When I hear someone mention Slavonia the first thing that comes to mind is their specialty cured meat – kulen. The recipe is different in every city, village and even family, but I haven’t tried one that I didn’t like yet! It’s spicy, delicious and a homemade delicacy. Slavonia’s music tradition is well-known all over Croatia and wider – tamburica (a traditional string instrument) and a wide range of traditional folk costumes, songs and dances are very popular. Their main source of income is mostly agriculture, with a growing number of small estates that work in agritourism and ethno-tourism. Slavonia has countless castles scattered across its 4800 square miles of land. We wish to tell you more about those castles and the wonderful Slavonian cities, so keep on reading!
Osijek is the largest city in Slavonia and fourth largest in Croatia. It is located on the right river bank of the river Drava, 16 miles away from its confluence with the Danube (mentioned in the first Slavonia article). Osijek is a popular domestic tourist destination because of its baroque style and a variety of recreational opportunities. When you visit, make sure you take a stroll through the city – over the main square of Ante Starčević, the 18th century citadel Tvrđa (shaped as a big irregular star), the promenade along the river Drava and the suspension pedestrian bridge taking you to the region of Baranja. Make sure you take the traditional ferry skela or kompa across the river to one of the few Croatian zoos, with around 100 fish and animal species. Once there, take your time and breathe – relaxation is essential when on holiday.
Slavonski Brod, located in eastern Croatia, in the Brod-Posavina County, is the second largest city in Slavonia and also a river port on the river Sava. Tourism is rapidly becoming an important branch of economy in the city, and it has lots to show their visitors! The Brod Fortress is situated on the other bank of the river Sava, and was a stronghold against the Ottoman Empire. The city has an architecturally exceptional Franciscan monastery that dates from the 18th century. Slavonski Brod has a beautiful town square, one of the biggest ones in Croatia, named after Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, one of the most well-known Croatian (children’s) writers whose house (the first floor is reserved for art exhibitions) is also located at the square.
Vinkovci is a Slavonian city located in eastern Croatia, in the Vukovar-Srijem County. There, you can visit the Archaeological Park Sopot, easily reachable via a 3 km long walking-biking trail – with six traditional Sopot houses that were once built in the marches, by creeks or rivers. You can visit their museum or sacral buildings that have a rich and turbulent history.
Vukovar is Croatia’s biggest river port, located at the confluence of the river Vuka and the Danube. The city suffered extreme damage and loss during the recent Croatian War of independence but is working hard on restoring its monuments and cultural heritage. Ones of the most interesting attractions are the Eltz Manor from the 18th century, Baroque buildings in the town centre, the Franciscan monastery with the parish church of Sts. Phillip and James, the water tower, etc. Visit the town’s museums to find out more about the Vučedol Dove, the town’s history and more!
Đakovo is located in Osijek-Baranja County, 23 miles southwest of Osijek. The town’s most famous landmark is the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul dating from the end of 19th century, the most important sacral object of the region Slavonia. Near Đakovo, in Ivandvor, you can visit the horse-breeding centre that has been breeding purebred Lipizzaner horses since 1506.
Virovitica is located near the Hungarian border and the river Drava, in Virovitica-Podravina County. In it you will find Pejačević Castle, Slavonia’s tourism gem that was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century encompassed by a harmonious park. The castle changed its owners during its existence and is now under the town’s ownership, dominating its centre. There are two other Pejačević Castles located in Našice, called small and big castle (as the family Pejačević called them themselves).
In Kutjevo, you will find the Turković Castle, built as a Jesuit monastery complex around 1721 and 1735, and had a church, residence and utility buildings. After changing many owners after the Jesuit left the complex, in 1882 it was bought by Vjenceslav Turković. Today, the castle is used as a library and stores an archaeology collection.
In Donji Miholjac, you can find the Hilleprand von Prandau/Mailath Castle that was built in two parts that make a harmonious whole. The older castle was constructed in 1818 by the baron Hilleprand von Prandau’s widow. The other castle was built in 1903, and has numerous towers, spacious terraces and balconies. Today the castle serves as a headquarters for the City Administration of Donji Miholjac, and is surrounded by a beautiful park.
There are many more castles and cities that we didn’t mention, so go out exploring, find out what mysteries and legends haunt their past (or present)! Have fun!
Read about the natural beauty of Slavonia here.
For additional information, please visit the official web pages of Slavonian tourist boards (make sure you check out their cultural events offer, there’s plenty to choose from).