Slavonia and Baranja

Slavonia and Baranja

Things to do - general
Slavonia is a land of legends, with its myths and secrets proudly passed down through the generations. Here the locals fiercely uphold their traditions, such as harvest festivals, traditional dresses and the popular local music.
They are also generous hosts, always ready to engage in a heart-to-heart over a glass of one of the many quality wines produced by the area’s fertile lowlands and some of the spicy local dishes such as čobanac (stew) or fiš paprikaš (fish soup).
Bordered by the Drava and the Danube rivers and divided by Croatian-Hungarian state border, in the east charmed by a swamp, in the south and southeast sheltered by mouths of the river and in the north and northeast open for connection via wine roads and paths – Baranja is even today quite closed, almost secluded, more mystical than ever before. Despite old bridges having been renovated and new ones being built, regardless of the fact that it is dappled with several international road routes and that it is becoming an ever more interesting tourist destination – at this day Baranja manages to preserve a unique note since its people jealously keep their existential secrets.
They strongly and clearly remember the tales older than their own families, secrets of life and survival, of love and dying, wines, hot peppers, special kind of fishing, weddings, buše (traditional masks from Baranja), pudarine (guarding ripening grapes), paunići (embroidered motifs of small peacocks on traditional folk costumes), slamnjače (straw beds) and i kandile (hanging candles). Owing to this still existent ethnographic magic which can be read from the faces of people living outside main roads, Baranja is capable of attracting, yet never revealing itself to the fullest.

Photo: Ivo Biočina, HTZ

Country Slavonia and Baranja
Location

Region in the easternmost part of Croatia, encompasses Slavonia and Baranja

Population805.998 (2011.)
Area (km2)12.500

Culture and History

In the first centuries AD the area between the Rivers Sava, Drava and Danube became a part of the Roman Empire. This was the time of the first recorded economic boom, testified to by the roads: one led through Podravina towards the fortification of Mursa (Osijek) and the eastern provinces; the other linked the Aquae Balissae spa (Daruvar) and the fertile and wine growing area of Incera (Požega), Certis (Đakovo) and Cibala (Vinkovci)-where two Roman emperors were born: the courageous and popular Valentian I, and his brother Valens.

In Roman times the area developed as a country where wheat and grapes were grown. Vineyards yielded wines of such quality that they were given appellations such as Mons aureus or Vallis aurea. Today, these areas are the Baranja and Požega-Pleternica wine-growing hills which, together with the Kutjevo vineyards and cellars, rank among the oldest European wine cellars. In other wine-growing areas around Đakovo, Slavonski Brod, Nova Gradiška, Pakrac, Feričanci, Orahovica-Slatina, Virovitica, Erdut and Vukovar-Ilok-the grape vine has been cultivated for more than a thousand years.

The towns of Osijek, Našice, Đakovo, Beli Manastir, Donji Miholjac, Valpovo and the villages of Aljmaš, Erdut, Bizovac, Bilje, Darda, Kneževo, Batina, Topolje, etc. were founded in the distant past. The legacy of their rich history is a number of cultural monuments containing pearls of the European treasure-trove.

It is here that the rivers Drava, Sava and the Danube created fertile soil for human life on which the Celts and later the Romans moved, leaving a powerful mark in the history of huge European regions and beyond. It is where the paths of exchange between the Thracians and Etruscans most likely led and it was across these rivers, along the marshlands and through Pannonian forests that many other nations were travelling from the North to the South and back. Not without reason, though; it is where the Danube Limes were situated and where the Drava River flowed. Many towns and villages of the region witnessed to the subsequent historical events. Cultural heritage of many towns consists of many neo-classical and secession monuments side by side with modern architecture.

Culture and history image

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