Margareta’s Summer 2019 Started in Bakar

Total Croatia News

We’ve recently written several articles about the re-birth of tourism in the Northern Croatian town of Bakar, and this weekend Total Croatia News got the opportunity to visit Bakar and see for ourselves what exactly is going on there, for the opening of the Margareta’s Summer 2019.

I was born and raised in Croatia, and when I was a kid my family had a summer home in Crikvenica (Bakar is located some 20 or so kilometres north of Crikvenica, right near the southern Rijeka suburbs). The road we took to Crikvenica from Zagreb back then went very close to Bakar, and yet I don’t remember ever stopping there. There was no reason to: it was a bay, admittedly you could understand how it used to be a nice bay, but it was completely taken over by a coke plant (no, not that kind of coke, the fuel kind). The plant, the port built to support it and other industrial complexes by Ina were built in the bay in the mid-seventies, and have completely ruined any chance for the area to have any meaningful tourist impact (or nature, for that matter; the seventies factories were nowhere near eco-friendly, and reaped havoc in the vicinity). In 1995 the plant was thankfully closed, the ugly chimney was taken down, the area of the Bakar bay started getting some color back and that’s exactly when dreams of bringing tourists, and not the heavy industry to the Bay started.

20-something years later, the plans seem to have worked. When I arrived at Bakar yesterday, there was almost no sign of what was happening here in the last half-century (there’s still a port). If you didn’t know about the coke, there’s literally nothing that would ever give you any hint that’s what has occupied the bay for decades. I was there for the beginning of the Margaretino Leto 2019 (Margareta’s Summer; St. Margaret is the patron-saint of Bakar), a month-long series of events organized by the Bakar Tourist Board each summer, which includes the Naval Battle reconstruction in the bay.

The Naval Battle reconstruction memorializes the event fro 1616, when the Venetiants tried to take over the town of Bakar, attacking with over 20 boats, but brave defenders of the area managed to fight them off, even though they managed to disembark from their boats! That event will be happening this year on the evening of July 13th, and we were there for the other event that aims to celebrate the history of Bakar, “The Walk through History – the Maria Theresa Times”. Maria Theresa was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions, who in 1779 pronounced Bakar to be a “free royal city”, giving it an important position within her kingdom. To celebrate that event, the Tourist Board organized the interpretation walking tour, during which the tourist guide Marjeta Trkman Kravar “became” Maria Theresa and brought to life how important her decision was for Bakar and the area. Baroque music, baroque carriages, local associtations recreating the atmosphere, sweets made using the period-appropriate recipe book from Vienna, chocolate shaped like the document that gave Bakar its freedom, Bakarska Vodica sparkling wine made in the region… All of those things were offered at the begining of the festivities called Margareta’s Summer, inviting visitors to come to the ancient town and the old Frankopan Castle in its centre.



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