After two years' preparation, in the afternoon of Saturday 18th October the knot of the largest cravat in the world was tied around the Pula Arena. The creator of this grandiose art installation was prof. Marijan Busic, the head of the non-profit making establishment "Academic Cravatica", which promotes the cravat as part of the Croatian and world cultural heritage. The coordinator of the technical execution of the installation was Mladen Marinovic, the head designer of the firm Potomac-Croata. The designers of the idea and feasibility study were mr. Sc. Damir Corko (for the part of the Cravat around the Arena) and dr. sc. Bruno Calic (for the construction of the knot and the load bearing construction outside the Arena). Academia Cravatica was responsible for the entire art installation project, and the City of Pula was the co-organizer.
This job took two days, then more than a hundred Pula high-schoolers, standing around the Arena, held the cravat whilst the mountaineers gradually lifted it up to the top of the Arena. The most difficult part - tying the knot of the cravat - began on Saturday morning. In the late afternoon, more precisely at around 5.30 p.m., the knot was tied and the cravat spread out to its full width of hundreds of meters across the Pula Karolina car park. The entire unusual event was followed from the early morning with great interest by hundreds of local people and tourists, and in the afternoon there were several thousand watching. This world scale cultural media spectacle aroused a great deal of attention from the local and world media, including about ten television companies, including CNN and ARD.
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The tying of the knot
The tying of the knot of the Tie was recorded several times from the air (by helicopter from the Ministry of Defense) and what was probably the most beautiful sight of the entire event began when, in order to spread out the lower part of the Tie (below the knot), hundreds of local people became involved in a long chain to take part in the installation, holding the Tie up. On the recordings from the air, the Arena truly resembled the giant neck of Veli Joze, as the creator of the installation Marijan Busic has said, and the Cravat around the Arena was impressively similar to a normal cravat with a tied knot.
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The sponsors of the art installation were HEP (the Croatian electricity company) INA, Potomac-Croata and Adria Lada. Croatian national television (HRT) will make a documentary about this unique event. The importance of the art installation project "A Cravat around the Arena" as a world scale cultural project by which the Arena, Pula, Istria, Croatia and Croatian tourism have been promoted on a world scale, has been recognized and given support by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, the Ministries for European Integration, Tourism and Defense, the Croatian Tourist Board, the Tourist Boards of the City of Pula and the Istarska County and Croatia Airlines. The official cultural and artistic program with the presentation of the installation was attended by the vice-president of the Croatian Government Dr. Goran Granic, the assistant minister for European Integration Davor Cilic, diplomatic representatives from the embassies of France, Greece and Denmark, a representative of the Japanese cultural institution "The Japanese House" Jassuo Yamamoto, who is also a member of the Board of the Academia Cravatica and many other important guests.
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The official program
At the beginning of the official program (run by Lejdi Oreb) the mayor of Pula dr. sc. Luciano Delbianco spoke on the significance of this event for the city of Pula and Croatia as a whole. The coordinator of the technical staging of the installation Mladen Marinovic spoke about how this exceptionally complex project, in a technical and technological sense, was realized. The creator of the installation Marijan Busic spoke about the motives for his preoccupation with the cravat and the message of this art installation and amongst other things said, "While I was still in high school I realized that Croatia, the home of the tie (cravat), could best be presented to Europe and the world by means of the tie, as a worldwide symbol of dignity, formality and success. In time I discovered more and more the symbolic potential of the cravat as a medium. So the art installation "A Cravat around the Arena" primarily draws attention to the cravat as a world phenomenon of communication, a medium which communicates emotion, value and identity. Today in the conditions of globalization, with the tendency to iron out cultural differences, through this installation which brings together the ancient and the modern era with Croatia, I would like to emphasize directly the value of different identities. The red color of the tie, as a sign of love, which is also the color of the Croatian coat-of-arms, and the red soil of Istria, underlines the Croatian cultural identity and at the same time its openness and belonging to the wider European cultural circle. The metaphor of circles is also close to me (of Pula, Istria, Croatia, Europe and the World), circles, which do not obliterate each other, but rather complement and complete one another. The extraordinary size of the art installation is conditioned by the size of the Arena, this magnificent symbol of the Greek and Roman world. Since it is located here in Istria, I spontaneously associated the Arena with the giant Veli Joze and I imagined it as his gigantic neck."
The official program began at 3 p.m. with
a parade by the brass band and majorettes
Six couples danced in costumes based on stylized Istrian folk costumes made by the firm Potomac, who also are owners of the Croata brand. After the program there was a reception and a happy time of socializing, for the guests, the participants in the program and representatives of the media.
The young couple Danijela and Denis from Pula also took part in the official program, dressed in formal wedding outfits. Their presence was a kind of living presentation of a "wedding in the Pula Arena" the basic motif of the picture book "The Cravat of Veli Jože or the fairy wedding in the Pula Arena". This new, illustrated literary work (written by Daniel Nacinovic and Ivan Gregov) was produced to mark the art installation and was inspired by it. The young couple was also honored by the accompaniment of members of the "Turopolje Honorable Guard" a historical Croatian unit from Turopolje. Turopolje is incidentally, the home of the man's formal neck scarf the "podgutnica", which according to some researchers is the oldest Croatian cravat (the original cravat).
The realization of the art installation also gave rise to other cultural and artistic events. On Friday 17 October an exhibition of works by twenty artists was opened on the theme of the tie. They donated all the works of art exhibited to the non-profit making institution Academia Cravatica. There is a book, as mentioned before, to be launched next week (a picture book) entitled "The Cravat of Veli Joze or the fairy wedding in the Pula Arena" (Authors: D. N. & I. G.), in three versions - in Croatian, Italian and English.
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The final phase