On the first Saturday in May, two days after the grand opening of the renovated Tikveš castle complex, TIKFEST was held - a festival of revived history and gastronomy as part of the project Transdanube travel stories and in the organization of the association Danubeparks.
It is some 13 kilometers from the reception center of the Kopački rit Nature Park at the location of Mali Sakadaš to Tikveš. The organizers took care of the bus transport from Osijek via Mali Sakadaš to Tikveš, but according to a well-established custom, I chose a bicycle as a means of transport because you are neither too fast nor too slow with it.
On the stretch from the pier for tourist boats to the turnoff for the deserted Danube, the usual wetland scenes were missing, and instead the Danube steppe was dotted with occasional trees and shrubs, but the dynamics of flooding and water retreating shaped this whole unique area; a specific and unique inner delta of the Danube, which is rich in numerous birds and an enviable fund of wildlife.
Tikves Castle itself was created as a hunting castle of the Habsburg family, and after the Habsburgs it was used by the Karadjordjevics and the former "greatest son of our peoples and nationalities" - Josip Broz Tito. These are rulers who were in deep antagonism with each other; The Karadjordjevics waged war against K.uK. monarchy which ended with its collapse, and Tito was at the head of the war movement whose one enemy was the Karadjordjevic dynasty and their bourgeois Yugoslavia, and which ended with their dethronement, but one thread connected them all - love for Tikves and Baranja.
It is interesting how all the rulers in this area in the last 300 years have flocked to this corner of the wilderness and then Tikves Castle in recent years has neglected itself, but fortunately that has finally changed, the complex has shone in a new guise and become interpretive - education center.
It is less than ten kilometers from the Danube region, the former Belje wasteland, where only one inhabitant lives today, to Tikves, and the road is dotted with gazebos with a thatched roof, which are also excellent cycling tourist resorts. Opposite some of them there are endless fields bordered by dense forests of Kopački rit, and opposite others there are rectangular water canals that feed these fields. These fields and canals are a witness to man's successful struggle with nature, because the Danube had another current along the current one that stretched from Batina to Lug, and it was the former political elite who enjoyed the charms of Tikves that sponsored the preservation of at least part of the wilderness. , but about that a little later.
As the subtitle of the festival suggests, upon arrival in Tikveš, visitors were able to participate in an interpretive living history a tour of the complex led by Nikolina Baškarad in the role of Isabelle Teschen, and Isabelle von Habsburg, who once hosted the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I and the German Emperor Wilhelm II in Tikves.
A short but instructive introductory walk ended in the area between the entrance to the interpretation and education center and a mini fair of local Baranja products where visitors could taste Baranja langoustines, honey, cured meat delicacies of family farms Dobrovac from Kneževi Vinogradi and Stojković from Jagodnjak, and real Baranja nectar - brandy from Popovac's Goldberg. Quite a decent base for a tour of the interpretation - education center, which due to the content located there can comfortably take hours.
At the entrance there is a mini souvenir shop with interesting souvenirs inspired by the flora, fauna and traditional heritage of Kopački rit. The story then moves on to the flora and fauna itself, hydromelioration ventures, and finally in chronological order to the personalities who left their mark in Tikves.
All of this is multimedia and interactive and does not lag behind recent interpretive content in other nature parks. Tikveš was equally represented during the time of the Habsburgs, Karađorđević and Tito, and during the tour it can be found out that it was Tito who was responsible for the fact that Kopački rit was not further drained. Of course, his primary motive was not to endanger large game habitats and hunting grounds, and not to protect nature, but the most important thing in that story is that Kopački rit has survived as a unique natural phenomenon.
A tour of the entire interpretation and education complex is impossible to retell. As I said, you can comfortably spend a few hours in it, and that is why it is the bestbolis to visit him in person. A place definitely worth a visit where you can see everything important for this area, from holograms of fish to Tito's Cuban cigarettes.
After Tito, Karađorđević and the Habsburgs, the Institute of Archeology in Zagreb brought visitors back even further into history, at a time when this area was ruled by the Roman Empire. In the area of Zmajevac and Batina there were border fortifications Ad Novas and Ad Militare, and near Popovac an altar of the god Liber was found, and Baranja was then a border area because the Roman Empire never set foot on the soil of neighboring Bačka.
Living danube limes is a project that connects the Danube area with a common Roman heritage, and is aimed at creating a cultural route that will include the entire Danube region. This project was also presented at TIKFEST, and the team from the Institute of Archeology prepared Roman delicacies for visitors - dumplings (globes) and unusually spicy wine (conditum paradoxum) with honey, laurel, dates, pepper and saffron.
Traditional chef Marko Horvat from Duboševica, who made beans in a jar, and the team of the Zelena žaba restaurant from Kopačevo were in charge of the autochthonous, Baranja specialties. There was no lack of that fine Baranja wine, and the wineries Szabo from Karanac and Gerštmajer from Zmajevac took care of that.
Although it was created within a project that has a limited duration, it would be nice for TIKFEST to become a traditional event because it is truly a specific event that is not a mere copy paste of something already seen. The first year we hung out with Isabella von Habsburg, next year we may be hosted by the "undecided heir to the throne" Đorđe Karađorđević, and in 2024 by "Comrade Stari"! Be that as it may, TIKFEST is definitely an event that has the potential for further development and growth.
Photos: Mario Jukić