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Kutina - Town of Quince, Škrlet and Natural Beauty

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

At the place where the vineyards of Moslavina Hill blends with the wetlands of Lonja, is the very spot where Kutina is located, an old market and city centre that had always a bourgeoise flair but has never been the seat of the county. The summer morning rush and afternoon daydreaming spread throughout the length of the main street of Kutina and the centre of the town, where the former mansion of Erdödy counts dwelled and where today the Moslavina Museum is situated.

Here we are welcomed by Jasmina Uroda Kutlić, the museum's headmaster who takes us to the tour. The Erdödys lived in nearby Popovača and had possessions throughout Mons Claudius, which is the name of Moslavina – The Mountain of the (Roman Emperor) Claudius. Obviously, Kutina suited them well and they made a baroque mansion in the middle of the 18th century, which was restored in 1895. The Communists wanted to destroy it as a retaliation of feudalism, but fortunately the mansion was saved and from the 1960s it serves as the main Moslavina-based museum. The director guides us through four major permanent exhibitions, including archaeological finds from prehistory, antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Modern Age. Kutina was obviously interesting to the prehistorical folks, but also to the ancient Romans, who had in nearby village Osekovo their own complex - Ciglenice. The medieval exhibition points to the importance of the rounded Moslavina Hill, which used to be almost a natural fortress, and within which there were castles and fortresses such as Garić-city, Jelengrad, Košuta city, as well as the White Church, i.e. the Cistercian monastery (white friars). Among other things, there is also a beautiful model of Garić-grad made by high school students.

The museum features the copy of the charter of the Hungarian-Croatian king Bela IV. from 1258, where Kutina was mentioned for the first time under the name "Kotynnam", and the other variants were Kotena, Kotenja, Kutinovac etc. The name originates from a stream that flows through the city, which now has its diminutive name for its "size": Kutinica. However, it was obvious that this city was a countryside place for enjoying nature, which can be especially seen in objects preserved from the 18th and 19th century noblemen's mansions, both of the Croat-Hungarian nobility and Jewish rich people. Many of their portraits as well as painting works by Kutina masters can be seen in the Gallery of the Moslavina, located on the other side of the square in the Ausch family palace. The museum has also a special exhibition dedicated to the Homeland War. Kutina was close to the demarcation line and the legendary 56th Independent Battalion of Kutina was particularly prominent in the defence of the city. Also worthy of mention is the World War II machine gun which was "borrowed" during the Homeland War from the museum for use on the battlefield. Obviously German products are eternal!

A separate ethnographic collection was of particular interest to us, as here the entire rural life of Moslavina is briefly described. Reproductions of typical Moslavina houses, handicrafts, housework, traditional celebrations, as well as special Lonja fishing arrangements, viticulture and winemaking on the Moslavina Hill slopes, and mills and bread making, gain the attention of every visitor. Muzej Moslavine Trg Kralja Tomislava 13, 44320, Kutina

Kutina is often associated with one word in minds of Croatian people: Petrokemija! This petrochemical industrial complex is so closely related to the development of Kutina that it has almost become a synonym. Certainly, Petrokemija was the cornerstone of Kutina's success and possesses the potential of industrial tourism development. There is no need to be afraid of Petrokemija: no pollution is felt in the air, and the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park and the Moslavina Hill Regional Park are pure and untouched natural regions where ecological production is taking place. Apart from Petrokemija, Moslavina is also known for its black gold or oil foundry Gojlo, which traces its exploitation since the Middle Ages, and its real industrial use started in the second half of the 19th century.

In 1886 a fire broke out in Kutina, which swallowed most of the wooden houses. The traditional Moslavina architecture in Kutina is now only visible in the Church Street (Crkvena ulica). Here wait for us the employees of the Tourist Board of the Town of Kutina, headed by Director Ivana Grdić. These typical oak-beamed houses are characteristic of native construction from the 19th to 20th century and they were called čardak, hiža, iža or trijem - which is why they became known as the Moslavački Trijemovi. Most of the houses were given by the city to various associations, including the astronomical association that made a small observatory. In one such house, the Tourist Board made a hologram guide through customs, costumes and traditional construction. These great short films show all the richness of Moslavina's heritage. Usually, all the houses had records of masters and year of construction on the beam or on the base, where usually went a bottle of brandy (rakija). The rakija was given to drink with a bit of bread when one was waiting for the first guests, and the horse shoe was placed in the front door for happiness. Some of these customs are still present in Moslavina today.

The houses are located on the Church Street, which ends in front of the church of St. Mary of the Snow, a beautiful church both from the outside and from the inside, which began to be built in 1729. The widespread smile of parish priest Dragutin Papić in the parish hall overlooking the church is an invitation for a conversation, but he is busy with everyday work and with incredible confidence gives us the church keys to go for a walk. This is without a doubt the most beautiful church in Moslavina. Entering the courtyard of the church, which is bordered by a firm white wall, feels as if one enters the spiritual space of spectacular baroque beauty. The interior of the church is rich in baroque stuccoes and frescoes that go all the way up to the decorated walls and ceilings. In the centre of attention is a luxurious wooden altar. The details are many, and one first needs to get used to all Austrian baroque art heritage. And the legend about the origins of the church is equally interesting. Count Erdödy had a son who was killed one day in a hunting by a boar. The peasants asked him for days, and because of the parents' sadness, Mother of God felt sorry, and in the middle of the summer, one of the hills was under snow. They all ran there and found the count’s dead son. They buried him, and the Count built the church of the Mother of God of Snow at that place.

The same street is also the location of the oldest elementary school bearing the name of the former teacher and renowned Croatian writer Mato Lovrak. He was hesitant about the actions of the students, and for a visit Kutina commented with the following: "I was more than sure, but with the knots on the heads of the little Kutina boys, as a consequence of the nasty games, I came up with the outline for my books, such as Družina Pere Kvržice" . Pero Kvržice'saGangis his most famous work, which is close to the heart of many generations of Croats and is obviously made according to the adventures of the Kutina’s youth.

And other places in Kutina have their stories of old times. Old postcards on King's Pub wall in the centre of Kutina show life as it once looked. Once the muddy main street was paved after it was built by a former mayor who liked to walk in the white suit and existing alley was not good for him. On the other hand, there were villagers, wine-growers from Moslavina Hill and fishermen from Lonjsko polje in the town, so that the gentlemen would have healthy food and nice drinks. Such food and drink still make the culmination of enjoyment in Kutina, but do not forget the wonders of the enchanted forests with the remains of medieval forts, as well as bicycle rides regularly held for the Earth Day, sailing through Lonja River and photo safaris on the storks’ nest the tops of the wooden houses, as well as a number of manifestations. One of the most noteworthy is MoslaVINA, one of the most important wine festivities in Moslavina and continental Croatia where Škrlet, the pride of the Moslavina vineyard, is proudly presented.

You can come to FUK every February. Naturally, it is about the Fašnik in Kutina carnival, which revives traditional carnival rituals, full of imagination and innocent jokes that have given our ancestors an exhilaration of sometimes strict everyday life and attention to manners. With FUK there are also smaller, but not so quieter, events such as FUŠ (Fašnik in Šartovac), FUI (Fašnik in Ilova) and FUKS (Fašnik in Kutina village).

Kutina has long been known as a trade and craftsmanship place, and many have been influenced by their prayers to St. Peter. Namely, Emperor Ferdinand IV. declared in 1837 Kutina a trade town, and on 28 June, the day of St. Peter, was the most important fair. Then, whole Moslavina, from Ivanić-Grad to Banova Jaruga, already in Slavonia, came to Kutina. This is why St. Peter’s Day is an important occasion for the Kutina celebration when the old crafts are presented, various goulash and stews are made, there are numerous exhibitions and workshops, and the same goes on during the Kutina Summer. On the basis of trade and crafts tradition, the only department store in Moslavina, Lonia, opened, and its stores can be seen in maybe not the best appearance in the villages of Moslavina, among them in Repušnica, in the entrance to Lonjsko polje, where Repušnica encounters are held every June as a big rural manifestation. After all, Repušnica is famous all over the world because in 1980 it was visited by Mother Teresa.

When the leaves in Moslavina Hill go yellow, in Repušnica the Festival of Mushrooms and Medicinal Herbs begins, and if you are more prone to winter landscapes then the Winter Spell in Kutina reminds you of the Christmas holidays from the past and the present. Most of the products of this region can be found in Pun Ceker shop. It is about the initiative of the community of producers of Sisak-Moslavina County under the motto "Buy locally". The noble goals of Cooperatives and the Development Agency SIMORA are not only used to keep local producers but also to prevent young people from leaving the county. The cooperative has stores in Sisak, Popovača, Kutina and Novska. There are almost a thousand different products on shelves of 100 local manufacturers. We went to the Kutina store where we could actually see a whole host of interesting products. Here one can find local juices, brandies, liqueurs and Moslavina wines with incredibly good prices, a variety of cheeses, especially cheese with quince, teas, jams, vegetables, nuts, and especially honey that make bees, prawns, chestnuts, amorphs and other combinations. A traveller can also supply the best souvenirs - from handmade jewellery, scarfs, bowls, caps, pendants, to various woodcarvings. Pun ceker, Trg Kralja Tomislava 8a, Kutina

The Kutina feature story was made with the help of the City of Kutina Tourist Board, which kindly hosted us in the King's Pub accommodation. Tourist Board of Town of Kutina Tržna 8, 44320 Kutina +385 44 681 004

Photos by: Andrea Seifert, Mint Media


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