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Explore the ancient architecture and spiritual life of Djakovo on the back of Lipizzaner

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Djakovo is the only town in Croatia that hosts a festival that lasts for fourteen days straight. Djakovo is also the town where the State’s Stable of Lipizzaners is. In other words, if you want to spend a day or few on the backs of these noble horses while exploring the rich cultural and historical heritage of northern Croatia and more specifically, Slavonia, Djakovo is your destination.

Djakovacki vezovi festival
Djakovacki vezovi festival

The very first time I attended the famous festival, “Djakovacki vezovi,” was back in 1986.

We went there as a group of two families, while my sister was still a little baby and it was in the middle of the summer so you can guess how much fun my mother had, for instance.

But for me, the entire event left a deep impression. I’m from Slavonia and we have festivals where I live but this was something else. And remember, we are talking 1986 in the former Yugoslavia. Wasn’t exactly the most advanced country in the world, if you know what I mean, but it was a fun place to live for us kids.

There were these carriages with men, women, and children riding in it, all dressed up as they were wearing it for some special events a hundred years ago. Horses would shine and walk proudly like they felt that the entire crowd is here just to see them. Food on every step of the way. And I’m not talking about some junk fast-food type of food. I’m talking homemade, granny-style stuff that you cannot simply order or eat in the restaurant. Lemonades and other refreshing beverages for kids and wine and beer barrels for the adults. Thousands of people. Music. Cheering. Dancing.

All of that imprinted deep into my mind.

Girls on Djakovacki vezovi
Girls on Djakovacki vezovi

So I went back a couple of years back for the first time after all those years.

For some reason, I couldn’t force myself to drive all that way since I was living on the coast and up in the mountains for over a decade after I got married.

I didn’t really know what to expect because YouTube clips don’t really have the power to convey the true atmosphere. Not even today.

Lipizzan Horse riding
Lipizzan Horse riding

So we went. Me and the misses alone since the kids wouldn’t even want to hear about the idea. “Spending a day on the streets under the scorching sun just so we could see a horse and some old gal wearing some ancient fashion? Are you crazy? We’re gonna stick to our games instead.”

“Fuck it,” I said, “we’re going. You two dumbasses have fun because you don’t know what you’re missing.”

And let me be honest about this: they did miss a lot. So much, in fact, that I tried to sell them the same trip the next year just to end up with the same freakin’ answer.

We went back this year, me and the misses.

Only this time, we took our time. We wanted to take a day visiting the stable and watch the show. I mean, what those folks can do with horses, it’s just blowing my mind. And after the exhibition, you can opt-in for horseback riding on famous Lipizzaner horse. I don’t how much do you know about horses but the price alone can reach half of mill for a single colt. That’s how valuable these animals are. So it’s a certain privilege to see what it feels to ride a two-mill stallion.

Lipizzan Horse
Lipizzan Horse
Of course, after the entire experience with horses, the next day we wanted to get at least a pound or two heavier so we went to the festival. You wouldn’t believe what these people are cooking and how tasty it is. And wine…wine is flowing like a river. Wherever you look, someone is pitching his or hers homemade brand. Lose your self-control, and you’ll find yourself hugging a nearby tree because there’s only so much your stomach can endure.
The bottom line, it’s fun and something entirely different than what most people imagining it is in Croatia. Something you only experience in Djakovo, once a year, in the middle of the summer, for two straight weeks.

Now, since there isn’t a fixed date for the festival, it would be smart to let us organize things for you. After all, we are close by and have already been there on a couple of occasions. Give us a call and we’ll make all the necessary arrangements or the ones you choose. For example, timing your visit so you could enjoy the show in stables which isn’t an everyday event, you know.

Your CTC Team, I.K.

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