Get to know what summer means in one of Croatia’s most overlooked regions!
The city of Osijek is home to a very much under-rated football team, which recently gained some popularity and attention from International media. The team successfully progressed through to the final group qualifying matches for Europa League. It was an historical moment for PSV Eindhoven. For the first time in 44 years they failed to qualify, after two embarrassing defeats against Osijek. The team proudly progresses to meet Austria Vienna for the deciding matches on 17th and 24th August. Local fans and supporters across the world celebrated in style, despite the not so pleasant commentaries about the outward appearance of the football club!
Osijek has always had a great reputation as a destination, but sadly very few venture this far east. The region offers an incredible array of things to do, and places to visit, some that have been around for centuries. Baranja has long been a centre of cultural change and transformation, which is well documented in historical documents. In fact many cultures have left their footprints and trademarks firmly in the region, which makes Baranja very unique for a lot of reasons. It is also home to the European Amazon, Kopacki Rit, as well as numerous other attractions and places to visit.
August is also becoming a month full of really diverse cultural festivals and events. Osijek and the surrounding area, is home to a diverse population that is proud of it’s roots. This is reflected by the number of cultural festivals growing each year. The locals always put on a great performance, and open their hearts and homes to visitors from all over the world. Some of the most important festivals coming in August are “12th International Land Art Festival Slama” which will be held on 12-13th August, at Bilje. The theme for this year is “The Zodiac” and will explore how astrology has been used as a guide and tool over millennium. From the ancient Egyptians, Shamans, Romans and Greeks – and through to modern day uses of Astrology/Astronomy.
On 18-20th August the festivities will be move to Darda, for a three day festival of music, clothing and food. Set on themes from the 16th century and at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. During these times the area was under the rule of Ottoman Empire – Sultan Sulejman The Magnificent, or the rule of the Esterhazy family. Although it may seem unconnected at first glance, both rulers directly influenced historical events in Baranja. Throughout the festival performers will engage and tell the tales from days gone by and capture the hearts of young and old alike.
The final festival is a new event called Liberty Festival, which will be held on 25-27th August, at various venues in the City. Offering lots of activities for children of all ages, as well as a bi-lingual self empowerment conference which includes lectures on education, technology and progress, human freedoms and health. An International cycle race will finish in the city, with the award ceremony taking place in the centre. In addition a great line up of local and international DJ’s, showcasing the best of the last 3 decades of music. The event will also be attended by Tomislav Tesla, a direct descendant of Nikola Tesla, where he will share his vision of community spirit and the future.
Osijek is open and ready to greet visitors from all over the world. It truly is a destination that offers something for everyone, and is very reasonably priced when compared to other well promoted parts of Croatia. There are a tremendous array of activities to enjoy, as well as being home to some of the oldest vineyards and brewery in Croatia. It is a destination to enjoy and offers an alternative to the hustle and bustle of the more usual tourist places. There are direct flights daily to and from Osijek airport to some of the major cities in Croatia. If you’re tired of the beach, why not head for Baranja, and enjoy some of Mother Natures’ hidden treasures?