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Archive for croatia

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.

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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.

The Centre of the World

By Linda Tancs

Have you ever pondered which town is the nearest to the centre of the world?  The people of Ludbreg in Croatia would have you believe that since ancient times certain circles of the earth expanded concentrically from their fair town, determining the position of major European cities.   And so every year the citizens of Ludbreg add another tile bearing the name of one of the cities of the world to their main square on 1 April, Ludbreg’s birthday.  It’s no April Fools’ Day joke; today is the Day of the Centre of the World.

A Land of Urban Culture

By Linda Tancs

Croatia prides itself as a land of urban culture, sporting more cities than any other part of the Mediterranean.  But the Mediterranean is only part of its charm, circled as it is by eastern, western and central Europe.  Learn more about this newest member of the European Union on Travelrific® Travel Show.

Vampire Tales and Tourism

By Linda Tancs

Dracula is just so yesterday, as any adolescent movie goer today would likely tell you (think: “Twilight” and “New Moon”).  I wonder what they’d think of Grando, though.  Legend has it that Jure Grando,  a farmer in the tiny village of Kringa, Croatia, died in 1656 and came back to life in 1672 to wreak havoc on his former neighbors until a stake through the heart ended the bedlam.  Over 300 years later, however, the vampire mystique remains in full throttle in this hamlet of 400 souls in the Istrian peninsula, a Tuscany-inspired vacation destination.  In fact, there’s now a Caffe Bar Vampire in honor of its earlier inhabitant, one of the first bloodsuckers ever to be documented.  Point of interest on the vampire tourism trail to be sure.

 

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