Take a circular walk
We took a walk from the bus station to the Trinity church, then down a steepish road in the corner of the square to the Slunjcica river.
Shortly before dusk there were masses of aggressive mosquitos, so some repellent is recommended. I was quite successful fending them off without repellent though.
On the way down you will notice a plaque on a house, so this will be a stop for you to read about an olympic medal.
You will then cross the Slunjcica river and walk uphill until you reach the castle grounds. From there you can take a few photo towards the Trinity church. Then continue along the same road and then turn left onto a road without sidepath which takes you downhill again.
Later you will cross the main road just before the concrete bridge and Rastoke lies before you. After your visit of Rastoke you take the path that takes you to the left of the main road through a little tunnel. Follow that footpath and you will end up at a new carpark with the tourist office and a public toilet.
Please note that the toilet is locked when the tourist office is closed.
Then continue along the main road, which takes you slightly uphill, back to the bus station. On that stretch you will have a good view across the Slunjcica river to the castle.
Slunj was at the edge of Europe and had to be defended against the Ottomans. Originally the castle was built in the 12th century but was destroyed in the 16th century. It was rebuilt each time and turned into a fortress. For a long time there wasn’t much left of it, but reconstruction has begun and within a few years you probably won’t recognise it anymore.
You cannot miss it as travelling on the main road through town coming from the center going towards Rastoke you will spot it across the river to your right.
As we arrived one late grey afternoon in Slunj it was close to dusk when we visited Rastoke. Rastoke is a bit away from the town center but still within walking distance. The part of town called Rastoke consists of housing and an open air museum with little waterfalls. The waterfall area is also called mini Plitvice. There is an entrance fee (25 Kuna in 2012) and then you are free to explore the various waterfalls yourself as well as some museum buildings like the mill etc. There is a restaurant and accomodation as well. Depending on when you visit you may want to bring some mosquito repellent.
At the reception you can also buy souvenirs including postcards.
If you have time you may want to cross the big concrete bridge across the river as you will have some good views from over there. We couldn’t do this on our visit as it was already dark by then, but when passing a few days later on the Bihac-Zagreb bus I had a bit of a glimpse.
Rastoke itself is originally an area where various mills were established. This was over 300 years ago. It is also the place where the Slunjcica river joins the Korana. One night in March 1914 large travertine rocks crashed into the Korana canyon making it even more spectacular looking. Since 1964 this area is officially a nature reserve.
This greenish looking church is located just off the main square behind the Pansion Park. You cannot enter it as it is fenced off since the war in 1991 as it is damaged.
I haven't found out what the name of the church is and any other information. Please feel free to tell me if you know more.
Interestingly enough, this church is not featured on the town map. I therefore wonder if it is/was a Serbian orthodox church.
The Trinity church is located on an old square in Slunj within a short walking distance from the bus station. We were able to have a look through the inner glass door. In the entrance hall they hung up a couple of pictures on which you may see how much the church suffered in the Balkan war. This catholic church has been burnt on 30th November 1991. It has now been totally renovated.
Looking across the River, I could see the ruins of a Fort.
This was a 15th century fort, which King Bela III gave as a present to the Frankopan family in 1139.
It was easily viewed as it sits on the cliff above a Canyon on the Slunjcica River. During french administration, the still standing wooden bridge was built accross the Korana river. The remains of the fort were left in rememberance of the turmoil that occurred in this town.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
SLUNJ - RASTOKE - THE TOWN
Driving into Slunj felt like driving back into time.
The small town has suffered from the recent war, and now has put new roofs on their homes that were damaged. Luckily, the weren't completely demolished, as we still could view homes that were 300years old, thanks to being renovated to their original design with yards still the same.
In fact, it is said, time has stood still here, and the town is now a protected heritage site. The ladies go about their work like their mothers did, and probably the men do too! It didn't look like modernization had reached here, so refreshing!
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
SLUNJCICA RIVER & WATERFALLS
Just beneath the Veliki Javornik mountain top, lies the source of the Jesenica river.
Its interesting that after 6kms, the river disappears under the surface of the earth and continues on a subterranean track for about 20 klms and re-emerges 6.5 kms south of Slunj as river Slunjcica.
It's at the Slunjcica river where nature has created a good size, long travertine barrier. This impressive layer of lime, used to separate the "Upper" and the "Lower Rastoke."
It was the lower part of Rastoke where I was admiring many of the 23 waterfalls, rapids, cascades, water basins, which fall about 10 to 20 meters deep into the Korana river. The most famous waterfalls are Buk (English waterfall), Hrvoje and Vilina kosa (English fairy hair).
I viewed the waterfalls from the "old" Bridge, and then I walked to the bottom and amongst them, what a sight, it was one of my favorites in Croatia!
These waterfalls are actually different to how they were created by nature, as during the War in Croatia from 1991 to 1995, an attempt was made to blow up the road bridge across the Korana by Serbian paramilitary troops before fleeing town in August 1995.
Not that much damage was done to the Bridge, how-ever irreversible damage was caused to the great waterfall Buk. Local Serb militias, severely damaged the waterfall by throwing explosives on it during the time of occupation.
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
I really loved wandering around the Mill Village. Water was everywhere, canals, the little waterfall's, and of course, the old homes that are still standing amongst all of this! There were umpteen bridges, and it really felt like I had stepped back in time. Some of the gardens were over-run, there were Hens scratching as I walked past, washing was hanging on hand strung lines, nothing modern here! An old lady had her chair in the garden, and seemed to be enjoying watching the tourists wander by!
The Mills date to the 17th century, but most houses for living have been constructed only at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20 century. The paths wound there way around these homes, most of them called by the names of the families that carried out the Milling.
Many waterfalls also carry the names of the mill owners.
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
THE OLD MILLS
I started heading down a path and came across the sign in my 2nd Photo, this was telling me all about the mills of Rastoke, and the power of water.
So, after reading the information, it was time for me to go and see for myself!
All along the travertine barriers, there were houses and mills built in the style of this region, a combination of the architectural styles of the Dinaric and the Posavina region.
The ground parts of the houses are made out of travertine, while the higher parts of wood, the roofs are shingle or tiles.
It was interesting to read water cannot not run into the houses even at high water levels due to high concentrations of calcium and sediment which have hardened and made a barrier.
During its Peak, there were 22 mills, some dating to the 17th century.
The mills were driven by paddle wheels which in turn powered the rotating millstone.
Every mill had two or three, some even more millstones.
Most millstones were used for grinding what was known as "black corn". This term referred to maize, rye, barley, millet and oat. The best stones were used for grinding so called "white corn" or wheat. The milling fees were about 8- 10% of the delivered amount of corn.
The Millers not only had to Mill the grain, but also work out which of their customers were trying to cheat and conceal the real amounts of grain. Even though this happened, it's believed the Millers and customers were mostly on good terms.
Over the generations, sons took over from their fathers, and Milling continued for many years until eventually closing because of severe disputes.
Water power was also used for the pounding or finalizing of woollen cloths that at the time, were important clothing materials.
Doing the washing at Rastoke by traditional form of washing machine is in a rotating barrel with holes geared by the water flow.
Perhaps they have upgraded to todays machines.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Rastoke is the historic center of the Croatian municipality of Slunj, also the old part of Slunj which is known for its well-preserved mills and the picturesque little waterfalls along the Slunjcica river, which flows into the river Korana here.
It is very pretty, and no wonder why, when it's often referred to as "the Small Lakes of Plitvice".
When I first saw it, I thought it was a little similar to Plitvice Lakes. Both locations are interconnected by the Korana river.
As we passed through the village and over the river bridge, it was then I saw the pretty waterfalls, so a U-turn was made, a parking spot found [quite hard to find], and I went exploring.
I didn't know about this town beforehand, and I wasn't disappointed with what I saw!
Well worth a stop!
Korana River is a paradise for swimmers, water temperature grow around 28 C degrees during summers. The river is mostly very fast and wild in some parts and it makes Korana ideal for cajacing and canuing. The water is very clean and therefore rich with fish, what makes it attractive for fishermen. Yes, Korana could give high feeling to those who searching for adventure tourism.
"Three wishes fishing rod"
The sign says "I make your three come true". And right next to this sign there is another, saying "For Luck." I saw people closing their eyes and throwing the coins in there. I've made my wish request back in Nin already so I didn't make one here again.
This is the old mill which is not operational any more. It is turned into a viewpoint with a terrace and a bench. Millstones are put as a decorations all around.
Pod Rastočkim krovom
Translated: Under the Rastoke roof. This is a small ranch held by a family Holjevac. There is a nice tavern, a restaurant and a souvenir shop.