Did you know?
During the 18th and 19th century Sisak was the largest Croatian inland harbor, and river Kupa hosted up to thousand ships.
The first river steamboat in Croatian history was Sloga from Sisak.
The first Roman emperor Augustus, who conquered Segesta, issued a proclamation to conduct the population census, due to which Mary and Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
The oldest football club in Croatia was established in 1906 in Sisak by the name of Segesta.
At the estuary of Kupa into Sava, proudly stands the witness of the most important Croatian victory over Turkish invaders in 16th century – Old Town fortress.
The first railway line in Croatia was built between Zidani Most and Sisak via Zagreb.
Journey through Sisak-Moslavina County
We have visited the city of Sisak, a historic city on three rivers and its marvelous surroundings. City is bordered by the dense forest at the edge of which you are calmly greeted by the magnificent Old Town. It gives you a warm welcome and reveals a wealth of historical heritage, in the irresistible whirl of miraculous nature.
City of Sisak owes its unique position to three rivers: Kupa, Sava and Odra. Kupa is the ultimate symbol of Sisak and also a stage for numerous events throughout the year. There are few cities in Croatia whose inhabitants can pride themselves with the fact that river flows through the city center where you can swim, paddle, dive, or take a ride on a boat or ship. You can find out more about the secrets of Kupa river in this article.
(Detail from Kupa nights, photo: Sisak Tourist Board Facebook page)
But let’s start from the beginning. We started the journey with the visit to village Krapje in the heart of Lonjsko polje nature park.
We are thankful to professional guides from the nature park who gave us a lecture about this unique area.
Birds, flowers, sandbanks and traditional wooden houses form one of the most picturesque landscapes in Croatia, it feels as if we wandered into one of the fairytales from Ivana Brlić Mažuranić or H. C. Andersen.
Lovely village of Krapje is rich with valuable traditional architecture of national significance and the only village in Croatia with the status of architectural heritage site. Since 1995, it has become a tradition to celebrate the day of European heritage.
One of the things especially interesting to us was the traditional house construction from natural materials (oak), perfectly integrated into natural surroundings. Diligence, craftsmanship and modesty that draw its roots from poverty of older generations, preserves the heritage of this region in a special way.
Lonja Field – take a boat ride through the natural paradise
After a tour around the village and around the soft sandbank of river Sava, we were taken for a ride with solar boat along the nature park Lonjsko polje.
The topography of this area was shaped by the river Sava throughout number of years. It has shaped the coastline, creating an unique landscapes which are enjoyed today by the visitors and residents of this area. If you want to know more about the old way of life in this area, visit the specially designed theme pathway that connects the northern part of Lonjsko Polje with Moslavina wine-growing hills and Sava River.
So we found out that Nature park Lonjsko polje contains one of the largest complexes of naturally preserved flooded lowland forests in Europe and beyond. Animals, plants and people have been living here for centuries in a happy symbiosis. And everything gives you a feeling of tranquility and peace. It almost seemed incredible that we left a bustling metropolis barely an hour ago.
One of the characteristic trees in this ecosystem is famous “Slavonian oak”, well known in Europe for its quality. Of many plant, fish and animal species, we must mention storks, the greatest attraction you will be able to see up close, if you visit the village of Čigoč.
This pearl of Croatian heritage is located on the right bank of Sava river, along the river branch called Silence (Tišina). Due to the large number of nests on wooden roofs of Posavina houses, Čigoč village was proclaimed the first European village of storks in 1984. And storks love best to nest exactly in Čigoč, given the fact that here they nest 3,8 chicks per pair on average!
Since the weather served us well, we could see the fairy-tale ambience and enjoy the utter silence disturbed only by the sounds of birds. Trees and wooden houses, flowers and river nearby, have formed the peculiar composition of colors, sounds and smells.
The river lured us to swim. Sandbanks called us to stretch our towels on them. But we had a lot more places to visit.
Ethno village Old Lonja – one of the most beautiful destinations of our journey
After Krapja, we arrived at the ethno village Old Lonja. There we were blinded by hundred shades of green, something that can’t be seen on streets of Zagreb. We were thrilled by the harmony, peace and quietness of this rural household, a place that has everything you need for the ideal vacation in nature.
Friendly hosts have greeted us, offered us wine and world-class liquors, roasted fish and local meat, which catapulted us into orbit of gastronomic enjoyment.
And tempted us to stay there a day or two or longer. (or until they send us away).
If you are looking for a rural household with affordable prices but incredible natural beauty, charm, natural harmony and fine food, be sure to visit this farm. It is just an hour away from Zagreb, and hosts can organize tours on demand and provide you with accommodation.
We moved on towards the ethnographic collection of Sučić family. Invigorated by local food and very happy, we marked the Old Lonja in our excursion schedule as a must see destination for the future.
Ethnographic collection of Sučić family
We visited the ethnographic collection of Sučić family which originated from preserving and collecting traditional objects and today has about 700 different items related to life and economy of this part of Posavina. We sow a real small ethnic treasure; from woodworking tools, farming tools, tools for fishing, transport vehicles, to various practical items related to daily life in the household. Folk costumes, towels, souvenirs, everything is created from natural materials collected or made by the family for years, and their impressive collection has been added to the list of Croatian cultural heritage.
foto: Tradicije Čigoć
We have also visited the famous Traditions Čigoć, another tourist attraction in this area. It is a well known for its traditional dishes from Posavina, of which we recommend their deer goulash, fish paprikash and “Posavina pot”. With each dish they include special delicacy “Čigočica” (flatbread from the bread oven filled with homemade cheese and cream).
It is customary to hear some stories about tradition of river fishing from the hosts while tasting the carp and perch fishes prepared by their own recipe. Uniqueness of this place has been discovered by the campers, and we have unanimously agreed that they could not find a better place for absolute rest.
Sisak city – unusual and unconventional urban area that is easy to love
We came at the start of the three-day event, well known as Kupa nights, of which you can read in more detail on this link. We were taken on a guided tour (organized by the Sisak Tourist Board) through the city. The city is full of greenery, on each step you can see magnificent trees, parks and flower beds.
Kupa nights have certainly taken our full attention. The city was all about the boats, aero show spectacle and other interesting programmes.
Aero show best captures the spectacle that are this year’s Kupa nights (photo Damir Pahić)
And a little more aerial acrobatics (photo Damir Pahić). The one who says there is no life in Sisak, has obviously never visited it. And he definitely should.
Out of other landmarks, whose description would require a whole new text, we will only mention the “Re-think” murals, Old Bridge – Military Sisak, Mali Kaptol, City Hall, Sculpture Park, Veliki Kaptol, Old Bridge, the Basilica of St. Quirinus, Sisak historic ring…
We have also visited the wonderful Old Town where we were transported in a relaxed and happy atmosphere of a Neretva river boat from the Boatmen Association of Sisak (Udruga lađara Sisak). By a pure chance we also witnessed the Sisak wedding scene that conjured up the spirit of this city – a city that seems to be pretty easy to love.
We ended our trip with cycling through Sisak, which is literally covered with cobwebs of bicycle paths through which we were guided. Sisak and surroundings are mecca for cyclists and active holidays, and we experienced that personally while driving through the entire city. It is difficult to single out whether it is better to ride in Neretva river boat or to cycle through Sisak, so we recommend you to try both.
We left full of impressions of the city that is in reach from Zagreb with just an hour drive. With its necklace of countryside households, with its unique nature park and the enchanting beauty of natural and architectural heritage, we are determined to pay another visit. And to make it as soon as possible. Because this destination definitely has a lot to show, throughout the seasons.
Text and photos: Croatia Hotspots
Photo Aero show – Damir Pahić, taken from the FB page Tourist Board of Sisak