GOLD PROSPECTING IN MEĐIMURJE 

Series; A Staycation in Croatia is Staylicious

The money lies on the road, they say. You just need to bend over. In Međimurje in Donji Vidovac – it has been proven, with gold prospecting.

Gold prospectors in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

Gold prospectors in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

Top tourist magnet, good fun, indeed unique, awaits you in Donji Vidovac on the Drava river banks. Try your luck or patience while standing in a cold river up to your knees and throw out the gravel on a board, hoping that something will soon shine between the small stones.
Minerals were descending from the Alps due to melting glaciers over the years towards the former Pannonian Sea. There is no sea anymore, but there are rivers, and one of them – the Drava is a golden vein!

Gold prospectors in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

Gold prospectors in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

The Drava is a golden vein!

Even in Zrinski’s era (16th and 17th century), the Drava was proclaimed a “golden” river. In 1776, Empress Maria Theresa issued a charter to the gold prospectors from Donji Vidovac. That charter gave them the right to seek gold. Not just any gold, but the purest quality gold. Hundreds of boats could be seen prospecting gold at that time.

Gold in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

Gold found in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

Gold doesn’t really come in lumps, but when a few pieces of the coast broke off, there was a much better chance to find glittering leaves and dots.
Once when old Međimurje skillful gold prospectors found the gold, they used to be sent to Vienna, to the imperial treasury.
The moto nautical club ‘Vid goldsmiths’ is the guardian of traditional gold prospecting on the Drava today. They know that the board on which the gravel is thrown must be ‘hairy’/coarsely sawn so that gold leaves can attach to it. But it’s just a small ‘golden’ grain of knowledge. There are many more. The people of Međimurje mastered 300 years ago mechanical processing by which mercury is squeezed and vaporized out of gold. In the end, you get the gold of the highest purity in the world, of 22 carats.

Gold prospectors in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

Gold prospectors in Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

“GOLD FEVER” STILL LASTS IN DONJI VIDOVAC

The whole process from gravel to gold today takes about five hours and our modern searchers, in two years (!!!) find about 11 grams of gold. It worth up to 330 kunas / about 40 €.  Međimurje still keeps the memory of the glorious golden times with two manifestations. One is the Goldsmiths club’s “Hunting for the goldsmith’s ring” on the Drava river from the boats.
The other is “Zlatomrazi” (Gold Santas), a kind of Santa Clauses. Zlatomrazi donate the children that visit the Drava at Christmas. As pointed out – this is an excellent tourist attraction, soon to be expanded by the souvenir production of gilded(silver) nuggets and perfume ‘Gold’ which contains natural gold leaf.
Gold fever, gold prospecting, a tradition plus excellent gastronomic and wine offer are good enough reasons to visit Međimurje!

Gold found in the Drava river, Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

Gold found in the Drava river, Međimurje, Croatia, photo credit by TB of Međimurje

 

Andreja Pruša Horvatić, editor in chief

Andreja Pruša Horvatić, editor in chief

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