My Croatia - Slavonia!
When tourists think of Croatia, they are generally thinking of the coastal spots such as Dalmatia or Istria. Some may consider the continental parts like Zagreb, the capital city, and Plitvice Lakes, the UNESCO World Heritage site, as they head toward the coast. Without a doubt, Croatia’s coastal areas are the most beautiful in the country, but there is more to Croatia than just the coastal areas.
Croatia is divided into four historical and cultural regions. Slavonia is located in northeastern Croatia. It covers the area between Sava and Drava Rivers and borders with the River Danube on the east. Slavonia is a flat and fertile area and an important source of food for the whole of Croatia. This region is also known for its Djakovo Lipizzaner horse breeding and is a true oasis for tourists who want to replace the city’s hustle and bustle with the quiet and relaxation of nature.
Slavonia is abundant in cultural and historical heritage, unique continental architecture, churches, towers, and castles as well as spas based on thermo-mineral waters. Over the past few years, this eastern Croatian region, which is making tourism its priority, has invested substantial funds in the reconstruction of the existing and new construction of small family hotels and health and recreation resorts.
Kopački Rit Nature Park has the greenest waters in the whole of Slavonia. The park covers the wetland area around the confluence of Drava and Danube Rivers, near Osijek, and due to its inaccessibility has remained in its pure state since ancient times. Kopački Rit is one of the largest natural wetlands in Europe and as such has been recommended for inclusion in the UNESCO List of Natural Heritage. Large herds of deer are practically a trademark of Kopački Rit, despite the fact that herds of wild boar are just as large. There are other mammals in the park but far more numerous are birds– a total of 300 different species. The most important among them are the very rare and protected species: white-tailed eagles and black storks. The park can be easily reached by car from nearby Osijek, the largest town in Slavonia, and visitors can lose themselves to the primeval spirits of the wetlands. The best way, however, to tour the park is on excursion boats that are able to reach even the shallow, swampy backwaters. The beauty of the park can also be enjoyed by the tourists sailing the Danube, which marks the eastern border of this truly magnificent nature park.