CROA­TIA

A va­ca­tion to the past

DRIFT Travel magazine - - Inside This Issue - BY: J L THOMP­SON

The tiny coun­try of Croa­tia is a must-visit lo­ca­tion for lovers of his­tory, art, and the old-world Mediter­ranean. With towns that look like they are straight out of the Re­nais­sance to cas­tles from the Mid­dle Ages, much of the coun­try still looks like a long-van­ished world. The coun­try is so full of an­cient Ro­man ru­ins, baroque churches, and houses built cen­turies ago that a trip across Croa­tia can seem like a trip back in time.

Old World Towns

The town of Osi­jek, built in a Gothic, baroque style, is a must-see for the sake of its amaz­ing ar­chi­tec­ture. Tro­gir is a fas­ci­nat­ing for­ti­fied town that was built in the Mid­dle Ages. The Is­tria penin­sula is home to a num­ber of towns that have stood since the days of the Ro­man Em­pire. How­ever, trav­el­ers who want to pack the most into the least time need to visit the Is­land of Rab. This is­land is cov­ered in his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments and the in­hab­i­tants put on a wide va­ri­ety of tra­di­tional cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties and his­toric per­for­mances. The is­land is also home to re­gions of breath­tak­ing nat­u­ral wilder­ness. Kor­cula, an is­land sit­ting just off of the ma­jor city of Dubrovnik, still sees reg­u­lar per­for­mances of the tra­di­tional weapon dance, the Moreška.

Cas­tles

Croa­tia has all the cas­tles and fortresses that any­one could want to see. The fortress of St. Ni­cholas, in Sibenik, is a par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing sight­see­ing at­trac­tion. It was built out on the ocean, and is still in per­fect con­di­tion. The Cas­tle of St. Michael is more than 1,000 years old. The city of Dubrovnik ac­tu­ally is a gi­ant fortress. It is sur­rounded by walls that are so thick that they ac­tu­ally have roads run­ning in­side them. The Rec­tor's Palace dis­plays finely de­tailed an­cient carv­ings and now serves as a mu­seum.

The Nat­u­ral World

Rock climbers come from all over the world to Pak­lenica's Great Gorge. This stun­ning fea­ture of the nat­u­ral world looks like a scene out of a fan­tasy movie. The Krka Na­tional Park is filled with long chains of beau­ti­ful stepped wa­ter­falls. Sys­tems of min­eral wa­ter lakes that are col­ored like jew­els adorn the Pl­itvice Lakes Na­tional Park. Sun­bathers flock to the Makarska Riviera, a re­gion fa­mous for its pris­tine beaches and night­clubs.

Croa­tia is a land of won­ders, both nat­u­ral and man-made. What makes trav­el­ing there worth­while, though, is the way that so much of it seems to still ex­ist in a world that has long since van­ished. Through­out the coun­try, peo­ple keep folk­ways and artis­tic tra­di­tions of the Baroque cul­ture alive. It is well worth not just a sight­see­ing trip, but an ex­tended stay.

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