Đakovo, Croatia; town of lipizzans and long tradition
by Marina Jovanov
For most people, the first association to Croatia is the sun, the beautiful Adriatic sea, and coast, and from recently soccer and tennis, therefore it is considered the land of natural wonders. Despite being less known, the Croatian interior has certainly a lot to offer. In the eastern part of the country, in the heart of the Slavonian plain lies a beautiful and interesting place called Đakovo
The vast majority will tell you that the best part of the year to visit Đakovo is during the spring or summer when the natural splendor is in full glory. Well, I can’t tell they are wrong but we have the opportunity to visit it just recently, during the winter time and we have not been disappointed at all. I really realized why it is called town off long tradition, culture and Lipizzan horses and definitely consider it a pleasant place to live. In there you can really experience a lot of beautiful things just by walking through the city and you don’t need a lot of money for that, but I decided to mention only a couple of them;
Cathedral of St. Petar
When entering into the city it is almost impossible to notice the big, beautiful and stunning giant; cathedral of St. Petar which with its appearance really takes a breath away. Sure it’s not surprising that the first thing on the next morning was to explore it. It is amazing to see how this miraculous building stands out in a relatively modest environment.
Cathedral is absolutely stunning outside and inside. It is open every day until 7 p.m, and it’s free for all visitors. The interesting facts that we found about it are that it was built almost 150 years ago, and was built about 16 years, although was supposed to be built within 5 years. The reason for this is that the main building initiator, which is also considered a founder of the cathedral; Josip Juraj Strossmayer was a true lover of art and perfectionist. Namely, in order to achieve his idea and get the church frescoes amazing as he wanted, he had to wait for the famous European artists who were busy at the time. Cathedral was built of nearly 7 million bricks and at its foot, there is a crypt which can accommodate about five thousand people and where the tomb of Strossmayer itself is located. Catacombs are open for public but a prior announcement is needed.
Đakovački vezovi is the name for a beautiful manifestation which you can attend every July. It is an international but also one of the biggest Croatian tradition festivals, symbol of cultural heritage preservation. Although we did not have the opportunity to visit it during our stay, I think it would be a sin not to mention it. The festival itself lasts three days and it is full of rich content; original folklore, various manifestations, workshops, traditional Slavonian wines, and food, and indispensable program of the state stable, Đakovo, and its Lipizzans. In this festival of life and tradition, every year participates over three thousand people. It is precisely this ceremonial parade of all participants that ends this magical event.
State stable of Lipizzans ( Ergela, Đakovo )
Every true nature and animal lover must come to this place at least once in a lifetime. When we planned our trip to Đakovo, this was the thing that I was most excited for.
Lipizzans are real beauties in the world of horses, their size, weight; about five hundred kilos and their muscular structure make them really nobly. Their features are that they are a really clever and fast learner, and very obedient. The main characteristic is for sure that they are originally born with dark hair but from sixth to eighth years, lose this color cause of the mutation of chromosomes and then become totally white.
State stable in Đakovo dates back to the sixteenth century and Queen Elizabeth herself honored it with here visit and with this add it additional importance. It is located in two locations; stallion and riding arena in a town center and Ivandvor in close proximity of it. Both locations are open every day and the visit price is ridiculous, 20 kunas (about 2,5 euro) for adults and 10 kunas (about 1,5 euro) for children.
The stallion in the city center
In this place there are settled stallions passing dressage and training for equestrian sports, therapeutic riding, riding school and carriage. There is also the biggest riding arena in Croatia with a hippodrome at which tho tournaments are held, and at the same time, there is a space for tournaments and preparation of the horse before the competition, and also a well – organized showroom for the visitors, barns, and blacksmith. The best time for visiting is definitely working days because then you will almost certainly have an opportunity to attend some of the above activities and if you announce yourself you can even try to ride those beautiful creatures, accompanied by professional guides what we didn’t know so we just enjoyed looking around and then left to another location.
Entrance into the city center stallion
This is the second location of state Lipizzans stable, and it is located about 6 km of the city center. There are settled herd of female horses with their young, which grow there until the age of three, and then the male young are separated and transferred into a city center for further training. Seeing this was really stunning or me because rarely where a person has an opportunity to see that kind of nature and interaction of animals of the same kind in their native environment. Ivandvor has also pronounced for a cultural heritage of Croatia. In this place also the food is being grown all year for all the horses in both locations. After a whole day of pure joy the only thing left was to sit down in one of the nearby placed holiday booths an enjoy in a piece and untouched nature.
Almost always in life, this time also without exception it has been shown that more is really less. Is there anything else more to say?