EDEN finalist 2016/2017
City of Đakovo and Gorjani Municipality
Did you know that the city of Đakovo contains the largest church square after Rome and one of the biggest riding halls in Europe? After visiting the cathedral of St. Peter, the Archbishop’s House, the Manor houses, the Strossmayer Park, the Theological Seminary, the Church of All Saints, old church walls, the old town and the State Stud Farm with a tradition of horse-breeding going back 5 centuries, you will understand why the city of Đakovo, along with the Gorjani Municipality, was chosen as the finalist for the Croatian pick for the European Destinations of Excellence project (EDEN), under the theme “cultural tourism”.
It is rare to find a place so influenced by one person as much as Đakovo was influenced by Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, the founder of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Đakovo was his life-long project, a capital achievement of Croatian culture, and the widely known Slavonian hospitality, authentic local cuisine and excellent wines, among them the prized wines of the Archdiocese of Đakovo-Osijek, are all the more reason to visit this city.
Its beauty had not gone unnoticed by Queen Elizabeth II who visited it in 1972, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was left equally impressed during her visit 40 years later.
Not far from Đakovo lies the municipality of Gorjani, known for the spring procession of Ljelje (queens), a unique tradition protected by UNESCO. Every year on Whitsunday, a dozen women dressed in rich folk costumes gather at mass in Gorjani, and then dance the circle dance kolo at the village centre and head door-to-door where they are greeted and treated by the hosts.