Gold was washed in Međimurje for the Counts of Zrinski. In 1776, Empress Marija Teresija issued a special charter to the gold washers from Donji Vidovac, which was received by the goldsmith's guild holder, Bolta Embriuš. According to the charter, the washing machines were given the right to use the coast in a width of three meters on the Drava, Sava and Mura. It was a kind of concession from the 18th century.
Goldsmithing died out, according to the records of the Čakovec City Museum, in the second half of the 20th century. Due to the artificial regulation of rivers, gold mining then became completely unprofitable. Today, this skill is preserved by the Vidovski zlatari association, based in Donji Vidovac, the center of goldsmithing. The great value of this film is the participation of the 93-year-old goldsmith Matej Horvat, who unfortunately passed away today, and then during the filming. At that time, he was the only one who could talk about goldsmithing firsthand.
"The art of gold mining, goldsmithing in Međimurje" is the first film in the Intangible Heritage of Međimurje project that he is implementing Museum of Međimurje Čakovec. The aim of the project is to investigate and document the current state of all intangible assets in the area of Međimurje.
Međimurje and goldsmithing - centuries of experience
The method of washing gold in this area is based on centuries of experience. It was adapted to the type of gold-bearing deposit and the materials available to the population. By the beginning of World War II, 129 boats with 240 goldsmiths were sailing on the Drava alone. According to historical sources, two people went to the rinsing in a boat made of poplar wood, almost 7 meters long., which is specially made for this job. There was a board in the boat that was sawn in a way that made it look like it had hairs on which gold beads stopped. For a gram of gold you need to collect a lot or almost 1000 gold beads.
On the gravel banks of the Drava and Mura, in the green and tame Međimurje, as you can see, gold was once washed, and you can still try it today. Grains and sheets of precious metal were brought by water from the Alps. Local farmers searched for them among the grains of sand persistently and painstakingly in the desire to get rich or at least fill the household budget.
Therefore, head towards Međimurje and experience this superb story and one of the biggest Croatian tourist attractions. Learn how Drava and Mur gold is washed, which is considered the purest natural gold in the world. Over 930 grams of gold can be obtained from one kilogram of gold sand.
Cover photo: www.donjemedimurje-eden.eu