The Other Boat Show: Croatian Boat Building Days


While the Croatia Boat Show may be the best-known boat show in Split, it is by no means the only one, and this month sees the return of Croatian Boat Building Days.
Croatian Boat Building Days are a traditional thematic event organised by and for the Croatian boat builders since, most of them cannot afford to exhibit on other similar expos because of the price and bad positioning (they always get stuck behind the big glossy yachts and can never get the attention they deserve). The event will take place in Marina Lav, Le Meridien Lav hotel, Podstrana (near Split) from April 24th until April 27th. Furthermore, most of these boats cannot be seen anywhere else, they only come to this expo and every year they race to finish their new models in time for this show.
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This year’s edition is under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and around 60 boats produced in small shipyards throughout Croatia ( Istria, Krk, Zadar, Sibenik, Zagreb, Slavonija, Split-Dalmatia County) are expected to attend. Boats range from small vessels for fishing and recreation (3m to 8m), top of the line dinghies (all sizes) to fully equipped professional fishing boats, sail boats and 30m motor yachts built exclusively for luxury charter (such as Navilux, worth cca 3 mil EUR). So far there are 6 premieres confirmed (some never seen before some sea premieres). The organisers have also signed a partnership agreement with the Association for preservation of traditional shipbuilding, they will have their first general assembly during our event and they will bring 6 traditional Croatian ships including gajeta Supetar, leut Split, falkuša Vis, leut-trajta Korčula, pasara Hvar and gajeta Vrboska.

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The expo is quite unique because, as a buyer or interested party, you have the opportunity to talk to the person that actually built the boat, as well as take the boat out for a free test drive.

Along with boats on show will be nautical equipment (renowned global brands), fishing and diving gear as well as a whole range of equipment suitable for hotel or apartment owners (peddle boats, kayaks, canoes, beach gear…)

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Entrance is free (always was, always will be), and there will be plenty of lectures and entertaining events every day including our sea alka (jet-ski and canoe category), fishing competitions….

More info on

An Interview with Sinj Tourist Board Director Jelena Bilic

The Tourist Board of Sinj in the heart of Central Dalmatia is one of the most progressive tourist boards in the region. Director Jelena Bilic has been in the job about 2 years and has embraced social media and other forms of modern communication to entice tourists away from the beach, just half an hour north of Split. An interview with Jelena.

1. Central Dalmatia. Sun, beach and the pristine Adriatic. Why should tourists head inland to visit Sinj?

Tourists should visit Sinj because of its rich cultural heritage: it possesses real historical jewels – the clock tower Kamičak, Old Town Fortress, the magnificent Church of the Miraculous Madonna of Sinj, the greatest Marian shrine in southern Croatia; a tombstone Gaius Laberius built into the front wall of a house, the Sinj boy holding a ball, proof that the Cetinska Krajina Region is the cradle of the second most important thing in the world and the place where football was first played; The Archaeological Collection of the Franciscan Monastery; the Museum of the Cetinska Krajina Region, the central place of research and exhibition of its rich cultural and historical heritage; the Alka Knights Court, the former barracks (Kvartiri), today a splendid complex and the home of the Sinjska Alka, in which the Alka Museum is waiting to be opened to the public in 2015; untouched nature clear and cold waters and mysterious mountains, gastronomy, there are countless opportunities for active holidays – from hiking, horse riding, cycling, canoe safari on the river Cetina, hunting, fishing, parachuting and paragliding.

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(photo by Filip Ratkovic)

2. The region north of Split is virtually unknown. What does it possess for the curious tourist?

All info about Town of Sinj curious tourists can find on and social network: Facebook Sinj Tourist Board, Twitter Visit Sinj, Pinterest Visit Sinj and Youtube channel Visit Sinj. Mobile app Sinj Guide will be also finished before summer 2014. All info about the region north of Split tourists can also find on the brand new portal Total Inland Dalmatia with interesting blogs about events and interesting places for visiting in Knin, Drniš, Vrlika, Trilj, Imotski, Vrgorac and Sinj.
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3. How do you see the profile of tourism changing in Dalmatia in recent years?

In the last 2-3 years in Dalmatia there have been many individual tourists who are booking accommodation by themselves and finding info about destinations online, mainly through Tripadvisor. The sea, sun and sand is not enough for them, they want to experience something traditional, want to be active. They are visiting islands or national parks and they do not have enough info about Inland Dalmatia which is still undiscovered. But, Inland Dalmatia also has its pioneers in tourism operating like Mustang Ranch (Horse Trails), Adventure Zagora (kayaking, paragliding, paintball); Dalmatia Explorer (Photo Jeep Safari and Cycling Tours through Dinaridic springs ) and Tourist Agency Potissimus is organizing ATV-Quad Adventure in Vrdovo.
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4. Next year sees the 300th anniversary of one of Croatia’s most important events – the Alka in Sinj. Tell us more, and what plans are there to mark this specialevent and what is new for 2014?

Next year Town of Sinj is celebrating 300 years of Alka Tournament of Sinj which is under the protection of UNESCO as world intangible heritage. We are expecting the promotion of EU funded project Medpaths, cycling paths whose primary objective is the protection and revitalization of local heritage (cultural and natural) along the Adriatic coast. Another EU funded project is in progress „Our Lady of Sinj Route“ which has been approved according Programme IPA Croatia-BiH and its implementation started in 2013. The project will last for 24 months. The aim of the project is to enhance joint tourist offers based on common cultural identity in the Croatian-BiH space in order to improve competitiveness of the local tourism economy.

The pilgrimage trail The Our Lady of Sinj Route will connect Rama (BiH) to Sinj and Solin. The Town of Sinj has the support of the Ministry of Tourism for the renovation of the – clock tower Kamičak and Sinj Tourist Board is finalizing the project of installation info plates and tourist signalization supported by Croatian National Board. We will organize lots of events throughout the year, and the biggest tourist attraction will be opening of the Alka Museum.
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5. It must be frustrating to be director of such a fascinating tourist region that few tourists visit? What efforts are you making to attract more people to the region?

I am are aware that the growth of the tourist arrivals should increase slowly because tourist infrastructure should also follow up, last year overnights increased 30%. We are producing promo videos, organizing events like the Rural Products Fair, The 1715 Siege of Sinj – history revival, hosting foreign journalist and bloggers, promoting the destination through social networks, distributing promotional materials through info points in Split and Trogir,developing new projects like free climbing.

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(photo by Ilija Veselica)

How Does One Become an Easter Procession Crossbearer?

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The famous UNESCO-protected Za Krizen Easter Procession has been taking place on the island of Hvar for more than 500 years, as crossbearers from six towns and villages lead simultaneous processions through the night on Maundy Thursday. It is a great honour to become a crossbearer. We spoke to Paulo Buncuga, the 2007 crossbearer for Jelsa, to find out more about the process.

Well, for us local people, it is really a great honour. It is such an honor to some people, even though they are doctors, lawyers, managers, etc. if they have to choose which one diploma to put on the wall (to show to people) they put the one where you see them how they run as the Crossbearer, across Jelsa’s square.

Before I say how I applied to carry the Cross, you should understand the context of at the end of the 1980s when it all happened. Back then, we didn’t have a list of Crossbearers. For decades, somehow, each year someone would come to the vicar to put his name for next year and thats is how it mostly worked. In the 1970s and 1980s we really had a really crisis of Crossbearers and sometimes we didn’t have anyone to carry the Cross which was very painful, stressful and a bit shameful for our little town. So for example in 1979. Father Božidar Medvid took the Cross in the “last second”, and in 1983. the young group of candidates for that year’s Confirmation took the Cross, because nobody else wanted to.

Not knowing what more to do, Father Božidar organised in, I think the mid-1980s, a large prayer gathering, for the people of Jelsa, and people were praying in church like 24/7 for 7 days. Perhaps it was a question of faith, but believe it or not, something changed after that and Jelsa found several Crossbearers for several years in advance, and that was a huge relief for everyone. But at the end of 1980s, I remember, we the kids, a lot of kids, were in a Catechism Hall with Don Božidar, and somehow we were talking about that problem. In answer to his question “Who dares to carry the Cross!?” some kid – I don’t remember who was the first, said “Put me down”, and other kid jumped and said “Put me down too”. “And me..”, “And me..”… we were jumping one by one, without asking or consulting anyone, even not our with parents… And I realised how I signed to take the Cross, exactly 20 years after my father. After that day, more and more people from the brotherhood were coming to sign “his” year for carrying the Cross, and that’s what we have today. A list for the next 25-30 years.

And today’s procedure is not so complicated. You don’t have to be born in Jelsa, as most people think, but at least your family roots have to be from here. One strong condition is that you must be a member of the Brotherhood (bratim) of “Blessed Sacrament” (Presvetog Oltarskog Sakramenta), and as a brother-teenager (14+) you can sign yourself freely and without compulsion, but at the age of 18 you must confirm your free will to carry the Cross.

Sometimes, from time to time, I hear nonsense stories, such as how some parents inscribing their new born babies on the list, which is totally untrue. I am a witness to the truth, and I know what and how it happened.