Is the Centre of the World in Northern Croatia?
Last week, we posted an article on places that have proclaimed themselves to be the centre of the world/universe. Reader ‘erdmannchen’ alerts us to another possible candidate: the small Croatian city of Ludbreg, population 3 600.
Is this castle the true centre of the world? Source: Fraxinus, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dvorac_Batthyany.jpg. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.
Above is Batthyany Castle, where in 1411 a priest conducting a service in the chapel was witness to a eucharistic miracle (in Catholicism, a eucharistic miracle is any reported phenomenon involving the Eucharist sacrament); in this case, the blood of Christ was reputed to have appeared during the service. As quoted by the city’s tourist board:
Following the Christian tradition, every place in the world connected in any way with Jesus Christ is to be referred to as “the centre of the world”, and since the famous chalice containing the Holy Blood of Christ remains in Ludbreg even today, it is only justified to consider Ludbreg the world’s centre.
A century later, Pope Leo X would confirm the miracle, and Ludbreg has been a Catholic pilgrimage site ever since.
Ludbreg also has a second claim to being the ‘centre of the world’; this one rooted purely in geography, if not errant geography. The town claims to be directly opposite New Zealand’s Antipodes Islands, and if your location is the antipode of the Antipodes, you must be at the centre, right? In actuality, the Antipodes Islands are directly opposite the Norman village of Gatteville-le-Phare, well to the northwest of Ludberg.
An Old Friend in Istanbul
Over the past week-and-a-half, the ongoing protests across Turkey and the Turkish diaspora have captured much of the world’s attention. What began as a protest against the replacement of Taksim Gezi Park with a military barracks reconstruction quickly evolved into widespread anti-government protests. Yesterday morning, my friend Amanda Towle was interviewed by CBC Radio’s Daybreak for her perspective on the events. She’s been living and teaching in Istanbul for the past four years. If you have eight minutes, or if you are only vaguely aware of the situation, it’s a good introductory listen (stay safe, Amanda!).
CBC Kelowna (2013). A Nakusp woman speaks on the troubles in Turkey. Daybreak South, 6 June 2013. Available at http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/British+Columbia/ID/2389902982/. Accessed 7 June 2013.
City of Ludbreg Tourist Board (2005). Ludbreg – The Center of the World. Available at http://www.tz-ludbreg.hr/en/centar.asp. Accessed 7 June 2013.
Turistička zajednica Varaždinske županije (2012). Ludbreg -Town of Miracles and Legends. Available at http://www.turizam-vzz.hr/en/destinations/ludbreg/. Accessed 7 June 2013.