Romantic Vinkovci: Roses, London Phone Box in Europe’s Oldest Town

Total Croatia News

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Saul Tikvic/Vinkovci Tourist Board
Saul Tikvic/Vinkovci Tourist Board

It is one of the most surreal things I have seen in my time in Croatia. Until I saw the rest of the story. 

There, slap bang in the middle of the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe (8,300 years) in eastern Croatia, stood a well-maintained, genuine red London telephone box.

Which actually still worked.  

And is lovingly maintained. 


 But if you visit today, you will see something even more unusual, as romantic Vinkovci celebrates Valentine’s Day in quite some style. Red roses for a red telephone box. 


But if you think that a working red telephone box in a town in eastern Croatia is a little unusual, wait for the explanation of its journey from the UK to its final resting spot in romantic Vinkovci. 

Back in 1991, a dour Yorkshireman called Steve arrived in Croatia to fight for the country as a volunteer. He was wounded in the war and ended up staying in Vinkovci, marrying a lovely local lady with whom he had 6 children. 


Steve did a lot of work with UK NGOs who were bringing assistance to Croatia, and they really appreciated his help. After the last delivery, they asked what they could send him from the UK to thank him for his considerable help. A barrel of his favourite Yorkshire beer, he declared. 

Or if not that, I don’t know, a red telephone box, he added as an afterthought. 


Six months later, the afterthought came to Vinkovci. A phone call from the Vinkovci authorities. A red London telephone box had been delivered. What to do with it? 

He may be a tight Yorkshireman when it comes to money, but Steve is very generous when it comes to telephone boxes. He agreed to donate it to the city, on condition it was kept as a working telephone. 

It still is today, and you can buy cards at a nearby kiosk. 


And if you thought this might be the strangest part of the story, read on. For Steve will probably be spending this romantic day in his favourite space in the world, truly exceptional – How I Came to Open an English Pub in a Field in Eastern Croatia.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Vinkovci. To learn more about this fascinating historic town, read Vinkovci: 10 Things to Know about Europe’s Oldest Town.



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