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Escape To A Time Gone By

Stara Kapala Farm photoTired of the hustle of modern life, ruled by the tyranny of the mobile phone and motor car, the bray of non-stop advertising and demands of the 21st Century? Want to escape to a quiet life long past – at least just for a week - a romantic idyll vacation holiday in the agrarian countryside of a hundred years past. Escape to Stara Kapela, a unique little corner of the world “where the road ends”. Stara Kapella means “Old Chapel” but is the Stara Kapela Old Chapel photoname of a little forgotten village in the hills of Slavonia in northeastern Croatia. The little village, which for most of its history never really held more than 50 inhabitants, suffered depredations under the Turks in the 1600s. The village as it now appears is mostly as it was resurrected under the Empress Maria Theresa in 1760, when the original Chapel of St. Mark was rebuilt into what now gives the village its name, but the village nearly died out when its ancient old lime making kilns fell on hard times.

Babushka  Croatia photoStara Kapela has been resurrected again as an eco-village, a living ethnographic museum, inhabited by 17 of its remaining elderly residents, whose principal occupation is now as photo subjects for tourists who come to visit, either to stay in restored 18th Century farmhouse lodgings or enjoy a traditional Slavonian meal in the restaurant downstairs. The accommodations of the Tucina Kuca farmhouse at Stara Kapela are cozy and stylish. The two and four bedroom apartments are suited for families or groups, as well as couples in the wood beamed loft or farmhouse bedrooms enveloped by authentic rural ambience, though with all the current comforts one expects of a modern escape vacation.

Loft Apartment lodging Stara Kapela photoGuests and visitors at the Stara Kapela ethonograpic village enjoy the hospitality of the local hosts in traditional costumes surrounded by nature and participate in the village's ancient customs of harvest feasts, corn picking, and the making of brandy and jam. Take part in the blessing of the wine, try your hand at brick-making in the kiln, or take a ride in original horse drawn carriages or sledges. The hills around the village are marked with nature trails for hiking and cycling with signs noting the 120 plant varieties, 80 species of birds and 60 kinds of mushrooms natural to the area. The area’s history as a military frontier is recalled by recreated lookout platforms called Cardaks, now used more for scenery views than guarding against marauding Turks. Hunting in the game rich woodland hills can also be arranged.

Carriage Rides Stara Kapela photoThe aim of Stara Kapela, the concept of a doctor and businessman originally from the village, Dr. Antun Tucic, was to prevent the extinction of the traditional Slavonian village, which if neglected would have passed into a mostly forgotten memory. There are other ethnographic museum villages in Croatia (see Kumrovec Heritage Village) which are mostly a collection of buildings with historical displays and renactors, but here, tucked into the hills at the “end of the road” is a unique opportunity to experience a nearly vanished era of life. The Stara Kapella Village is a bit hard to find, located 25 miles from Slavonski Brod, near the town of Batrina, but for the active traveler or those looking for a special experience unlike few others, its worth finding the way, but leave behind some bread crumbs so you can find your way back to mobile phone tower range. © Bargain Travel Europe

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Stara Kapela

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