2020 ends, 2021 begins—coronavirus pandemic, political upheaval, earthquakes.  On December 31, 2020 TimeOut Croatia’s Lara Rasin covered earthquakes in Zagreb and Petrinja. She wrote There’s a saying in Croatia, ‘U muci se poznaju junaci’ or ‘Hard times reveal heroes.‘ As powerful forces leave their marks threatening homes and lives—how will we care for each other and our earth?

Writer and anthropologist Andrea Pisac  contextualized recent earthquakes in a recent FB vlog as she and her husband Nik delivered food to earthquake victims in small towns around Petrinja—also the site of devastation in the 1990s war.  She talked about traditional Croatian wooden architecture built from conifer & deciduous forests which still cover about a third of Croatia today.

Traditional wooden Croatian home https://oldcroatia.tumblr.com

Do trees register seismic activity before earthquakes occur? Can trees mitigate an earthquake’s impact on buildings? A January 2018 EarthScience research update in PhysicsWorld discussed how forests might limit devastation. What might forest management strategies contribute to sustainable city architecture and infrastructure?

Species don’t know borders is a EUFORGEN (European Forest Genetic Resources Programme) tagline For over 20 years this collaborative international project is dedicated to the study of trees and forests.  EUFORGEN defines tree characteristics for forest management. It describes the European nettle tree as pollution tolerant and water-resistant but also makes the claim that in spite of their research, trees hold ‘mysteries and secrets’ and we ‘don’t know how adaptable trees really are.’ 

Celtis australis/European Nettle, Celtis occidentalis/American Nettle

European nettle trees and their American cousins share similar characteristics. Both grow rapidly, tolerate harsh urban conditions, and are planted as a street tree and in city parks.

Nastarija Medulinka © Sonja Barbara Bader for Total Croatia News
October 2020

Croatia’s entry for the 2021 European Tree of the Year contest is a 115 year old street tree. This European nettle tree is called by many names— Celtis australis, Mediterranean hackberry, lote tree, honeyberry and Najstarija Medulinka (the oldest lady in Medulin)  She  lives in a public square in the village of Medulin, Istria, has smooth grey bark, gray-green leaves leaves and small, dark purple berry-like fruit that birds and other wildlife love. She is drought resistant and loves sun—ideally suited to the Mediterranean basin climate. 

Pines on Kvarner coast

Bor is Croatian for pine tree. Pines once blanketed Croatia, including the now largely deforested Istria, islands and coastal areas. A 2007 heat wave sparked wildfires that destroyed Dalmatian forested areas. During the summer of 2017 a state of emergency was declared in Split and along the coast where wildfires burned 4500 hectacres/11,100 acres of pine forests, olive groves and underbrush.  The cause was not clear but changing wind patterns were suspected. Climate Change Post indicators of future fires provides insights about causes and solutions.

Is there a link between deforestation and zoonotic diseases such as to COVID-19?  How might forest management and climate change activists collaborate to renew resources and maybe even reset our ecosystems?


The Boranka (Paint it back) Project is an attempt to re-green Dalmatia after devastating wildfires. This tree planting project started in 2018. Initiated by the Scouts, it is the largest Croatian volunteer wildfire site reforestation project with over 10,000 volunteers to date. The Boranka Project has attracted a lot of supporters. A promotional video narrated by the Canadian Ambassador to Croatia describes the project’s global implications. And proceeds from Andrea Pisac’s cookbook Croatian Desserts, 50 Authentic Recipes to Make at Home are helping to fund The Boranka Project.


Castenea dentata & Castenea sativa

Forests are life-sustaining communities defined by trees. Trees are the biggest plants on earth. They provide ecological benefits even as they fend off extinction.

American Chestnut, American Chestnut Foundation Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 2017 

For 40 million years tall chestnut trees (up to 100 feet) were a canopy species with 4 billion trees covering 8.8 million acres of the eastern US. These trees were rot resistant because of their high tannin content. They were almost as big as California Redwoods. Chestnut forests in Appalachia were the basis of the region’s economy. Trees provided lumber for construction, food for wild and domesticated animals, and for humans–chestnuts are the only nut to contain Vitamin C and have a high carbohydrate content. But between 1904 and 1940 the lives of many people changed because of a blight that virtually eliminated the American chestnut. 

American Chestnut, Mid to late 19c, American Chestnut Foundation

What has been called the most devastating ecological disaster to the world’s forests wiped out all but 40 trees in the eastern US. (Two challenges to this claim are the on-going human destruction of primeval forests in Amazon Basin and Indonesia, boreal forests in Canada and Russia, and a history of ink disease in European and American chestnut trees predating the blight) The American chestnut’s demise was caused by Cryphonectria parasitica or chestnut blight, a fungus accidentally imported from Japan to the Bronx Zoological Park in New York City. Through the trees own resilience and the efforts of generations of foresters, botanists and tree advocates, American chestnut trees have just barely managed to survive.

Maruni Lovrana, marunada-lovran.com

Chestnuts are related to the family of beech and oak, but not the horse chestnut, whose nuts are toxic. Today most of the chestnuts in the US  are imported from Europe.  Although European chestnuts are more resistant to the fungus, when the blight was identified in Genoa, Italy in 1938 it quickly spread to neighboring countries. American and European biologists and forest geneticists are successfully reviving chestnuts by creating hybrids with Asian chestnut trees, and by inoculating trees with hypovirulaent strains of the fungus. European biologists are now studying gall wasps which are affecting chestnut trees in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Zelina Chestnut Festival,  Sveti Ivan Zelina TZ for Croatia Week 6 October 2020

Chestnuts are known in the US from a Christmas song with lyrics—’chestnuts roasting on an open fire.’ But throughout Europe and Asia chestnuts actually are roasted on open fires. Fall chestnut festivals are important agro-and gastro-tourism attractions in Croatia. Kestena is the Croatian word for chestnut, but chestnuts are also called by other names. Maruni is a type of sweet chestnut with two varieties, Branac and Dubenac which grow in Istria and Kvarner. Marunada Lovrana is the name of Lovran, Kvarner’s  annual chestnut festival. Since 1973 Marunada Lovrana was celebrated in mid-October during harvest. Chestnuts are ripened or cured in a cool place after harvesting so their sugars have time to develop.

Hrvatska Kostajnica Chestnut, ©2006-2020 SummitPost.org 

Hrvatska Kostajnica is located in central Croatia on the Una River bordering Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Also called Kostajnica, the town’s name is derived from the word kostanj–another word for chestnut which are harvested in surrounding chestnut forests.  Kostajnica hosts a traditional chestnut festival where you might find chestnut blossom honey brandy called medica, or kristen parfe, a chestnut parfait made with layered sponge cake, chestnut puree, bavarian cream and chocolate. In cities and towns all over Croatia chestnuts are eaten in the fall through the winter. Sadly, like most of Croatia’s 2020 chestnut festivals, Kostajnica’s was cancelled because of coronavirus.

Masked Maruni in its husk October 2020. Lovran

Chestnuts are survivors!

Balancing Act

September 1933 at Učki Gore. Harvest agro-tourism excursion?

Today, 27 September is World Tourism Day. Initiated in 1980 by the UN this year’s theme is tourism and rural development.  As with all UN International Days—and for all of us—the coronavirus pandemic changes everything. Travel and tourism experts predict that national travel will recover before international travel. Data about the global economic impact of coronavirus on tourism posted by the UN World Tourism Organization projects over 100 million jobs at risk.

The coronavirus pandemic seems to have amplified growing criticism about tourism. Air travel is known to be a major source of carbon emissions contributing to climate change. Overtourism damages historic and natural wonders. In an article for The Guardian, journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue defines ‘Tourism is an unusual industry in that the assets it monetises – a view, a reef, a cathedral – do not belong to it. For all the money the industry usually brings in, one of the prices of allowing a place to be taken over by tourism is the way it distorts local development.’ The ethical dilemma de Bellaigue presents begs more questions.

Negotiating Florence in 2014

Croatia is known throughout the world for its hospitality sector. Tourism accounts for about 17% (or 22%) of Croatia’s GDP. Opatija is home to The Museum of Tourism. The University of Rijeka provides training in sustainable (not babble) tourism, niche experiences (adventure, eco, health, gastro, religious, volunteer) and promotes tourism as an entry point into understanding climate science, cultural and environmental heritages, workers rights, and trade. The National Tourist Board’s longtime campaign ‘Croatia Full of Life’ features breathtaking photography. And Croatia consistently reaps travel awards for excellence. Notable in  2020 is a Telly award to Balduči Film further establishing Croatia’s position as a desirable filmmaking location. 

Do tourists get a true picture of what Croatians are like? British blogger and Total Croatia News owner Paul Bradbury describes Croatia as a ‘Kingdom of Accidental Tourism’ Is Croatian tourism accidental or intentional? Needed and/or wanted?

I did not attend Riječki karneval 2020. The previous year Turistička zajednica Rijeke introduced me to  some of the ways Croatians live for and with their rowdy, endearing ’season.’ Karneval’s ability to generate tourist dollars did not appear to overshadow spirited celebrations.  Riječki karneval 2020 was supposed to kick off the city’s year as the Cultural Capital of Europe. Just two weeks after karneval’s  International Parade finaIe—COVID19 hit and Croatia implemented strict restrictions.  (COVID in Croatia has its own WIKI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Croatia)*

Opatija’s 2019 Balinjerada parade

Riječki karneval cannot be rushed. Carnival traditions are tied to very old beliefs and cultural practices made new every year by people who have deep affiliations to place and to each other.Croatia overflows with similarly inspiring places, people and traditions. While international air travel continues to be prohibitive, less flight are less harmful to the environment. More focused travel with longer visits that leave fewer footprints may encourage shared responsibility for the health of our planet. Reciprocating hospitality in investments, service and lasting, positive relationships may reshape how we travel.

Riječki karneval 2019 International Parade

*Due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis, the European Commission has today proposed to give Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland) the possibility to extend their year as 2020 European Capitals of Culture until 30 April 2021…..

Written in Stone

The Baška Tablet dates 1100 AD. It is found in the Church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor on the island of Krk.  The Glagolitic text inscribed on the tablet is the oldest known Slavic alphabet created in the 9c by a Byzantine monk, St. Cyril. Some experts say  brothers St. Cyril and  St. Methodius devised Glagolotic script together. Glagolitic script is uniquely Croatian. For centuries it held a prestigious place in the Roman Catholic Church. 

The text on the Baška tablet was translated by archeologist Dr. Branko Fumič (and cookbook author). It is a deed of  gift from Croatian King Zvonimir to the Benedictine abbey with this warning, ’Whomever denies this, let him be cursed by God, the twelve apostles, and the four evangelists, and St. Lucia.’   But the Baška tablet in St. Lucy’s is  a reproduction.  The original, made of white karstic limestone is now held at the Croatian Academy of  Sciences and Arts in Zagreb. Linguist and University of Zagreb Professor Damanović (and newspaper editor) called it  the ‘baptismal certificate of Croatian culture.’

The Plomin Tablet is embedded in the outer walls of St. George the Elder in Plomin, Istria. This bas relief sculpture made of Istrian stone survived the elements since 1100—it is roughly the same age as the Baška tablet inviting academic debate about which tablet is older. Markings on the Plomin tablet  in the upper corners are similar to Glagolitic but now are considered to be ‘graffiti.’ Also debated is whether the image of the man is St. George or the Roman god Sylvan. The preservation of these cultural gatekeepers points to the continuous presence of faith and  tradition in Croatia.

If you visit The Glagolitic Script Exhibition at the University Library Rijeka you can type your name into computer interactive and receive a Glagolitic translation. The script looks like the Cyrllic alphabet, but it does not have any modern day counterpart. Each Glagolitic letter has a  number and a name ascribed to it such as  D dobro, E jest, and Ž živite—the alphabet writes its own poetry.  The Glagolitic Script Exhibition is permanent. It opened in 1968. 

July, 2020 Poducken.net

This project was launched as part of Rijeka 2020 features permanent art installations by 11 artists, designers and architects from Croatia, Europe, Japan and Chile. This project features Sofie Thoreson’s installation ‘Potezi i Rezovi (Moves and Cuts) in Brseč.  Stone slabs are inscribed with doodles inspired by actual student notebooks. The school  those students attended closed in 2018 after 175 years. Croatian communities honor the  past and memories of learning academic subjects along with a sense of belonging. According to recent data Croatia has a 99.1% literacy rate.

Photos Marie Scatena, Public Domain and FotoLuigi

Rock Solid

Istrian stone is water resistant and hard as marble. It is a metamorphosed limestone transformed by heat, pressure and time into a durable material.  Vast quantities of Istrian stone were exported to build Venice. The toughness of Istrian stone helped Venice survive recurring flooding. An influential European architectural history titled The Stones of Venice  by John Ruskin (1819-1900) literally refers to Istrian Stone. Pula’s famous arena is an example of  Roman architecture built from Istrian stone. When the ampitheater was completed 81 AD the Romans may not have envisioned Pula arena as a music venue even though gladiators provided ‘entertainment’ there.

Pula Arena looking toward the Adriatic. Luka Esenko 2016

Happily for music fans today Pula is known for hosting popular performers.  Musicians Oliver Dragojevic and Stjepan Hauser performed in Pula’s arena together and as soloists. Dragojevic is such a beloved, iconic singer-songwriter that he is known in Croatia by his first name. In July 2020 a tribute film biography was played on HRT and a concert held in the Pula arena to mark two years since his death in 2018.  The first performances of  Stjepan Hauser’s  concert series Alone Together took place in Pula, his hometown. Pula Arena is one of Croatia’s many UNESCO designated World Heritage sites.

Walls of Dubrovnik

Until 1808 Dubrovnik was known as Ragusa. As Ragusa, the city’s main street separated the port from a forested area or dubrava.  Dubrovnik’s promenade,  called Stradun Street, was first paved with Istrian stone in the 13c, destroyed by an earthquake in the 15c and rebuilt.  

Stradun Street Dubrovnik

The name Stadun is derived from the Italian word ‘placa,’ meaning street. Stradun Street runs through the historic Old Town which figured prominently in the television series Game of Thrones (GOT). GOT reached global audiences and contributed to a surge of mass tourism which has taken a toll on Dubrovnik and its harbor.

Dubrovnik Lazaretto. AP, 24-3-2020. Darko Bandic 

Visitors able to travel this year may be interested in Dubrovnik’s Lazaretto due to its relevance to the COVID19 public health crisis. Dubrovnik’s Lazaretto was a quarantine area for travelers exposed to contagious diseases. It was first located in a port warehouse. Ideas for it’s construction date to the black death in Europe in the 13c.  Dubrovnik’s  Lazaretto was built in 1647 and is now being restored with EU support.

Gromača on Hvar, a Dalmatian island known for partying, pine forests, olive groves and lavender fields

Dubrovnik’s fortress walls are engineered with mortar. But Croatia is known for another type of stone construction where no mortar is used. Evidence of  the traditional craft of dry stone walling can be seen througout Croatia and Europe. Dry stone walling is an ecologically sustainable, efficient building practice—and an art form that blends harmoniously into the landscape. Croatian dry stone walls are callled gromača or suhozid. Gromače are used to divide land for agricultural reasons, especially for sheep rearing. Current efforts to preserve Croatia’s cultural heritage provide opportunities for young people to learn about dry stone wall building.

Kažun in Istria 2012

Kažun or kažuni are round one room huts used by sheperds and as tool sheds constructed using dry stone wall technique. 

Poljane, Kvarner late 1960s

Maria Kasić Ivanić  was my maternal great-grandmother. She lived in this stone and mortar cottage in the village of Poljane until her death in 1966. Poljane is tiny village overlooking Kvarner Bay.  My great-grandmother smoked meats for herself and her neighbors inside the house causing the interior walls to blacken.  The house was sold to her niece who built a new home on the site.  

On the island of Brač a triangluar-shaped, pebble beach called Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) attracts locals and tourists.   Brač is  also known for a school of stone masonry, Klesarska Škola in Puščiča.

Located in Bol, Brač the Blaca Hermitage was founded in  a cave by two monks in the 16c.  Father Niko  Miličević Jr. was the last Glagolitic monk living at Blaca Hermitage. He died in 1963. Father Miličević was an astronomer, spiritual leader and steward of Blaca Hermitage’s famous observatory. 

Blaca Hermitage/Monestary/Observatory/Library in Bol

Photos Attributed, Marie Scatena and Public Domain

Set in Karst

Rocky, barren ground. Sinkholes, caves, underground water with no apparent surface streams or lakes. Karst. Derived from the Slavic word krs or kras, the German karst, and the Italian carso or carsico, the word means ‘rocky mountain’ or ‘stone.’ Karst landscapes cover half of Croatia’s  topography and more than 80% of Croatia’s lavishly indented coastline and 1,000 plus islands. 

Sea cave near Dalmatia

Interactions between the  Dinaric Alps, Dolomite Mountains and rainwater create some of Croatia’s most dramatic landscapes. Dinaric limestone forms most karst landscapes along with another porous, sedimentary rock called dolomite.  Since limestone is largely made of calcium carbonate (created by fossilized coral and mollusks), it dissolves when rainwater (carrying carbon dioxide) seeps into its cracks.  As rainwater dissolves the stone, sinkholes, caverns, and caves form.  Karst caves played an important role in Croatia’s cultural, social, and sometimes conflicted political history. Today Hvar’s and Biševo’s blue caves are popular tourist destinations.

Rain water is stored in underground water systems or karst aquifers which provide water for animal and plant life. More than 25% of the world’s population either lives on or obtains its water from karst aquifers.  In spite of what looks like a barren barren environment, in summer Croatian karst landscapes are usually covered with aromatic herbs like thyme, rosemary, lavender, and sage. And campanula tommasiniana/Croatian bellflower pictured here on Mount Učka in Istria.

Waterfalls in Krka National Park

Krka National Park is sometimes said to be the heart of Croatia’s karst region.  The park is in central Dalmatia near the Krka River. It features canyons, waterfalls, lakes, rapids and distinctive karst scenery. The cascading waterfalls in Krka Park are formed as karst slowly collapses. Both Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Parks have villages located within the boundaries of this protected area, but only in Krka Park is swimming allowed.

My grandparents at Plivtice with family and friends in 1952

Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the world’s most beautiful karst formations.  The park was founded in 1949 and designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. Plitvice is so visually stunning  and unique it attracts a million visitors each year. Selfie takers who fall occasionally off wooden paths into the lakes are frowned upon. Plitvice’s karst-created water system is vital to the health of this protected natural phenomena.  

The terraced lakes and waterfalls are possible because of karstation and the interaction between air, water and plant life.  Travertine dams are formed from algae, moss, and bacteria growing together. These dams help water to pool into shallow lakes. Because Plitvice’s sixteen connected lakes are supersaturated  with dissolved calcium carbonate mixed with other minerals, the color of the water is blue, azure, grey or green depending on the intensity of mineral deposits and angle of the sunlight. 


Marie Scatena and Public Domain

Selected Sources






Lights in the Dark

Astrofest 2013. © Ljubaznošću: Gregor Kervina

Every year the Višnjan Observatory in Višnjan aka Visignano, Istria hosts a summer solstice Astrofest. Like Astrofests around the world, Istria’s Astrofest 2020 is cancelled because of  the coronavirus pandemic. Visnjan’s Astrofest has a lot in common with other solstice celebrations. People gather to share food, dancing, music, bonfires—and in Višnjan—nighttime stargazing. At Višnjan’s Astrofest, astronomy enthusiasts, tourists, local families and  children learn about the night sky and stories about fairies, elves and other mythical creatures who appear on shortest night of  the year. A sunrise drum circle welcomes summer.   

Pagans spent a lot of time looking to the stars for explanations about the way the world works. Fire was important to Pagans who associated it with the sun and with purification. Christians later combined Pagan and old Slavic rituals with solstice celebrations around St. John the Baptist feast day–June 23, 24 and/or 25. At Višnjan near earth astronomy and other sciences are studied alongside an old Christian church and an imposing, if unverified druidic stone circle. Ironically for Višjnan’s Astrofest, winter, spring and fall are better than summer for stargazing because less moisture in the air makes stars more visible.

Croatian astronomer, educator and founder of the Višnjan Observatory Korado Korlević is largely responsible for making science the focus of Višnjan’s Astrofest. Korlević directs acclaimed educational programs for children and young people at the Višnjan Observatory Education Center  http://en.astro.hr Korlevič and his team run a Science Summer School and workshops. The discovery of over 1,000 asteroids, small planets and comets at the Višnjan Observatory are attributed to him.  Because of Korlević’s accomplishments as an asteroid tracer a celestial body was named Korado. He recently won an award for exemplary teaching.*

A new observatory was built and a metric telescope named Dagor was installed on Tičan Hill, 3 kilometers north of Višjnan in 2002. The reason? Light pollution.  Areas in Europe and all over the world have recently designated dark-sky areas. Last year the protected forested Petrova Gora-Biljeg  along border of Bosnia Herzegovina became a Dark-Sky Park. I imagine people congregating in small groups to gaze at and interpret the stars. Maybe the meaning of the summer solstice this year is to bring science, spirituality and story together in new ways.   The spirit of Astrofest at Višjnan reminds us to stop and wonder how life on our planet, in our universe, fit together.

* For more about Korlević https://digitaltakeover.hr/en/speaker/korado-korlevic/ and https://www.timeout.com/croatia/attractions/korado-korlevic-searching-for-stars

Listening to place

Photo Marie Scatena
Audio Antonette Looby

Like language and music the sounds of a place shape our perceptions and feelings about it. Listening to the soundscapes of Croatia’s ecosystems and intangible cultural heritage you might hear

Karst caves echoing, Zvončari bells clanging, Griffon vultures cawing 

Bura winds roaring, Klapa singing, Waterfalls sloshing

Lamb peka cooking, Ča, Kaj, Što  

Sounds of Zadar’s sea organ/morske orgulje merge the built environment and nature. Created by Croatian architect Nikola Bašic it is an instrument people can sit on as the Adriatic and 35 pipes make haunting music.

Sound can be appreciated and interpreted as dimension of biodiversity. Ivo Vicic is an artist based in Rijeka who produces soundscapes from field recordings. His work preserves an acoustic heritage of Croatia’s biodiverse ecosystems. Like Bašic, Vicic’s work mediates relationships between the human and more than human world. Listen here for birdsong, mountain streams, the Adriatic seashore and other soundscapes by Ivo Vicic https://soundcloud.com/ivo-vicic

Silence, too, is part of nature’s narrative although increasingly difficult to hear.  The theme of World Environment Day 2020 is ‘Celebrate BioDiversity. ’ This UN initiative was begun in 1972 to raise awareness about challenges to our earth. This year’s theme could be a tagline for the abundant endemic plants and animals living in Croatia’s alpine, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. An update about Croatia’s biodiversity can be found at Climate Change Post 


Mountain paths

Along Istria’s coast and nestled around  Kvarner’s Opatija Riviera is Učka—mountain range, peak and Nature Park. Učka’s biodiverse ecosystem supports many protected, native plant and animal life. Campanula tommasiana or Adriatic bellflowers bloom there during May and June. From Učka’s highest peak you can see all of Istria, Kvarner Bay and islands, Mount Velebit, the Alps and Italy. I was told that while skiing there you can look at the Adriatic.

Kvarner Bay looking east. Photo, Marie Scatena

Učka is said to be the site of an energy vortex which gives it spiritual potency and healing properties. In the 20th century energy vortices were described as places where the earth’s energy fields align or intersect. Artist Boris Pecigoš’ Stražica-Sapaćica Land Art Trail in Učka Nature Park helps people travel much further back in time to feel it’s energy. His installations on, with, and of trees, plants and rocks are found along a 6.5 km looped trail. Pecigoš encourages human visitors to think about their place and relationships in nature as they experience Učka’s magical spirit.

Boris Pecigoš with one if his Land Art Trail works in Učka Nature Park. Photo, Boris Pecigoš

Childhood memories of Učka are etched along a path between the beaches of Sveti Ivan and Moščenićka Draga. Croatian poet Rikard Katalinič Jerotov’s poem Sipar is dated  1940 but I need to find out when the inscription was made. Sipar is a nostalgic reflection about summers spent on those pebble beaches.

Photos, Marie Scatena

Beach pebbles are sometimes called sipar.  These smooth stones tumble down to the Adriatic from a stream up on Učka mountain. In recent years local artists interpreted Jeretov’s life and poetry in performances near the ‘Sipar path’ which connects coastal villages.  Another Sipar is found near Umag on Istria’s  northwest coast. It is the name of an ancient village almost completely underwater. *


ljubavna priča

Many generations grew up playing under this tree, watching its changing colors and admiring its beauty in every season.



A 243 year old male ginkgo biloba tree called Adam lives in Daruvar at the entrance to the Castle of Count Janković. This tree is protected  as a natural and cultural heritage monument. It is the largest and oldest ginkgo in Croatia. Living near Adam is a smaller female ginkgo named Eve. Together Adam and Eve inspired the “Ginkgo in love” story that helped the tree earn second place in the 2020 European Tree of the Year contest. Online public voting determines contest winners.

Ginkgo biloba trees are considered living fossils because they are the last existing species of their biological group. The average ginkgo tree lives 1000 years, providing shade and shelter. Gingko’s leaves and bark produce a substance that resists fire. They can withstand harsh conditions, thriving in many different environments. Ginkgo trees are symbols of longevity, endurance–and in Daruvar–love.

Jonaš, 11 years old. ‘MY FIRST LOVE’