Everybody dreams of time travel, but few have the imagination to make it happen, if only in their minds. If you cannot get you imagination going from the armchair, go to the source – visit the place history was made in and your imagination will be fired up.
Croatia is full of excellent locations which will provide you with the opportunity to immerse yourself in bygone times. Begin your time adventure with these five thrilling locations.
Vučedol (Wolf’s valley)
Downriver from the town of Vukovar, by the great Danube, lies a place that was inhabited as far back as the neolithic. Around 3000 BC there were so many people living here, and living quite well too, that this is where one of earliest human cultures originated, spreading to surrounding countries. Its name is the Vučedol culture. The Vučedol people were hunters, fishermen and agrarians. They were also probably the people who started cultivating domesticated animals. They were also the first to use separate plates for each person dining. They also traded – remains of trout have been found here, and this fish was not present in the river Danube at the time. Vučedol ceramics are world famous for their symbolism and beauty although the most famous piece, known as the Vučedol dove, is actually a partridge.
The Županja Čardak
On the coast of the river Sava you will find a restored border house built at the beginning of the 19th century. In the area that used to be the border between Austria and Turkey, these blockhouses called čardaks were positioned at every two kilometers and border patrol would ride between them. The one in Županja is unique because it is the only remaining piece of military border architecture of the era in Croatia. It is owned by the county’s Zavičajni muzej, a museum that proudly bears the name of Stjepan Gruber, the man who was the first one to ask, back in 1961, that this building be put under protection. After the border patrols became unnecessary, the čardak was used by English businessmen as a club house while in the 20th century it spent some 50 years as a residential building. Finally, in 1964 it became part of the museum which runs it today.
The Ilok Town Centre and Odescalchi castle
The easternmost town in Croatia has a magical centre in which you can find green oases and very old buildings. Take a walk here is like stepping through history, all the way back to the Middle Ages. In the very centre of town there is an old fort built at the end of the 1300s. In its centre, the foundations of an even older church have been found. The castle Odescalchi is also here, within easy walking distance. It was most probably built by Nikola Iločki, a king of Bosnia who issued his own money. It was the central building of the medieval center of Ilok and now itt houses the Museum of Ilok. Beneath the castle lies an old wine cellar, a must see in an area that is so very famous for its winemaking. The Ottoman empire ruled Ilok from the middle of the 16th to the end of the 17th century and has also left its mark: you can visit a turba (the grave of a wealthy Turk) and a hamam (bathhouse). The Ilok Town Centre is a protected monument that will give you an opportunity to take a very interesting walk down the centuries of the tumultuous European past whose uneasy ghosts rest here.
The Eltz Manor (called castle in Croatian), situated in Vukovar, is one of the most representative Baroque buildings in Croatia. The project began in 1749 under count Anzelmo Kazimir Eltz. The Manor grew in size over the years and reached its final appearance at the beginning of 20th century. Vukovar and the Eltz Manor were owned by the Eltz family until 1945 when they were nationalized. The City museum of Vukovar is situated in the castle since 1968. In 1991 the castle was severely damaged in the war and was subsequently renovated.