Rural heritage valorization: creative communities in Podravina

International Workshop

19 – 29 August 2020



In partnership with Petar Preradović Interpretation Center and the European Heritage Volunteers 

International cultural heritage partner project in 2020 took place in Podravina region in the Northern, rural part of Croatia. The selected participants were coming from Croatia, Mexico, Turkey and the US. The geographical area of Podravina is taken as the location of the workshop because it consists of many small communities with rich tangible and intangible heritage that is still unexplored and not visible enough at the local and international levels. The volunteers worked in the town of Pitomača where one of the partners of the project – Petar Preradović Interpretation Center is located. 

Pitomača municipality is situated in the North-Western part of Virovitica-Podravina County, near the border with the Republic of Hungary. With its natural and cultural values, this municipality is of great importance for the County. It is most known for the birthplace of the famous Croatian poet Petar Preradović in Grabrovnica. His house was built in the 18th century in a unique style for this region and is of great historical and cultural value. Historically, the house served for military purposes and in the second half of the 19th century it was used as a warehouse by an agricultural cooperative. It was renovated in 1909 and in 1968 it became one of the first museums dedicated to the writer. In 2018 a more thorough renovation was made and the new contemporary cultural and tourist attraction inspired by the poet’s life and work was created. Thanks to the European Union funds from the Interreg cross-border cooperation program between Hungary and Croatia, the Municipality of Pitomača officially opened the modern interpretation center in June 2019 which is significant for the entire Podravina region.

This rural part of Croatia is still an undiscovered area in terms of tourism. Nevertheless, it is attracting an increasing number of visitors from Croatia and abroad, especially those seeking a preserved and clean landscape, and who want to learn about the cultural heritage and customs of this rural area. The interpretation center is dedicated to enriching the cultural offer of the area and its premises were used during the workshop as a working space for the volunteers.

Rural communities – villages located in Podravina are currently disconnected and there is a strong need to work collaboratively on bringing them together using culture and creativity as drivers for innovation. The idea of the international heritage workshop in Podravina was to interpret and valorize the rich material and immaterial rural cultural heritage and connect in a network smaller creative communities and relevant local actors. This network would be based on their creative potential, traditions and value of the cultural heritage considered as a resource for fostering social, economic and cultural development. The focal point for this initiative is the local partner – Petar Preradović Interpretation Center. Its aim is to promote and preserve not only the work of the poet but also the cultural heritage of the region in the broader sense and open the Center for new interdisciplinary initiatives.

The role of the volunteers was first to explore the potential of Pitomača and Podravina region and map the opportunities/points of interest/members that should be included in the network, focusing on the historical aspects (material cultural heritage) but also on traditions, customs, arts & crafts and contemporary creative local actors. The second step was to create proposals for bringing these communities together, think of the potential organizational structure, programmation, strategies for development and use of cultural heritage and creativity as main tools for better integration and future collaboration. Therefore, the main objective of the workshop was to improve connections between rural communities in Podravina, raise their awareness and use their synergies to promote and valorize the rural cultural heritage at the same time fostering cultural tourism. The project resulted in developing of initial proposals which can be served as the basis for future collaborative work. The synergies between different actors are needed for this work to continue if we want to achieve a strong impact for the local community, contribute to the economic development of the region and empower young creatives and the civil sector in the long term. The workshop brought all of these actors together and hopefully marked the beginning of new partnerships.

Discover the full report and proposals HERE.

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From the media: 
E-Podravina (1)
E-Podravina (2)
Informativni Centar Virovitica (1)
Informativni Centar Virovitica (2)
Turističke priče 
Plava Televizija
Interpret Europe Newsletter / Website

With the support of: