November 16, 2019 – The small northern Croatian town which calls itsself the centre of the world is expanding its tourism offer with a journey back through time. Meet Iovia Ludbreg.
Ever since I visited Ludbreg for the first time more than three years ago, I have been mildly fascinated by the little town of Ludbreg, which sits in eastern Varazdin County equadistant from Varazdin and Koprivnica. At the time, I recorded my first impressions in Ludbreg, the Most Fascinating, Unusual Little Town in Croatia? And it is.
And while most Croatians will know Ludbreg for its claim to be the centre of the world, a little closer investigation of its religious history reveals that it could soon be better known for something which potentially could attract a lot of religious tourists. For as we explored recently, it seems that Ludbreg is Croatia’s only official miracle town. The only place in all Croatia which has a miracle verified by the Vatican which you can actually visit. By contrast, Medjugorje in neighbouring Bosnia and Hercegovina has nothing officially recognised by the Vatican and yet attracts over a million tourists a year. You can lean more about the Ludbreg miracle here.
Not content with the current tourist attractions on offer, the local authorities are working hard to improve the tourist offer in the town, with the latest initiative unveiled last week by video called Iovia Ludbreg.
It is a presentation of the project “Improving the continental tourism by the tourist recognition of the historical and cultural heritage of the town of Ludbreg” – Iovia Ludbreg.
In the video, they explained the current situation in Ludbreg: the religious tourism in the town is developed, as it is a well-known pilgrimage site. The number of visitors is growing, as is the understanding that religious tourism is important for a wider community, not just the town itself.
The project’s basic idea is to create an archaeological park and show as clearly as possible the thousands of years of continuous inhabitation of the area, which was first inhabited in prehistory. It is important to focus on attracting more visitors to Ludbreg and surroundings, and that can be done by putting together the information on the possibilities for visitors.
Improving the existing cultural heritage, as well as building the new tourist offerings for the visitors will achieve just that. That can be done through an integrated project, along with the appropriate marketing activities. And that is exactly what is being achieved in the project “Improving the continental tourism by the tourist recognition of the historical and cultural heritage of the town of Ludbreg”.
A part of the project is to build the archaeological park “Iovia Ludbreg” in the centre of the town, which is often called “the centre of the world”.
Erina Stančin, the project manager, explains that currently all of the explored walls are being restored to the height of 110 cm, while the Roman walking surfaces will be restored to their original height. Info boards with 3D reconstructions of the entire site will be installed, to make it easier to understand the architecture of the site. There will be tents situated on the site, with Roman games, which will be open year-round. On the Southern side of the site wooden benches will be situated to mimic Roman theatre. That will create a setting for lectures and open-air classes.
Somođi house, the only existing building on the site, will become a multifunctional object with an area of around 670 m2. Somođi garden is being created next to the house, so a lot of work is being done there – construction, decoration, landscaping. Erina Stančin adds that shortly the Somođi house will become the centre of cultural and tourist events in Ludbreg. It will be able to receive around 150 visitors, and their number will be monitored. There will be a souvenir shop and an exhibition which will show the history of Ludbreg from prehistory until modern times. A multimedia presentation space will also be created, in which 3D interactive models will show the researched parts of Roman Iovia. Multifunctional hall will be in the basement, to be used by associations of civil society for their educational or entertaining events.
Hotel “Crnković” was also adapted through this project. Soon it will offer 15 rooms (30 beds) and great food. Boris Crnković, the owner, says that the hotel will add to what Ludbreg has to offer to the bigger number of visitors. 85 per cent of the money needed for the complete adaptation came from the project, while 15 per cent are their own funds.
A walking trail along Bednja will also be created, 1300 meters long with informational and educational content, bringing other locations and sites closer. A new square, the so-called “Crafter’s Square” will also be built, and it will be a location where the visitors will be able to learn about the crafts present during the Roman period. The Most Holy Trinity Church is the central and key point of the Ludbreg sanctuary. It will also get some attention through this project, as works on the facade will be done and a system of monitoring the number of visitors implemented.
To follow the latest on Iovia Ludbreg and news from the centre of the world, follow the dedicated TCN section.