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PHOTOS: Domovina Birthright Program visits Knin, Kornati National Park & Vrana

Domovina Birthright program visits Knin (Photo: MORH / M. Čobanović)

With the aim of strengthen ties between Croatia and Croatian communities around the world, 34 participants of Croatian descent between the ages of 18 – 30 went on a 16-day cultural and educational immersion tour of Croatia.

The Domovina Birthright Program participants learned about their Croatian heritage, explored the beauty and excitement of Croatia, connected with their Croatian identity and meet other young Croatians. 

Reporting from the tour was Kristiana Banden, one of the inaugural participants.

Day 8 + 9 – Knin, Kornati National Park & Vrana

On day 8 of our trip, from Pula, we travelled to Smiljan to visit Nikola Tesla’s hometown and memorial centre. The memorial centre was built in the home that Nikola grew up in, and although made modern for the museum, all the old structures are sill in place. Today, his most notable contribution is the modern alternating current electricity supply system as well as the Tesla coil, the induction motor, neon light and the radio to name a few. 

Statue of Nikola Tesla. Behind, his childhood home. Today, it is used as a memorial centre. 

Tesla sign inside the memorial centre. 

One of Nikola Tesla’s inventions, neon light lamp.

My favourite aspect of the memorial centre in Smiljan was the attic of Nikola’s home where it showcases samples of his inventions. Pressing the buttons puts on a display of the invention, showcasing how it looked through photographs and not modernized for how it’s used today. 

Inside the attic of the memorial centre. Our tour guide was really insightful. A tour I highly recommend. 

After visiting the memorial centre, we arrived to Knin where we had some free time and time to prepare for a meeting and dinner with the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Damir Krstičević. Not only was it amazing to have the opportunity to speak to and dine with this company, but we had the chance to do so in an amazing venue, the Knin Fortress.

Awaiting the arrival of our guest speakers at the Knin Fortress.

Left to right: Ane Slabić, Christine Lyubicic, Tatiana Banđen, Kristiana Banđen.

Catching the sunset at the top of the fortress was absolutely breathtaking with the view.

The view from the top of the fortress.

From the top, a group photo with the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Damir Krstičević.

Photo: MORH / M. Čobanović

Walking up the fortress. 

For a little bit of fun and relaxation, for the next day, a kornati trip was organized for us on a private boat for the group. I have previously taken a tour for the Kornati National Park with my family but with the trip I had taken before, we didn’t have the opportunity to stop at the memorial crosses. The crosses, found on the island Veliki Kornat, commemorates the Croatian firefighters who lost their lives in the Kornati tragedy on August 30, 2007. On that day over 10 years ago, a group of firefighters were deployed to the island to extinguish a small fire. Unfortunately, for an unknown reason, the fire had taken the lives of the group. Croatia remembers the heroes as a permanent reminder for the dedication of the profession. This is something that almost all of us in the group had no idea of. It has been really riveting to learn about incidents such as this one that I never knew about. 

83 feet long and 50 feet wide, the crosses were made by hand and without the use of machinery and binding materials. Drywall building techniques were used. 

The view from our boat as we stopped to swim, beautiful crystal clear water. 

Accompanied by a guitarist and two piano accordions musicians made our trip! Good music, sing alongs and impromptu kolo dancing made it memorable. 

Swimming, beautiful views, good food, singing and dancing soon ended and the party continued to Vrana for the evening to enjoy dinner at Maškovića Han in Vrana.

Maškovića Han 

Group dinner  

Next up: More of the Dalmatia coast.

Follow @kristianabanden and check out www.kristianabanden.com for more photos and insights.

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