I must admit that the first time I visited the small town of Križevci when I was about 19, it didn’t impress me too much.

It was just as spontaneous of a trip as my second one, but this time I saw it with different eyes. Capturing its unique architecture and trying to imagine the lifestyle of the people here was what ignited my curiosity.

And then I managed to do it again – make an assumption that turned out to be far from the truth.

My assumption was: though this may be a cute little town, evidently rich in history, it doesn’t look like a place where many ambitious people have ever lived.

Wrong! To my great surprise, Križevci was the birthplace of many important Croatian historical figures. Going through a list of a number of cultural, political, literary, scientific and religious persona, I was astonished that I had never heard of the majority of them previously. Elementary school, high school – was I asleep, or did we skip all of these cool people? So, I made a list of my newly discovered top 5 favorite people from Križevci.

1. Ivan Zakmardi Dijankovečki (1600-1667)
– thought to be the founder of the Croatian National Archive
– member of the “board for managing national privileges”
– pronotary of the Kingdom of Croatia
– gave all his land to the Pauline monks to create a monastery, under the condition that they teach kids reading and writing

2. Dragutin Novak (1892-1978)
– first Croatian aviator

3. Marijan Kolesar (1936-2003)
– a painter who spent most of his life in Antwerpen, and exhibited in Belgium, France, Great Britain and Croatia

4. Saint Marc of Križevci (1589-1619)
– third renounced Croatian saint

5. Ljudevit Vukotinović (1813-1893)
– literate, mountaineer, paleontologist, zoologist, first Croatian geologist, botanist, …
– founder of the Illyrian library in Križevci (1838)
– founder of magazines “Leptir” and “Kolo”

Never again will I assume that people, places or things are uninteresting until I dig deeper.

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