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Croatian round-house in Peak District celebrates EU accession

This is an archived press release

Monday 1 July 2013

Croatian craftsmen celebrate completion of the kazun with the UK and Croatian national flags. A new round-house has taken shape beside the High Peak Trail at Parsley Hay, near Hartington, built by Croatian craftsmen using traditional dry stone walling techniques.

Known as a "kažun," the limestone round-house is a gift from the Republic of Croatia as part of a series of events to mark its accession to the European Union on July 1. An opening ceremony with Croatian dignitaries, morris dancing and Croatian music will be held on July 5 at 1pm.

Kažuni are small, circular shelters with conical roofs built mainly in the 18th and 19th centuries for farm workers and animals in the limestone countryside of Istria, whose regional government has supported the scheme.

At Parsley Hay, the kažun will be used for education visits and as a shelter for walkers and cyclists, with information panels about the Peak District and European heritage.

The project's organisers – Nenad Bicanic, emeritus professor of civil engineering at the University of Glasgow, and dry stone walling restorer Branko Obanic – chose a site in the Peak District National Park because of its shared heritage of dry stone walling and links with the Council of Europe and the European Union.

"Buildings of a similar type were a widespread tradition in north-west Europe including the UK, and in many Mediterranean countries," explained Mr Bicanic. "Kažuni are now increasingly being restored as part of Croatia's cultural heritage. Our principal message is the unifying character of these simple buildings as a fitting reminder of our shared heritage as the EU prepares to welcome its newest member state."

Peak District National Park chief executive Jim Dixon said: "We are delighted to welcome the kažun which symbolises the continuing traditions we share with Croatia. We were especially pleased that the Istrian dry stone masons held a workshop to pass on their techniques to local people as part of the project.

"The work celebrates our connection with Europe, and the building will add to people's enjoyment of the Tissington and High Peak trails."

The building, which was at no cost to the Authority, used limestone from the nearby Once-a-Week Quarry and sandstone roof slates from Wellfield Quarry, near Huddersfield. It has a diameter of five metres and a roof height of 4.7 metres, with an open doorway and slot windows.

The project was initiated by the Croatian Ministry of Culture as part of the Welcome to Croatia Festival, in co-operation with the Ministry of Tourism, Istria Tourist Board and Region of Istria. It was also supported by ECOVAST (the European Council for the Village and Small Town).

This is an archived press release

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