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Staro Sela – Old Village of Croatian Heritage

Marshal Tito Birth Town Statue photoHe was often referred to as “strongman” Marshal Tito. Jozip Broz Tito managed to hold together seven separate ethnic regions into the unified country of Yugoslavia. From 1943 on he served as the supreme commander of the Yugoslav army with the rank of Marshal of Yugoslavia. He came to prominence as the leader of the resistance against the Germans in WWII and from 1953 to his death in 1980, was President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the west, during the cold war years, he was thought of as the “good” communist, merely a socialist, for his stand of non-alignment against the Soviets and his less restrictive form of socialism. His funeral was attended by a who’s who of western leaders, but like all “strongmen” held a tight reign on individual countries hoping for independence by a powerful secret police, a network of informants, intimidation and assassins who would target expatriate dissidents.

Marshal Tito's Birthplace Museum photoJozip Tito was born in 1892 in the village of Kumrovec in Krapina-Zagorje, Croatia on the Sutla River which forms the natural border between the modern Republics of Croatia and Slovenia. His father was Croat and his mother Slovenian, which perhaps led him to the concept idea of unified regions. At the time of his birth in the 1890s Kumrovec was in a combined feudal region of Croatia-Slavonia under the contol of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Old Village Museum - Staro Sela of Kumrovec

Croation Historic Village photoToday the village surrounding the house where Tito was born is an open air “Ethnographic Museum” representing life as it was at the turn of the last century. Twenty preserved and reconstructed houses of thatched roofs along with another several dark black wood barns hung with traditional19th Century Croatia barn photo drying corn stalks make up the open air museum. Ambling through the old world village set in a quiet park will reveal representations of the life styles of Zagorian families of the time, and the work of blacksmiths, potters, yarn and toy-making. The Old Village is mostly inhabited by the still and silent mannequins of the exhibits and lively chickens wandering about from the present day farm next door, almost indistiguishable from the museum buildings except for the tractor in front.

House where tito was born photoThe house where Tito was born, built in 1860 and the first brick house constructed in the area, was made a museum in 1952, standing much as it was when his family lived there, holding photographs, documents, uniforms and artifacts of Marshal Tito’s personal history. A bronze statue of Tito by Croatian artist Antun Augustincic, stands outside, strong and powerful “father” of his country, ever on vigil, thoughtful and pensive - circa 1943 before he gained a few pounds. Tito is buried in Belgrade, Serbia, once the capital of Yugoslavia. Of the Croatians and others who desired a separate national identity Tito said “The River Sava will run backward before there is an independent Croatia… Crafts Disply in Tito Town photoWe have spilt an ocean of blood for brotherhood and unity of our peoples…” It took another wave of blood after he was gone for the countries which formed the former Yugoslavia to become indepentent states. For some, Jozip Broz "Marshal" Tito is surely a national hero who saved his countrymen from Nazi and Soviet domination, his birthplace a shrine, for others maybe a past best left as a museum. He is certainly a huge historic figure and the open air cultural museum which grew around his birthplace through the 1970s and 80s is a very unique and special spot to visit in the green hills of the north Croatian countryside.

The village museum has a snack shop to get an ice cream and a souvenir shop where one can pick up a Tito memento, a framed photo or a keychain. A short distance away in a bend of the Sutla River is a stone obelisk monument erected in 1935 to honor the Croatian National Anthem, celebrated as a local holiday. Kumrovek in Krapina-Zagorje is a little under an hour from Zagreb by car. A Baroque manor house of the noble Erdody family is 2 kilometers in the village of Razvor. © Bargain Travel Europe

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