What can you find in this blog post: lots of photos and my impressions of this beautiful part of Croatia
When I visited Lonjsko Polje I didn’t really know what to expect as I’ve never been in that part of Croatia. So I went without any expectations, equipped with my camera and excitement I always feel when I’m discovering some new place, specially if involves nature! I will write more in details about my impressions but for start let me just say that I loved it.
It was so many of the things that I love to photograph and experience, beautiful nature, adorable animals, peace and quiet, friendly people and so much more. There were also things that brought some heaviness into my heart but more on that later…
What is Lonjsko polje?
Lonjsko Polje is located about 50km southeast of Zagreba and it’s 506 km2 stretch of swampland (polje = field) in the Posavina region, between the Sava River and Mt Moslavačka Gora. It is one of the largest European preserved wetlands sustained by traditional farming and known for the diversity of its flora and fauna.
The combination of habitats and their regular flooding provide the conditions for rich biodiversity. 250 bird species can be found in the Park and that represents more than two-thirds of all bird species in Croatia.
Besides many bird species Lonjsko polje is home to some rare domestic animal breeds such as Slavonian-Podolian cattle, Turpopolje pig, Posavina horse and Posavina goose. Obviosuly photographing them was one of the highlights of my trip and it’s a wonderful experience for any animal lover and photography enthusiast.
Being so close to beautiful horses on the bank of Sava river or adorable pigs in fields and bushes and being able to photograph them in their natural environment from such vicinity made me happy like a little kid! 🙂
And just look at these cute pigs! I was soooooo happy there! 🙂
And these beauties!
In the area there are few villages with charming traditional wooden house and each one is worth a visit and a little tour. You can find many pretty details, scenes of traditional ways of life, kind people willing to share their stories but at the same time you have to be prepared that some of those scenes and stories will leave you feeling sad and heavy.
Unfortunately many people have left the villages in the search for a different / ‘easier’ life and those who stayed often feel disappointed and forgotten.
When you see those charming wooden houses abandoned and in such poor condition, it makes you imagine how it was in ‘the old times’ when villages were full of people, full of life and laughter, when smoke was coming out of the chimneys and when gardens were blooming with produce and flowers.
Such a shame to have a treasure like that and leave to just stand there as a reminder of better times. It made me sad and angry but I tried to shake off those feelings and focus on all the positives and there are plenty of those too!
If you visit Lonjsko polje, make sure you take a stroll through Čigoć village that is a world-famous for many white storks nesting on top of Čigoć’s old wooden houses. Čigoć is home to the park’s information point and ticket office, and a small ethnographic collection.
Another charming little village and my favourite is Krapje, known for its charming traditional wooden houses and rich fishing and hunting areas, various farm buildings with their barns and you can find also a small ethnographic collection.
Lonja is the biggest village in the area and also there you can find many abandoned houses but at the same time more sighs of life and hope for a better future. It made me incredibly happy to meet people who want to stay there and give their part in making this beautiful part of Croatia more developed and easier to live in.
Perfect example is a family that runs Ethno Village Stara Lonja (http://www.etnoselo-staralonja.com/en/ ) where you can sleep in gorgeous and fully renovated 300-years old traditional wooden house and eat home cooked meals, enjoy their beautiful garden and listen to their interesting life stories. Loved that place and for sure will be back!
So as you can see from my travel story, I came back from this trip with mixed feelings. With my heart full of beauty, also some sadness and questions if more could be done to help out local people so they can stay there, to live and work and not being forced to move.
And finally, with hope that as long as there are people who are willing to stay and put their heart and soul into making life better for them and their children, there will be brighter future for this incredibly beautiful part of my country.
*Thank you so much for being here, that makes me so happy! You can also follow my Travelling oven on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, as well as sign up to receive new blog posts via email and subscribe to my newsletter.