The undestroyed beauty of the Banovina - set off in search of stunning scenes

The earthquake changed the face of the Banovina, but only if you take a closer look can you see the beauty that history has left it as a legacy. Impressive parks that can compete with Zagreb's Zrinjevac in terms of sophistication, the fairytale river Petrinjčica that winds through Petrinja or the proud castle of the Zrinskis, which is superiorly reflected on the surface of the beautiful Una - are just some of the reasons to give Banovina a chance this autumn. Banovina Heritage Interpretation Center.

BANOVINA HERITAGE INTERPRETATION CENTER

The Banovina Heritage Interpretation Center, which was founded in 2016 by the Sisak-Moslavina County, has been carefully monitoring the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of Banovina towns and villages since its foundation. This young cultural institution gained even stronger momentum in its activities in 2018 by moving into its institutional headquarters in the center of Petrinja, designed as a museum-type space that has an educational, exhibition and research function. A very important part of the Centre's activities is the presentation of the Homeland Pottery Collection of the Bešlić family from Petrinja, which, thanks to the Center, is entered in the Register of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia. Although the Center building was unfortunately damaged by the earthquake and is currently under reconstruction, Banovina Heritage Interpretation Center very actively continues to work and cooperate with other institutions in the field of culture, education and related organizations in order to improve its activities and create an offer of cultural tourism in Sisak-Moslavina County.

PETRINJA - RIJEČICA PETRINJČICA AND CITY PARK

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A visit to Petrinja after the devastating earthquake is a visit to a city that has lost a lot and which, like other cities, cannot provide a joyful, relaxed welcome. However, many parts of Petrinja have survived in it, defying reality with their beauty and inviting you to walk its streets and feel admiration instead of sadness as a sign of encouragement. This feeling is guaranteed if you look for the river Petrinjčica, which in the very center of the ruined city looks like an idyllic fairy tale with its linden and acacia avenues, four bridges and waterfalls. The promenade along Petrinjčica is a circular educational and recreational trail 6,6 kilometers long that takes you to Mount Hrastovica and back during a two and a half hour easy walk, and you just need to listen to her stories following the yellow heart-shaped linden leaf markers that will remind you that Petrinja a small town with a big heart.

Another beautiful place is certainly the City Park, at the entrance of which is a very important building. Namely, on the site of today's Croatian Home, a Turkish fortress once stood, which the Christian army conquered for the first time on August 10, 1594, on the feast of St. Lawrence, which is why this saint was later proclaimed the protector of the city of Petrinja. Petrinja City Park it was created during the short reign of Napoleon in the 18th century. French sophistication and elegance are responsible for its appearance, which is dominated by the parish church of St. Lawrence. In addition to the music pavilion, the fountain with unusual sculptures by sculptor Ferdo Ćus, which was decorated after Petrinja received its first city water supply, will also attract the eye in the park.

Another special feature of Petrinja, the pottery tradition, will be indicated by oversized stucka, characteristic of Petrinja clay jug placed as a sign of welcome at the entrance or exit from Petrinja. If you want to take a panoramic view of Petrinja and drink coffee along the way, we suggest Maraschino Petrus bar located not far from Petrinja, and if you want to taste traditional dishes of Petrinja you should definitely head to Millstone on the very banks of the Kupa.

TOPUSKO - NIKOLINO BRDO, LAKE TOPUSKO AND OPATOVINA PARK WITH THE PORTAL OF THE GOTHIC CHURCH

Much spared from earthquakes, Topusko will delight you with its intertwining with nature, which offers you places to relax at every turn. Thanks to thermal springs and ore deposits, Topusko has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and in antiquity a highly urbanized settlement developed, as evidenced by numerous finds such as various altars, urns, tombstones, large amounts of Roman money and amber ornaments. Especially significant are the stone altars dedicated to the Roman deity Jupiter and the divine couple Vidas and Thiana, the god of forests Silvanus, etc. Some of the Roman traces you will meet when you go up to St. Nicholas Hill, a natural attraction in the very center of Topusko.

Elevated to a height of 184 m, Nikolino brdo attracts the eye, overgrown with a wealth of coniferous and deciduous trees. Another natural attraction is Lake Topusko along which in the 19th century Banica Sofija Jelačić, the wife of Ban Jelačić, walked. She arrived in Topusko like many well-to-do members of the upper classes from all over Europe. Thermal springs and mud baths benefited her health, and she especially loved walking along the lake because of the beautiful swan she called the “queen of the lake”.

At the time of the Military Frontier Topusko Spa it has experienced its greatest prosperity, so promenades and parks are being arranged next to villas and palaces, and especially the most beautiful one, which you must definitely take a walk. Namely, the park Abbey it hides a truly impressive secret as high as 23 m. It is the entrance portal of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which some authors consider the most representative example of Gothic architecture in Croatia. Together with the monastery, it was built by the Hungarian-Croatian King Andrew II. 1211.

If this park with its diverse trees, artificial islet and wooden pavilion seems mystical, you will find an explanation in the fact that King Andrew and the church and monastery with certain privileges gave the management of a row of mysterious Cistercians who painted the church in pink, their favorite color . The Cistercians arrived in Topusko from France, and were expelled from these parts by the Turks in 1556, destroying everything except the entrance portal, which is currently being rebuilt.

CLAY - BAN JELAČIĆ PARK IN CLAY AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SENSATION “BATTLE PRINCE” 

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It is easy to fall in love with Zagreb's Zrinjevac, harmonious and beautiful is a favorite place of the people of Zagreb and their guests. But did you know that not far from Zagreb there is his twin brother who can easily compete with him with sophistication and elegance? If you visit Clay, she will be convinced that, in spite of all adversity, her heart is green and beautiful. Namely, almost all the most important clay buildings and monuments from the town hall to the church of St. Ivan Nepomuk and numerous houses from the time of classicism obediently surrounded the spacious and recently renovated Ban Josip Jelačić Park, where you will find as many as 167 trees, mostly plane trees and chestnuts, but also a colorful and modern playground for children. Walking through the park full of flowers, remember that in the 18th and 19th centuries, colonels and soldiers walked proudly through it, because this place was intended for military festivals during the Military Frontier.

A lively and cheerful atmosphere was guaranteed by the trade fair, which was also held here, later called the women's square. The walk will take you to the building of the Glina City Hall in front of which stands a statue of Ban Jelačić watching the city in which he dined, and a step further you will find a sound reminder of another famous name related to Glina. Josip Runjanin, an officer of the Glina Ban Regiment under the command of Ban Josip Jelačić, set the verses of the Croatian anthem to music in this town. In order for both children and adults to remember this well, it has been set up in the immediate vicinity of the town hall music fence made of 35 melodic pipes on which you will be able to successfully play on your own by tapping the club Our beautiful homeland!

During your stay in Glina, keep in mind that in its vicinity, in Bojna, there is a real archeological sensation, ie the last resting place of an unknown Croatian medieval prince called "Prince of the Battalion." Namely, 37 medieval graves were found at the Brekinjova kosa site near the Battalion, and one of them hid numerous valuables that reveal that the dignitaries of that time went to eternal rest surrounded by material evidence of their high social status. Valuable objects were an inspiration to archaeologists to call the deceased from grave 4 a prince of the Battalion, and his true identity has yet to be discovered, just as this period of Croatian history needs to be better explored.

DVOR - SILVER MINES AND THE FERTILE VALLEY OF THE UNA RIVER

They used to be in this area Counts Zrinski had mines (Gvozdansko and Majdan) and extracted silver, but even though there is not much shine in today's picture of the Palace, this area still has something that will make you shine. If you visit the Palace, you will be amazed by the beautiful trees of another century-old park left to the Banovina by the Military Border. Around it, just like in Glina, the buildings of the then military administration of that church sprang up. It is interesting to mention that the beginning of today's settlement, after the departure of the Turks, was located on the terrace called "floors" above the river Una, so it was first called Floors, and only then the Palace, thanks to Emperor Joseph II. after whose visit in 1775 the name was changed.

If you want to explore, know that the surroundings of Dvor abound in prehistoric sites located in the villages of Javornik, Matijevići, Norde and Gorička, ancient remains were found in Hrtić. The biggest trump card of the Court is certainly Una river which is influenced by the river Žirovac and which in this area calms its temperamental character and becomes a real plain river, calm and wide like the Sava. You will enjoy the view of the green hills, the river and the river islands, as well as the fertile fields along the Una itself, where it is even possible to find a plantation of yellow irises. All fishing enthusiasts here will especially come to their senses because the Una is home to 23 species of fish, including those from its upper course.

HRVATSKA KOSTAJNICA - KAŠTEL ZRINSKI NA UNI AND FOREST PARK ON BRDU DJED

Hrvatska Kostajnica is another banovina town on the river Una, to which history has given several roles. It was named after the chestnut tree, it was inhabited by Illyrians, two Roman roads passed by it, it was first mentioned in 1240, and it was bought, sold and conquered by many noble and royal families due to its important position, including the Turks. Kostajnica was an important estate, a customs house that supervised traffic and trade, part of the Military Frontier, a regiment, a town and then a free city.

Its most impressive landmark is certainly, along with the Franciscan monastery and the church of St. Antun Padovanski, Kastel Zrinski which seems to grow out of the Una River. According to some sources, it was built in the 13th century, and for many centuries it defended the people of Kostajnica from the Turks and other invaders and was the main place around which life took place. The Zrinski princes received the keys to the castle in the 16th century, and the fort itself is named after them. The walls and towers are largely preserved so you can tour them and listen to their turbulent historical stories.

If you get hungry during your stay in Hrvatska Kostajnica, know that you will find a good bite on a hill with an unusual name. Santa's Hill it is known for its dense forest park that attracts locals and passers-by, the restaurant of the same name and the beautiful view of the Una Valley. The forest park was planted under the guidance of Davorin Trstenjak, a pedagogue and writer originally from Slovenia, who in 1892, while serving in Kostajnica, began clearing bushes with his students, arranging a promenade and planting trees along the slopes of Santa.

In this green oasis, staying on the terrace or in the interior of the restaurant Djed decorated like a wooden hut, you will be able to taste local specialties with chestnuts. Toddlers will enjoy the playground next to the restaurant under the arch of green trees. Every autumn in Kostajnica, the Chestnut Festival is held, which with a multi-day program invites people from all over to walk through the beautiful forests, gather, and then sweeten themselves with that warm autumn delicacy.

Photos: Banovina Heritage Interpretation Center

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