Did you know that the redwood tree (mammoth, sequoia) in Slatina is the only protected specimen of this species in Croatia? It was protected as one of the oldest natural monuments as early as 1967.
The construction of EPIcentre Sequoia Slatina aims to revitalize the protected natural heritage, redwood tree and park located in the heart of Slatina, east of the City Hall, and increase the attractiveness of the whole site, and consequently increase the number of visitors, which will directly affect tourism development and encourage socio-economic development of the city and the county.
Two buildings were reconstructed next to the mammoth. The first, larger one, has been turned into a visitor center: it consists of a reception area, reception and souvenir shop, office, as well as two multipurpose rooms for education and presentations, conference halls and service areas - restaurants with a capacity of up to 50 seats. In the basement there is a kitchen and restaurant storage. In the attic of the building there is a space to accommodate guests: a hostel with 32 beds in 8 rooms and a large living room from which, through a large window, offers a view of the redwoods. Namely, there are currently no hotels in the city, so during important events, such as the Milka Kelemen International Music Festival, various music, scientific, economic or religious gatherings, the problem of accommodating performers, participants and visitors always arises.
It is important to point out that the souvenir shop will offer products of local entrepreneurs and student cooperatives, which motivates the action and involvement of the community.
The second building has been reconstructed into a technically modern interpretation center. On the ground floor of the building there is a space for receiving visitors, an office and two multipurpose rooms for education and various workshops. The main part of this building is the attic which serves as a space for visitors with a direct lookout towards the redwoods. A permanent exhibition will be arranged within that space. Through a multimedia and interactive exhibition, the appearance of the natural heritage destination through history will be presented, with special emphasis on the sustainability of natural heritage.
A children's playground was built opposite the redwood. Gaming devices made of wood are integrated into the environment and the youngest visitors can get along with nature and interact with the environment. The youngest will find themselves in this space because it is green and invites to play, and adults can relax with a coffee in the restaurant during that time.
As part of this project, a mobile application was created that provides access to information about the park and Mamutovac: it will contain a marked educational trail and information about the trees in the park, there will be a solar e-desk with interactive content, photo and solar benches .
In addition to all these facilities, visitors will be able to walk along an educational trail with boards that will educate about the natural and cultural-historical attractions of the protected park and redwoods. Special tourist arrangements will be available to primary and secondary school students, people with disabilities, young people and tourists who want an active stay in nature.
We want to attract as many visitors as possible to this incredible continental part of Croatia, which may have been too hidden until now, said the mayor of Slatina, Denis Ostrošić, and added "Good cooperation with the Health Center provides the possibility of rehabilitation, the natural environment the possibility of preparing athletes for various competitions, and the totality of the entire city center, including our museum and cinema with two screenings, and with our winemakers and winegrowers, shows that we are becoming a small destination with very nice content that will interest tourists of different orientations."
The general goal of this project is the sustainable management of public tourist infrastructure, which will increase its attractiveness, recognizability and attendance and thus strengthen the potential of the natural heritage of continental Croatia.
Additional goals are certainly connecting with tourist important locations of the county - with Papuk Nature Park (25km), with the Drava story (20km), with the picnic area and Lake Orah, Orahovica (30km), in order to increase the destination potential and provide capacity to attract large number of visitors and tourists.
EPIcentar Sequoia is opening its doors to all visitors this summer.
* The project was co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund. The content of the article is the sole responsibility of the Tourist Board of the City of Slatina (project partner).