If you are planning your trip to Croatia, and you wonder if there is something unusual to discover, many interesting ideas will come to you. But one thing that you have probably never heard of is that we have a real desert in Croatia. Yes, you read it well! Near Đurđevac, you can visit the Croatian Sahara. You can go for a walk on sandy paths surrounded with small bushes and trees. You will need less than two hours to reach this place from Zagreb. Đurđevac is a small authentic Croatian town with no more than 9000 people.
People in Đurđevac are very proud of the story on how one rooster saved the town. That's why they even call themselves Picoke, which is the local name for a rooster. Locals celebrate a legendary victory against the Turkish army, for over 50 years. In Đurđevac, you can be a part of the celebration of the history in the desert. Be ready to feel the sand under your feet.
Locals call it a desert, but in fact, Đurđevački pjesci is the closest to the term desert you can find in Croatia, besides what we call safari on Brijuni Island. Sand-covered land with small bushes hides an incredible combination of flora and fauna. According to the scientists, in the place of what now is this unusual park, a few thousand years ago was a real desert. It is believed that only because of human’s work, now we have grass and threes there. The whole landscape around the town is covered with sand. Hence the name - Croatian Sahara. They even have three camels there. You are not allowed to ride them, but they are very friendly, and you can try to feed and pet them.
Đurđevac is a small town, and it’s not a tourist destination for itself. But if you are already here because of the desert, go for a walk and visit the Church of St Juraj. This is a lovely little church with baroque sculptures. If you want to try some of the town specialties, go for lunch in Picok Hotel. This is a place which serves great chicken dishes.
End of June, every year in Đurđevac is held Picokijada. This event celebrates a glorious victory of Đurđevac residents over the Ottoman Empire. During the time of Picokijada through all the streets in Đurđevac, you can see the exhibition of old folklore clothes, old craft products and food, mostly old desserts. During one week, the town is very much alive. You can see the competitions in sports and some of the old craft works. In the evening, you can hear many local singers. In front of the castle, an exhibition is held which represents the most important historical event of the town. You can see a vivid performance of young artists, dressed up in 16th-century costumes. Of course, there is a real rooster in the show!
Come to Đurđevac and discover the only desert in Croatia - the Croatian Sahara. You will be surprised how much you will fall in love with this small town.
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