Tag Archives: Mošćenička Draga

Enter the Big Doors – Maritime and Fishery Tradition of Kvarner

FARNET – the European Fisheries Areas Network – is the community of people implementing Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). This network brings together Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), managing authorities, citizens and experts from across the EU.

CLLD funding is delegated to local partnerships that bring together the private sector, local authorities and civil society organizations. Known as Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), these partnerships fund local projects within the framework of a strategy, developed in response to specific needs and opportunities identified locally.

Taste the Sea

Such FLAG is Vela Vrata (the Big Door, named after the maritime passage between the island of Cres and the mainland in the Bay of Rijeka) which brings together islands of Cres and Lošinj, and their respective towns and municipalities, and the city of Opatija, municipalities of Lovran and Mošćenička Draga on the coast.

Feel the Sea

Its vision is to develop a sustainable fishery in this area, encourage diversification of products and services outside the fishing itself, and promote fishing and maritime tradition and heritage, create new jobs, use innovations, and develop whole life education.

The FLAG Vela Vrata and their volunteers, comprised of people who very successfully run the LAG Terra Liburna led by Mrs. Anđela Cvjetković, invited us on a two-day journey to learn more about the touristic potentials of such heritage. For that reason, several video clips have been made, which we present here.

Texts by: Vedran Obućina
Photos by: Bruno Vignjević & Vedran Obućina

Feel the Sea

Maritime and fishery tradition in the Northern Adriatic is very old and survives until today. Here is what we’ve found out on our tour of the FLAG Vela Vrata:

Blue World in Lošinj

House of the Sea – Maritime Museum in Mošćenička Draga

Apoxyomenos – Bronze Effigy of Ancient Lošinj

We have also visited the House of the Lovran Guc.

Among different boats used in the Adriatic, Lovran Guc is specific for its elegance and form. It was made by Nino Gasparinic in Lovran, a small town settled in a picturesque bay, surrounded by Mediterranean herbs and slopes of Mt. Učka. The boat was being built between 1850s up to the present day. Within the Lovran’s fort there is a small museum dedicated to this unique ship.

All the gratitude for that museum goes to Silvano Raffaelli from Lovran who says that plastic boats will never have the same navigation possibilities as the wooden ones. Lovran shipbuilders made a boat that suits best the needs of navigators and fishermen.

Small, light and maneuverable boat is easily used in fisheries, and is adaptable to hide quickly if the sudden bura wind starts to blow. Still, a significant maritime knowledge is needed to steer the boat. Every year, Lovran stages the guc regatta.

House of the Sea – Maritime Museum in Mošćenička Draga

In the small fishing port of Mošćenička Draga stands a quite special house, dedicated to the maritime tradition of this part of the Adriatic Sea. It is the Interpretation centre of fishing and maritime heritage of the Eco-Museum Mošćenička Draga, where visitors enjoy the exhibits like old catching traps, hooks, ship materials. Especially interesting part is multimedia exhibit of an old ship cupboard; when one opens a tray, one can hear the sound of sea, ship horn, seagull, dolphin, etc.

The museum shows three basic topics: fisheries, maritime tradition, and traditional ship building. On the lower floor there are standard topics about fisheries, such as kinds and types of fishing nets, tools and lights, but also ways how to salt fish or repair the nets. A special dedication is given to the old Slavic community and their ancient fishery. Mošćenička Draga is situated beneath Perun, an ancient place of old Slavic worship. Everyday life of fishermen is supplemented with a special emphasis on the role of women up to the present day.

On upper floor, visitors encounter traditional ship building, tools, models, drawings, but also artefacts from private collections featuring old signal flags, pictures old 130 years showing the ships where people from this region worked. These paintings are often given to the local churches as a religious vow and as a prayer for the safe voyage.

The museum gives a glimpse of our grandparents’ life, their everyday work, hopes, and fears, emotions that are passed through decades. As such, it is a beautiful place for learning more about the life in Mošćenička Draga and its surroundings.

Harmony of sea and imagination at Zijavica

On a picturesque and widely popular beach of Mošćenička Draga, amongst various cafes and bars, there is a special restaurant Zijavica, a destination for imaginative and elaborative kinds of seafood.

The owner Stiven Vunić welcomes us on his terrace with a spectacular view, while his staff gives a final touch to the small and enchanting bites waiting for us. In Zijavica they say: “Extremely harmonious blend of romantic past and exciting challenges of today – that is the feeling when entering the interior of small and cozy tavern “Zijavica”. The discreet touch of wood and stone bathed in pastel colors creates the impression of domestic and very pleasant atmosphere. Terrace, situated just a few inches above one of the most beautiful beaches of Kvarner, is really a special place – perfect for experiencing small masterpieces of the Kvarner and Istrian cuisine.“

While sitting at the table, we indeed feel these impressions, guaranteed by the 40-year tradition of fishing and especially scampi catching in the Vunić family. This experience is upgraded to cooking and serving fresh food in this tavern.

The tavern’s name sounds somewhat like a joke. It contains two basic meanings: either woman that shouts, or a cave that howls. Indeed, there is a cave in the nearby mountains, but you should not joke with Mr. Stiven: he is a member of the Croatian adventure team Ad Natura that travels the world for extreme sports and adventure tourism.

When he is not running through Patagonia or climbing the Andes, he makes magic with food. Scampi tempura with self-grown herbs (of which marinated samphire is especially noticeable) is one such example. The tempura itself is quite tasty, but the way you eat it is a superb example of imagination: it is served on a flat sea stone! To eat it, you need to slurp it into your mouth. Excellent experience!

We’ve tried deep-fried cod; evidently, it is a major hit nowadays in the Northern Adriatic to deep-fry all the unusual fish and seafood (Croats can think only of deep-fried hake). But, it comes handy to refresh the taste for scampi mousse, served with a net made from olive oil and salad. Another feast of flavours makes you think twice about the boringness of seafood.

Apart from standard salted anchovies (ever heard of a better cure for a hangover?) and octopus carpaccio, the menu is a mix of Istrian-styled dishes such as scampi risotto, homemade fuži pasta with Istrian truffle, or gnocchi with smoked bacon and fresh garden vegetables. For more detailed experience, you should order oven-baked octopus, mussels in buzara sauce, monkfish in Istrian Malvasia wine and caper sauce, or for those who just cannot be pescatarians all the time, beef in a green pepper sauce.

Zijavica is a fairly new way of culinary enjoyment and spectacular scenery, and it is well worth to come and sip some sparkling wine with local Lovran cherries inside, just as we did. Cheers!

Šetalište 25. travnja 2, Mošćenička Draga
mob.: +385 (51) 737 243
mail: stiven.lavita@gmail.com