There are a variety of interesting towns and attractions in the Osijek surrounding area.
Dakovo has also been known throughout the ages as Cvitas Dyaco and Castrum Dyaco. The town was conquered by the Turks in 1536 and a mosque was soon built, which still remains but has been converted in to the catholic Church of All Saints. The most prominent feature in Dakovo is the red brick Cathedral of St Peter (Sv Petar), built in the late 19th Century. It was built at the request of Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer and desgined by Karl Rosner and Friedrich von Schmidt, two Viennese architects. The remains of Bishop Strossmayer are in the crypt. The interior of the Cathedral contains sculptures by Ignazio Donegani and Tomas Vodcka.Also of interest in Dakovo is the pedestrian street, Ulica Hrvatskih Valikana, the Korzo as it is locally known. The street is lined with cafés and shops in 18th Century townhouses. Sculptor Ivan Mestrovic was born in the nearby village of Vrpolje, but was not raised here. He donated a number of sculptures to the town, which are on display at the Memorial Gallery (Spomen Galerija).
Kopacki Rit Nature Park
The Kopacki Rit Nature Park is a huge marshland between the River Drava and the River Danube. Throughout the year the area is sometimes grassland and at other times flooded by the overflow of the Danube. It provides a home to a wide variety of migratory birds including, storks, herons, ducks, gulls, terns, and a host of others depending on the time of the year. Most visitors who come to the Kopacki Rit Nature Park are interested in birds but there are many other animals which inhabit the park. Martens, weasels, wild boar, wild cats, and deer are some of the wildlife that may be spotted in the park. Tours are by guided visit only which can be booked in advance. Some areas of the park are restricted due to the war that left areas heavily mined.
Bizovac Toplice, Croatia
In the mid 1900s a hot water spring, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees Celsius, was discovered at Bizovac. From that discovery came Bizovac Toplice, a thermal spa resort developed in the 1970s. The huge complex consists of a hotel, a number of pools of different sizes, some with jets, some with caves, and one set aside for children, and individual rooms with mud baths. People come from all over to relax or receive treatment for rheumatic and respiratory problems, as well as back related problems and injuries.The area around Bizovac is known for the gold and silver embroidery work produced here.
The town of Darda, once a fortified city, was crushed by the Turks in the 17th Century. Almost nothing of significance remains of the city from before this time. Following the departure of the Turks the town was rebuilt and boasted some impressive architecture. Unfortunately much of that was lost during the 1990s Patriotic War, including a Catholic and a Baptist church. Today the Town Hall, built in the 18th Century and originally a mansion, is one of the few attractions in Darda.Darda can be used as a base for exploring nearby Kopacki Rit Nature Park. The information center for the park is in the town of Bilje, 4km / 2.5mi from Darda.
Ernestinovo is well known in the arts community. A colony of the naïve art sculptors was begun here in 1973, initiated by Peter Smajic. An open air exhibition is held here annually in August with sculptures displayed in the open and in the galleries. Recently, Ernestinovo's main street was renamed Scupture Lane. Pieces can also be bought in the galleries. This has been going on since 1976, with the exception of 1991 to 1996 when the exhibition was held elsewhere due to the war.Ernestinovo was damaged during the Patriotic War in the 1990s but is gradually being rebuilt.
Nasice suffered considerable damage during the war of 1991 but the town still has a number of interesting sites worth visiting. The Franciscan church of St Anthony of Padua (Sv Antun Padovanski) and monastery were established in the 14th Century and expanded following the expulsion of the Turks. Its white and black tower is hard to miss in Nasice. The Neo-Classical style manor house which houses the Civic Museum also warrants a stop. It was owned by the Pejacevic family and was home to Dora Pejacevic. The museum has a number of interesting displays. Nasice was built on top of an ancient settlement.
Present day Orahovic was established by Serbs around the Medieval fortress of Rosetta (Ruzica Grad), following the end of the Turkish occupation. The Rosetta fort, one of the largest of its kind in Croatia, is now a ruin. At one time its thick walls encompassed a military base, church, and the governors palace, but it was burnt by the Turks during the invasion. It was semi restored and used again for some time as a fort during the late 17th Century.There are also a number of interesting places around Orahovic. Nearby Duzluk is home to the Monastery of St Nicholas (Manastir Sv Nikola). Another small village in the vicinity is Vocin, which was hit hard by the war in 1991.
Valpovo was established by the Romans, who built a fort here known as Lovallia. A castle was built here during the Middle Ages which was owned by several families prior to the Turkish conquest. During the time of the conquest the castle was used as a fort, and following the departure of the Turks, was once again granted to a private family. Today, following many changes to the original structure, the castle houses the Valpovo Museum (Muzej Valpovstine), with a furniture collection and archeological finds from the area. The grounds have been turned into park like setting. Also of interest in Valpovo is the Baroque church of Immaculate Conception.