Continental Croatia

Continental Croatia

ZAGREB:

Zagreb is the capital city and the largest city of the country of Croatia. It has a population of 792.000 people and its metropolitan area(Zagreb County, Krapina-Zagorje County and Sisak-Moslavina County) has a population of 1.2 million (2005).

Zagreb has culture, arts, music, architecture, gastronomy and all the other things that make a quality capital city – it's no surprise that the number of visitors has risen sharply in recent years. Croatia's coastal attractions aside, Zagreb has finally been discovered as a popular city-break destination in its own right.
Visually, Zagreb is a mixture of straight-laced Austro-Hungarian architecture and rough-around-the-edges socialist structures, its character a sometimes uneasy combination of the two elements. This small metropolis is made for strolling the streets, drinking coffee in the permanently full cafes, popping into museums and galleries, and enjoying the theatres, concerts and cinema. It’s a year-round outdoor city: in spring and summer everyone scurries to Jarun Lake in the southwest to swim or sail, or dance the night away at lakeside discos, while in winter Zagrebians go skiing at Mt Medvednica (only a tram or bus ride away).



Continental Croatia

VARAŽDIN:

What makes Varaždin special is its unique monumental and historic heritage preserved in the intact and opulent Baroque architecture of the historic City core. Its unique urban identity shows not only the opulent Baroque architecture of the historic core but also the warmth of its squares and romantic streets. The historical City core stages numerous events throughout the year.

You can’t see, feel and experience all that Varaždin has to offer in a day, but love at first sight is guaranteed.

Enjoy the artistic and architectural messages of the past
The preserved baroque historic City core is rich in monuments and art heritage and a walk down the City’s streets reveals numerous palaces, villas and the oldest city hall in Europe. Familiarise yourself with the guild signs (‘cimeri’) that once marked the specific trade of individual shops or tradesmen and speak of their legends…

Varaždin was built over the centuries and different stylistic influences, varying fashions of certain historical periods and wishes of the investors created an interesting and somewhat unusual harmony of flora and fauna, mythical animals and unusual characters built into the facades of the houses and palaces in the historic City core. Also note on your walk through Varaždin the fantastic bestiary of Varaždin: try to penetrate into its hidden meaning or just enjoy the imagination of the builder.

If you are a lover of sacral art and architecture, Varaždin reveals to you the richness of its eleven churches, three monasteries and its cathedral. A good guide to this is the ‘The Path of Angels’ Brochure.

Varaždin’s churches are actually the best places to start what is, in many ways, a unique tour of the City. The Tour shows off Varaždin’s Baroque splendour and the Baroque angels are messengers of this splendour.

In addition to the churches, this Central European seductive, playful and historical period will reveal itself to you whilst walking around the historical City core admiring its facades and streets. The charm of a City that has nurtured a pleasant, smart, profound yet cheerful and fun ambience will certainly not leave you indifferent.

The Strossmayer Promenade (the Old Town complex), the Vatroslav Jagić Promenade, the Pope John Paul II Park, the Youth Park and the inevitable Varaždin Cemetery shall be your green intermezzo whilst walking around town.

On this tour take a break and enjoy Varaždin’s culinary delights on one of its squares, try ‘Varaždin Klipič’, the Countess Maria Cake (from the ‘Grofica Marica’ Coffee Shop) or any other of Varaždin’s desserts whilst the restaurants with many local dishes invite you to treat yourself to a real Varaždin feast.

Test your skill and creativity



Continental Croatia

OSIJEK:

Osijek is the largest city and the economic and the cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, as well as the administrative center of Osijek-Baranja county. Due to its important location near the junction of the Drava and Danube rivers, this large and once prosperous town (the fourth largest city in Croatia with a current population of around 101,000) bore much of the brunt of the conflict in the 1990s. Many fine buildings have been restored to their former glory, though do not be surprised to see some scars still remaining as some buildings still have bullet holes or shrapnel markings in them.

Osijek is divided into two main regions - the upper town (focusing on the city square, Trg Ante Starcevic), and Tvrđa, the preserved fortress town to the east of the town centre along the Drava River. The whole city has 12 districts/blocks: Upper Town, Lower Town, Fortress, New Town, South 1, South 2, Green Field, Retfala, New Retfala, Industrial District, Tvrdjavica and The Left Coast.

Osijek has a tram system dating back to 1884, and the three main lines connect the railway station, town square, Tvrđa, industrial district, all city borders (tickets can be bought from the driver, or you can purchase a BUTRA-universal bus/tram card for unlimited riding).

Tvrđa is the self-contained 18th-century Hapsburg defensive fortress just east of the city centre and a must-see on a trip to Osijek. Aside for the demolition of most of its outer walls in the 1920s (save those facing the river, known as "Water Gate"), this preserved baroque military compound has changed little since first being built. On the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites[9], construction began in 1712, on the design of Maximillian de Gosseau, to fortify the city against further occupation by the Ottomans (who had captured the city from the Habsburgs in 1526 and ruled until defeated at the Battle of Battle of Mohács in 1687). Tvrđa contains a number of museums (including the Museum of Slavonia and Museum of Archeology), the Palace of Slavonian General Command (now home to the University of Osijek), as well as restaurants, bars and cafes--making it a good night-life destination. Located here as well is the Church of St. Michael, the second biggest church in the city, built in high-baroque and royal style off of models from Vienna and Budapest. The priest lives right next door and will proudly take you inside the church and explain everything about the history, architectural style, and other interesting facts. On the square in front of the church can also be seen traces from where a Muslim mosque had been built during the brief Ottoman occupation. The Municipal Park of Petar Krešimir IV and Tomislav Park date back to the beginning of the 20th century and offer a nice transition from the city to Tvrđa, or vice versa. Down the street from the parks, Europska Avenija is known for its row of magnificent secession style buildings, many of which were restored in 2017, including the majestic Municipal Court building. Just behind the City and University Library of Osijek (located at the corner of Europska and Ulica Vjekoslava Hengla) is Kino Urania, another great example of secessionist architecture. Built in 1912, Croatian-Jewish architect Viktor Axmann received a prestigious prize at the 1st International Cinema Exhibition in Vienna for its design.

From Europska Avenija, you can make your way to the upper town, where you will find the Co-Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The tallest church in Croatia and has a spire of 90m, it was done on the initiative of Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer in the late 1880s. The interior is a treasure trove of neo-Gothic ornamentation, with a succession of pinnacled altars overlooked by exuberant stained glass windows. The interior was finished off in 1938–1942 when leading Croatian painter Mirko Rački covered the walls and ceilings with brightly coloured frescoes illustrating famous episodes from the Old and New Testaments. The internal stonework was done by renowned Austrian sculptor Hauser, while the pipe organ constructed by the Walcher firm of Linz, Austria. Classical and religious music concerts are often held here. Around the corner you will find the Croatian National Theatre(Zupanijska Ulica), a beautiful building designed in 1886 and severely damaged in the recent conflict. A painstaking restoration has restored it to its former glory, though shortly afterwards a McDonald's restaurant opened up on the ground floor. Shows, concerts and opera are performed weekly. Directly across lies the City Area Administration Palace as well as the tourism board's office.

Pejacevic Manor is an 18th-century neoclassical building located on the edge of the Upper Town and the entrance to Retfala district. One of a number of castles owned by the Pejačević Family (the nicest of which is in nearby Našice), it was built after Maria Theresa gifted the lands in 1750. Part of the castle is owned by Little Sisters of St. Mary (the other, renovated portion, to a clinic), and they will be delighted to show you around. Do not be afraid of the dog in the yard, which is a pet of the nuns. There are around 10 sisters in the convent, with a few candidates. Pass by on your way to Baranja.



Continental Croatia

VINKOVCI:


Vinkovci is located in the northernmost meander of Bosut, whose left bank, positioned about 88 metres above sea-level, was protected from frequent floods and suitable for colonization. Owing to its favourable position, Vinkovci was an area upon which the cultures used to inherit one another from early Stone Age to modern times. Not the same sites were always inhabited, but looking at the current layout of the City, Vinkovci has been continually inhabited for over 8,000 years. Most of the prehistoric settlements were situated on that high left bank, and the largest and longest lasting settlement was formed on the right confluence of the Ervenica brook into Bosut, on "Telo Tržnica".
The first communities of farmers settled this area around the year 6200 B.C., introducing pottery, domesticated animals and plants.
The City of Vinkovci is located in the furthermost northeast of Croatia, between rivers Danube and Sava, situated along the river Bosut. The City and its environs are positioned at 78-125 metres above sea-level, covering the area of 102,805 hectares, of which 60,623 are arable lands, and 29,149 hectares are predominantly oak and ash forests, with mild continental climate.
It extends along the Bosut valley, the highway and the railway, which connect the Western Europe with the Far East, and the Middle Europe with the exit to the Adriatic sea. The City has significant and high-quality natural resources as well as developed infrastructure, and it is through this that one may notice that it is an economically and strategically important part of Croatia. All of this resulted in the traditional agricultural/cattle-raising production and developed forestry, the development of industry and trade, and lastly, a very rich traditional culture. The City of Vinkovci boasts much and diverse international cooperation. The beginning of the international cooperation dates from the period of the former Municipality of Vinkovci, before the War of Independence, when the relations with the Ohrid Municipality were established and maintained. The period of a more intensive development of international cooperation began during the War of Independence, when the City of Vinkovci was aided by many friends from abroad, through various humanitarian actions.
Following the end of the destructions of war and the War of Independence itself, the cooperation between the City of Vinkovci and the cities Camponogara in Italy and Kenzingen in Germany was formalized through the signing of a cooperation treaty. A very intensive and excellent cooperation with the City of Široki Brijeg in Bosnia and Herzegovina is maintained. Additionally, in recent years the international cooperation has been established with neighbours from Hungary, the Budapest district - Kobanaya.



Continental Croatia

VUKOVAR:

The Vukovar area has always been an intersection of roads, the place where different cultures meet, but also a battleground in wars. The continuity of population in the Vukovar area can be followed for five thousand years through numerous archaeological sites. The Vučedol Culture, which was named for the location Vučedol, located five kilometres downstream on the Danube, holds particular importance for this area. The Vučedol Dove, found in 1938, became the symbol of the city. Also, the Orion from Vučedol, which is considered to be the oldest calendar in Europe, has equal importance.

 

There are numerous archaeological sites in the Vukovar area, they date from the Bronze Age and early and late Iron Age and they tell us about the lives of Illyrians and Celts. The Romans reached the Danube in their conquests during the final decades B.C. They constructed numerous fortifications as part of their border (limes) with the barbarian tribes. The Roman civilization in this area has brought the improvement of agriculture: marshes were drained and the first vineyards were planted. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Migration Period and the Avar and Slavic expansion from the sixth century onward, brought about significant changes. The area between the rivers Danube and Sava became the site of great conflict and interest of powerful states of that time. At that time Croats begin to inhabit this area. The preserved documents mention Vukovar in the early 13th century under the name “Volko”, “Walk”, “Wolkow”, and finally under the Croatian name “Vukovo”. From the 14th century onward the more Hungarian version of the name, Vukovar, is more commonly used. At that time Croatia was in a union of states with Hungary. Vukovar, as well as the neighbouring Ilok, became the guardians of Croatian identity in the area between the rivers Danube and Sava during that period. In 1231, as one of the first cities in the state, Vukovar gained the status of a royal free city proclaimed by the Charter of Duke Koloman. Vukovar then became the centre of the great Vukovar County which included the area between the Danube and Sava.

 

After the Ottoman dominion (16th and 17th century) a large part of the Vukovar area was bought by the German counts of Eltz, who will have a significant influence on the economic and cultural life of Vukovar in the following two centuries. At that time immigrants of German, Hungarian, Jewish, Rusyn, Slovak, and Ukrainian descent begin to arrive. In this process this Croatian area became multinational and in 1745 Vukovar became the centre of the great Syrmia County. After World War II Vukovar developed to become a powerful centre of textile and food industry and as such became one of the most highly developed cities in the former country, Yugoslavia. The dominant layer of style in the historic Vukovar is certainly the rounded baroque element with numerous architectural monuments of exceptionally high visual artistic and ambient value.

 

And then came 1991. The beginning of the armed assault on Vukovar happened on May 2nd, 1991 when 12 Croatian policemen were killed in Borovo Selo. The attack on Vukovar began on August 24th, 1991 and the city was under siege for three months after that. On November 18th, 1991 Vukovar lost the battle and succumbed to military occupation. The population of non-Serbian descent (about 22 thousand people) were driven out of the city and more than 6 thousand residents of Vukovar were taken to numerous camps in Serbia. Many of them were abused and some of them never left the camps alive. The city was destroyed in 1991. The approach to restoration was that the city’s most recognisable features should be restored – the old streets and squares – which will provide the City on the Danube with its recognisable Western European, baroque feel. In 1997 the process of peaceful reintegration began. The City Administration achieved the conditions for the reinstitution of services and the return of the exiled population, and from that moment onward Vukovar is regaining its former identity with each passing day. Vukovar is a symbol of resistance, invincibility, and persistence. At the same time Vukovar is a symbol of peace, to which the courage, sacrifice, and greatness of its defenders grant an exalted place in the process of creating the independent Republic of Croatia.



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