English version



If your trip takes you via the state road D-224 to the edge of the region of the Prisavska Plain in the Sunja River Valley, you will arrive in Sunja. The geographical location of Sunja was the reason for its establishment, which is at the intersection of routes that can take you to Sisak, Hrvatska Dubica and Hrvatska Kostajnica.

Nonetheless, it is worthwhile remaining in this picturesque locality, which was mentioned in documents dating as far back as the 14th century and became the possession of the Croatian artistocratic family of Keglević in the early 16th century. Through the centuries, its ownership changed, as follows: Turks — Keglević family — Military Border Territory — Civil Croatia. From the late 19th century until the present, Sunja has experienced its ups and downs due to the warfare it endured. Both World Wars and especially the recent Homeland War in Croatia made the name of Sunja well known.

Today, Sunja is the headquarters of a municipality that covers 288,4 km2 and includes 40 communities, with 5. 745 inhabitants engaged in agriculture, stock raising, commerce and trades.

Of particular architectural merit is the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Sunja, dating from 1824 and built in the late baroque style.

Posavska Sunja is distinguished by its traditional architecture, folk costumes, horse — Hrvatski posavac, hunting dog — Posavina drover and picturesque landscapes.


Living conditions always create the tradition. Thus, underwater and flooded land, rich in Croatian oak forests, determined the material and manner of building houses in the Sunja region.

The houses are built of domestic oak with a characteristic Croatian ornament — the Croatian "vugel." They are built of horizontally placed oak planks, "planjke," joined by wooden stakes. Single story houses had a kitchen in the center and rooms to the side while multi-story houses, "čardaci," had a storage area on the ground floor, with the kitchen and rooms on the upper floor. Today the kitchen has been moved to the ground floor because there is no longer a fear of floods. The houses are generally turned with the facade facing the street. House decorations, regardless of size, adorn covered outside stairways, covered roofs, porches and outdoor decorative carved details. A carpenter's woodcarving was the crown of his self-taught building skill. In this manner, he signed his masterpieces that are today over two hundred years old. Single story houses and multi-story houses — "čardaci" also have auxiliary buildings made of the same oak. Fortunately, Sunja has successfully preserved its historical values.


The folk costumes of the Sunja region represent a particular variant of the folk costumes of Croatian Posavina. In the second half of the 19th century, they assumed their distinguishing characteristics when a decoration came into fashion consisting of white threads on a discrete yellow background. The effect of "white on white" imparted the costumes with a markedly aristocratic and refined appearance. Whether white appeared as a color of mourning or due to a shortage of colored thread is a question today. The decoration is most often woven into transparent linen, "redina," or in opulent baroque floral embroidery with many hollows, known as "tvez po tvezu." Embroidery and weaving indicate a degree of artistry and technical skill.

The women of Posavina employed the greatest degree of artistry in the embroidery of "poculice" (caps) and "peče" (scarves). The "poculica" and "peča," as parts of the headgear of a married women, were markedly lively, in contrast to the rest of her costume.

The use of numerous red flowers was the result of the baroque influence. The "parta" (decorative crown) worn by an unmarried girl only when she is being offered for marriage, is picturesquely embroidered and specially decorated.

An outfit is most often completed by rows of red coral beads worn as a necklace, which appeared in the late 18th century. Around the waist is a red belt and on the feet are low black shoes with a heel or black boots up to the calves in winter. During the winter, "zobuni" (overcoats) are worn, which can be red, white or blue.


The Hrvatski posavac in terms of bodily measurements, weight and temperament, belongs to the group of cold-blooded horses. Analysis of the blood of the Hrvatski posavac shows that this horse is a descendent of horses living in Poland.

The posavac horse is the result of cross-breeding influenced by man, as well as the manner of herding and pasturing these animals on Lonjsko polje.

It is known that the purpose of the horse influences the characteristics of the breed. Since this horse has ceased to be used in agriculture, it has put on weight. It attracts attention with its appearance: narrow and long head, large eyes, small short ears, leg pasterns with long hairs growing out, bushy tail and luxuriant mane.

It has a deep chest, broad and long, with curved ribs, broad and sagging back, rounded muzzle, and hoofs that are shallow and nicely formed for moving around swampy pastures. The Hrvatski posavac is characterized by its good nature, obedience, faithfulness, stamina and docility.

Most often, the color is bay, less often raven or gray, and least often reddish brown.

It is a fact that the number of horses has decreased during the past thirty years due to the use of mechanization.


The posavski drover belongs to the rare autochthonous Croatian breed of hunting dog. It has been bred since the 16th century, especially in the region of Sunja Posavina.

The oldest extant written documents referring to this breed date from the 14th century and are preserved in the Đakovo Diocese. Since this dog is used in hunting as a drover, it must not be too tall or too heavy.

It has a firm body and thick strong fur. The basic color is golden reddish brown but can range from golden yellow to dark brown.

White fur can appear on the head around the neck, on the chest and stomach, lower legs and tip of the tail. The nose and eyes are dark. The breed is distinguished by a "look of surprise," agility and speed. The dog's bark is resonant, clear and high pitched.

This dog was certified as unique breed in 1955; named "Posavski gonic" in 1959; was recertified in 2003.

This dog is exceptionally valued in the Posavina region due to its speed, agility, obedience and loyalty to its owner.


Although the existence of the Gradusa Cave had been known of for a long time to the local population, only recent speleological explorations, by the members of the speleological department within the Mounainteering Society of the «Velebit» University from Zagreb, have discovered the riches of the underground and various speleological phenomena in its interior. Located in the village of Velika Gradusa, with its entrance in an abandoned stone-pit, the cave presents a previously unknown natural resource of this region.

The Gradusa Cave was produced by the formation of underground cavities during the process of the karstification of rocks in the area. The rocks in which the cave had "grown" were formed by leaving behind sediments in the sea which long ago covered the region. As the sea withdrew and the rocks came to the surface, the conditions were created for development of underground chambers. In the newly formed cavities, in the darkness of underground, a new life began – water dripped in and grew stone ornaments... This story began some 10 million years ago and continues until today.

The entrance of the cave was opened during the works in the stone-pit. Although it is not known exactly when the exploitation of the stone in Gradusa started, it dates back to the Turkish rule. Since then, the entrance area, the more easily accessible part of the cave, has probably been visted from time to time. Nevertheless, the recent speleological explorations of the cave do not show evidence of people ever walking through the further sections of its tunnels.

Difficult narrow passages, partially flooded tunnels and slippery walls of mud, ensure it is classified in a very demanding speleological category. Albeit, the efforts made to overcome the difficulties to gain entry to the first part of the cave, abundantly reward with a view of the ample ornaments in this cave and in the depths of its tunnels. This particular morphology has made the process of exploration difficult at the beginning, so that the total length of the cave of 455 meters was reached only after repeated attempts during the course of a year.

The cave's main tunnel clearly runs along a direction of northwest to southeast. Just before half of its lenght, two forks separate; one is a dead end meander, only 12,5 meters long, whereas the other fork meanders into the water filled floor. Due to narrowness of this meander, and the need for diving suits in order to make further progress, this fork has not been further explored. The flooded sections of the main tunnel interchange with the dry sections. However, its way out is completely flooded. The further, dry part of this tunnel is richly filled with cave ornaments – stalactites, stalagmites, stone draperies and columns, even helactites. In its rear section, there was an attempt to dig a passage at the spot suspected to hide a continuation of the tunnel, but a rock-slide put an end to it. Beside the main tunnel, another side passage branches off from the entrance chamber and runs down to the water filled floor. The rest of the tunnel is completely flooded, which makes futher progress impossible.

Today this cave provides shelter to a large colony of bats which can be seen at sunset flying out of the narrow entrance of the cave. That may not be the only entrance to the Gradusa Cave, but it is the only one known so far. Regarding other entrances to the Cave, it would definitely be worthwile consulting local bats...

Althogether 19 speleologists, members of the speleological department of the Mountaineering Society of the «Velebit» University from Zagreb, have participated in the explorations of the cave and their research has been documented by digital photo material and by drafting a detailed ground-plan of the cave.


Kontakt podaci

Matije Gupca 33, 44210 Sunja
Telefon 092 169 7248
fax: 044/833-058
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Trg kralja Tomislava 3 P.P. 1
44210 Sunja
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Radno vrijeme:

Radno vrijeme: ponedjeljak do petak 7,30 do 15,30
Rad sa strankama: ponedjeljak do petak 8,00 do 12,00
Stanka: 10,00 do 10,30

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