Croatian Short Stories - Island Brijuni

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August 18th 2020
Published: September 7th 2020
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Nenad grew up in communist Yugoslavia and had his fair share of indoctrination especially about the shining, infallible leader of the Communist Party, the Military and the Nation, Marshal Josip Bros, nicknamed Tito. "Ti to" means "you this", making reference to his rather authoritarian style of commanding people. These Brijuni Islands with its largest island named Veliki Brijun Island are situated only 2 km off the coast of Fazana. Tito made the Brijuni Islands his personal State Summer Residence. He followed with this notion the tradition of Habsburg Royalty and nobles, who used Brioni (Italian name) as their fancy get together place. A very egalitarian, socialistic act indeed. Being so close to them, Nenad was curious to visit these previously for ordinary Yugoslav citizens off limit islands. Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik designed a pavilion for Tito. Almost 100 foreign heads of state visited Tito on his islands, along with film stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Carlo Ponti, and Gina Lollobrigida. Tito died in 1980, and by 1983 the islands were declared a National Park of Yugoslavia. The islands gained worldwide fame in 1956 when the main leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement met with the host, Yugoslav president Tito, to form the Brioni Declaration, which served as foundation for the policies the movement would follow. Tito's Socialist friends hosted on the island were among others Indonesian president Sukarno, Tanzania's Nyerere, India's Jawaharlal Nehru and Gamal Abdel Nasser from Egypt. Nyerere was so impressed that he donated to Tito's private zoo numerous animals from the Serengeti, whose descendants can still be seen today. Famous for their scenic beauty, the islands are a holiday resort and a Croatian National Park today. The island can be easily accessed by boat from Fazana. Best visited are the main island with a bicycle, which can be rented there. Be prepared to paddle hard as the bicycles are heavily used.

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