Meet the Pustare and Pannonian Industrial Heritage

Total Croatia News

Pustare were once the centre point of the application of the most modern technical achievements in agriculture and rich social standard of residents

Pustare are a unique example of Pannonian industrial heritage in a rural setting. Their name is derived from the Hungarian word puszta, denoting a large plain. These are specific work-social communities where in one place, planned and thought-out were many economic and social functions. In their golden age the pustare were an example of how to unite production, accommodation and management functions in one place. At a time when the Belje area was governed from Kneževo in Baranja there were 15 pustare. Each pustara was the seat of a certain management unit of Belje, connected with a narrow track Belje railroad from Zeleno Polje at the current border with Hungary to the Kazuk dock on the Danube. Pustare are categorised as agricultural (surrounded by fertile Baranja land) and forest (surrounded by forests on their edges or in Kopački Rit park). All pustare were made up of three units: management building, economy and residential buildings. With the construction of large production facilities in larger Baranja settlements and changes to agricultural production, as well as catastrophic floods in the 1960s and 1970s, the process of slow decline of pustare began, seen in migrations towards larger centres and a consequential reduction of many social services in pustare.

Pustare, once the centre point of the application of the most modern technical achievements in agriculture and rich social standard of residents, attracting a workforce from all parts of Pannonia and Balkans, are today in danger of disappearance.

However, in the last several years multiple initiatives have arisen whose aim is to revitalise pustare, a sort of pustare scene. In mid 2013 the Pustaraši Mirkovac association was founded, organising each year a gathering of pustaraši in mid-August. A year earlier the Korijeni association of Slavonian pustaraši was founded, based in Antunovac, organising each year a cycling event “On the Trails of Pustare.” In 2014 a book by Daniela Taslidžić Herman named “Are Our Pustare Dying – Notes of a Good Soul,” published by the Institute for Baranja History. In the end of 2016 as part of the project “Increasing Transparency in Management of Spatial and Water Resources INTRA WASP,” the Zeleni Osijek association, Faculty of Civic Enginering and Culturology Department organised a panel discussion titled “New Life or Final End for Baranja Pustare?” In the beginning of this year a civic initiative was formed led by Mislav Matišić named “Stop Destroying Old Baranja,” with the goal of revitalising the Jasenovac and Sokolovac pustare, geographically between the main Baranja tourism attractions: Kopački Rit Nature Park and wine growing Banovo hill. The initiative brings together activists, tourism workers, architects, cultural workers and representatives of museum and educational institutions.

On April 12 the Croatian Society of Cultural Tourism Crocultour headed by Jesenka Ricl organised a design thinking panel “Pustare” through a partnership and with the support of the Ekotour association headed by Edita Kalajdžić and civic initiative “Stop Destroying Old Baranja.” Dinko Pešić of the Zeleni Osijek association spoke of the process of revitalising the Zlatna Greda pustara. The process of renovating and commercialising the Višnjica pustara was presented by Ksenija Plantak. The St. Nikola mill near Mohač, owned by Norbert M. Bugarski was cited as an example of revitalising industrial heritage in neighbouring Hungry. The tourism potential of the Baranja pustare was described by owner of the family accommodation Maksimilijan and tourism agency Maksi Tours, Jasmina Krkić Poznić.

The next day some of the participants toured the Jasenovac pustara and contacted the local residents, preparing for their last days in their homes ahead of the planned demolition of objects and relocation to Kneževi Vinogradi, all part of upcoming preparations for Pustara Fest.
0:00:000:00:EUROPSKI FON


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