Throughout years our dear Ivančica, Ivanščica or Ivonjčica has been interesting and challenging for mountain climbers, all social groups and individuals. Further in the text we are going to use the term Ivančica due to the fact it was used by our ancestors (Adalbert Georgijević, MD, Otokar Hrazdira, Gjuro Szabo, Josip Pasarić, Franjo Hafner, Emilij Laszowski…).
Many people have visited it for recreational purposes, to take photos, do sports and other activities. There is no doubt everybody will agree that no one can resist hiking through the mountain as well as reaching its peak, from where there is an astonishing view of Varaždin and its surrounding areas.
Our town Ivanec is located at the foot of the mountain. There are many factors which influenced its development in that location, one of them probably being the advantageous geostrategic position. Rich large woods of Ivančica have been at the same time the main source of food, firewood and building material. Even more importantly, they have provided abundant springs flowing towards Ivanec from numerous sources on the north side.
Our ancestors who were dwelling here a long time ago discovered and recognised all the riches of the mountain and our region. They continued to live here from prehistory over to the Roman times, pre-Christian cultures, the Middle Ages and up to the more recent past.
At the base of Ivančica even today there are remains of old, demolished erections – fortresses, settlements and burgs (Oštrc, Milengrad, Belecgrad, Pusti Lobor, Grebengrad) that are witnesses to turbulent activities and life throughout centuries.
Numerous stories, legends, documented knowledge as well as revitalised historical knights and miners' units remind us of the past, evoking memories of distant days.
What makes Ivančica interesting is its geologic structure; it is mostly made of rocks dating from the Triassic, Paleogene, Neogene and Quaternary Periods. The core of Ivančica consists of Triassic sediments of various dolomitic rock types and a somewhat smaller proportion of limestone.
Ivančica has temperate continental climate as the rest of Central Croatia. In the northwest it is protected from the influence of the Atlantic climate by the Alps, and in the south the Dinarids protect it from the Mediterranean climate.
Since ancient times, Ivančica has been an intersection of social and cultural life, representing direct connection with economy (craftmanship and coalmines) and social activities (tourism, hiking and photo-amateurism etc.).
This interpretation board displays trails and other distinctive features which make the mountain interesting and unique. The attached map provides information to all visitors thus enabling them to walk correctly and safely on the marked mountain trails.
PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE
What makes Ivančica especially interesting is its biodiversity. Many non-cultivated plants grow only on the mountain and are a special feature which attracts scientists and nature lovers. Some of the plants growing on Ivančica are entered in the “Crvena knjiga” (Engl. Red Book) as they are included in the category of strictly protected species.
Ivančica is one of the rarest habitats of the strictly protected Bear's Ear (Primula auricula) which confirms its mountain features. On Ivančica, one can find 36 orchid species, all of which are endangered and threatened by the least change in the habitat. Other plants on Ivančica are also endangered, such as the Greater Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla grandis) which stands out in spring with its beautiful large flowers, making it a frequent target of flower lowers. This also applies to the endemic Croatian Clove (Dianthus giganteus ssp. croaticus). Both plants are included in category A of protection in the project named Important Plant Areas – Croatia. At the top of Ivančica grow the three species of the Croatian Lily: Carniolan Lily (Lilium carniolicum), Martagon Lily (Lilium matragon) and Orange Lily (Lilium bulbiferum).
Because humans interfere with the harmonious relationships in nature, the majority of plant species in this area are endangered.
We kindly ask visitors that photos are the only thing to be taken from Ivančica, and not flowers or other plants.
Due to its vegetation, geomorphology and climate, the area of Ivančica provides habitats for numerous animal species. The animal life comprises mainly central European features. It is the region of transitional mountain area towards the Alps and the Dinarids.
In the caves of Ivančica one finds divergent underground fauna. A small land crab (Androniscus dentiger croaticus Strouhal), found in Mačkova špilja (a cave) on Ravna gora, is the most common species, being endemic to Varaždin County as well.
Mammals comprise beasts, rodents, bats and other animals such as rabbits (Lepus europeaus), wild pigs (Sus scrofa), European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and occasional “guests” – the Red deer (Cervus elaphus) as well as the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) which have also been sighted lately. The world of birds is diverse and rich in central European species. The Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus), building nests on dolomitic rocks, are especially worth mentioning, while the White-throated Dippers (Cinclus cinclus) live near mountain creeks named Reka and Šumi.
In the mountain creeks we can still spot the Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) and the Stone Crayfish (Austropotamobius torrentinum). All amphibian species are protected by law. On Ivančica, amongst others also live the Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina), the European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea), the Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina variegata) and the Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra). All reptiles, which live in this region, are protected as well - the Nose-horned Viper (Vipera ammodytes), the Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca), the Grass Snake (Natrix natrix), the Slowworm (Anguis fragilis), the Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis) and the European Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis).
Among protected butterfly species are the Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius), the Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and the Purple Emperor (Apatura iris). In oak tree woods, we can barely meet the endangered Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus) anymore. The most valuable find among a couple of dragonfly species is the one of the Sombre Goldenring (Cordulegaster bidentata).
The Interpretation boards were installed by the Ivanec Town Tourist Board within regular project activities and to mark the 120th anniversary of organised mountain climbing in Ivanec.
The project was financially supported by the Croatian Tourist Board and the Town of Ivanec.
We thank Zlatko Smreke and Dubravko Šincek for their help in the realisation of the project.
Special thanks to the SMAND Company for providing the map of mountain trails.
Texts: Dubravko Šincek, Boris Jagetić Daraboš
Photos: Dubravko Šincek, Zdenko Horvat, Boris Jagetić Daraboš, Darko Sajko
Translation: Sanja Županić
Associate: Ljiljana Risek
MOUNTANEERING IN IVANEC
The paths of the mountain trails are subject to change or can even be damaged, depending on forestry activities.
Walking on mountain trails and the use of the map: AT YOUR OWN RISK!