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Archive for croatia

A View of Slovenia

By Linda Tancs

With views stretching as far as Slovenia, the castle fortress known as Veliki Tabor in northwestern Croatia has a storied past. Some of its parts date to the 12th century. Later, it was remodeled by a family that ruled for three centuries. It would undergo several transformations since then, including use as a prison, a nunnery and a warehouse. Now a museum, a guided tour includes a walk through the fort center and the courtyard gallery, highlighting the castle’s  architectural elements, from Late Gothic to Renaissance and Baroque.

Capitals of Culture in 2020

By Linda Tancs

Happy New Year! And you know what that means—another set of European Capitals of Culture! This year’s honorees are Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland). Croatia’s third-largest city, Rijeka is its principal seaport, with an attractive promenade along the city center (Korzo). Given its seafaring heritage, a visit to the Maritime and History Museum is a must. Housed in the former Governor’s Palace, it includes artifacts like a Titanic life jacket, picked up by a worker on the Carpathia, the ship that saved over 700 passengers. In Galway, the offerings for its celebratory year will be classically Irish yet seen through a European lens. It’s a perfect opportunity for the Galway International Arts Festival team to collaborate on a year of arts programming. Don’t miss the chance to stroll along the city’s canals, following the River Coribb, where the locale is perched.

Seeing the Light in Pula

By Linda Tancs

Pula, Croatia, is situated at the southern tip of the Istrian peninsula and is the area’s largest city. Known in ancient times as Polensium, the town is rife with Roman architecture. The Roman amphitheater, in particular, is a well-preserved spectacle in the heart of the city, retaining its complete circuit of walls. Used as a concert venue (especially in the summer), it boasts great harbor views through the ancient arena walls. This time of year, though, the main event is the Visualia Festival, Croatia’s first festival of light. This year’s celebration, taking place today through September 21, represents a first-time partnership with the ILA (International Light Association), bringing together lighting professionals worldwide.

The Island of Wine

By Linda Tancs

The ancient Greeks planted vines on the Croatian island Hvar in 384 B.C. So it’s fair to say that they’ve been in the winemaking business there a good while, the quality of their wine a testament to their proud heritage. It’s equally prized as a summer resort, touted as the sunniest spot in the country. That suits beachgoers just fine, who can enjoy pebble beaches like Dubovica, surrounded by pine trees and olive groves. To get there, hop on the high-speed ferry from Dubrovnik.

Carnival Capital of Croatia

By Linda Tancs

There’s good reason why Rijeka is the carnival capital of Croatia. Held between mid-January and Ash Wednesday, Rijeka Carnival blends culture, folklore and mythology with good old-fashioned partying, including pageants, street dances, concerts, masked balls, exhibitions and a parade. The International Carnival Parade on Feb. 26 is the crown jewel in the festivities. Be on the lookout for men in oversized animal head masks who dance and ring loud bells to frighten off evil spirits.

The Unearthed Charm of Croatia’s Capital

By Linda Tancs

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital and largest city, may have been no more than a layover thought on the way to the country’s seductive sandy shores. Well, no more. Located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava River, its cosmopolitan flair evokes the culture of eastern and western Europe. Zagreb’s most important medieval monument is the fortress of Medvedgrad, erected to protect the city from invasions. Climb Lotrščak Tower, another protective structure, for a sweeping 360-degree view of the city. Near the tower is a funicular railway, which connects the Lower and Upper Towns, where most of the restaurants, bars and tourist sights are located.

Croatia’s Legendary Lakes

By Linda Tancs

Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park in the vicinity of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe. Comprising more than 70,000 acres, it’s also the largest national park in Croatia. Culturally, it’s been inhabited for thousands of years by settlers such as ancient tribes, Romans, Slavs and Turks. The most remarkable feature of this park is its series of lakes arranged in upper and lower clusters, bearing serene hues of azure, green, grey or blue depending on the minerals or organisms in the water at any particular time. For every colorful lake there’s a colorful legend. One popular tale is that the lake system (particularly Prošćansko jezero) was created after a long drought prompted prayers to the Black Queen. Other lakes are associated with stories of hidden treasure, local shepherds, drownings and a resident monk.

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