Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Naturism in Croatia

History of naturism in Croatia and the present situation

History of organized naturist vacations in Croatia goes back in 1930's. The island of Rab is rightly referred to as the pioneer of naturism on the Adriatic. The month of August 1936 is frequently mentioned as the official beginning of naturism in Rab, i.e. when the English king Edward VIII stayed there and the Rab authorities allowed him and his wife to take a nude swim in the bay of Kandarola. That's why this bay is nowadays sometimes called "English Beach" or "Engleska plaza".
However it is certain that naturism on the island started long before that. The article "Trade in nakedness", published in the Austrian economic journal "Trend" no. 11/83 reports that the naturist beach in Rab was officially opened as early as at the transition to this century and that 50 beds in the hotels were reserved for naturists. The same article mentions that the first naturist beach in Rab was opened personally by Richard Ehrman, the president of the International Naturist Federation from Vienna in 1934. Naturism in Rab is also mentioned in the article of the Czech Josef Herman, in 1907 and of professor Günther in 1912, which proves that the Rab people had understood long ago the bright prospects of this movement which, at that time, was a very bold attitude.

Croatia was the first country in Europe to start with the concept of commercial naturist resorts, when in other European countries naturism was limited to member clubs only. Real naturist expansion started in 1960's when first naturist camps were opened in Istra and Dalmatia. In those days more than 100.000 naturists spent their vacation in Koversada in 60'sCroatia each year. The oldest naturist resort in Croatia is Koversada and in 2001 celebrated its 40th anniversary. Koversada is in fact a small islet and today it is connected by a small bridge with the mainland. The story says that famous adventurer Giacomo Casanova was the first one who took a nude swim in Koversada. But it was Rudolf Halbig from Germany, owner of Miramare travel agency, who, 200 years later - in 1953, recognized Koversada as a perfect naturist destination. At the beginning naturists put up in the village of Vrsar and went to Koversada islet for swimming and sunbathing. In 1961 Koversada became officially opened for naturist tourists. As Koversada was becoming more popular, the islet became too small and in 1965 resort spread on the near by shore. In 1972 Koversada hosted Naturist World Congress. In the course of years Koversada grew to modern and one of the largest and and the most popular naturist resorts in Europe.
Soon after Koversada, other resorts opened its doors to naturists as well: Valata naturist resort (opened in 1968), Monsena (in 1988 hosted Naturist World Congress), Solaris and many other.

Today Croatia is offering wide range of naturist facilities: beaches, camping, hotels, apartment and bungalow villages. There are more than 20 official naturist resorts that spread on 8.220.000 sq. meters. Naturist resorts offer 46.100 camping units, 5.300 beds in apartments, bungalows or hotels. In addition to that, official naturist beaches (outside of naturist resorts) offer a place under the sun for 20.000 sunbathers. Except of official naturist resorts and beaches, there are also many so called free beaches. Those are unofficial naturist beaches, sometimes controlled and maintained by local tourist authorities and sometimes not, that can be found everywhere on the coast.
Naturist beaches in Croatia are marked as "FKK". This is abbreviation for German word "Freikörperkultur" (Free Body Culture). The FKK sign is ubiquitous all along the Croatian coast.

Naturism represents an important factor in Croatian tourism industry. To estimate how many percent of all Croatian FKK beachtourists are naturists is not an easy task, because many stay in textile resorts and visit naturist beaches or resorts just for swimming and sunbathing. Some estimates say about 15% of all tourists in Croatia are naturists or nudists. That means more than 1.000.000 naturists visit Croatia each year. Most of them come from Germany, than Austria, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary etc. Considering country's liberal tradition toward naturism and a large number of naturist resorts and beaches, Croats are surprisingly still a bit shy when it comes to naturism and make about less than 5% of all guests in naturist resorts. Comparing to the situation in 1980's, number of organized naturist in Croatia has significantly decreased in the last decade. Many agree the reason is stronger influence of the Catholic Church in the society. Today many Croats prefer unofficial or secluded beaches to throw away their clothes.
But still, naturism is strongly suported by official Croatian goverment bodies. Take a look what official Croatian tourism site says about it (and we're glad they used many information from this site), and naturism is even mentioned on tourism site of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Why come to Croatia?
Is naturism legal in Croatia?
When is the best time to come?
Is it safe over there?
Do I need any kind of membership?
Singles policy?
How about topless?
Clothing optional?
Are all naturist beaches listed here?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

JAZZBINA CLUBING - 10 Years on the¸Air and Stage

10 Years on the¸Air and Stage
HP Club, Hotel Pula, Pula
Vasil Hadžimanov, keyboards
Vlada Samardzic, bass
Bojan Ivković, percussion, scat
Srđan Dunkić-Johnny, drums
and ...



Vasil’s (born June 23rd, 1973, Belgrade) classical training began at the age of 5,

and included attendance at one of the oldest music high schools in South East Europe,

Stevan Mokranjac in Belgrade (prof. Ljubinka Hadzi-Jovancic). It was his interest in jazz, however, that won him full scholarship to attend the Interlochen Arts Camp for two summers in a row and afforded him the opportunity to study and perform with Milt Jackson, Curtis Fuller, and Bayron Stripling among others.

He moved to Boston in 1992 to study piano and arranging at Berklee College of Music on a scholarship. He graduated in 1995 and his piano teachers were Ray Santisi and Lazslo Gardony.

While at Berklee, he performed with Matt Garrison, Rick Peckham, Leroy Jenkins (in his rap opera “Funky Faust”), George Garzone, Ayib Dieng, and toured nationally with Paskal Bokar’s afro-pop band.

In September 1996 Vasil moved to New York, where he continued his work with some of the best young musicians like: David Gilmore, David Binney, Cris Cheek, Marko Djordjevic, Danny Sadownick, Adam Deutch, Antonio Sanchez, Reuben Rogers, Rodney Holmes, “Ultranate”… At the same time he worked as a music programmer at the “TOMANDANDY” studios (authors of the “Killing Zoe” soundtrack).

Vasil also performed with the following SCG artists: Jovan Maljokovic Balkan Salsa Band (Rothweill Jazz Fest., Montreaux Jazz Fest.), Dusko Gojkovic (European tour), Steve Gut (Segedin Jazz Fest.), Mimo Mitrovic, Bisera Veletanlic, Zafir and Senka Hadzimanov, Rambo Amadeus (ex Yu tour)…

After spending a year in the Big Apple he decided to move back to Yugoslavia and finish what he started with his own:


His ideas of mixing Balkan traditional, folk rhythms and melodies with the western, modern musical styles (jazz, funk, world music…) in his own music is completely authentic and a new approach to jazz music. For the last 5 years, Vasil and his musicians have continuously played his compositions on concerts and jazz festivals all over Serbia and Montenegro and other countries with big success (Belgrade summertime Jazz Fest - following Joe Zawinul, Novi Sad Jazz Fest., Nis, Smederevo,

Kragujevac, Podgorica, Budva,… Banjaluka, Sarajevo, Mostar, Zelenkovac Jazz Fest (Bosnia), Skopje Soul and Blues Fest., Kumanovo Jazz Fest.(Macedonia), Maribor Lent Fest., Cerkno Jazz Fest. (Slovenia), Opatija Jazz Fest., Promotion concert for the PGP publishing house in Stuttgart, Pula (Croatia), Berlin (benefit concert), Porgy and Bess jazz club in Vienna (Austria), Bratislava Jazz Days “Jazzove dni” (Slovakia)…

In the year of 2001, Vasil Hadzimanov Band released their first CD and tape under the title “11 reasons for…” published by PGP-RTS. Its first edition sold out in three months. Also for their first release, they won the award Beovision 2002 for the Best Debut Album of The Year 2002.

In the summer of 2002 Vasil Hadzimanov Band joined famous director Goran Paskaljevic and his film crew, in making of a documentary about Belgrade, for the ARTE television. Vasil composed the music and the band fronted by their percussionist Bojan Ivkovic, acted and performed music in the movie. Vasil’s music can also be found on “011 Belgrade”, a movie by a young Austrian director Michael Pfeifenberger and a new movie by Rasha Andric "When I Grow Up I Wanna Be A Kangaroo".

In the year of 2003 they released their second CD “Kafanki”, again published by PGP-RTS, which they currently promote across Europe. For this one, they won the award Suncane skale 2003 for the Best Instrumental Album of The Year 2003.

19th of November 2003 VH Band performed on the “Enter Music Festival“ in Belgrade sharing the stage with the great Joe Zawinul and his Zawinul Syndicate. After hearing the band perform live, Zawinul himself invited Vasil and his mates to perform in his new club in Vienna, called "Joe's Birdland", in the spring of 2005. In the summer of 2005, the band will represent the sounds of the Balkan on Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan.

In June 2004 VH Band were invited by the violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy to perform with him on his big Belgrade concert. This was quite an experience for both parties involved, as well as for the audience...

Confident that the quality and originality will turn many heads and create new opportunities for them, this young band is eager to expand its audience and a place in your programme.

Vasil Hadzimanov band featuring:

Vladimir Samardzic –el. bass guitar (born in 1970 in Novi Sad, Serbia) As a self-thought guitar player he picks bass guitar at the age of 19 and starts practising and playing in many clubs in Belgrade and Novi Sad with domestic jazz musicians. He meets Vasil Hadzimanov in 1993 and the same year became a member of the Novi Sad Big Band Orchestra. 1995-1997 Vladimir records and performs with the legendary rock band SMAK and studies with the bands leader and one of the most famous guitarists in ˝old˝ Yugoslavia, Radomir Mihajlovic – Tochak. At Berklee College of Music, which he enrolled with the scholraship in 1997, he wins the reward for an Outstanding Achievemnet from Berklee Bass Department, BMG Jazz Award and he gets the scholarship from Studenica Foundation (for talented students from Serbia studing in America). During his studies in the States, he intensively works with Bryan Oliver funk band and latino ensemble named Papa Loves Mambo. He colaborates with great singer Gabrielle Goodman, world known vibist Dave Samules (Spyro Gyra, Caribbean Jazz Project), percusionist Jammey Haddad (Dave Liebeman, Paul Simon), rumenian pan-flute player Damian Dragichi and new york drummer Marko Djordjevic (SVETI). With his own sextet Vladimir performs originals at many clubs in Boston. He graduates with ˝Summa Cum Laude˝ in 1999 under supervision of his mentors Oscar Stagnaro(Paquito D'Rivera, Dave Valentin) and Anthony Vitti. After gradution from Berklee Vladimir comes back to Yugoslavia (2000) and continues playing with Vasil Hadzimanov as a full time member of Vasil's band. He also colaborates with singers Bisera Veletanlic and Hana Vuchicevic (Speed Limit, Just), latino band Mambo Stars, multiinstrumentalist Slobodan Trkulja (Balkanopolis) and Groove Masters band which follows the most popular pop singer in this region Vlado Georgiev. Among taking part on many jazz festivals all over ex–Yugoslavia with Vasil Hadzimanov Band, Vladimir played at the festivals in Austria, Slovakia, Germany and Holland (tour of five World Music festivals 2004 and North See Jazz Festival 2002 with the Balkanopolis ethno project). Since his return from United States he has been active as a private instructor, and music workshops lecturer for bass guitar and harmony. As bass guitarist he was involved in realisation of many domestic music edtions and several independent american editions. Vladimir Samardzic lives with his family in Novi Sad where he works on his first lesson book for modern bass guitar.

Srdjan Dunkic - Johnny - drums (born April 6th, 1976 Belgrade, YU)

After finishing one of the best private drum schools in Belgrade, at the age of 12, he already became an active professional drummer with many Yugoslav bands, playing original and cover material.

From 1997 until 1999 one of the most popular TV channels in the country, broadcasts a music show where Johnny, with his own “Mega Band”, had a chance to perform with the biggest stars in Yugoslav pop/rock music (Bata Kovac, “K2”, “Zana”, Kiki and the “Pilots”…)

Performs with Cosey Powell on his European tour. Collaborates with Djordje David, Dragoljub Djuricic( Germany, Austria…) and “Fuzzbox” band.

On behalf of a great experience he gained in working with the best, he is most wanted as a studio musician.

Bojan Ivkovic - percussion, scat vocal (born October 15th, 1975, Vrsac, YU)

1990 - 1994 performs with local bands. In 1994 he moves to Belgrade and becomes a drummer of one of the best blues groups in Yugoslavia “Hush” with their front man Ana Popovic. After numerous concerts with “Hush” (Summertime Jazz Fest., West Rhythm Fest., Pachs Blues Fest., Senta Blues Fest...), he takes interest in playing percussion as well.

1996 -2001 Bojan records and performs with: Pavle Aksentijevic (Bemus fest., Zurich, Bern, St. Gallen, Canada), Sanja Ilic and Balkanika (Maribor Lent Fest, Mexico, Austria…), experimental band “Vroom” (Trn Fest. Slovenia…), neoswing band “Havana Whisper” (Belgrade Jazz Fest., Zelenkovac Jazz fest….) and Vasil Hadzimanov Band.


Vasil Hadzimanov Band, other than in a form of a quartet, can also perform with their special guests, some of the best musicians in the Balkan area:

Brankica Vasic - vocal (one of the greatest ethno Balkan voices of our time, performed with Goran Bregovic, Sanja Ilic…)

Teodosii Spasov - kaval (greatest Bulgarian kaval player, recorded and performed with Trilok Gurtu among others)

Antonio Kitanovski - guitar (Berklee graduate, his approach to music is completely new and original, performed with Charlie Mariano, Greg Hopkins…)

Orhan Maslo - percussion (a superb Bosnian percussionist, performed with Mostar Sevdah Reuninon among others)

And others that were guests on our two realeses ("11 reasons for…" and "Kafanki")


Monday, March 06, 2006

Aquarium Fort Verudela - Pula

Aquarium Pula opened for the first time on 21 Sep 2002. It is set inside the old Austro-Hungarian Fortress in the heart of the Verudela tourist centre, on the Verudela Peninsula . It is dedicated to raising awareness of the sea, with naturally themed habitats depicting the local marine environment. Visits of all kinds of groups including pre-school, school, clubs, senior citizen and community are educationally focused.

Since 2002, the number of tanks has continuously increased and the old tanks were improved and refurbished. A dazzling variety of marine life in realistic habitats is on display in basins with running seawater .

Experience hundreds of sea creatures in 30 special exhibits, including a touching pool. Touch a dogfish , turtle, urchin, crab or sea squirts in our open basin. Discover fish that have burrowed into the sand and mud as well as inhabitants of overgrown and stony areas. Have a look at tiny zooplankton and phytoplankton under the microscope, find out about the deepest reaches of the Mediterranean Sea , currents, colour of the sea, saltwater composition, etc.

The first floor features various exhibitions, such as old fishermen tools, our protected marine organisms and underwater photography by our famous underwater photographer Eduard Strenja. In addition there is plenty of educational material to explore.

Our new feature is a 40m tunnel, leading to the moat where a freshwater pond is situated. The specimens in the pond are varied and typical of the country's rivers and lakes. Within the tunnel we offer refreshments and snacks to visitors.

Apart from guided tours, Pula Aquarium organises playgroups for children. Children are very welcome and can enjoy themselves on the terrace in front of the aquarium, with lots of complementary games. For inquisitive minds, we offer weekly lectures on marine topics. You are welcome to book an appointment to explore laboratory material. Excursions to the beach and sea in our boat can be organised for groups.

Within Aquarium Pula, the first Marine Turtle Rescue Centre in Croatia was opened in 2002. It is dedicated to the implementation of a tagging program in the northern Adriatic Sea, to provide medical treatment for injured turtles, providing a contact mechanism with local fishermen and to promote education and public awareness programs.

Aquarium Pula in Fort Verudela features a spectacular location overlooking Marina Bay , offshore islands, and open sea where our new picnic area is situated.

Working hours: in summer time 9:00 am to 10:00 pm daily in winter time 10 - 17 h weekends

A guided tour for groups, booked in advance, takes approximately 45-60 min.

For further information and tour bookings please contact:

Dr. Milena Mičić 0915682986
Zoran Mičić 0915282320
Aquarium 00385 (52) 381402

Admission 1€ = 7,3 KN approx.

Aquarium Fort Verudela - Pula