Etymology, Legends, and Mythical Beings of Kalnik Region

In the fall of 2013, the Center for Experimental Archeology launched the project Etymology, Legends, and Mythical Beings of Kalnik Region. The idea of launching the project emerged after years of direct contact with locals, which was due to the archaeological research that has been successfully carried out for many years at the site of Igrišče. During this period, the archaeologists came to hear numerous stories and legends from that area, which they thought should be investigated more closely. Archaeologist Andreja Kudelić and ethnologist Mirka Roguljić, both members of the Center, took the initiative of making this idea come to life and by contacting ethnologists Lidija Bajuk and Ph.D Tvrtko Zebec, they established the foundations for the ethnographic research. The project was carried out in cooperation with the Institute of Ethnology and Folcloristics, the Institute for Archaeology, the Association Matapur, and with the help of the municipality of Kalnik.

The intagible cultural heritage of the Kalnik region has not yet been a subject of a systematic research. However, specific geological background, rich flora and fauna, geographic position, extremely complex archaeological finds as well as the remains of historical events are all indicators of an extremely complex past that represents deeply rooted archaism in the identity of the area and the people. This is particularly true regarding the well-preserved etymology and legends that have been preliminarily recorded over the past few years through the work of the Center. Since the intangible cultural heritage and symbols of identity are inseparably entwined, it is of utmost importance to research, raise awareness, and preserve them in cooperation with the local community. The aim of the programme is to raise awareness of the local population about the value and importance of intangible heritage as well as their role in the preservation, transmission, and economic use of this heritage.


Based on structured interviews with some of the older residents of Gornja Rijeka, Borje, Kalnik, Šopron, Ivančeki, and Kamešnica, the ethnographic field research has been carried out as part of the project in the area of the Kalnik municipality since 2013 with the aim of exploring local folk traditions, customs, songs, and terminology, and by now about a dozen recordings were made. The audio and video records were collected, transcribed, processed, and stored in the Archives of the Center for Experimental Archeology and in the documentation department of the Institute of Ethnology and Folcloristics in Zagreb
In April 2016, in Križevci, as part of the LegendExpo festival, the first preliminary results of the ethnographic research were presented to public, and the event featured the presentation of three original fairytales under the common title of Kalnička vila and other stories written by author Ivana Turčin, who was inspired by the collected Kalnik local legends. The illustrations were made by Ana Mrazek.

In July 2016, the first in a series of exhibitions (July 2016, Kalnik municipality) was organized, which also presents preliminary results of the ethnographic research (authors of the exhibition: Lidija Bajuk, Ph.D Andreja Kudelić, and Ivana Turčin).


Project partners:

• Center for Experimental Archaeology (Andreja Kudelić, Mirka Roguljić, Ivana Turčin)
• Association Matapur (Lidija Bajuk)
• Institute of Archaeology in Zagreb (Andreja Kudelić)
• Institute of Ethnology and Folcloristics u Zagrebu (Lidija Bajuk, Antonija Zaradija Kiš, Tvrtko Zebec)


• Municipality of Kalnik (Mario Filipašić)
• Tourist Board of Kalnik (Kruno Đurec)
• Restoration department of Arts Academy in Zagreb (Zvjezdana Jembrih)
• Gjigaš family (Kalnik)