10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Destination Slunj Rastoke
If you are interested in things you can see at destination Slunj Rastoke, the following text will describe 10 great locations.
Slunj is a small town, hospitable and warm, suitable for all the people who like to enjoy the beauties of nature, spend time in fresh air, listen to stories from intriguing and rich history and savour the specialties prepared by a fusion of modern and home cooking. Here you can meet the power of the river Slunjčica, observe it feed into the river Korana, listen to snippets about the Napoleon Warehouse or a story about an Olympian who had lived here. You can take a walk around Rastoke, where the famous movie about Winnetou was filmed. The promenade is 2.5 kilometres long and it is ideal for physical activity, during which you can clear your mind and body, alongside burning some calories.
Nature plays a key role to many interesting things that Slunj has to offer! Explore it with this guide, which reveals 10 reasons why you should visit destination Slunj-Rastoke!
- Rastoke Is Beautiful All Year Long
Due to the special architectonic appearance of the settlement, mills and their functions, Rastoke as a rural complex was protected in 1969 as a cultural heritage site. It was entered into the Registry of Immovable Cultural Heritage Sites belonging to the Regional Institute for Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites in Zagreb. In 2008 it was entered as a cultural and historic rural complex into the registry of Cultural Heritage Sites of Croatia.
What is so special about this place? The appearance and specificity of this place is attributed to the river Slunjčica, which cascades through a number of waterfalls into the river Korana. There are 23 waterfalls in total, of which the most famous are Hrvoje, Vilina Kosa and Buk. In order to harness the natural force of water to start a millstone, mills are built directly on waterfalls, whose height is no less than 4 or 5 metres. Imagine this, in 1967 there were 22 mills at work in Rastoke, of which 20 milled grain such as corn, rye, barley, wheat, millet and others. Today you can still hear the sound of a millstone in the house of the Jareb family, which is also a traditional house with the mills on the ground floor. All the houses in Rastoke are built in a similar way; square two-storey houses with a distinctive ganjak (a wooden balcony), which extends along one side of the house. In Rastoke, you will experience the power of nature and history, in addition to the power of future, which teaches us to turn back to nature.
- The Power of the River Korana
Destination Slunj-Rastoke offers a unique enjoyable experience of rivers. For the local people, the river Korana represents the perfect place for spending summer afternoons and has the most beloved beach site. For those who like to spend their day in nature, the Korana river valley is surrounded by a forest called Jelvik, whose paths will lead you to a spring of fresh water. The river Korana is a typical karstic river of central Croatia with a diverse flow. It is 134 kilometres long, it meanders, plunges over waterfalls, slowly cascades, disappears under the ground in order to reappear on the surface. It springs under Sastavci and Great Waterfall in Plitvice Lakes. Its downstream flow towards Karlovac forms a natural border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It flows northwards and flows into the river Kupa near Karlovac.
- Relaxation in the Jelvik Forest
The Jelvik forest is only a couple of minutes of walking away from Rastoke. It is a pine forest, which was planted at the end of the 19th century, during the ranger Lakanac’s time. Before that, the area had been a gmajna (a common grassland), which the Rastoke locals used for cattle pasture. This magnificent forest offers silence, privacy and places for isolation all year long. Many people who had walked through it cannot decide if it is more beautiful during the summer months when it offers a shade from heat or during the winter months when it is clothed in white raiment. The path to the forest will lead you to the Napoleon’s Warehouse, which is a landmark. You can start from it and choose you way of exploring the forest. You can opt for either a leisurely walk or Nordic walking.
- Napoleon’s Warehouse Is a Place Where You Can See a Charming Sunset
The warehouse, a place where you can see one of the most gorgeous sunsets in the Slunj area, is a large stone building. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century (1809 – 1813) during the time of French administration over the Slunj area, which was a border region of the French Empire. It consisted of 3 storeys and a practical mansard and it was used as a storage for grain. This stone building is located near the Slunj fortress, on the slopes above the river Slunjčica and Rastoke. Today, it is one of the rare buildings in Slunj which was not damaged in the war, but rather from slow decay.
- Gradina – the Frankopan Fortress with the View of the River Slunjčica
When you are in Slunj, you will see the Frankopan legacy, a fortress, the Old Town Slunj. It is located on a rock elevation on a peninsula around which the river Slunjčica bends and it is believed it was built in the 14th century. During the 15th century, the Frankopan family of Slunj owned it until 1572, when their line died out. The most famous members are George, who was a participant of Parliament of Cetin, and Francis, who was a Croatian viceroy. The Slunj fortress, known amongst the locals as Gradina, is a testament to continuous war suffering and desolation, but at the same time, a place of resistance and defence against the Ottoman Empire.
- Walk over the Moćan Bridge with Someone You Love
One of three special bridges at destination Slunj-Rastoke is the Moćan bridge, which is the first wooden bridge of the Slunj area and it has always served as an important connection between the Slunj fortress (Gradina) on the right bank and the settlement on the left bank of the river Slunjčica. Throughout history it changed its appearance and there used to be a guard house in the middle of the bridge. Today’s appearance is the result of reconstruction done in the 20th century and it got its name from an old Slunj family, who has its mill by the bridge on the left bank of the river Slunjčica, the Moćan family. This place amazes with its gorgeous view of the river Slunjčica, the old part of Slunj, Gradina and mills so it is not surprising that it is the newlyweds’ favourite photographing destination. Because of that, it got its new name – The Newlyweds Bridge.
- Old Power Plant on the River Slunjčica – a Place for Seclusion in Nature
The name of this location on the river Slunjčica is connected to the hydroelectric power plant, which had been built on this place, but it was destroyed in the World War II. Because of its scenery, the river Slunjčica was protected in 1964 in the category of significant landscape. It encompasses the whole flow of the river Slunjčica and 1 kilometre of the River Korana (downstream from the bridge). Slunjčica is important for preserving biodiversity and because of that, it was entered into the National Ecological Network and the European Union ecological network NATURA 2000. The most instrumental people for building the former hydroelectric power plant on the river Slunjčica were a professor of physics and mathematics Mile Cindrić from Kremen near Slunj, who was also the creator of several electric gadgets for school education, and his Ukrainian friend Gabrijel Kompanec, who was designer and builder, alongside the county administrator at the time, Josip Neralić. The power plant was owned by the Slunj County and it worked under the name County Hydroelectric Power Plant Slunj. The power plant was finished in 1928 and the first electric lightbulb in Slunj was lit on Trinity Sunday of the same year. The power plant committed to constant delivery of electric power during the night and during the day, only on cloudy days or days when the sunlight was weak. The power plant was destroyed in January of 1943 during the war. Today it serves as a headquarters for the Fishing Club Slunjčica in Slunj.
- The Holy Trinity Church – a Spiritual Point Between Remembrance and History
In the year 1726, next to a demolished Franciscan monastery, the parish church of Holy Trinity was built. A single nave Franciscan church of Saint Benedict from the 15th century, which had been reconstructed and upgraded several times, served as its core. In 1583, the oldest sacred item – the statue of Saint Mary of Slunj – was transported to Trsat. On the left and right side of the church, side-chapels have been added so that the church seems to be triple nave now. The church received baroque elements and adapted to the needs of the Slunj locals. In the Croatian War of Independence, the church was first set on fire and then fired upon by missiles.
The church has always been an important social and spiritual point for the local citizens. Today the Holy Trinity Church is the most notable sacral object in the Slunj area, where you can see statues made by sculptor Josip Turkanj, who donated statues Way of the Cross, the Holy Family Pieta and George Frankopan of Slunj to the church in Slunj.
- Statue Dedicated to the First Croatian Olympian, Milan Neralić
On the Zrinski and Frankopan Square in Slunj, in the vicinity of the birth house of the first Croatian Olympian Milan Neralić, sculptor Matija Gajić Puškarić portrayed the person of Milan Neralić and the spirit of the Olympic Games. Milan Neralić (1875 – 1918), born in Slunj, was one of the best swordsmen in Austria-Hungary and the first Croatian to win the bronze medal for fencing (sabre) in Paris in 1900. He managed to win by using an innovation, which is now a basic move in the sport, a quick stab of the opponent from a high jump. Neralić is mentioned in the records from 1898 as an auxiliary and then main fencing instructor, who was successful at military tournaments and fencing academies all across the Austria-Hungary and abroad. It is recorded that he also participated in an actual duel, for which he received authorization by the Ministry of Defence because he defended the honour of the Military Academy. His results are a testimony to the fact that he was one of the most successful contestants in the world during his time. It is interesting to note that Neralić’s wife Wilhelmina and her niece Ellen Müller-Preis, who was one the best fencers in the world during her time, were also professional fencers.
- Drive around the Slunj Area, Visit Local Family-Owned Businesses and They Will Amaze You with Their Products
In the perimeter of 10 kilometres from the centre of Slunj, you can find local Family-owned businesses, which offer everyone the possibility of enjoying the homemade specialties and healthy food and drinks. One such business is OPG Novković located in the village Točak and owned by Nenad Novković, an electrical engineer and former Croatian cycling champion, who moved to Točak in 1997 with his wife and started his own family-owned business. In addition to cheese manufacturing and cheese tasting, OPG Novković expanded their business to bee-keeping. Apart from a wide range of products, they take pride in prestigious awards, which they have won for their products. Their cheese called Pepelko was the champion of the Mediterranean in 2011 at an international fair in Dubrovnik. In addition to the champion cheese, OPG Novković offers cheese called Škripavac, smoked cheese, medium-hard cheese such as Trappista cheese and other kinds of cheese.
If you want something special to drink, the Magdić distillery is perfect for that. It is located in Donje Taborište and it is a small family-owned distillery, which has traditionally been processing fruit from their own orchard and making rakija (schnapps), liquors, gin and whiskey.
If you want to try picking or planting spring onions, tomatoes or watermelons, visit OPG Žgela in Furjan. All the products from the local family-owned businesses can be bought each Thursday at the Slunj market place. The fair traditionally takes place on the Zrinski and Frankopan Square every Thursday. It has been like that for centuries.
You can buy flour from the millers at OPG Jarebovi mlinovi in Rastoke. The mills of Jareb are open for visitors. The place is magical and wonderful for children to see and learn where the flour necessary for everyday bread making comes from. The Jareb mill sells all kinds of flour. They make corn flour, rye flour, white and wholemeal spelt flour, yellow and black millet flour, wheat flour and proja, which is a combination of corn flour, wheat flour, rye flour, millet flour, oat flour and barley flour.