Herds of Posavina horses run freely and proudly through the green wilderness, behind them a herd of cows are in pasture, and Turopolje pigs are grown outdoors. White-tailed, lesser spotted and short toed eagles, black storks, herons and spoonbills are nesting here, the woods are full of flowers and herbs and one can often see deer and does.
Family day out with children
When in Croatia, Lonjsko polje (or Lonja Field) is an ideal family day out with children. The trip from Zagreb is not too exhausting and after Sisak, 30 km along the Sava River, you will enter a fairy-tale green valley, rich sounds and smells, where the children can play as much as they please. In early spring, when the field is covered by water, you will enjoy the view of herons, swans, the sound of birds chirping and the stork beaks love clattering, while the horses are swimming in the sun. And when the water withdrawals from this largest flood-protected area in the Danube basin, herds of Posavina horses run freely and proudly through the green wilderness. They are unique, indigenous and wonderful.
Foals are happy to be in the grass, stallions stamp their hooves restlessly, mares graze quietly and behind them herds of cows are in pasture. Turopolje pigs, indigenous breed, run through the grass and hide in pig houses in the woods. They are traditionally grown outdoors. Bird watchers will appreciate observing undisturbed nests of protected white-tailed, lesser spotted and short toed eagles and black storks, herons and spoonbills also live here. In Lonjsko polje there is a total of 250 species of birds, more than half of them are nesting birds. Wild flowers and lots of herbs grow in the field, especially sage, which creates an aromatic sensation. Beekeepers bring their bees to graze and in the oak forest which is perfect for a walk, beautiful wild yellow iris grows. Mushrooms grow at white oak stumps and the forest is a home of savages, so you can often see deer and roe deer.
Nature Park Lonjsko polje is a part of the valley between Sava River and Moslavačka Mountain, partly along Lonja River. It is some hundred kilometers away from Zagreb and in addition to a large variety of flora and fauna, visitors also appreciate the architecture of numerous Posavina wooden houses that are a true monument of architectural heritage, due to their beauty and preservation. Krapje village is particularly protected and here is the Nature Park office.
Stork village Čigoć
If you wish to dine at one of the estates of agro-tourism in Lonjsko polje, be sure to call in advance. Information about the cuisine and accommodations can be found on the websites. Be sure to visit Čigoć village, the first European Stork Village which is now a part of the association of eight villages. The Nature Park’s information centre is in the village and you can get a professional guide here. There are several village inns, traditional houses, ethnographic collection in Čigoč and on electricity poles and wooden roofs there are numerous stork nests, one of the houses has seven of them.
In other villages you can also enjoy the view of the wide and peaceful Sava River, which is the largest crap spawning ground in Europe. Turn right after the local fire station in Mužilovčica village and the path will take you to the field entrance. You can take the macadam road and go by car, only if you close the gate to the field after you enter, but the experience of nature is better if you leave the car on the lawn in the froth of the entrance. If you wish to walk deeper into the field, be sure to bring along drinking water. Before you is the untouched nature where shepherds or fishermen are the only people you will meet.
Local cuisine, wooden family houses
In Mužolovčica village there is an idyllic agro-tourism farm owned by the Ravlić family. Established by his mother, the estate is now run by Jakša Ravliš and his fiancée Vedrana Sesar, and Brigita Ravlić also helps them. This estate is specific not only for the kind and welcoming hosts and excellent local cuisine, but also the beautifully decorated Podravina house with an ethnological museum and several hundreds of exhibits. The rooms on the floor of the wooden family house are furnished with 220 years old traditional items, Posavina folk costumes, old cradle, linen coverlets and bed clothes… In 2002 Jakša’s mother Zlata won the award for the most beautiful detail given by Sisak Tourist Board, for the front window of the house. In 2001 the family received ”Conservation and Environmental Grants” award for Croatia from the American Ford Company.
Wooden Posavina houses were made of white oak and due to the flooding in the past it was common to enter the boat when exiting the house and thus they are called “korablja”, Noah’s ark. Ravlić estate has modern bathrooms so the old-fashioned rooms can be rented. Jakša told us that this accommodation is especially appreciated by couples who want children, because they believe in the beneficial effect of storks which have their nestlings on almost every roof in the village. In the barn attic there are 28 beds so a whole merry bunch can spend the night here. It is also interesting that the family decorated the old pigsty and made an office for Jakša.
The cuisine of Lonjsko polje consists of particularly interesting products made of indigenous Turopolje pig that lives in the field, fresh cheese and cream from the cows of exceptional quality because of the all-day pasture in the open, and carp cooked on a fork over an open fire, called ‘krapac na procep‘.
Sisak Knights Tournament
For larger groups, up to 80 people, a romantic excursion to Lonjsko polje by boat is organised from Sisak and if you wish to add adventure to this experience, we recommend that you plan your excursion to Sisak and Lonjsko polje on June 19. After a day in a beautiful nature, in the evening you can enjoy the final battle of Sisak Knights Tournament under the Renaissance Fort, now known as Old Town, at the confluence of the Kupa and Sava rivers.
At this location, on June 22, 1593, the historic battle took place when 5,800 soldiers of the united Christian forces of Central Europe defeated 12,000 Turkish soldiers and stopped their further expansion in Europe. As a sign of gratitude for the victorious Battle of Sisak, a little bell of the Zagreb cathedral tolls every day at 2 pm.
Nature Park office
Phone: + 385 44 67 20 80
Sisak Tourist Board
+ 385 44 52 26 55
Ravlić family agro-tourism, Mužilovčica
+ 385 44 71 01 51
Written by Agatha Borošak Photographer: Hugo Blai