Archive for the ‘Slavonia’ Category

Kopacki Rit Nature Park

Kopacki Rit is Nature Park is located between Drava and Danube rivers, in eastern Croatia. It is also known as ‘The pearl of the Drava’. The total area of park is 23000 hectare of lakes, woodlands and reeds. However it is very accessible for tourists. On this surface live about 270 different species of birds like cormorants, gulls, terns and ducks, and many rare species, that cannot be found elsewhere, like black stork and Croatian eagle.
Kopacki Rit is the largest of remaining wetlands in Europe. There are many lakes and rivulets along the Dunav River. It is very popular to travel by the boat and admire views. Fact that Kopacki Rit is located near Osijek so there is built excellent communications roads surrounding the nature park, which cause high visiting rate. But we cannot forget that Kopacki Rit is not only attractive for tourists and other visitors, also many scientists from whole Europe are interested in this area because of its fauna and flora.
In the central part of the park stands the Tikves Castle Complex dating back to the 19th century, which contains: new castle, old castle, chapel and complementary building with a restaurant.
Outside the protected area there is allowed to hunt and angle, but under strict protection of course. Visitors can also enjoy fishing from shore or boat. To farthest parts of Kopacki Rit it is only possible to get by jeep or boat what is even bigger adventure!

Ilok

Ilok is a beautiful medieval town located about 40 km on east from Vukovar. The town is best known for Ilok Cellar Wines which owns and maintains the Castle’s ancient winery and cellars. Ilok and wines became inseparable. The wine-growing hills are called as gift from God. There is an interesting fact – this city has winery or wine cellar on almost every street. Old Cellars of Ilok are situated in medieval town center. They were built in 16th and 17th century by the Princes Odescalchi. Ilok wines receive countless awards from all over the world for quality, taste and bouquet.
In 2010’s the town reopened Grand Museum Ilok, which is strongly recommended if you want to know history of Danube region a little bit better. This museum offers big amount of memorable ethnographic, archeological and military exhibitions. This museum is located on the site of the medieval palace of King Nikola Ilocki and the Castle of Prince Odescalchi.
Ilok is located on hill overlooking the Danube River, which gave additional charm to city’s landscape. The river was celebrated a countless times in songs and ballads, especially played by tambura bands that are very popular in this part of Croatia. In one of the popular songs we can hear ‘Oh, Danube, I left my heart by your banks’, and for many visitors of Ilok it comes true and it is very difficult to leave the city.
There are numerous cultural, economic and tourist events during the year in Ilok. The most famous are ‘Vinko’s Feast in January, ‘Ilok grape harvest’ in September, ‘Capistrano Day’ in October and the ‘Actor’s Festival’ in May. Many of them include not only opportunity to learn about the culture, but also it is great occasion to winetasting of the finest Iloks wines!

Vukovar

Vukovar, also called the ‘Triumphal Gate of Croatia’, is a city located at the confluence of Vuka River and Danube. Moreover it is the biggest river port in Croatia. The city is situated on the border between Croatia and Serbia and because of this location it suffered heavily during the break-up of former Yugoslavia. Due to a heavy bombardment, Vukovar, once the largest and the most beautiful city in the country, became ruined. We can still see the water tower riddled with bullets which was preserved as a testimony of city’s suffering. Fortunately, stately baroque buildings of Vukovar destroyed in 1990’s were rebuilt.
Tourists who are visiting Vukovar can see a museum placed in baroque Eltz castle (where among another exhibits are many pieces of archeological artifacts), walk down the Thank Graveyard Street (location of one of the greatest battles in Europe) or see Crkva Sv. Filip’s and Jakov’s – the main catholic church in the city, where on walls of which we can still see graffiti left by Serb Soldiers that translates into English as „God forgives. Serbs don’t.” Walking by the street of Vukovar is very moving, we can feel the dread of war as its damages are still very obvious in most parts of the city.
The most touching place in Vukovar is Ovcara massacre site. Located near the main city, Ovcara is the field in the place where soldiers of Yugoslav National Army, after a fall of the city, gathered and massacred 200 of hospital’s doctors and injured patients. Also the Cemetery is a place worth seeing, as there are graves of many who died during and after the siege – note that graves labeled ‚Hravtski Branitelj’ are graves of untrained volunteers who helped defending the city. In the middle of the Cemetery there is a statue of symbolic flame with stones facing outward in all directions.

Osijek

Osijek is the fourth largest city in Croatia. It is economic and cultural center of region Slavonia. Osijek was for a very long time part of Hungarian division of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so after crossing border of the city it seems like it is different country. This is due to strong Hungarian influence, which is evident in many aspects, like for example the cuisine – it is a little bit spicy. The city was unfortunately at the epicenter of the Homeland War in 1990. Osijek is popular destination for Baroque architecture style lovers.
The city’s must see point’ is Tvdra – the oldest part of Osijek. Earlier – in the middle ages it was an autonomous town, but later it was transformed into fortress which lasted until 1923.
Moreover, there is a very interesting Museum of Slavonia, Church of Saint Anthony and Franciscan Monastery. Worth visiting is also the Upper Town, which is known for the Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul. The building was designed by Franz Langenberg. It is very high building, with over 90 meters high bell tower, and it is the second highest in Croatia!
It is believed that music and food are a main part of the Croatian culture; Osijek is no exception to the rule. If you travel to Osijek on summer, you must see Tambura Music Festival, where attend a lot of tambura orchestras from all over Croatia.
Osijek is also great base to explore the Kopacki Rit Nature Park, where you can spend valuable time with nature, watching birds, deers, otters and other animals. There is even possibility to hunt and angle on the Drava river.

Dakovo

Dakovo is a beautiful town placed in the region of Slavonia, Croatia. Dakovo is not so big, but it has a population of twenty thousand people. It is part of rich and fertile agricultural region. The main symbol of the town is Saint Peter’s neo-gothic cathedral. It’s also part of the Slavonia’s sacral landmark.
The cathedral was built between 1866 and 1882 by Viennese architect Baron Frederick Schmidt. Church’s is 84 meters high. Inside the cathedral are placed magnificent frescos by Alexander and Ludwig Seitz, sculptures created by famous Croatian artist and the tomb of Strossmayer’s. Near the Bishop’s Palace is located the nineteenth century landscape park, which is considered to be a horticultural monument.
The second best known attraction in Dakovo is Lipizzaner stable stud farm, whose age is estimated at 500 years old. This farm was founded by the Hapsburgs, who bred high quality horses. It’s just the one of few such farms in this part of Europe. Lipizzaners are best known for their intelligence and abilities. Tourists are free to watch not only horses from the stable farm, but they also can ride them.
Nearby Dakovo there are lakes of Josava and Borovik, which are great fishing spots. The town also offers its own wines, which are exquisite to Slavonian cuisine that contains venison and smoked sausage.