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History of naturism in Croatia and today

Filed under: - Bern @ 12:48 pm

Courtesy: Croatia Naturally, Guide to Naturism in Croatia. For more information on Croatia Naturism, visit: cronatur.com
Published in Internaturally’s “Naturally” magazine

The history of organized naturist vacations in Croatia goes back to the 1930s. The island of Rab is rightly referred to as the pioneer of naturism on the Adriatic. The month of August 1936 is frequently mentioned as the official beginning of naturism in Rab (i.e., when the English king Edward VIII stayed there and the Rab authorities allowed him and his wife to take a nude swim in the bay of Kandarola). That’s why this bay is nowadays sometimes called “English Beach” or “Engleska plaza.”

However, it is certain that naturism on the island started long before then. The article “Trade in nakedness,” published in the Austrian economic journal “Trend” No. 11/83, reports that the naturist beach in Rab was officially opened as early as the transition to this century and that 50 beds in the hotels were reserved for naturists. The same article mentions that the first naturist beach in Rab was opened personally by Richard Ehrman, the president of the International Naturist Federation from Vienna in 1934. Naturism in Rab is also mentioned in the article of the Czech Josef Herman, in 1907 and of professor Günther in 1912, which proves that the Rab people had understood long ago the bright prospects of this movement which, at that time, was a very bold attitude.
Croatia was the first country in Europe to start with the concept of commercial naturist resorts, when in other European countries naturism was limited to member clubs only. Real naturist expansion started in the 1960s when the first naturist camps were opened in Istra and Dalmatia. In those days more than 100,000 naturists spent their vacation in Croatia each year. The oldest naturist resort in Croatia is Koversada and in 2001 celebrated its 40th anniversary. Koversada is in fact a small islet and today it is connected by a small bridge with the mainland. The story says that famous adventurer Giacomo Casanova was the first one who took a nude swim in Koversada. But it was Rudolf Halbig from Germany, owner of Miramare travel agency, who, 200 years later — in 1953 — recognized Koversada as a perfect naturist destination. At the beginning naturists put up in the village of Vrsar and went to Koversada islet for swimming and sunbathing. In 1961 Koversada became officially opened for naturist tourists. As Koversada was becoming more popular, the islet became too small and in 1965 the resort spread out to the nearby shore. In 1972 Koversada hosted the Naturist World Congress, and in the course of years, Koversada grew to a modern complex and one of the largest and most popular naturist resorts in Europe. Soon after Koversada, other resorts opened their doors to naturists as well: Valalta naturist resort opened in 1968; Monsena in 1988 hosted Naturist World Congress; Solaris, and many others.
Today Croatia is offering a wide range of naturist facilities — beaches, camping, hotels, apartment and bungalow villages. There are more than 20 official naturist resorts that spread on 8,220,000 sq. meters. Naturist resorts offer 46,100 camping units, 5,300 beds in apartments, bungalows or hotels. In addition to that, official naturist beaches (outside of naturist resorts) offer a place under the sun for 20,000 sunbathers. In addition to official naturist resorts and beaches, there are also many so called free beaches. Those are unofficial naturist beaches, sometimes controlled and maintained by local tourist authorities and sometimes not, that can be found everywhere on the coast. Naturist beaches in Croatia are marked as “FKK.” This is abbreviation for German word “Freikörperkultur” (Free Body Culture). The FKK sign is ubiquitous all along the Croatian coast.
Naturism represents an important factor in Croatian tourism industry. To estimate how many percent of all tourists are naturists is not an easy task, because many stay in textile resorts and visit naturist beaches or resorts just for swimming and sunbathing. Some estimates say about 15% of all tourists in Croatia are naturists or nudists. That means more than 1,000,000 naturists visit Croatia each year. Most of them come from Germany, then Austria, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, etc. Considering the country’s liberal tradition toward naturism and a large number of naturist resorts and beaches, Croats are surprisingly still a bit shy when it comes to naturism and make up less than 5% of all guests in naturist resorts. Compared to the situation in the 1980s, the number of organized naturists in Croatia has significantly decreased in the last decade. Many agree the reason is the stronger influence of the Catholic Church in society.
Today many Croats prefer unofficial or secluded beaches to throw away their clothes. But still, naturism is strongly supported by the Croatian government. Take a look what the official Croatian tourism site says about it. Naturism is even mentioned on tourism sites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Viking Nudist Chronicles

The Viking Nudist Chronicles in the Spring issue of Naturally
by Bern Loibl
I met Leif Heilberg over 30 years ago at one of the early naturist gatherings in Florida. He was busy photographing the event when I had the privilege of being one of his photo subjects. We talked about his work and my magazine, and have been in touch ever since.

Although this vibrant, lively Scandinavian has been photographing nudes since 1957, he considered himself a “nudist” photographer after 1960 when he joined a nudist club in California. He started naturist photography first for a naturist publication used by Esperantists called Naturista Vivo. As of 1961, Leif began taking nudist pictures for Ed Lang as well, and the following year Ed asked Leif to work for him. He worked as his photographer until the end of 1969. Almost all the pictures he took of nudist/naturist locations around the world belonged to Ed Lange’s Elysium Inc. Leif was Elysium’s “Our Man in Europe,” also behind the “Iron Curtain.” For this reason, Leif’s own collection does not begin to amass until 1971, with a few earlier pictures taken in 1965, which is where we start our Viking Nudist Chronicles. When he became a freelance photographer, he had experiences with a couple of agents, in Italy and in Japan, but neither worked out well. Finally, Terry Dell Agency in London contacted him, and through them Health & Efficiency used masses of his pictures over many years. With the death of the owner, a few of years ago, the Terry Dell Agency closed and Leif paid to get most of his images returned the him, although some had already been destroyed by then. As a freelancer, his work appeared in virtually every nudist publication, including, of course, Naturally magazine. We love his pictures and wanted to share them with you, which is how we hit upon the idea of creating a repeating 16-page photo feature that would chronicle his work from the beginning to the present time. We can’t think of a better way to show how nudist and naturist images and sensibilities have changed over the years. Leif’s work encompasses Europe, Eastern Block countries, the South Pacific, and the United States — mostly west coast locations. His studio — Viking Photography — derived its name from his Nordic heritage and is the inspiration behind our new feature in this and future Naturally editions. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have when Sherry asked me to catalog and select images from his vast archive of about 150,000 pictures that fill a two-terabyte disk drive. Beyond the naturist press, Leif has provided photos for the periodical of the Danish Youth Hostel Association and for German tabloids favored by housewives. He is also a sought-after wedding photographer. The charismatic Leif credits his people skills with having learned English four years at school, German three years, Swedish two years, French one year, and Russian one year. But Esperanto also helped a lot, he says. “I met Esperantists in Moscow in 1959, participated in the Universal Congress of Esperanto in Warsaw, where I naturally met many Bulgarian Esperantists at the national Esperanto congress in Varna.” He got in contact with other Esperantists in several countries through the Universal Esperanto Association. “Through that,” he says, “I met various people in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and East Germany (Die Ostzone, drueben, etc.).” He soon became president of the International Esperanto Naturist Organization. [Esperanto is considered the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto (Esperanto translates as “one who hopes.”)] I asked Leif what changes over the years were most notable in his opinion — good or bad: “I see, with regret, some clubs going over to be swingers,” he said. “Although, individuals have been playing around for ages, I am of the opinion that this type of behavior should not be institutionalized.” As of this writing, Leif entered the hospital for a total hip replacement and is currently in recovery. We wish him all the best and thank him for his contribution to this issue, and his many years of continued support.


Where in the world can you watch a space launch naked?

Filed under: - Bern @ 3:16 pm

Sue and Blaik McGarvey watched one take off from Florida’s Cypress Cove Nudist Resort. Read about it in the current issue of Naturally #79 – Summer edition.


Avalon – a winter oasis

Filed under: - hostsherry @ 3:43 pm

AANR East Board of Director meeting – I’m one of the directors. The weekend is addressing some serious matters about membership growth, getting more young people involved in the nudist lifestyle, and the all important money matters and budgets.
Avalon, even in the winter, is a delightful getaway. Indoor hot tub and heated pool kept everyone in a relaxed state of mind to prepare for the important matters we needed to address. The food is delicious, and the Nudsino (mini casino) was packed each night. Although, if you’re not a smoker, the restaurant or pool area might be more to your liking.
Of course, since it is winter time, and fewer nudists venture out this time of year, Avalon was running minimal staff who had to be, and were, twice as efficient. The service was certainly not lacking.
Tonight, Bern and I plan to enjoy the Saturday night dance that Avalon is famous for. Tomorrow morning we head back up north – 5 hours drive – to New Jersey.
Time to get ready for dinner and dancing. See ya.

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