5 Things to Know about Croatia’s Louisiana Road (Lujzijana Cesta)

Total Croatia News

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November 9, 2019 – TCN is delighted to welcome Forrest Stilin to the team, with his first article on the historic Louisiana Road (Lujzijana Cesta, or Ljuzinska and Luzijanska) from Karlovac to Rijeka.  

A new addition to the TCN team, Forrest was one of the successful applicants from our recent job posting for new writers. It is always nice to learn something new from a writer applying for the job, and I must confess that I personally had never heard of the Louisiana Road (Lujzijana Cesta) before. 

Welcome, Number 142! If you would like to write about the Croatia, Montenegro or Slovenia where you are, please contact us at [email protected] 

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The Louisiana Road, built between 1803 to 1811, emerged as an important early commercial route for the transport of goods between Karlovac and Rijeka in the 1800s. The average annual road traffic between 1827 and 1829 was estimated at 80,000 horse-drawn carriages, 90,000 oxen and 25,000 freight horses.

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Built During the First French Empire

Most of Croatia proper, Istria, Dalmatia, Slovenia and part of Austria were re-named the Illyrian Provinces under the First French Empire, which existed under Napoleonic Rule from 1809 to 1814. The origin of the name Louisiana remains in dispute. Some historians maintain that it was named after Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este, the third wife of Emperor Frances I of Austria, while others believe that it was named after Napoleon’s second wife Marie Louise of Austria.

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Designed by Barun Josip Filip Vukasović

Barun Josip Filip Vukasović, a Croatian soldier, played a key role in the development of early transportation routes from the Croatian Littoral to the Adriatic Sea. He is credited for designing the Theresiana Road, which upgraded an earlier route from Gospić to Karlobag. He also designed a coastal road between Senj and Sveti Juraj and directed the reconstruction of a portion of the Josephina Road from Senj to Karlovac. He is most well-known for his career as a soldier in the army of the Hapsburg Monarchy and fought the advance of the Ottoman Empire. He later fought in Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) during the First French Empire, was wounded in battle, and died on August 8, 1809.

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Road Specifications and Route

The original Louisiana Road was just under 18 Austrian postal miles or 141 km long, 8.2 m wide and boasted grades of less than 4%. The road began in Karlovac and passed through Netretić, Vukova Gorica, Severin na Kupi, Vrbovsko, Skrad, Delnice, Lokve, Mrzla Vodica, Gornje Jelenje, Orehovica and ended in Rijeka. The road was upgraded in 1910 and paved from Rijeka to Delnice in 1940. By 1955 the entire road had been paved. The present- day D3 state route follows portions of the original Louisiana Road. Most of the contemporary traffic from Karlovac to Rijeka follows the A1 and A6 freeways which were completed in 2005 and 2008.

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Obelisks and Mile Markers

A number of stone mile markers, which follow the route and note distance, still exist along the present-day D3 state route. These original tablets, like the one in Nadvučnik, use Austrian postal miles to denote distance and are written in German. Later markers, like the obelisk in Čavle, use kilometers for distance and are written in Croatian.

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The Book

Rudolf Strohal, a famous Croatian linguist and writer penned the book “Uz Lujzinsku cestu” (Along the Louisiana Road). It was published in 1935 and describes the construction of the route and the regions and towns it passed through. In his forward, he states: “I wrote this book to reminisce in my old age about sweet memories from the happiest period of my life, which I spent along the Louisiana Road. I saw the sun for the first time along the Louisiana Road, I spent my young days along it, and crossed it countless times. Not only did I know every house along the Louisiana Road but every stone and piece of wood.”

And, to finish, a little archive footage and video from Croatian national television.



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