HERITAGE - VRANYCZANY FUND
Image: Baroness Ada Vranyczany-Dobrinovic. Photo credit: Mosinger, Rudolf. Courtesy: Atelier Mosinger ©
Vranyczany-Dobrinovic Fund is the first private fund in Croatia to provide support to protect our heritage, empower artists and cultural organizations and strengthen cultural policy-making in Croatia.
Board: Marco Vranyczany de Dobrinovic
Vranyczany-Dobrinovic family is an old Croatian noble family that has in the fifteenth century migrated from Bosnia to one of the four most important Croatian historical regions, Dalmatia. Upon arriving in Dalmatia and due to their political rise, they were renamed from Dobrinovic to Vranjican. Their name was derived from Vranjic, the name of the village near Split where they lived. When Croatia became a part of the Habsburg Monarchy, they were renamed again, this time to Hungarian version of their surname - Vranyczany.
Generations and generations of this family supported the arts and libraries, donated for academic purposes and financially supported several national institutions. Some members of this family are remembered for their political and economic influence, engagement in social activities, and construction of many beautiful palaces across Croatia. Due to their considerable influence as representatives of education, art and culture as well as their economic, social and political life Vranyczany family left a great heritage all across Croatia. An interesting fact is that you can find descendants of Vranyczany family even today. Their name is still famous and some of them had a significant role in the recent history. Due to their considerable influence as representatives of education, art and culture as well as their economic, social and political life.
Asbestos contamination from Salonit-Vranjic, Croatia
The asbestos-containing material producing factory Salonit was closed in 2006. However, only part of its workers managed to receive pension rights and compensation for health impacts cause by occupational exposure to asbestos.
The Salonit Company was a state owned factory located in the Croatian town of Vranjic, near Split - the second largest city of Croatia. The company had been producing construction materials that contained asbestos since the 1920s.
By the end of the 1990s, 250 of Salonit’s workers and a few hundred of Vranjić’s citizens were officially diagnosed with asbestos disease (an incurable lung disease). In 1999, the Croatian Government accepted to compensate some sick workers to an extent, but the process was plagued with numerous irregularities. Meanwhile, Vranjic citizens suffering from asbestos disease faced difficulties in getting compensated as the state resolution covered only Salonit’s employees. Due to the long compensation procedure, many of the citizens have died before they could be compensated. In 2006 Salonit was closed and declared bankruptcy, as Croatia adopted the EU decision from 2005 to strictly ban the production, sale and usage of asbestos. However, research into documents from the Customs Authority about the quantities of asbestos products imported into Croatia since the absolute ban of January 2006 show that 11,677 tonnes of asbestos products were imported into Croatia until 2012 (out of that 87% came from the EU). In 2008, the Croatian Government launched a clean-up and sanitation program of asbestos contaminated areas in town of Vranjic, including these three ‘hot spots’: the production building, Marvička kava – the depot for asbestos containing materials from the factory, and the northern part of Vranjic peninsula where large amount of asbestos had been disposed into the sea. Also, it is important to note that some workers had been involved in process of remediation of Salonit but, in 2009, the bankruptcy manager of Salonit company did not renew their working contracts. The workers claimed that this decision was not in line with the guaranties they received from the Prime Minister in relation to their employment on remediation of the factory, and they organised hunger strikes. The clean-up program was done, however according to local organisations provoking even greater ecological damage, as the process did not fully respect EU sanitation norms. The workers and citizens claimed irregularities to the state authorities and demanded justice and compensation. In July 2008, the Social Democratic Party (in opposition in that time) filed a request for criminal charges against top officials in the Ministry of Environment for omissions in the process of disposal of asbestos waste from Salonit. In 2011, representatives of the EU Green Party visited Vranjic on invitation by local ecological NGOs to check the validity of information on the sanitation procedure received from the Croatian Government and were negatively surprised. Thanks to the laws on professional illnesses, 170 of Salonit’s workers (who had working contracts in 2006, when the company filed for bankruptcy) received compensation in 2011. However, the laws do not cover persons with diagnosed asbestos, such as ex-Salonit workers that stopped working before 2006. These people did not receive compensation, nor have they managed to obtain disability pensions. The civil organisations CS ‘Biglovi azbesta’ organised protests to require from the Croatian government to be more efficient in resolving the problems related to sick people's retirement status.
HOTEL HALUDOVO - GREAT MID-CENTURY MODERNIST DESIGN. KRK, CROATIA.
These days, the Haludovo sits as stark evidence that “Communist” Yugoslavia, ruled over by “Dictator” Tito, is perhaps not exactly what you thought it was. Even though the term “Iron Curtain” was coined in these parts, it’s very clear that allowing an American businessman to set up a hotel/casino so that local and foreign gamblers could throw money around whilst being waited on by Penthouse Pets is an indicator that perhaps Yugoslavia was not as communist as you may have been led to believe. And that Tito was not exactly the dictator with the heaviest fists.
Then, as now, misconceptions and misunderstandings about the former Yugoslavia filled the minds of Western citizens. Perhaps more people should have paid attention to Penthouse Magazine, the bastion and final word on all things political (I only read it for the articles), when the June 1972 edition described Haludovo as “richly located on the idyllic island of Krk, a few miles south of Trieste and directly opposite Venice, this mile-long Xanadu of glittering buildings will become for international cognoscenti a premier playground for summer and winter seasons alike.”
Every day, Lobster, Caviar, and Champagne was consumed like it was going out of style. Because, it was. There was a problem. Despite the architecture being “a gracefully colonnaded construction within whose elegant interior is the Great Lounge, bedecked with hanging gardens, pools and fountains”, and that the casino was promised to compete “with the finest casinos in Las Vegas and other principal gambling centers”, the Casino component, known as the “Anglo-American Penthouse Casino”, was unfortunately restricted only to foreign gamblers.
But that wasn’t the end of the Haludovo. For the next twenty years, the hotel resort was operated as a worker-run enterprise, with the Penthouse king pin breaking all ties. Right up until 1990, the hotel was profitable. And then that most Yugoslavian of beasts – war – meant that the tourists well and truly dried up. During the years of war, parts of the complex were used as a refugee camp, and the downfall of the Haludovo continued to gain momentum. Ironically, it was the brutal process of “communist” Yugoslavia transforming into capitalist Croatia, that bought about the end of Bob’s palace. These days, the hotel has changed owners a few times, with the current owners seemingly not phased that an icon of mid-century architectural grandeur continues to devolve into abandoned decay.
Image: Hotel Haludovo. Photo credit: Courtesy: ©