Best Practice in Exceptional cultural offers

Winner :

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In the powerful embrace of the stony rulers of the karst, Dinara ,Kamešnica and Svilaja, bathed in the virgin spring of the Cetina River, lies the town of Sinj,a place of long and rich cultural-historical heritage. Sinj gave birth to Alka, the chivalry competition honouring the famous 1715 victory over the Ottomans. Sinj spends the whole year waiting for August,when the sounds fuse together into a perfect symphony of a march, the drumming of horses’ hoofbeats and neighs from the noble Alka stables,when the sun brings forth glimpses of sabres, yatagans, maces and a few parts of the rich Alkars and Alka squiers uniforms. Centuries faithful to the heavenly protector, the Miraculous Madonna of Sinj,today it is the home of one of the largest Croatian Madonna sanctuaries. The church courtyard is a traditional setting for the Klape Gospi Sinjskoj concert,which is famous for spiritual songs and performers of great quality. The worshippers set off on the Our Lady of Sinj Route pilgrimage route on ancient paths and picturesque bridges on the Cetina River,taking the traditional walking and riding paths alongside the remains of forts, and the abandoned Rera route,which was once Sinj’s railway. The Museum of Cetina Region and the Archaeological collection of the Franciscan monastery offers a number of priceless historical pieces from local sites(ancient Aequum),which bear witness to an old civilisation in these parts. The Museum Alka of Sinj presents the UNESCO-protected chivalry game in a contemporary and interesting way. The Sikirica Gallery,apart from the permanent exhibition of the sculptor Stipe Sikirica,offers exhibitions,literary nights and cultural events. The immeasurable richness of tradition,which is necessary to preserve for future generations,has also been recognized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia,which included rera singing,the yearly carnival of the sub-Kamešnica villages,while the nijemo kolo,a unique dance,is already on the UNESCO list.

Runner Up:
Slovenske Konjice

The Žiče Charterhouse, a serene beauty in Saint John the Baptist Valley: Experience the eloquent silence of this former Carthusian monastery located in the pristine setting of Saint John the Baptist Valley, a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Slovenske Konjice. The Charterhouse has been recounting unusual tales to passers-by ever since the 12th century. Today, it is the home to four permanent exhibitions on the Carthusian past and the history of the Konjice area. A potter and a herbalist are busy at work behind its walls, while the sparkling wines of a Konjice company by the name of Zlati grič mature in peace and quiet in the sparkling wine cellar. The souvenir shop is replete with locally-made products. And here the descendant of the world’s oldest vine from Lent in Maribor is thriving. The monastery is becoming a popular venue for weddings, which are organised with great care by the Gastuž Restaurant staff, the oldest still functioning restaurant in Slovenia, which has been in operation since 1467 and takes great pride in bearing the Gostilna Slovenija trademark sign. Not only is Žiče Charterhouse becoming a venue for attractive cultural events, such as musical evenings, spiritual, poetry, theatre and dance retreats and art colonies, it is also gaining recognition as a popular digital detox retreat destination, as it is full of potent energy points and has limited telephone signal strength. Slowly but surely, Žiče Charterhouse is awakening from a centuries-long slumber. In 2015, it was proclaimed a monument of national importance along with the Visitation of the Virgin Mary Church in Špitalič, the only remnant of the former lower house the monastery. Visitors can visit it individually in the company of exquisite audioguides available in five languages, while bigger groups can enjoy it in the company of a local torust guide. Visiting Charterhouse Žiče means entering another world, another unforgettable dimension and offers retreat from every day noise.

Runner Up:

Eden Nin – a mysterious attraction with a turbulent history, exceptional cultural heritage, unusual festivals and preserved customs. In the shallow lagoon, on a heart shaped island, is the old city core of Nin, where life began 3000 years ago and is among the oldest Mediterranean cities. The remnants of many civilizations can be experienced on the islet. Nin was an important seaport in the Adriatic, Roman municipality, in the Middle Ages it was the first Croatian royal town and capital, and 500 years it has been a sacred place. Nin is full of countless legends, which offers countless stories for a remarkable cultural experience:
1. One of Judas Silver coins is preserved in the 15th c. church treasury of Nin.
2. The big toe of Gregory of Nin is among the ten most attractive world symbols of luck. Legend states that visitors who touch his shiny big toe will have their wishes fulfilled.
3. The Museum of Nin Antiquities holds the original old Croatian ship Condura Croatica(11th c.) whose replica is docked along the city bridge.
4. The most famous symbol of Nin- church of St. Nicholas(12th c.) is located on top of a hill where seven kings were crowned.
5. The Pre-Romanesque St. Cross church(9th c.) was named the smallest cathedral in the world according to Thomas Graham Jacksons. It was built as a sun dial and a calendar and is compared to Stonehenge.
6. Church of St. Anselm, formerly the first Croatian cathedral(6th-18th c.), located in the center of the city. Next to it is a 16th c. chapel with a marvelous statue of Our Lady of Zečevo.
7. Remains of the largest temple(1st c.) on the eastern Adriatic.
8. Nin has been a Marian place of pilgrimage for 500 years. Church processions are held 3 times a year, and pilgrimages with Our Lady’s statue twice a year May 5th and August 5th.
9. Preserved manual salt harvesting skills since Roman times.
10. Preserved skill of Sokol making, local delicacy of unparalleled taste.
11. Preserved craftsmanship of traditional wooden boats.