Around Garešnica

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February 19, 2010

What a day! Snow, about a foot of it, grey skies with a touch of yellow light, frozen forests, frozen waters – fishponds, marshes, creeks, silvery with light yellow and green overtones. Who needs art as long as we have Mother Nature.

Zoki picked me up at the railway station in Kutina, and we met Goran in Dišnik. There was also Mr. Stevo Hudja, Goran’s best field scout from Velika Trnovitica. In Dišnik Zoki recently discovered paintings on the southern wall, nice decorative images around large 18th ct. windows (walled-in), and a small Romanesque window at the empora. The church is now Orthodox, and dating of the paintings may be tricky (some may be earlier, before the Turks, i.e., early 16th ct.?). There is apparently a sizable medieval capital inside the church, but we did not see it as the church was locked. I was promised photos). In Garešnica we left Zoki’s car and continued all together in the good old FIAT van.

At Dianovac to the n-e and below the center of the old Garešnica (parish church with moats) Goran seems to have identified the fort of Dianovac, one can see the rounded hill with a moat along the old Ilova; otherwise the area was devastated by building the new Ilova, however the fort survived. It is a lowland wasserburg, surrounded by hills, bad for artillery but perfect for earlier middle ages.

Next at Kaniška Iva (Kaniža) we explored the plateau behind the church (strategically placed, but if there had been any fortifications, they were obliterated by later building, except, possibly on the south). From the cemetery a grand view of the ponds, and, according to records, down there, again in the flatlands there was a rounded fort with two moats (sketch had been made before the pond no. 3 was constructed). Apparently, a like fort was at the point where ponds 3 and 4 meet, something yet to be ascertained. Yet another rounded hillock (flattened out) with a moat is some 200 meters north of the cemetery. Its function remains unclear. So much human history on such a small territory!

In Kajgana (this means Scrambled Eggs!) we descended through awful mud down to the new Ilova (again, the landscape was greatly rearranged there) and visited a small but quite prominent little fort of oval shape, stretched N-S (just ca. 20 meters). In vain did we look for any larger earth works. In harmony with the theme of the day, another fort one has to descend to, thus early. Possibly used to secure a crossing over the Ilova.

In Palešnik we again descended down to a creek which filled the moat of the old castle of, apparently, rectangular shape. Almost no trace remains of this historically quite important location. Very instructive! It is within a “pan”, totally unsuitable to the gun-powder era, thus, again, early. Some fifty years ago the ramparts were still high enough to use for sledding.

Finally, to the n-e of Velika Trnovitica Stevo led us to a spot within a huge settlement kilometers of moats, hillocks (apparently one hoof-form fort too!, and apparently some Celtic finds) which we will have to explore when snow and mud are gone. It is anonymous – could it be the notorious Crna Rijeka? It includes place names such as Dudnjak (could it be a corruption of Budinjak?) and Crkveni jarek (Chruch moat). Enjoy!

By that time I was totally soaked through and dead tired. Luckily, that was the end, but for visiting Stevo’s farm in Velika Ternovitica, where we had some 30 years old plumbrandy and roast of a freshly slaughtered 28 pound turkey with Stevo, his wife and tow daughters, Grga (a phenomenal small, rounded, short legged canine creature, whose pedigree I would hate to try to unravel), five cats, Mr. Duck who is so aged hat has no interest in the girls any more, and the rest of the farm animal kingdom. Back to the bushes, my friends!

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