Hard up against the Croatian-Slovenian border lies the village of Kumrovec, the birthplace of one very famous half-Croat, half Slovene – Marshal Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia for most of the existence of that erstwhile republic. It’s a picturesque setting for the story of the man who fought the Nazis to free his country and unite the south Slavs. Kumrovec is an excellent example of a skansen – the old core of the village has been preserved in its entirety as a museum. You can wander the streets with their grassy verges and greens, and pop into delightful wooden houses where you can see exhibits such as the old schoolrooms, traditional toys, handcrafts, agriculture, a smithy, collections of Easter eggs and nativity scenes. And all of this is set in glorious countryside. Opening times vary according to the time of year; for information see www.mss.mhz.hr/en.
A Springtime treat in Kumrovec
April 21 is St George’s Day, which in Croatia is known as Jurjevo. On this day people have celebrated the coming of Spring with festivities dating back to pagan times to ensure the fertility of the land, the livestock and the household and ward off evil spirits. So for examples horses wore floral decorations and people danced around a bonfire. Drop into Kumrovec on 21 April to see how Jurjevo once looked here, in all its festive glory.