Morning glory from above

In Vrbnik valley, on an area of a little over 100 hectares, there are over 120 wagons of zlahtina grapes produced which are then made into a famous dry white wine, champagne and distillates. Vrbnicka zlahtina is a known indigenous sort of the island of Krk specific for only growing in Vrbnik valley.

 Aerial shot of the old town centre.

Aerial shot of the old town centre.

This grape sort was intruduced to Krk at the end of 19th century, and to Vrbnik valley between the two world wars. The name of the wine, zlahtina, comes from the adjective zlahten, which in Slavic means noble. The wine ranges from light yellow to straw yellow colour, its aroma is gentle and its taste is fine and specific. Zlahtina goes best with sheep cheese, all types of fish and sea food.

The humble way of life of Vrbnik inhabitants initially did not make Vrbnik an especially attractive place for tourism, but it has shaped it as a day trip destination where every visitor of the island of Krk has to come in order to taste zlahtina along with other gastronomy specialties of the island.

For higher-res photo visit my photo stream.

The Town that lives for Wine

Vrbnik is a town like you’ve never seen before. When you enter its nest of old houses and start exploring the curvy direction of its narrow streets, you will be transported hundreds of years back in time without being aware of it  at all. 

 Old town of Vrbnik

Old town of Vrbnik

You don’t need to know anything about the history of Croatia and the island of Krk, but as soon as you come to Vrbnik, you will realise that it uncovers itself for you at every step. You will feel the tradition, the hard way of life, the connection of man and nature because here the life depends on the vineyards which feed the town. Vrbnik gratefully comes alive when the year is fruitful and humbly goes through a less fruitful year.

For high-res photo visit my photo stream.

Baška from the hights

The Baška area on the south-eastern part of the island is particular for some of its curiosities. When we climb from the Punat valley, and at a height of around 330 m, we pass through the Treskavac hills, surrounded by the highest hill on the island (Obzova, around 570 m) and we then suddenly find ourselves in front of the Baška hill-encircled valley, where we remain surprised, almost breathless. This is because we are not prepared for this kind of play on nature, the bond between the mountains and the sea.

 Town from the sea.

Town from the sea.

The Croatian birth certificate - the Baška tablet was found here in 1100. Baška is also recognizable as having one of the largest and most beautiful pebble beaches on the Adriatic, which is in a semicircle and more than 1800 metres long. The naturally fine sand provides, especially for children and non-swimmers, pleasure on the beach, as the sea level increases gradually. Like other villages on the island of Krk, even this village's old part contains narrow streets and houses positioned one close to another so that the atmosphere is typically Mediterranean. Apart from its beautiful beach, Baška is also interesting  for its characteristic architecture, numerous cultural and historical monumentsand its surrounding tour paths. 

 Town from the land with nearby isles of Prvič, St. Grgur & Rab on horizon.

Town from the land with nearby isles of Prvič, St. Grgur & Rab on horizon.

Like other villages on the island of Krk, even this village's old part contains narrow streets and houses positioned one close to another so that the atmosphere is typically Mediterranean. Apart from its beautiful beach, Baška is also interesting  for its characteristic architecture, numerous cultural and historical monumentsand its surrounding tour paths. 

 Baška Harbour from above.

Baška Harbour from above.

Medieval Town of Škofja Loka

The name Škofja Loka derives from the medieval times and it was originally named Loka, which means wet, grassy area near water. However, at that time there were many Lokas in Slovenia, and there had already existed a rural settlement named Loka (today’s Stara Loka) not very far from the town, therefore later on Škofja was added to the name Loka. This adjective is linked with the donation of the Loka region to the Bishops of Freising, and the town of Loka was thus renamed to Škofja Loka.

 Old centre of the town with castle in the background.

Old centre of the town with castle in the background.

There is a Negro with a crown in all symbols of Loka, which relates to the legend about the land lord Abraham and his servant. The legend says that they were travelling along the Poljanska dolina valley and they met a big bear in dark woods. Bishop Abraham stopped, but the Negro drew a bow and shot the bear. Abraham had the head of the Negro pictured in the town coat-of-arms in order to thank the servant for having saved his life.

 River Sora runs through Škofja Loka.

River Sora runs through Škofja Loka.

You can read more on the topic here. More HD photos of Škofja Loka and more you can find in my photo stream or on social networks.

Hochosterwitz

The Castle Hochosterwitz was built on a limestone rock that rises 150m above the valley and allows the visitor a spectacular view over the neighbouring mountains, hills and countryside.

The castle was first mentioned in 860. It was a refuge for the local population during the Turkish invasion in the 11th and 12th century. After the death of Hans Schenk von Osterwitz, the last owner of the original lien, the castle was returned to King Friedrich III.

 Aerial photo of Castle Hochosterwitz.

Aerial photo of Castle Hochosterwitz.

In gratitude for the support of the imperial troops during the wars against the Turks the lien of thecastle  Hochosterwitz was given to Christoph Khevenhüller von Aichelberg by Kaiser Ferdinand I in 1541. Christoph Khevenhüller started to rebuild the castle according to the plans of one of the greatest military architects of that time: Domenico dell’Aglio.

Georg Khevenhüller extended the buildings to their actual size using his own private money. In the castle yard a marble memorial tablet dated 1576 proclaims that Georg Khevenhüller had „reconstructed this castle with his personal means. It being his home, he surrounded it with walls and fitted out with bastions and an arsenal“.

 Church on the hill just outside the fortress walls. Taken in infrared.

Church on the hill just outside the fortress walls. Taken in infrared.

Since then the Castle Hochosterwitz has been owned by the same family for generations.

Many centuries have passed, but castle Hochosterwitz has not changed – only its purpose became a different one. Luckily, there was always some member of the family who, remembering the warning carved in stone by his ancestor, made great sacrifices to maintain the castle in good condition.

 Slovenian name of the castle is Ostrovica.

Slovenian name of the castle is Ostrovica.

For more information please visit castles' webpage.

More photos of the castle and its surroundings you can find in my photo stream or on social networks.

Medieval Town of Kranj

The old town of Kranj, historically also named Carnium, Creina, Chreina, or Krainburg, is a historical town situated on a conglomerate prominence between the rivers Sava and Kokra. The city area was inhabited as early as the Celtic period in the first millennium B.C. The town achieved one of its peaks in the 7th century, the era of people’s migration and arrival of Slovene settlers. During that time, an important strategic fort and, consequently, Kranj’s first settlement was founded. The biggest and oldest Slovene burial ground bears witness to this fact.

 Aerial photo of old town centre.

Aerial photo of old town centre.

Kranj lost its independence at the turn of the 9th/10th centuries, when it became the seat of the March of Carniola. Later on, the March of Carniola became the Carniola Dukedom, with its seat moving to Ljubljana. The development of trade in the 13th century provided Kranj with its city rights and a number of city privileges and benefits for further development of trade and transport of agricultural products as well as development of ironwork.
In the first half of the 19th century, Kranj was a market trading town. At the end of the 19th century, manufacturing was established and thrived to the extent that Kranj became more industrial in nature.

 Kranj with Alps in the background

Kranj with Alps in the background

The medieval layout of the Kranj town centre is in the typical pyramidal form with an emphasis on church steeples. Another feature is the north-south axis, indicated by the visual link between the Kranj Parish Church and the Storžič summit. Undoubtedly, the planned placement of a number of high dominating features in the city area ranks Kranj among the most carefully considered urban developments in not only Slovenia but also Central Europe.

  Kranj is situated between the rivers Sava and Kokra

Kranj is situated between the rivers Sava and Kokra

At the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Times, the town was guarded by a city defence wall with towers, the castle and the Škrlovec armoury from the west side of the Sava. The floor plan composed a narrow space between both rivers with two access roads, one at the former Main Town gate located on the current Maistrov trg and the other one at the Lower Town gate in today’s Vodopivčeva uclica. The old town centre comprises the Main Square (Glavni trg) and Prešerenova ulica, which are linked with two parallel streets. The arcade passageways were built in Tomšičeva and Tavčarjeva ulica, which used to connect the backyards of the bourgeois houses with the town square. The town boasts bourgeois houses, wonderfully shaped streets, mansions, churches and houses with architectural ornately decorated façades and courtyards.

More on the topic: http://www.tourism-kranj.si/en

Vineyards and Cherry trees in magical Gorica Hills

The fairytale landscape offering views toward the sea, the Friuli and the Veneto, has a special, magical power. Brda, the land of hills, nested midway between the Alps and the Adriatic, preserves and develops its heritage, safeguards its beauties and generously bestows its delights on anyone who visits the area. 

 Blossoming Cherry trees among the vineyards.

Blossoming Cherry trees among the vineyards.

Although the times of fairytales are over, fabulous images of Brda are becoming increasingly real. The abundance of beauties, curiosities and adventures always attracts attention of travelers who wish to get acquainted with Brda. Bearing the stamp of the past, today’s life in the villages and hamlets of Brda has been taking its own pace - tranquil and cheerful, surrounded by family and in harmony with visitors. 

 First sun rays caress Brda vinyards.

First sun rays caress Brda vinyards.

Although the Brda area is mostly cultivated and transformed into vineyards and orchards, it is also exceptionally interesting for nature lovers. Attentive traveler’s eye will notice numerous beauties, while those with more exploring spirit will ask around and the locals will reveal them a lot of interesting local geological, climatic and botanical features. 

 Awakening vineyards.

Awakening vineyards.

You will find more photos from the magical trip in my photo steam. Of course, you are welcome to visit my facebook page as well.

First Aerial Photos

Finally I can show some aerial photos shot with my new DJI Phantom 3 (named Valkyrie :)). This batch was shot today. It was a cold morning but I still managed 23 minutes long flight. You can expect more aerial photos as this little Panasonic camera produces stunning photos for its size. I hope you like it.

 Jamnik from aprox. 50 meters

Jamnik from aprox. 50 meters

You can find few more photos in my photo stream.