Thursday, 2 December 2021

Festive December Holidays Fun at 2021 Christmas in Ludbreg

December 02, 2021 – From winter walks and cycling to festive lights, farmers markets and the arrival of Saint Nicholas, there's a full calendar of activity and fun at Christmas in Ludbreg

Sitting just an hour's drive northeast of the Croatian capital, the town of Ludbreg is easily among one of the most appealing day trips you can take from Zagreb. And, no more true is that than in the December holiday season.

IMG_20211202_111110_1.jpgBatthyany castle, Ludbreg, December 2021 © Nikolina Breber

The fields and hills surrounding Ludbreg are today still home to traditional agriculture and winemaking. In the winter season, the families of these farms and vineyards bring the best produce to sell in town. Sparkling with Christmas lights and with seasonal music events adding to the atmosphere, Ludbreg is a great place to pick up a Christmas gift.

But, the nature surrounding the town is not only loved for its produce. Winter and Christmas in Ludbreg is a great time for active events and keeping fit. You can here challenge yourself on a cross country trek or bike race this season.

There are events at Christmas in Ludbreg for everyone. From the youngest family members and their teenage siblings to mom, dad and grandparents too. Here's a look at December's seasonal calendar for Christmas in Ludbreg.

St. Nicholas Day - 5 December - Ciklokros League Ludbreg

Ciklokros_Liga.jpg© Ciklokros

Following a successful tour in spring, the second round of 2021's Ciklokros League is here. This time, it's a series of seven Sunday races that journey through the stunning Autumn/Winter landscapes of northwest Croatia. And, on 5th December, it's the Ludbreg race.

Ciklokros_Liga2.jpg© Ciklokros

Cyclists will race successive laps of a 2000 metre course past the waters, lawns and trees of Ludbreg's Otok Mladosti. The fun trail is a mixture of dirt track, grass and course gravel path, unchallenging and perfect for any kind of bmx, mountain bike or cross country racer (more fragile, traditional road racing bikes perhaps wouldn't be so suitable and electric bikes are not permitted). Although keep an eye out – race organisers have placed some obstacles on the route for you to go around.

The event welcomes competitors all ages and abilities, with an initial race starting at 1pm and the second at 1.20pm. You can get more info here and apply to take part here, with the entry fee being just 50 kuna.

St. Nicholas Day - 6 December - Arrival of Saint Nicholas by Horse Drawn Carriage

E0A9695-min-scaled.jpg© Matea Maltarić

Many children have to wait until Christmas Eve for a visit from Santa Claus. But, not the youngsters of Ludbreg. In Croatia, the celebration of Saint Nicholas Day is still observed traditionally on December 5/6th. Often, it's a time of gift-giving. Always, it's a time loved by the young people of Ludbreg.

Of course, Santa usually arrives on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. But, there's simply no guarantee of the necessary snow so early in winter. So, in Ludbreg, Saint Nicholas arrives by horse-drawn carriage. Horses are a much-loved feature of sporting and social events in Ludbreg, with the town's summertime equestrian games now being a decade old.

E0A9729-min-scaled.jpg© Matea Maltarić

Because it's his day, Saint Nicholas gets the first ride with the horses. But, after he arrives to greet everyone, his carriage and horses will take youngsters for a ride around Ludbreg. Children and families can arrange horse riding or a tour in a horse-drawn carriage around Ludbreg throughout the year.

Ivana Galić concert at Batthyany castle - 17 December

Ludbreg_castle.jpgBatthyany castle, one of the venues for Christmas in Ludbreg © Siniša Sović

Despite her young years, singer Ivana Galić already has a performance career that stretches back some 20 years. She has appeared as part of choirs and ensembles and as a soloist at concerts across Europe. In her native Croatia, she is particularly well known for the vocals she lends to black music genres – jazz, soul and gospel. Indeed, she has performed in the UK as a guest of the renowned Birmingham Community Gospel Choir. It is to this gospel genre that Ivana Galić and her quartet return at this special Yuletide concert.

The venue for the concert is Batthyany castle. The focal point of Ludbreg Old Town, the castle today is a fully refurbished version of the opulent residence fashioned here in the 18th century (although, the original castle that stood on this spot is significantly older). What more spectacular setting could you ask for this special seasonal concert? The concert starts at 6pm.

Advent at Christmas in Ludbreg - 19 December

sqiuygfcdvgbhj1.jpgChristmas in Ludbreg 2021 © Nikolina Breber

Ludbreg is a wonderful town to visit at any time of year. But, during Advent, Ludbreg is particularly quaint and romantic. The town is dressed in flickering, seasonal lights and nowhere is the seasonal spirit better felt than on the parade of huts and stalls of the Christmas market.

80235931_604137397064960_8023206016545980416_n-scaled-1.jpgChristmas in Ludbreg © Visit Ludbreg

This year, scents and flavours of the Christmas season will waft through the Ludbreg air on Sunday 19 December. On the occasion, folks from the surrounding family farms will come to town to show off the best of their seasonal produce. Looking for some authentic, tasty or traditional gifts? This is the place to come.

The Christmas market will start at 13.00 and run until 20.00. In 2021, it takes place in the newly renovated Zanatski trg (Craft square) and on the promenade.

Crazy Hill Trekk 2021 - 19 December

ŠRD_BSV_Ludbreg2.jpg© ŠRD BSV Ludbreg

Some will wait until January before trying to shift the extra kilograms you gain eating rich Christmas food. Not in Ludbreg, where folks balance fine living with a healthy lifestyle. The cooler winter temperatures are perfect for a little exercise and exertion. That's exactly what you'll get at the second annual Crazy Hill Trekk.

ŠRD_BSV_Ludbreg3.jpg© ŠRD BSV Ludbreg

This orienteering trek race will take you through the magical hills and forests that lie on the outskirts of Ludbreg - Vinogradi Ludbreški and Kalničko gorje. As the name suggests, the terrain around Vinogradi Ludbreški is a pretty landscape filled with neat rows of grapevines. Just to the south of Ludbreg a more rugged topography begins to emerge. The peaks of the Kalnik mountains form a natural border between the historic Croatian regions of Zagorje, Prigorje and Podravina. To their west is Zagreb County, to the south and east is Koprivnica- Križevci County and to their north is Varaždin County and Ludbreg. This is an incredible setting for a wintertime expedition.

ŠRD_BSV_Ludbreg.jpg© ŠRD BSV Ludbreg

The trek welcomes entrants of all abilities and experience. For trekkers who are more prepared and more experienced, there's the 18-20km trail, with a slightly more demanding orientation aspect. For lighter runners and those simply looking for some fun recreation in a fantastic winter setting, there's a 8-10km trail. The former should take much less than the maximum 6 hours set as a time limit, with an equally generous 4 hours set for the latter.

You can find out more about the trek races and apply to enter via here.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Varaždin County Gets 3 Non-Emergency Medical Transport Vehicles Worth HRK1M

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - Varaždin County's department of emergency medicine on Tuesday was provided with three new vehicles for non-emergency patient transport, and this procurement was worth about a million kuna (€133,000).

During the vehicle takeover ceremony, County Prefect Anđelko Stričak said that emergency medicine, fire-fighters, the police, the army, the civil protection units and mountain rescue service were the essential elements of homeland security.

Stričak said that the county's department of emergency medicine had 41 vans in its fleet, and 32 of those vehicles were for non-emergency medical transport while nine were ambulances.

Annually, 65,000 patients use the services of this transport, and the vehicles in this department's fleet cover 1.3 million kilometres. The department registers about 10,500 emergency interventions and cover some 230,000 kilometres during the provision of urgent medical aid.

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

 

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Varaždin County Businesses See Higher Net Profit, More Employees in 2020 Than in 2019

ZAGREB, 9 Sept 2021 - The businesses registered in Varaždin County recorded the consolidated net profit of HRK 1.3 billion in 2020, up 22.3% from 2019, and had also 1.6% more employees last year than in 2019, according to an analysis of the Financial Agency (FINA).

Last year, the total revenues of the 4,276 businesses that had their main offices registered in that northern Croatian county stood at HRK 27.5 billion, down by 0.3% on the year, and their total expenditures were cut by one percent to HRK 26 billion.

In terms of revenues, the food company Vindija topped the ranking, HRK 3 billion.

WE-KR, a company specialized in manufacturing metal structures, saw the highest profit.

The net profit for the period of all the enterprises in the county came to HRK 1.5 billion, rising by 26.5% from 2019, the loss for the period jumped by 49.1% to HRK 290.2 million. As a result, the consolidated financial outcome of the profit was HRK 1.3 billion, or 23.3% more than in 2019.

Gross fixed capital formation increased by 5.5% in 2020.

The exports of the businesses registered in Varaždin County declined by 4.5% to HRK 9.2 billion, and imports shrank 11.5% to HRK 5.1 billion.

The biggest exporter, based in Varaždin County, was Boxmark Leather, whose exports totaled HRK 934.6 million, and it had the highest number of employees, 2,234.

Last year, the number of people on the payroll of all those 4,276 businesses increased by 701 or 1.6% to 43,889 on the year.

Last year's average monthly wage in county businesses was 12% lower than Croatia's average

The average monthly net wage paid to workers in Varaždin County-based businesses totaled HRK 5,257, or 2.3% more than in 2019. However, the comparison of the average net monthly wage paid by enterprises in the whole of Croatia, (HRK 5,971), and by this county's enterprises in 2020 shows that workers in this northern county received the monthly salary lower by 12% than the country's average.

(€1 = HRK 7.476883)

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 31- June 6, 2021

 June 6, 2021 - TCN's highlights of the week. A look at the events in Croatia from May 31 through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac. 

From significant political changes after the local elections to the losses and preparations in sport, the week was hyped by a strive for hope in Croatia. But, the tragic murder of Nino Čengić in Varaždin was a painful kick to the stomach. Here is another weekly selection of the news depicting the bittersweet life in Croatia. 

 Patrik_MacekPIXSELL_2.jpg

© Patrik Macek / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Tomislav Tomašević officially. becomes the new mayor of Zagreb

Zagreb local elections winner Tomislav Tomašević met with Jelena Pavičić Vukičević for an official ceremony of transferring power on Friday, which makes Tomašević officially the new mayor of Zagreb.

Media attention was also caught for the fact that Tomašević was four minutes late to the ceremony because he was waiting for the ambulance on Cibona because a woman fell ill in the middle of the street. But, for the bigger public interest, it's important to note today was the first time for Tomašević to have a detailed view on the financial situation of the City of Zagreb, giving him a clear picture of the debt problem Zagreb has. 

As TCN reported earlier, Tomašević told the press after the ceremony that the situation is not good, but there are solutions. Still, so far, no more details were given on the two-thousand-odd-page reports on the 2020 budget execution and preliminary figures. Additionally, the new city assembly would hold the founding meeting on 17 June.  

Slavko_MidzorPIXSELL.jpg

© Slavko Midzor / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Zlatko Dalić on Croatian National Football Team

The Croatian National Football Team is preparing for the friendly clash with Belgium. As reported by TCN, Zlatko Dalić faced the press on Friday ahead of the match. 

„I am satisfied with everything except the result. We had minor injury problems. We did the rest as expected, but the draw with Armenia left a bitter taste. In that game, we had to win 4-0 or 5-0, not draw 1-1. I am dissatisfied with this result. Plus, we created 5-6 percent chances, and we didn't do that in three games in a row at the beginning of the World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta. We were nonchalant and irresponsible and did not realize them. We were not specific, and that is a minus“, said Dalić to the press. 

Dalić also pointed out that the national team is aware of its obligation to the Croatian people. He spoke about the problems in the national team, the pros and cons of the draw against Armenia, and the expectations from players who are dissatisfied with their status. One of them is Andrej Kramarić, who, after 20 goals scored in the Bundesliga this season, is not safe among Dalić's starters. A few days ago, he advised the media to ask Davor Šuker what he would say after such a season. 

Expectionsare big ahead of the EURO championship, and no doubt fans will pay attention with close interest. 

Vjeran_Zganec_RoguljaPIXSELL.jpg

© Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Anđelko Stričak, new prefect

The power transfer ceremony on Friday also took place in Varaždin where Anđelko Stričak defeated current Varaždin prefect Radimir Čačić. 

„The victory is well deserved. In the past nine years as the president of Varaždin county organization of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and in six years as a member of the parliament, I've been to every corner of Varaždin county and talked to everybody. I heard the needs of our citizens, and I tried to solve them by cooperating with coalition partners on every level. Of course, I'm not the best, most capable or most perfect, but I will try with my team to give my best that everybody in the county feel changes for the better“, said the new Varaždin County prefect Stričak, as reported by Varaždin county's official website

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© Sanjin Strukic / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Croatia Loses to Spain in the Under-21 European Championship

Spain was better than Croatia after extra time in the Under-21 European Championship quarter-final in Maribor on Monday. The match ended 2:1. As reported by TCN, Croatia was solid in the first half and threatened the Spain goal on a few occasions. Despite Spain's high pressure, Ivanušec had a chance from 20 meters in the 7th minute, and in the 23rd, Bradarić's shot was blocked by the Spain defense. Spain retaliated with a Diaz shot from 20 meters, but Croatia's defense made it difficult for them to do much more. 

The young Croatia national team fought against Spain for a spot in the semifinals. 

Igor Bišćan's side met Spain at Ljudski Vrt stadium in Maribor. 

"The guys are aware that we have a great chance, they are motivated to do something, and we are all around them to give them that chance and be supportive. They have quality," Bišćan announced before the match.  

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© Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/ PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Nino Čengić funeral in Varaždin

The Funeral of the English professor Nino Čengić who passed away last Sunday, was held on Wednesday. Nino Gengić, a substitute English professor in one Varaždin school, was brutally beaten with bats and chains in front of the local club in Varaždin called Kulturana. He was 35 years old.

As Jutarnji List reports, four suspects aged 24-29 are currently in custody while the investigation is ongoing as to what lead to this attack. Suspect's apartments were searched, and one suspect illegally possessed a considerable amount of ammo and fire weapons to match. All suspects were previously known to the police for troubling behavior, and the most tragic was the fact that 15 people witnessed the beating, but nobody stopped it.

To learn more about Croatia, have a look at our TC website.

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Discover Active Ludbreg: Canoeing, Kayaking, Cycling, Hiking, Walking

May 12, 2021 – From canoeing and kayaking on the Bednja to cycling and hiking through the forests and foothills of the Kalnik Mountains, Active Ludbreg is the best way to see the countryside in this particular part of Varaždin County.

The pretty town of Ludbreg is used to hosting visitors. Site of the only Vatican-recognised miracle in the Balkans, in regular years Ludbreg usually welcomes more than a million followers of faith. However, many come just for the day.

Pilgrimage is certainly one good way to see a specific side to Ludbreg. But, there are several different facets to this charming little town. And, there are good reasons to stay for a couple of days or so. Not least, Ludbreg's active options - canoeing, kayaking, cycling, hiking, walking.

RE09f7f61c87fd55e0794b26bfd64c367a_XL.jpgLudbreg's Youth Island (Otok Mladosti) - the perfect place for walking and recreation - is fully accessible to all, including wheelchair users © Ludbreg Town

Active Ludbreg is a great way you can better experience what the town has to offer. You'll see so much more of the countryside that surrounds. When you take on Active Ludbreg, each day can be different. Active Ludbreg options are the perfect reason for you to stick around for more than just a day.

Active Ludbreg: Cycling


RE167022019_3800997676663245_5154362747282020553_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

A diverse scenery of forests, fields, hills, flat plains and river valleys will fill your eyes as you cycle around Ludbreg. Furthermore, there are several Active Ludbreg cycle routes to suit your mood, group or ability. With the family, you can leisurely tour all the sights of the town on the traffic-free City Route. Heading out of town and into the countryside, the Trekking Route gives a fuller picture of Ludbreg greenery. It won't make much of a demand on you.

RE166715448_3800992799997066_7370923313728976288_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

Stepping up a gear, the Gravel Route is aimed at recreational riders who like to keep fit and get off-road. Perfect for mountain bikes, the rises on the route will open up some great scenery as well as challenging your legs. Lastly, the Road Route offers a physical challenge for serious cycling enthusiasts. Good for speed cyclists and racers, the higher gradients here demand at times you fully exert yourself on the asphalt.

RE166904625_3800992213330458_9221334015058037297_n.jpgCyclists taking on the routes of Ludbreg during 2021 Welcome Spring event @ Terca Art / Grad Ludbreg / TZ Ludbreg.

Additionally, Ludbreg is located on several recognised international cycling routes. the cross-border Happy Bike route will take you across the Hungarian border, as does the Mura-Drava route. Ludbreg is also very close to the Croatian section of the EuroVelo 13 route. This epic 9,950 km cycling tour retraces the old 'Iron Curtain', from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. Why not stop off in Ludbreg if you're taking on part of this challenge?

If you want to learn more about the cycling routes of Active Ludbreg, then look here.

Active Ludbreg: Hiking and Walking


REludbreg-kalnik-2.jpgWinter 2021 trip into the nearby Kalnik mountains by Mountaineering Association Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Forming a partial natural border between Varaždin County and Koprivnica-Križevci County, the northern edge of the Kalnik Mountains gently stretches down to Ludbreg in the form of wood and forest-covered hills. This beautiful and fresh landscape is perfect for walkers, hikers and runners.

RE20150510_132509.jpgThe good people of Mountaineering Association Ludbreg in the forest-covered foothills of the Kalnik Mountains near Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Active Ludbreg's Crazy Hill Green Trail is an untaxing 10-kilometre route through the fresh and peaceful wooded hills south of the town. You can take this on as a run or simply just a pleasant two-hour walk. At 16 kilometres in length, the Crazy Hill Blue Trail passes through a similar topography. Again, it is not demanding and so can also be walked. The payoff of taking on the trail's final rise is a beautiful view of the woods stretching all the way into the Kalnik mountains. Want to make a day of it or give yourself a serious challenge? Ludbreg's Crazy Hill Red Trail throws down the gauntlet in the form of a 34-kilometre route for the physically fit.

RE20200315_134701.jpgWinter 2021 trip into the nearby Kalnik mountains by Mountaineering Association Ludbreg @ Planinarsko društvo Ludbreg.

Of course, not all of the footfall through Ludbreg needs to be physically exerting. You can take most routes at whatever pace you like, including the 23-kilometre Kalnik Hiking Trail. And, for a more recreational time in the fresh air, a trip around Ludbreg's Youth Island (Otok Mladosti) is immediately accessible, including wheelchair users.

If you want to learn more about the hiking and walking routes of Active Ludbreg, then look here.

Active Ludbreg: Kayaking and canoeing


REIMG_20200924_131447-01.jpegCanoe and kayak on the Bednja in Ludbreg @ Nikolina Breber

The latest offer of Active Ludbreg is kayaking and canoeing on the Bednja river. Starting its journey way to the west, near the Slovenian border, in truth, the Bednja has already run 100 kilometres by the time it reaches Ludbreg. In spring and autumn particularly (but, sometimes also in summer), the water level is high enough for you to take a canoe or kayak down the river's final run towards the Drava river. Here, you get to see wild nature up close. On the river banks, low bushes overhang the water's edge. Behind them, an avenue of shading trees along the river's length.

REIMG_20200924_120804-01.jpegCanoe and kayak on the Bednja in Ludbreg @ Nikolina Breber

Friday, 12 February 2021

Varazdin Cabbage Queen on Most Innovative Woman in EU Agriculture Shortlist

February 12, 2021 – Marija Cafuk, who successfully lead the campaign to have Varazdin cabbage protected by the EU, has been shortlisted for the award of Most Innovative Woman in European Agriculture. She used the opportunity to voice her concerns for Croatia's small producers under proposed new changes in the laws on seeds

Inexpensive and packed with nutrients and vitamins C + K, the humble cabbage is a staple part of the Croatian diet. One of its most famous varieties is Varazdin cabbage (Varaždinsko zelje), which is protected at a European level as distinct in coming from its point of origin.

Varazdin cabbage's successful entry into European protection is in no way thanks to the efforts of Varazdin resident Marija Cafuk, who is the custodian of Varazdin cabbage seeds and the only person in Croatia who is licensed to sell them. For her efforts, she has now been shortlisted by the European Association of Agricultural Producers Copa Cogeca for the award of Most Innovative Woman in European agriculture.

According to Copa Cogeca, the award aims to highlight the contribution that women make to rural development and the development of new models of food production in the context of climate change and environmental protection.

“Of course, I was pleasantly surprised by the nomination, which I think is a recognition of the long struggle to preserve our Varazdin cabbage seeds in conditions when we lost the last companies that were engaged in seed production and (had to) depend on imports,” Mrs. Cafuk told journalist Zlatko Simic in a recent interview with Jutarnji List. “You know how many conditions we had to meet in order for our seeds to be on the variety list! Let the EU see that there are people in our country who want to preserve their indigenous varieties for future generations.”

The latter part of her comment to the journalist refers to the proposed changes in seed registration laws that are looming on the horizon at both a national and an EU level. Small producers and family farms in Croatia are concerned about the loss of traditional seed varieties and their abilities to grow from them under the conditions of the changes in legislation.

f7abac252ae5ed68121b92ba7a669d87_XLcabbbbb.jpgVarazdin cabbage (Varaždinsko zelje) and its seeds © Varazdin County Tourist Board

“The problem is not only in paying the large costs we have in controlling the sowing of our certified seeds,” Mrs. Cafuk told the journalist, expanding on the matter of the changing seed laws, “but also in increasing the costs we may have if we had to deliver all the seeds we produce for processing, as (will be) required by law.”

Mrs. Cafuk told the journalist she hopes that the ongoing and popular protests and petitions of associations that keep domestic seeds will lead to a positive outcome in regards to the proposed national changes. Of course, she was speaking on behalf of seed custodians and small producers all over Croatia. Having attained its European protection already, Varazdin cabbage and Mrs Cafuk's enterprises are already safe.

Varazdin cabbage is one of two kinds of Croatian cabbage protected by the EU

There are in fact two types of Croatian cabbage protected at the European level – Varazdin cabbage and cabbage from Ogulin. But, whereas Varazdin cabbage is protected in its raw, unprocessed form, the cabbage from Ogulin is protected as a product after its fermentation (it is made into what is sometimes called sauerkraut).

In 2015, when the application was made to European authorities to protect Varazdin cabbage, a notice of opposition was lodged from nearby Slovenia. Slovenia had added new cabbage varieties to its national variety register in 2012 under the names ‘Varazdinsko 2’ and ‘Varazdinsko 3'. Varazdin is a centuries-old town in northern Croatia.

The notice of opposition was discounted. The EU office responsible for protecting new varieties did not consider Varazdinsko 2 and Varazdinsko 3 to be appropriate names, as they suggested a link to a geographical area with which they had no direct connection and to that extent were confusing to consumers. With this impasse of international cabbage recognition finally overcome, Varazdin cabbage was granted its European protection.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

PHOTOS: Outstanding Contemporary Croatian Architecture of the Year

February 10, 2021 – 10 of the most outstanding examples of contemporary Croatian architecture have been selected by the Association of Croatian Architects to compete in the extremely prestigious Mies van der Rohe Awards. Held only once every two years, they are the European equivalent of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture.

The Mies van der Rohe Awards are a really big deal. The greatest works of European architecture compete for recognition in the competition. The greatest success of Croatian architecture in the awards was attained by UP studios' Toma Plejić and Lea Pelivan, who received a special award for upcoming architects and had their high school in Koprivnica named the best building in that category in 2009. The success has had a considerable impact on their careers since.

Being held only once every two years, Croatian architecture projects completed since the closure of entries for the 2019 awards are eligible to be submitted. Here are the outstanding examples of contemporary Croatian architecture that will represent the country in 2022.

Cinema Urania Zagreb
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An old neighbourhood cinema built into the back streets near Kvatric. In their redesign, 3LHD preserved the best features from this early example of concrete engineering in Croatian architecture. They added a glass pavilion at the entrance, atriums and skylights, flooding the former darkness with the natural light needed for its new purpose as an event and work space.

3LHD_264_Urania_photo_by_Jure_Zivkovic_622355555555.jpg© Jure Živković

Grand Park Hotel, Rovinj
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Sprawling widely across six stepped levels, the new luxury Grand Park Hotel and spa could easily have looked a long swipe of concrete. But, by places greenery on each of its staged roofs, architects 3LHD have ensured that no matter where you are in the 500-guest-capacity building, your view places you within a garden, looking out onto Rovinj Old Town and the expanse of the Adriatic. Croatian architecture at its most breathtaking.

Grand_Park_Hotel_Rovinj43333.jpg© Alukoenigstahl hr
Ivanja Reka Elementary School, south Sesvete, east Zagreb
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If every elementary school looked as pretty and was as well equipped as Ivanja Reka Elementary School in the south of Sesvete, eastern Zagreb, you could well believe daily attendance would never drop below 100%. Designed by a team of architectural authors (SUBMAP studios Marija Burmas and Ivo-Lola Petrić, and Jakša Kalajžić from JKA Arhitekti), the multi-level main building sits centrally, surrounded by sports, recreation and other facilities creating an impressive view for both those outside and within.

a3a8dd73fd11ef837e65386313eb8c6529c4b842blaz.jpeg© Ivanja Reka Elementary School / Domagoj Blažević

Roxanich Wine & Heritage Hotel, Motovun, Istria
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The view is unmistakably Istria. Vineyards carpet the land below and - rising above - the picturesque hilltop town of Motovun. Helmed architecturally by consistently bold Rijeka designer Idis Turato, this multi-level, multi-purpose redesign retains the traditional feel of its existing stone building and its purpose – there's a huge wine cellar beneath – but has opened up the space to give stunning views, not least over a sun deck that spectacularly reflects the sunrise and sunset. This is an active winery, with works and equipment all housed within its lower floors, not that you could tell from the 25 person capacity boutique hotel, restaurant and wine shop upstairs.

317b6f_Wine-and-Heritage-Hotel-Roxanich---Motovun5.jpg© Roxanich.hr

Four Houses for Four Brothers, Diklo, Zadar
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Judging from a theme of project titles used by architects Iva Letilović and Igor Pedišić, we're not sure that Four Houses for Four Brothers was actually commissioned by four brothers or that four live there. But, you could well believe they could. The ultra-modern set of independent houses, located next to a beautiful stretch of coast in a north Zadar neighbourhood, was specifically designed to address a distinctly Croatian reality – how to open up some of your dwelling to seasonal guests while you remain at home. The design separates the buildings clearly into separate quarters which allow privacy, comfort and minimal encroachment for both visitors and residents.

bazencetiri.jpg© Igor Pedišić

Galić Winery, Kutjevo
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Award-winning outfit Zagreb-based studio Dva arhitekta have an existing, jaw-dropping design for a rural winery commissioned by famous makers Galic. However, that project, as yet, remains unrealised. But, their winery for Galic in the centre of Kutjevo town is complete. Melding the traditional and the contemporary, the upper section of the building is a bold and unblemished red brick, adorned with the winemaker's unmistakable logo. Beneath, concrete arches invite your eyes into the actual wine cellar – neat rows of barrels, protected behind glass walls that are set back from the facade. Brilliant!

8dammy.jpg© Damir Fabijanić

Seecel Centre, Zagreb
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Designed as a regional centre for the development of entrepreneurs and its construction costs generously part-funded by European money, the Seecel Centre arrived long overdue and does not house its intended inhabitants. Such matters are best left for different articles as, here, we're concerned with the undeniable finery of this building's architecture and appearance. Holding space for accommodation, offices, communal collaboration, education and presentations, the five-floored building uses ultra-modern building materials and construction methods to make it low-energy, its great blocks of covered concrete, with glass windows set further back, echoing old fortifications. It was designed by Igor Franić who, in Croatia, is perhaps best known for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb and completed by him and his team at SZA / Studio za arhitekturu d.o.o.

endGV7_1096-mindarklav.jpg© Site Project d.o.o.

Trg Poljana, Šibenik
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Not a small amount was asked of project architects Atelier Minerva from Dubrovnik in the task to create Trg Poljana in Šibenik. The site had long been earmarked for a much-needed, official town square – a place for events and public gatherings. But, the town was also woefully short on parking. By burying a multi-level car park beneath the open space, the architects successfully met both demands. Triangular shapes sit at an angle above shaded seating, echoing the inclines on the roof of the Juraj Šižgorić City Library opposite. Clever.

Poljana-Sibenik-Eccos-inzenjering-1-compressed-scaled.jpg© Ervin Husedžinović / Eccos-inzenjering

Homestead on Hartovski vrh, Žumberak, Zagreb County
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A collection of multi-purpose rural buildings, Homestead and Meditation Centre on Hartovski vrh was commissioned and designed for use by the Buddhist Center Zagreb. Their aim was to relocate activities such as chan, yoga, meditation, healthy living and teaching to a peaceful retreat outside of the city. Architects Branimir Rajčić and Mariela Žinić began the project in 2015, with the completed site arriving in 2019. Modern building materials are used, but not so the striking collection seems out of place within a partially agricultural setting. The set of buildings includes a residential dwelling and a larger hall for meetings and activities, both of which use large windows to allow the light and nature to flood in.

6_3BERCFUINAL.jpg© Robert Leš

Square of Traditional Crafts, Varaždin
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A tricky task was given to architects Studio Konntra – how to enliven and modernise a traditional old square in the centre of one of Europe's best-preserved Baroque Old Towns. They did this by constructing transportable kiosks to house small outlets for local artists and craftsmen that cater to visiting tourists who come to the square. When occupied during the day, the plain wooden interiors allows the crafts to take centre stage. But, after closing time, the outsides of the wooden doors are brightly coloured and adorned with paintings, a welcoming environment for residents to use at night.

sqaureee23455.jpeg© Studio Konntra

Friday, 5 February 2021

Medimurje Microlight Tragedy, Two Bodies Pulled From Lake

February 5, 2021 – A recreational flight in northern Croatia yesterday ended in tragedy when a Medimurje microlight crashed into a lake on the border between Varazdin County and Medimurje County

A recreational flight in the skies above northern Croatia yesterday ended with the tragic death of two people. A Medimurje microlight crashed into a lake near the border between Varazdin County and Medimurje County. Two persons were aboard the Medimurje microlight and both were sadly killed. Their bodies were retrieved from the lake by divers from the Čakovec Public Fire Brigade near the village of Novo Selo na Dravi.

The Medimurje microlight crashed into the accumulation lake of the Čakovec Hydroelectric Power Plant at around 3:22 p.m yesterday afternoon. Međimurje Police Department regrettably confirmed that the deceased were a 35-year-old and a 42-year-old. One was from Novo Selo na Dravi and the other from the Čakovec area.

Both the pilot and co-pilot of the Medimurje microlight were members of the Rode Kite Club from Prelog, which lies just a few kilometres to the east of where the Medimurje microlight crashed, on the other side of the Čakovec Hydroelectric Power Plant. Such is the popularity of the longstanding flight club, the tragic death of two of its members will have a significant impact on the large community that is welcomed at its facilities.

HE_Cakovec_1.jpgČakovec Hydroelectric Power Plant © HEP

Leon Krištović, Deputy Commander of the JVP Čakovec fireman's department, said that they received a report from the 112 emergency call centre and upon their arrival at the scene, were met by local fishermen who had witnessed the tragedy. The fishermen had recounted seeing the Medimurje microlight experiencing trouble before it crashed into the lake and were able to state they had seen two people on board. They directed the firemen to the position of the crash in the water, where the sad discovery of the deceased men was made. The Medimurje microlight was also retrieved from the water.

The accident was reported to the Air, Maritime and Railway Accident Investigation Agency (AIN) and the state attorney's office. An investigation will be conducted at the scene of the Medimurje microlight accident on the morning of Friday 5th February 2021 in order to determine the circumstances of this event.

Screenshot_143.pngPhoto © Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / Index screenshot

All emergency services attended the crash site in order to join the initial response. From pictures of the search operation's aftermath, published in Index, the Medimurje microlight which crashed looks to have been an ultralight trike. It is a type of powered hang glider that has a fabric flex-wing, powered by a propeller at the rear (behind its occupants) and controlled directionally by weight-shift, as with traditional non-motorised hang gliders. Popular since the 1980s, these microlights have a very good reputation for allowing safe, accessible and inexpensive flying.

RodeFlightClub.jpgThe airfield and facilities of Rode Kite Club, Prelog © Jakov Balent / Zmajarski klub Rode

The Rode Kite Club (Zmajarski klub Rode) from Prelog has a similarly well-established record for safety. They have their own airfield, which is pristinely maintained, and which welcomes a broad section of Cakovec County and Varazdin County community members to its activities and events, including many families and young people. As well as motorised hang gliding and microlights, over recent years the club has accommodated drone enthusiasts and hosted some light aircraft. It also welcomes enthusiasts of motorised model cars, planes and boats. It sits next to the waters that form a natural barrier between Cakovec County and Varazdin County.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Ludbreg Winemakers' Wines Thrive Due to God-Given Microclimate

January 23, 2021 – The feast of St Vincent's Day, Vincekovo, could not be celebrated this year due to the epidemiological situation, but Ludbreg winemakers continue to focus on their wine production. Thanks to the very favorable climate, the Ludbreg area is suitable for planting vineyards, and local winemakers hope to soon get their well-deserved place on the Croatia's wine list.

Vincekovo, which was celebrated yesterday, January 22, in the Ludbreg area, used to be celebrated in Globočec when the plantations were blessed. The main event was a traditional and unique exhibition of young wines from the Ludbreg and surrounding vineyards, which was canceled this year due to strict epidemiological measures and a challenging situation.

It is an additional blow for all caterers who suffered the most in the corona crisis and wine producers. Local winemakers and winegrowers will wait for some better times to meet and rejoice with friends.

Sanja and Tomislav Stručić, top winemakers from Ludbreg, who met with TCN in Ludbreg last year, told their business story for the Epodravina.hr portal.

Family vineyard three kilometers from the center of the world

"We were pleased by the announcement that we could reopen our doors in February, but if we won't open until Easter, as announced, the season is questionable. We are very affected," says winemaker Sanja Stručić.

However, despite the pandemic, wine lovers are not resting. Caring for the vineyards is a year-round work, essential for producing good wine. The season begins now when the first pruning is done and lasts until the harvest.

"Last year, we estimated that, given the situation with the coronavirus, we would have stocks of wine. Therefore, we reduced the grape yield during pruning in the spring. We left grapes for sparkling wine and wines to age. We want to produce quality, not quantity, that is, high-quality wines," says the Stručić family.

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Sanja and Tomislav Stručić with Paul Bradbury in 2020, Total Croatia News

Their beautiful wine-growing hills, clean air, excellent wine, and hospitality evoke the love of land and viticulture that began in 1984 with a family vineyard just three kilometers from the center of the world. Sanja's father, Dragutin Crnković, once planted the first vineyard there, passed on his love of viticulture to his daughter, and introduced her to the wine business.

Emphasis is on the premium line of nature wines

Sanja's husband, Tomislav, also fell in love with winemaking and viticulture. In 2000 they founded the Winery, and in 2017 they produced the first sparkling wine in the region. They are the new wine style leaders in Varaždin County, and today they create top and quality wines.

Stručić Winery has become one of the most famous and successful and began more severe production in 2002. The emphasis is on the premium line of wines represented by nature wines. The premium line consists of carefully selected bunches hand-picked from selected vines. Sanja showed her love, passion, and care for each of these grapes before they become wine.

"Only ripe grapes are picked from the petiole by hand, clean and healthy. Fermentation on own yeasts and grapes, without the addition of selected yeasts, produces natural wines. This top line comes in different bottles and has different labels. We have been making it in small batches, approximately 750 bottles, for four years now, every year with a new vintage," says Sanja.

Back in 2016, Stručić family even produced a special edition of Sara Kolak Chardonnay to celebrate the local Olympic javelin gold-medal winner.

Journalists who encourage stories about gastronomy, tourism, and hedonism are also responsible for the turn in wine production. The Stručić family decided to take advantage of the microclimate and their plantations' position, which enable them to produce excellent raw materials for the production of different wine styles.

"We researched and realized that our region is a microclimatic God-given. While visiting various wine fairs and festivals, we realized we want to make different wines. The exhibitions were an incentive for us to expand our knowledge to be as good as possible. We also visited wineries in Italy to get a better insight into their viticulture and winemaking that is at a high level, and to apply experiences and some wine secrets in our vineyard and cellar," says Sanja on how they started producing sparkling wine and natural wine.

Produced the first sparkling wine in the region

The family vineyard initially had 3,500 vines and was later expanded with new plantations. Today, they cultivate three and a half hectares of land with 14,000 vines. It consists of plots named after the youngest members: Lucija, Luka, and Petra, and the newest plantation was named after their niece Katarina. The plots are registered by varieties and years of planting. The rulers of their vineyard are Graševina, Chardonnay, Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon, Portuguese and Yellow Muscat.

"We produce Graševina, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Rhine Riesling, and mixed wines. Poštenjak is a blend – a mixture of Graševina, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. We make fruit wines and liqueurs, and sparkling wine. We produce about 25,000 bottles a year," says Tomislav.

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The opening of the Ludbreg Wine Road about ten years ago encouraged a stronger development of their winery. Thus, in 2017, Vinarija Stručić produced the first sparkling wine from the Ludbreg vineyards, which has the label "blanc de blancs" (namely "white from white"), which means that only white grapes were used in its production, that is, Chardonnay.

"After top quality wines, every winemaker wants to produce sparkling wine. It is the crown of your work, as if, for example, you have won the World Cup. The production of sparkling wine was our desire for a step higher. And now, three years ago, we are doing batch after batch," Sanja points out.

The Croatian Wine Institute, which evaluates and issues a quality certificate, rated their sparkling wine as top quality. And there is only five percent of top wines in Croatia, so they expanded their production in 2018 with rose sparkling wine from the Portuguese. It is a unique rarity in Croatia, produced by only one other winemaker on Plješivica.

Microclimatic conditions with a continental climate favor the quality ripening of grapes, so the Podravina and Zagorje regions are God-given for sparkling wine production. The Ludbreg vineyards' climate is ideal for producing light wines with little alcohol, sparkling wine, and wines of late harvests.

Decanter quality certification

Stručić Winery sells its products throughout Croatia. In Ludbreg, visitors can taste their wines in the Bonaparte coffee bar, which they own, as well as the Amalia catering facilities, Pivnica Mejaši, and Hotel Crnković.

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"Rhine Riesling is mostly associated with the name of our winery. It is our flagship and our most sought after wine on the market. Then follow Graševina, Chardonnay, Portuguese, Sauvignon… Premium wine lines, sparkling wines, aged, and nature wines are distributed to the Adriatic coast," says Tomislav.

The secret behind the Sučić Winerys's success, Sanja points out, is harmony, great love, patience, a lot of sacrifices, and constant investments. Proof of quality arrived last August when the Stručić Winery won a bronze medal for Chardonnay and recommendations for Rhine Riesling and Graševina at the most influential wine evaluation – the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 in London.

"It is a confirmation that we make quality wine. With these recognitions, we have increased visibility," says Tomislav with satisfaction.

Ludbreg vineyards on the wine list of Croatia

For wines to achieve top results, a lot of education, work, and knowledge is needed, so the Stručić family cooperates with the leading Croatian sommelier and Decanter judge Siniša Lasan. With Varaždin County's cooperation, Siniša visited several wineries and tasted wines, discussed problems, and gave his view of the current situation in winemaking in the county.

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Continental tourism is in the beginning. Tourism Ministry began to give it importance and encourage it only a few years ago.

"The Ludbreg and Varaždin vineyards are neglected. They are not marked on Croatia's wine list, and our winemakers are very hardworking but self-effacing. A dozen of us from all over the county will have to sit down, compare wines, listen to the profession to style them if necessary so that we stand out together with quality. I believe that we will soon mark our vineyards on the wine list, which would raise the price, and we could sell our wines more easily on the doorstep," Sanja is optimistic.

"Viticulture is a demanding activity that requires a lot of attention because wine is alive and should be continuously monitored. Without love for the vineyard and wine, there is no progress, "the Stručić couple agrees.

However, the biggest reward in their work is that the interest in winemaking is shown by their 17-year-old son Luka. He wants to enroll at the Faculty of Agriculture and become a wine expert, oenologist. Thus, when the time comes, to the family's satisfaction, the winery will be taken over by the third generation, which will cultivate, enrich, and further create new top-notch wines.

To read more about Ludbreg, follow our dedicated page.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Varazdin Old Town Nominated For Croatia's Second European Heritage Label

January 11, 2021 – Comparable to UNESCO's World Heritage List, the European Heritage Label is given to sites that have played a significant in the history, culture and values of Europe. If successful, Varazdin Old Town will be only the second site in Croatia to receive the classification

They say that Northern Croatia has more castles, fortresses and stately homes than any other region in the country. And they are probably right. Not that the names and locations of all are widely known either in the country, and certainly not outside. Truth be told, some of the structures included on Northern Croatia's list of important buildings have lain derelict for centuries. In others, the decline has been more recent. The best way to preserve such buildings seems to come from reimagining them for contemporary use, rather than simply preserving them in aspic or amber.

That is something that Varazdin Old Town does extremely well. All of Northern Croatia's famous castles do this well - Čakovec castle, Trakošćan, Veliki Tabor and Gornja Stubica. It's the reason they are famous. By opening up their doors as museums and event spaces, they attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and they get to tell their stories. And the story of Varazdin Old Town makes it perfect for the European Heritage Label.

varazdin-ivo-biocina-1-1-1.jpg© Ivo Biočina / Croatia National Tourist Board

Varazdin Old Town is today inhabited by the Varaždin City Museum. They give guided tours around the fortress that was once the full extent of Varazdin Old Town. This city museum is the best way to learn about Varazdin's extraordinary buildings, culture and history. The museum has undertaken this role, and that of preserving items from Varazdin's past, since 1925. It has four permanent exhibitions and six major departments – Archaeology, History, Cultural History, Ethnographical, Entomology and the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters, some of which are inside the Old Town fortress itself.

prassinsky-sermage-1.jpgThe Gallery of Old and New Masters of Varaždin City Museum © City of Varazdin Tourist Board

The Old Town fortress itself is medieval in origin, its construction having begun in the 14th century. Its Gothic towers were added a century later and the collection of buildings was remodelled and added to right up to the 19th century, in response to its inhabitants and its purpose.

AnyConv.com__Stari_grad_Varaždin.jpg© Ex13

For defence against the Ottomans in the 16th century, it was reconstructed as a Renaissance fortress – high earthen walls with bastions were added, and a double moat. During the past, many noble families have lived here - the Counts of Celje, John Ungnada, George of Brandenburg and Croatian Ban Thomas Erdödyja and his successors. Indeed, Varazdin was once the capital city of Croatia, ruled from these very buildings. In its changing use, architecture and occupancy lies the story of not only the development of Croatia but that too of Europe and it is this that makes Varazdin Old Town eligible for the European Heritage Label.

The European Heritage Label is awarded to sites that bring to life the European narrative and the history behind it. The European Heritage label is currently awarded only every two years. So far, the only site in Croatia to receive the European Cultural Heritage Label from the European Commission is the Neanderthal Museum in Krapina. Its label was awarded in 2015.

1440px-Krapina_Neanderthal_Museum_Photo_3.jpgThe Neanderthal Museum in Krapina, also in Northern Croatia. It received its European Heritage Label in 2015 © Zeljko Filipin

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