all parts of Istria.

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On the left: Center of Istrian Y in Kanfanar (Romulić and Stojčić) / On the right: the map of Istrian Y (Wikipedia)

That part of the Istrian Y, marked in red on the photo below, goes along the western shore, and it is a highway A9 from the Slovenian border to Pula. It connects Istrian cities of Umag, Novigrad, Poreč, Rovinj, and Pula. However, the highway itself is a little away from these cities, so you will have to turn to state roads to reach them.

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A9 highway, a part of Istrian Y, marked in red / Wikipedia

The second two important - and also the busiest - border crossings in Istria are Pasjak and Rupa, marked in blue on the first photo. Although they are located in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, they are a gate to Istria County.

As shown on the photo below, the highway E61 goes to Croatia via the Pasjak crossing border from the direction of Trieste in Italy. If coming from the direction of Ljubljana, you must cross the Rupa crossing border. Highway E61 (in Croatian: highway A7) from both Pasjak and Rupa end in Matulji (marked in red) near Rijeka, where it connects with the second part of Istrian Y – highway A8 that goes to Kanfanar, the center point of Istrian Y.

Istra_Pasjak_i_Rupa_prema_Matulji.jpg

Screenshot Google Maps

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A8 highway, a another part of Istrian Y, marked in blue / Wikipedia

Remember, once you reach Istrian Y, you can reach any part of Istria. Istrian Y is actually a system of two highways, A8 and A9 – learn more about the Istrian Y.

Other Slovenian-Croatian border crossings are Bregana near Zagreb and Macelj near Krapina, from where you can go to Istria via highways E59 and E65.

How to get to Istria by plane?

The only airport in Istria is the one in Pula, while the other close airports are in Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport in Trieste, Marco Polo Airport in Venice, and Treviso Airport in Italy, Jože Pučnik Airport in Ljubljana in Slovenia (also known as Brnik Airport or Fraport Slovenia), Zagreb Franjo Tuđman Airport and Rijeka Airport in Croatia.

Pula Airport welcomes both charter and scheduled flights. Before many flights were canceled due the pandemic, Pula Airport had a solid tourist traffic. One of the most popular airline in Pula was Ryanair, offering cheap flights to some of the biggest European cities. However, the traffic in Pula Airport dropped by 89.6 percent in 2020, compared to the record 2019.

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Pula Airport by Romulić and Stojčić

Airlines operating to Pula Airport in 2021 are Air Serbia, British Airways, Croatia Airlines, EasyJet, Eurowings, Finnair, Jet2.com, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Ryanair, S7 Airlines, TUI, Volotea, and Wizzair.

In 2021, it will be possible to come to Pula, Istria by flights from Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the UK.

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Screenshot Pula Airport

Follow TCN's dedicated page for the newest information about flights to Croatia.

How to get to Istria by bus?

If you come from neighboring countries, the bus may be a good option to get to Istria. Since northern and western Croatia is well-connected with northern Italy, you can get to Istria by bus from Trieste to Buje, Poreč, Rovinj, Pula, along with other places on the way. The bus from Trieste to the western part of Istria, as well as to Rijeka, operates throughout the year.

There are also bus lines from Venice to Pula by the Pula-based bus company FILS, operating the whole year. Another Pula-based bus company Brioni Pula provides bus services from Padova (with stops in Venice and Trieste) to Vodnjan, Rovinj, Buje, and Pula. All the bus lines from Italy to Croatia can be found here (in Croatian).

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Bus routes from Venice, Italy to Pula, Croatia / Buscroatia.com

Istrian bus companies Brioni Pula i FILS also provide bus lines from many Croatian cities, mostly from the capital of Zagreb. If you're coming from continental Croatia, Istria is the closest seaside region to visit. There are many bus lines, especially during summer. You can find them also on the Flixbus and Arriva bus companies' webpages.

How to get to Istria by ferry?

Since Croatia has a sea border with Italy, one way to get to Istria from Italy is ferry. There are two ferry providers from Italy to Istria – Adriatic Lines and Venezia Lines.

Adriatic Lines operates from Venice to Istrian cities of Pula, Rovinj, Poreč, and Umag. Catamaran lines from port San Basilio in Venice to Istrian cities last about two and half hours. One-way ticket price is 65 euros (or 500 kunas) for adults and 32.50 euros (250 kunas) for children. The schedule for 2021 is still unavailable.

Adriatic Lines' catamarans are quite famous, as they are recognizable in Istrian ports. "Prince of Venice," mostly seen in Poreč port, has an attractive and distinctive design, while "Adriatic Jet" is known for its speed and interesting appearance.

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Prince of Venice in Poreč port / Adriatic Lines

During summer, namely from April to October, Venezia Lines have catamaran lines from Venice to Piran, Poreč, Pula, Rovinj, and Umag. Ticket prices range from 59 to 69 euros per person (450 to 520 kunas per person). It takes about three hours and 15-30 minutes to get in one direction, depending on the route. However, the schedule for 2021 has not yet been published.

Ferries from Istria to Italy also allow the transport of pets and bikes.

To find more ferries from Italy to Croatia, check the Istrian Sun webpage.

How to get to Istria by train?

If you decide to come to Istria by train, you can arrive very quickly using the lines from Ljubljana or Zagreb.

The line from Ljubljana can take you to Buzet or Pula every day and it takes four hours. There are no more trains going from Italy to Croatia.

If traveling from the Croatian capital, there are no direct train lines to Istria. However, you can take the train to Rijeka, but then travel by bus from Rijeka to Lupoglav, from where you can continue your train journey through Istria, to Pazin and Pula. The whole journey take four hours. You can book the train tickets on the Croatian Railways webpage.

Six railway stations in Istria are in Pula, Kanfanar (mentioned above as the center of Istrian Y), Vodnjan, Pazin, Buzet, and Lupoglav. Pula and Pazin are the main railway stations in Istria, from where you can quicky come to western Istrian cities of Poreč, Rovinj, and Novigrad.

Fun fact about travelling by train in Istria?

Did you know that Istria is home to the only island on the Adriatic coast connected by train? Its name is Uljanik and is one of the six islands in the Pula bay.

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Pula and Uljanik island seen from above / Wikipedia

The name Uljanik, after which the nearby Pula shipyard was also named, comes from olive trees or, in Croatian, "ulike" that grew on it. Of all the olive trees, only one remained in the center of the island, surrounded by the Uljanik shipyard facilities, whose central plants are located on the island.

Interestingly, the industrial track for the shipyard Uljanik that goes from Pula railway station continues over the bridge, all over to the island of Uljanik. The bridge thus connects the island of Uljanik with the coast, making Uljanik the only Croatian island connected to the mainland by rail.

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Uljanik shipyard's main plants on the island of Uljanik / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Can Istria Become a Leading Sports Tourism Destination?

January 13, 2021 – Given the developed sports and accommodation infrastructure, as well as the organization and sports tradition, does Istria have the potential to become the leading sports tourism destination in the southern part of Europe?

With cities that regularly count the highest numbers of tourist overnight stays each year, Istria has been a top tourist destination for a long time. After a recent endeavor to brand Istria as an attractive region for top IT professionals, Istria is also promoted as a favorable sports tourism destination.

Favorable climate, vicinity to Europe

According to Glas Istre, due to its favorable position, mild climate, and developed sports infrastructure and tradition, Istrian cities on the west coast are often hosting many international clubs and national teams that come to the preparations and camps.

For example, the Croatia national handball team recently made preparations for the 2021 World Handball Championship in the Istrian city of Poreč. Their coach Lino Červar said two years ago that the national team in Poreč feels at home.

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Football fields in Medulin / Gat travel agency

Comparative advantages of Istria, such as the proximity of major European cities and favorable climate in the winter months, give it a unique opportunity to compete with other warmer destinations, such as the famous Antalya in Turkey, one of the most attractive sports tourism destinations. However, it is necessary to use those advantages, adequately adjust the infrastructure, and increase and improve the offer.

The corona crisis has certainly benefited Istria, which has logically imposed itself as the best option for sports clubs' semi-seasonal winter preparations. However, once the corona crisis becomes a thing of the past and the borders open, the question is whether Istria can compete with the best.

Well-known Istrian sports destinations - Medulin, Pula, Porec, Rovinj, and Umag

Football fields near the Belvedere Hotel in Medulin traditionally attract football clubs. All six football fields are 100 to a maximum of 500 meters apart. About 200 clubs from all over Europe pass through Medulin annually, and this year it was chosen by the football clubs Lokomotiva, Šibenik, Međimurje, Slaven Belupo, Gorica, and domestic Istria 1961.

Apart from Medulin, sports tourism also thrives in the four largest Istrian cities – Pula, Poreč, Rovinj, and Umag, which also generate the largest tourist traffic. The famous Poreč sports hall Žatika, one of six halls in the city, was built for the 2009 World Handball Championship in Croatia, and as a result of many years of investment in sports, a football camp will soon be built in Poreč.

Currently, football clubs Rijeka, Slovačko from the Czech Republic, Budafoki MTE from Hungary, and Sturm Graz from Austria are preparing in Umag. The City of Umag says that they have been continuously working on raising the quality of football fields for years, especially in the Stella Maris sports center.

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Tennis center Stella Maris in Umag / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

Umag is already recognized as a base for the winter preparations of many European first leaguers. The current situation with the coronavirus has only further increased the number of inquiries from foreign football clubs. By the end of February, numerous first-league and second-league clubs are expected to spend their winter preparations in Umag, culminating in a series of traditional Umag Trophy youth football tournaments, for which Juventus and Bayern Münich have already confirmed the arrival.

"We have recognized all the comparative advantages of Istria. Ten years ago, we decided to develop this type of tourism, together with the Umag Tourist Board and the hotel company Plava Laguna. We notice that the potential is much greater than what we can currently satisfy with the existing infrastructure, so the sports center and additional fields are also planned," they say from the City of Umag.

Marko Kuže: Rovinj is Dinamo's winter base

Dinamo and Osijek football clubs are currently preparing in Rovinj. It seems that the corona crisis, in this case, was not crucial given that the clubs of the first Croatian football league, as well as the Croatian national football team, chose Rovinj in previous years.

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Rovinj / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

When asked whether Rovinj can compete specifically with Turkey, the City reminds that Dinamo players declared themselves on this issue last year. They said that, given the quality of the terrain and accommodation, Rovinj is no weaker than Turkey, where they had the opportunity to make preparations before. Last year, the conditions offered by Rovinj were praised by the then Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica, who returned here this year to prepare with the Football club Osijek.

Marko Kuže, technical director of Dinamo, says that in Rovinj, the conditions for preparations are excellent, from accommodation to the training ground.

"On behalf of the club, staff, and players, I must express my satisfaction with the hospitality. We are always pleasantly welcomed here, and this is very important in choosing a location for such a serious work process as preparations. Considering that Rovinj is already Dinamo's winter base, we have a good experience this year. There was no need to look for a location for preparations outside of Croatia because we have everything here. We see that other teams have preparations in Istria, which is also very good for domestic tourism," says Kuže.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

PHOTOS: Epic Croatia Weather Photography Stuns The World

December 20, 2020 – The 13 winners of the incredibly popular World Meteorological Organization annual competition have just been announced, and two fine pieces of Croatia weather photography are among them. These spectacular images of Croatia weather photography show all 9 Croatian photographs which reached the final in 2020 and all 10 Croatian finalists who similarly stunned the global audience in 2019

Croatia weather photography: the two newly announced winners from the 2020 competition
LošinjSandroPuncet.jpgPhotographer: Sandro Puncet Photo taken: Losinj island

Zrinka Balabanic Beach Sv.Duh -Pag island.jpgPhotographer: Zrinka Balabanic Photo taken: Pag island

Thanks to its popularity as a tourist destination, lots of people are now used to seeing beautiful photos of Croatia. Although, the images they usually see are of idyllic beaches, cloudless skies, stunning nature and turquoise blue seas. But, as anyone who knows the country will tell you - and as these photos show - Croatia isn't always like that.

Croatia weather photography: the two newly announced runners-up from the 2020 competition
Šime Barešić Drage, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Šime Barešić Photo taken: Drage, Pakostane

Mislav Bilic (Croatia)Dubrovnik - Lapad Peninsula.jpgPhotographer: Mislav Bilic Photo taken: Lapad Peninsula, Dubrovnik

Out of season, Croatia can experience vastly different weather conditions to those advertised in travel brochures and blogs. And, whenever there's a spectacular weather occurrence, usually there's a photographer out there, braving the elements, trying to capture it.

Over recent years, some of the best Croatia weather photography has featured in the annual competition organised by the World Meteorological Organization. 2020 has been no different.

The other five Croatian finalists from the 2020 competition
Šime Barešić Drage, Croatia222.jpgPhotographer: Šime Barešić Photo taken: Drage, Pakostane

Sandro Puncet Isolated cloudisland Lošinj, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Sandro Puncet Photo taken: Losinj island

Zoran Stanko Geisler Alm, Dolomites, Italy.jpgPhotographer: Zoran Stanko Photo taken: Geisler Alm, Dolomites, Italy

Maja Kraljik Umag, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Maja Kraljik Photo taken: Umag, Istria

Igor PopovicRijeka, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Igor Popovic Photo taken: Rijeka

The winners of this year's competition have just been announced and the two fantastic examples of Croatia weather photography within the top 13 will take their place in the 2021 World Meteorological Organization calendar.

The 10 Croatian finalists from the 2019 competition
Danica Sičič Srobreč, Croatia2019-min.jpgPhotographer: Danica Sičič Photo taken: Srobreč, Dalmatia

Romeo IbriševićPlitvička Jezera2019.jpgPhotographer: Romeo Ibrišević Photo taken: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Božan Štambuk Bundek Zagreb, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Božan Štambuk Photo taken: Bundek park, Zagreb

Miroslava Novak (Pribislavec, Međimurje) 2019.jpgPhotographer: Miroslava Novak Photo taken: Pribislavec, Međimurje

As well as the two winners, two further examples of Croatia weather photography came in the runner-up category, of which there were 12 in total.

Francesca Delbianco  Zagreb, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Francesca Delbianco Photo taken: Zagreb

Ivica Brlić Sava river Davor, Croatia.jpgPhotographer: Ivica Brlić Photo taken: Sava river, Davor, near Slavonski Brod

Nataša ŠafarKarlovac, Rečica2019.jpgPhotographer: Nataša Šafar Photo taken: Rečica, near Karlovac

Romeo IbriševićPlitvička Jezera201922222.jpgPhotographer: Romeo Ibrišević Photo taken: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Over 1000 photographs from all over the world were entered in the 2020 competition. The submissions were narrowed down to a final selection of 70 contenders. As TCN reported back at the start of October, no less than 9 examples of Croatia weather photography made it into the final 70, taken by 7 Croatian photographers.

Danijel PalčićPagIsland2019.jpgPhotographer: Danijel Palčić Photo taken: Pag island

Aleksandar Gospic Ražanac, Croatia2019.jpgPhotographer: Aleksandar Gospic Photo taken: Ražanac

Croatia regularly punches well above its weight in the annual competition, as we can see from these 10 examples of incredible Croatia weather photography that were among the finalists in 2019.

All images courtesy World Meteorological Organisation

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