The Curiosities of Skrad
Legend of Skrad's "pošterkanci"
Residents of many highland places have nicknames, including people of Skrad, often called pošterkanci. Whether the stories about how the inhabitants really got their nicknames are true or made up, it seems we will never know, but if we are to believe the older generations, people of Skrad were christened pošterkanci after a funny event. One night, some young men were coming home from a party at the crack of dawn. Their parents were already awake, getting ready to go work in the fields, and they urged the young men to come with them immediately, so that they would arrive soon and get started early. The young men, still tired from partying all night, didn't even have time to change into work clothes, and they went to the fields dressed in suits with poštirkane (starched) shirts, which they had on since the night before. When they arrived to the fields together with their parents, the people who had already been there working their fields began to comment on how the people of Skrad wear their fancy clothes even to the fields; that they are spiffy-looking, i.e. poštirkani. Since then Skrad people are called pošterkanci.
How the hydroelectric power plant Munjara was built in Zeleni vir
At the end of the 19th century the area of Zeleni vir (The Green Spring) was impassable and unexplored, and people didn't go there often, only an occasional brave hiker or hunter. During a hunting event, Josip Loncaric, in search of his wounded prey, came just before the cave spring of Zeleni vir and came up with the idea that water, which flowed profusely from the Zeleni vir spring, should be used to generate electricity. Despite widespread distrust that the idea to build the power plant bread and the many difficulties he faced, Josip Loncaric put his idea into practice. The hydroelectric power plant Munjara was built in 1921 and it is the second oldest hydropower plant in Croatia. Local residents today call the hydropower plant Munjara (Stormy). Skrad is the first town in Gorski kotar which was electrified. In it, a generator, installed together with the Francis water turbine at the time of construction, is still in operation. The second generator with a turbine was installed in 1961 and is smaller than the first one. It produces aforce of 1020 kW. Josip Loncaric hydroelectric hired renowned architects to build the plant, among whom was Fran Hatzinger, who in 1917 developed the concept design. On the basis of the design, the company Peyer and Co. built the plant in 1921.
Mountain Stuffing - a local culinary specialty
Stuffing is an old mountain dish that is traditionally prepared for Easter. The dish is prepared from eggs, cooked ham, bacon, bread and spices. This mixture is inserted halfway into a dried pork stomach or, more recently, a plastic hose. Everything is cooked for 3 to 4 hours, cooled and served. Versions of mountain stuffing are prepared throughout Gorski Kotar today and every place in Gorski kotar has its own special way of preparing it and different spices. What's special about the Skrad stuffing is that it has spring onions. The Skrad stuffing and other local specialties of the Zeleni vir hotel were exhibited at PIGIK, the gastronomy and culinary art exhibition in Petrinja in 1966 and were awarded the first prize, Golden PIGIK. The victory was even greater and more important if one considers that the best hotels of the former Yugoslavia of the time participated at the exhibition, and were expected to win the competition. For this significant award merit should be attributed to the chef of the Zeleni vir hotel, Marica Grgurić, whose culinary skills and this result certainly brought numerous guests to Skrad.
How did the Muževa hišica cave get its name?
The “Muževa hišica” cave is located at the exit of the Devil's passage canyon. This rather small cave, the youngest in the area, is the topic of many different and interesting tales told by the local older population, who gave it its name. When in the early 20th century, dr. August Langhofer and his colleagues investigated the cave, they found in it a rare example of our fauna – the olm. In addition to this, during the investigation ceramic remains were found that were used in the medieval period. This immediately led to a connection with the Turkish invasions in Gorski Kotar. “Muževa hišica” (Little Man's House) could have probably served as a hideout to local people in those perilous times. Its name contains both the attribute "a man's" and the implication it was a hideout (house). The old folks of Skrad call it "Možakova hižica" (Možak's Little House), too. Josip Loncaric has an interesting tale he heard as a boy from older folks. Možak was allegedly a dwarf who avoided being seen by humans, but he helped them as a sort of leprechaun living in the Devil's Passage. In order to remain hidden, he metamorphosed into branches or roots, more or less similar to human shape. Certain, more skillful and imaginative people then carved little men or other forest creatures out of parts of tree trunks or roots. Možak thus became the Skrad name for alrauns (a root that has formed in roughly human shape). In carving the alraun, it was important to carefully select a branch or root, making as few interventions in them as possible, and to create a human- or animal-like sculpture.
Alpine tustica (Pinguicula leptoceras) - rare example of flora in the Devil's passage
Alpine butterwort i a plant with a beautiful flowers, and can be found in the Devil's passage, fortunately in places that are almost inaccessible for the average tourist, because it is said that this rare plant says that a remnant of the last glaciations and thus exists as a relic from the Ice Age, which is the reason that we treat it with special attention. Its very rare feature is that it feeds on small insects, and is among the few of our carnivorous plants. It is a helophyte and loves shady places, which is important for its survival, given the conditions in the canyon. Alpine butterwort can withstand low temperatures, a resistance she'd most likely brought from the millennia of the last glaciations period.