A new era and a refreshing breath of new life for another old building is on the horizon.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of March, 2018, the three-hundred-year-old Eugen-Savoy castle in Bilje, a Baranja settlement at the entrance to Kopački rit, just five kilometers away from Osijek, is only majestic to look at from quite a distance, unfortunately when close up, this formerly stunning architectural masterpiece is not only derelict and totally abandoned, but slowly falling apart thanks to the passage of time, the lack of care, and the elements.
Its full restoration and the return of its old hey-day splendor, but with the addition of new, modern facilities to make the building multifunctional and above all, mark its place as the main tourist centre of this area, has been a major topic of debate for ten years now, and it seems the time may just have arrived to put some shine back on the old building yet.
The contract between the county and Hrvatske šume (Croatian forests) was signed by the head of the Osijek branch of Croatian forests, Vlado Jumić, County Prefect Ivan Anušić, and the Municipality’s Željko Cickaj, and thus began the castle’s new journey, a journey which was initially approved at a government session in Osijek on the 1st of December last year, where funds estimated at 1,87 million kuna were secured for the project.
Osijek-Baranja County and the Bilje Municipality want to prevent any further decline of the castle, all while enriching the overall tourist offer of this area and reviving the castle’s interesting and rich past.
”With the use of funds from European funds, we intend to renovate the castle back to its original form and then offer it to inhabitants of the county and our guests for enjoyment. We’re paying special attention to future amenities in order for the castle to be self-financed. Such a project is the top of the offer for continental tourism, EU funds for such things do exist, and its on us to create high quality project documentation and bring it to fruition,” stated Ivan Anušić, offering his gratitude for the support of the Government of Croatia, the competent ministry, Croatian forests and the Bilje Municipality.
“For nearly ten years, we’ve been trying to solve the castle issue, and now we’ve succeeded after only five months of joint activities from the County, Croatian forests, the Municipality and the Government of Croatia. This is an indication that everything can be solved if there;s mutual interest, a will and desire,” stated Željko Cickaj.