General information | Cmurek Castle is one of the five oldest preserved castles in Slovenia. It was first mentioned in 1145 in connection with Burkard of Cmurek. Burkard and Judita were free nobles who laid the foundations of the castle on the cliff above the Mura river, and two Romanesque reliefs from their time are still preserved today. From 1401 to 1931, the castle was owned by the Stubenbergs, a noble family from Styria. Between 1941 and 1945 it was so called “Hitlerjugend Schule” – a Nazi school for boys. After 1949 and until 2004, the castle served as a social welfare institution for the care of people with disabilities. Between 200 and 400 people lived in the castle at the same time, mostly cared for by people from Trate and the surrounding area.

Trate (eng. meadows) is a village of less than 400 inhabitants. Since 1919, the Mura River has been the national border separating from Austria what was once Yugoslavia and since 19991 Slovenia. For more than 100 years, Trate has been known as a border village, and the area around the Cmurek bridge was once a bustling centre of crossings, escapes, trading, smuggling, disputes and happy reunions. The settlement directly below the castle lost its significance with Slovenia’s entry into the Schengen area and is today a rather sad picture of decay, abandonment and neglect. We would like to see it finally come to full life… Another important and similarly impenetrable border in the village was the “madhouse”, which somehow contributed almost half of the population of Trate, but those “outside” and those “inside” the castle had little or very limited contact. This is evidenced today by the Museum of Madness, which was created 9 years after the closure of the institution in Trate, by local people to reflect together on the prejudices, stereotypes, exclusions, fears, anxieties and general stigmatization of the people who were institutionalized in Trate, the staff and the place itself.

In Trate, you can also visit the Novi Kinek Manor, the former meyerhof of Cmurek Castle, which served  as a manor house since 1800. At the beginning of the 20th century, its owners established a beautiful  park around the manor house and a steam mill on the edge of the park, which was soon electrified. The  manor house, the park and the mill are today protected as cultural monuments. The story of the popular Russian doctor Sergej Kapralov, who set up a sanatorium in the manor house in 1937 and died  unexpectedly in 1944, is particularly well-known in connection with the manor. His story was literarised by Drago Jančar, one of Slovenia’s greatest living writers, in a novella entitled Death at Maria of the  Snow (1985). Unfortunately, the Novi Kinek monument has no programme and is left to decay.

Socio Political context | Village Trate is located on the edge of Slovenia, but also on the edge of the municipality Šentilj. The former “madhouse” has also pushed this place to the edge of the collective perception, as it was indeed the last stop for many people from all over Slovenia. In the Museum of Madness we have been working for ten years to change that view. Our perspective is opposite. Trate is actually one of the entry points to Slovenia, it is the first face of Slovenia for many who enter from Austria. Above all, after a century of break, with the power of local people it has once again become a new centre, a new platform, this time bringing together people interested in the question of borders and madness.

Historically | The area around Cmurek Castle is underexplored, but it is extremely rich in terms of both  natural and cultural heritage. In the Museum of Madness, we showcased a collection of fossils dating  back some 26 million years, testifying to the Miocene sea that once splashed over these shores. We also  published the Story of the fearless Miodelicus, from the mysterious world of the Mura River, which  delights children. We have uncovered several archaeological finds that testify to the thousands of years  of inhabitation of the area. Several exhibitions about the history of the castle and the area are on display at the Museum of Madness.

In the surrounding | The Mura River, together with Danube and Drava rivers, has been declared a Biosphere Reserve. This is recognition by UNESCO that we live in the area known as the European Amazon, which is a biodiversity delight and should continue to be preserved. Walks along the Mura open up glimpses into prehistoric times, which are presented in the exhibition “First there was the Mura”. To learn about the struggle to preserve the free-flowing river, come to the museum and see more exhibitions. Above all, meet the people who live and grow with the Museum of Madness.



The Pavel House the cultural centre on the Mura River | The project partner Article VII Cultural Association for Styria with its cultural centre Pavelhaus is culturally unique and at the same time the smallest landmark in this region. This is where in Austria quite some work within this project will be done. The Pavelhaus connects cultures and its activities spread far and wide. Working and thinking across borders is the programme. Anchored in Article VII of the Austrian State Treaty, which grants autochthonous minorities the right to actively live their culture and language, the association takes initiatives to strengthen the Slovene minority in south-eastern Austria and Slovene. August Pavel, who gave the culture site its name, came from a Slovene-Hungarian family in neighbouring Cankova (SLO) and is an example of the linguistic and cultural diversity in this region.

Bad Radkersburg | Bad Radkersburg’s 700-year history can be felt in almost every corner. Italian  master builders left their mark here. Magnificent buildings and idyllic squares give the thermal spa  town of Bad Radkersburg its southern flair. The old town with its picturesque backdrop of the historic  city – awarded with the European Gold Medal for the preservation of monuments – invites you to stroll, shop and enjoy the open air. Concerts, theatre and cabaret evenings as well as exhibitions provide cultural experiences all year round. A mild, Mediterranean climate and two special springs make it also a special (spa) location in Styria.

Die Klause, das Gesundheitsgut – the gateway to the hill country | The Klause, translated it means “the hermitage – a medical estate”, is located near Bad Gleichenberg. Among other things, art and culture and their effects on us humans and our well-being are dealt with there. The artists will find accommodation in the Klause and from here they will explore the region as far as the Pavelhaus in the far southeast. The owners of Die Klause are neurologists who specialized in helping people to understand themselves and how much we as beings are connected to nature. The guests, who come here, learn how important it is to adapt to natural rhythms, eat healthy food and regularly get this body moving. As the psyche is also consciously nurtured, an awareness of what it means to be human and its value in an increasingly fast-paced world emerges. This was the reason for combining this oasis as a place to live and work with the Pavelhaus.

The Klause is namely located at the southern end of the Raab Valley, the second river that characterises the region. It is situated on the hill and seems like the gateway to the more northern part of south- eastern Styria, the land of volcanoes, separated only by the Gleichenberger Kogel from the flatter land  towards the Mur and Pavelhaus. It is precisely this geographically and energetically interesting field of tension that will be part of the work on Musicville, the green opera.

Bad Gleichenberg | “I love this corner of the earth”: Even Peter Rosegger could not resist the special charms of Bad Gleichenberg when he wrote down this declaration of love in 1906. Bad Gleichenberg is a spa town with a 180-year tradition. Around the historic town, which is also a stage stop on the hiking route “From Glacier to Wine”, a flourishing region with lush meadows and dense forests shines. Guests are drawn to Bad Gleichenberg for its healing waters, but also to find peace and relaxation here. A place steeped in history and tradition, modern and future-oriented at the same time, and a landscape, gently hilly and varied, invite you to experience it.

History in the South-East of Austria | It is a (border) region that has been neglected for a long time. In the time of the Iron Curtain, you could see into the vineyards of former neighbours, but you could no longer meet. The border with Yugoslavia was a green border, but well guarded. Even before the First World War, the region, which now belongs to Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, was more diverse and the languages German, Hungarian, Slovenian, Croatian as well as Romany could be heard side by side here. The inhabitants were more or less multilingual. In addition, there were strong Jewish and Protestant communities, and all this in a predominantly Catholic environment. Many historical events have shaped the region and the people who live here. As a peripheral and border region, it was forgotten for a long time, not taken into account. After the Second World War, the iron border fence was erected here. Once again, the world was enclosed. This has shaped everything that has developed here in terms of culture. Today it is a region of open borders. Within a radius of 35 kilometers there are four nations: Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, and in numerous cross-border projects people are trying to break down the borders in their minds and find their way back to each other.

Life in the region between the Pavel House and the Klause | In the more northerly part, around the Klause, there are more prominent hills, once formed by volcanic eruptions. Straden is situated on such a hill, as are Klöch, St. Anna or Riegersburg Castle, which is known far beyond the borders, and Kornberg Castle, which only became visible from afar after a storm a few years ago, as if freed from the overaged trees that had fallen.

Water and fire | River landscape, volcanic cones and hot springs meet here. A total of 6 thermal springs are located in the entire tourist region, the most famous of which is probably in Bad Radkersburg. But there is also the Brodelsulz, where hot water does not first come to the surface through drilling, but still bubbles away hot in the middle of the forest.

It was not only the hot springs that influenced the lives of the people, but above all the three rivers Mur, Raab and Feistritz that shaped the region. People settled along the rivers, goods were transported on the rivers, but the rivers also flooded the settlements and fields again and again. People tried to contain them, to slow them down, but decades later they realised that they were only harming themselves. The river courses were renaturalised and the lower Mur valley is now part of the 5-country biosphere park. Today, the fire is perceived more through the geological peculiarity with the volcanic cones. With the numerous ley lines crossing in this region, power places are formed at these crossings. There is a raw energy here, recognisable to geomancers by the numerous oaks that like to settle in particularly intense power places.

Culture | The cultural organisations are very broadly positioned in this region. From music to art festivals, the headquarters of the Schlösserstrasse and the Vulkanland crafts association, which has long since become a regional development initiative, there are various lines that open up the region. The Thermenstrasse leads from Bad Walterdorf to Bad Radkersburg, the Schlösserstrasse starts near Vienna and ends in Slovenia, the latest among the tourist routes is Route 66, which leads to adventure manufactories along the Bundesstrasse 66 and can easily be followed by car along artistically designed road signs. Or the relatively new festival HOCHsommer, in which regional cultural institutions between Südburgenland and Bad Radkersburg combine to present contemporary art.

The world’s best fair trade and organic chocolate is also produced in this region, an outstanding raw  ham matures, whose name “Vulcano” ham has found its way into the German dictionary, and there  are excellent wine and food producers. More and more emphasis is being placed on organic farming.  and there is also the winegrower Christof Winkler-Hermaden, who is a leading microbiologist and not only cultivates humus for his vineyard, but also passes on this knowledge.

Tourism is dominated by cycling, especially along the Mura, where it is quite flat. On two wheels, pedal  knights discover the natural area from the European Green Belt and the UNESCO Biosphere Park in the Mur floodplains on lonely paths all the way to the Slovenian neighbours. Well over 20 cycling tours are ready marked and next to spa guests, cycling tourists are the largest tourist target group in Bad Radkersburg.

GlaMUR should be mentioned as a special initiative. The vision of the association is as follows: “We see ourselves as cross-border ambassadors of the idea of the Volcanic Land. Together we want to establish the brand GlaMUR – Genuss am Fluss as a synonym for regional products around the Grenzmur among tourists, the local population and member businesses. The high-quality GlaMUR products are more than just culinary delights. In the GlaMUR valley, which stretches from south-eastern Styria through southern Styria to Slovenia, 19 communities live the GlaMUR philosophy. And in these communities, more than 200 GlaMUR businesses offer a wide range of regional products, often produced in family-run businesses. But this region is not only recommendable from a culinary point of view, it also offers wonderful hiking and cycling trails, as well as wonderful excursion destinations, which are characterised by the boundless hospitality and warmth of this region.

A 5-country joint UNESCO biosphere park with Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia, along the Mura, Drava, Danube can be experienced with “Amazon of Europe Bike Trail” – the “Amazon of Europe”, rounds off the overall experience of the region around Bad Radkersburg. Austria’s second largest alluvial landscape has been recognised by UNESCO as a biosphere park since 2019. UNESCO has been awarding this recognition since 1976. Its purpose is to preserve special natural and cultural landscapes around the world. The Mur floodplains are such a spot of untouched nature. The sustainable development of the “Lower Mur Valley” habitat is thus also ensured for the future.


Location description – preliminary research | In the middle of Croatia, halfway between Slovenia and Bosnia, lies the picturesque, rural town of Vojnić. For decades, its 4000 inhabitants have lived and worked on the sensitive task of coexisting. As many diverse groups of people have found a way to live peacefully with each other, the town’s infrastructure and cultural offerings have grown steadily. After a major earthquake in 2020, the community and the city began renovation work, which is already well underway, and the atmosphere among the people signals renewal and rebirth.

Location description – preliminary research | In the middle of Croatia, halfway between Slovenia and Bosnia, lies the picturesque, rural town of Vojnić. For decades, its 4000 inhabitants have lived and worked on the sensitive task of coexisting. As many diverse groups of people have found a way to live peacefully with each other, the town’s infrastructure and cultural offerings have grown steadily. After a major earthquake in 2020, the community and the city began renovation work, which is already well underway, and the atmosphere among the people signals renewal and rebirth.

The first site search study visit was a great success, due in part to the enthusiastic support of the Vojnić community leader, Nebojša Andrić. He brought us together with Čedomir Studen, who took us on a kind of tour of the sites and the surrounding area. Čedomir was actively involved in the design of some of the most important places where the project will take place, namely the Monument to the Uprising of the People of Bania and Kordun. He was involved in the construction and the first days of activities of the monument and even has private recordings of the opening day.

Čedomir also provided us with recordings of old audio guides of the Partizan Central Hospital, which are an invaluable piece of local history. After graduating from the Faculty of Political Science, Čedomir found fulfillment in woodworking, which he has now been doing for many years. He is well acquainted with traditional local carpentry and masonry and even conducts workshops for traditional carpentry in the creative organization “RUKE” Vojnić. Vojnić is surrounded by vast forests and has a traditional wood industry, which is of great importance for the visual artists (painters, architects, set designers, sculptors) who make the journey to Musicville.

Due to the rich forests and largely untouched nature, the area also has an incredible biodiversity. On the hiking and forest trails, we were accompanied by numerous bird calls and animal sounds. These sounds can be recorded and used by sound artists (singers, musicians, conductors, dancers) to serve as a starting point for exploring possibilities for contemporary operas and genre blends.

During the visit we also met with filmmaker and reporter Anton Mezulić who is currently working on a documentary film about the coexistence in Vojnić, focusing on two football clubs – Vojnić 95 and Petrova Gora. His knowledge and expertise in filmmaking and direction as well as local culture and life will be a valuable resource for Musicville participants to refer to when doing their production.

The collaboration of artists and mentors from different countries of origin with locals and fellow artists who have a keen interest in the local community, culture and history will expand the already existing context of multicultural exchange, appreciation and respect. Musicville will certainly make a special contribution to the revitalization and richness of this rural area and its inhabitants, serving as a unique place of artistic, cultural, historical and natural interconnection.

General information | Petrova Gora (“Peter’s Mountain”) is a mountain range in central Kordun. It is located in Karlovac County, Republic of Croatia. It spreads in northeastern-southwestern direction, 25 km long. Petrova gora represents a unique forest ecosystem whose main feature is great stability and durability. This mountain massif is an exceptional habitat for a large number of plant and animal species. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful and best preserved mountain wooded landscapes in Croatia. Due to its rich biological diversity, the central part of Petrova gora was protected in 1969 as a significant landscape.

Cultural-historical sights, recreational-educational facilities (mountaineering bypass Petrova gora, ornithological park Petrovac, etc.) are united within the Tourist Center Petrova gora, centered in the Muljava hunting lodge. Recreational facilities include the Petrova gora mountain ring road, the educational trail “Rimski Put” (Roman road), the educational trail for people with special needs “Kraljev Put” (King’s road), the ornithological park Petrovac, the mini zoo on Muljava, archery and archery 3D trail “Petrova gora”, horse riding and cycling. The starting point of the paths and trails is the Muljava hunting lodge.

Due to its distance from larger urban areas and good accessibility, Petrova gora offers one of the darkest places for observing the night sky in central Croatia. After many years of preparations and numerous astronomical activities that have been carried out on Petrova gora since 2007 in the organization of the Beskraj Astronomical Society, the significant landscape of Petrova gora and Biljeg was officially declared an International Dark Sky Park on June 17, 2019 according to the criteria of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), and is so far the first and only such park in Croatia.

Socio-political context | Petrova Gora belongs to the municipality of Vojnić. Socio-cultural context of the inhabited area is shaped by its turbulent political environment, characterized by almost continuous overlap of wars and migrations.

Historically, Vojnić had the role of a defensive military city. Created to organize a defense structure against the middle age Turkish military intrusions towards the Habsburg Monarchy and further into Europe. The area was inhabited by refugees from Bosnia and Serbia fleeing the Ottomans. So the name of the region Kordun where it is located, originated from the French Cordon militaire. Difficult economic situations at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries were followed by mass economic migration, mostly to America and the population decline continued with the casualties of the First World War. During the Second World War and the fascist occupation, this area quickly became one of the most important strongholds of the Yugoslavian People’s Liberation War.

In 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence, Vojnić came under the control of Serbian rebels and the Croatian population was expatriated. In 1995, Vojnić was liberated from Serbian occupation, but now the Serbian population left the town. In the following decade, many Croatian refugees settled in the region, followed by the return of Serbian refugees. However, at the beginning of the new millennium, only 60% of the population lived in Kordun and Vojnić compared to 1991. Vojnić and Kordun are located directly on the so-called Balkan route of migration of unfortunate people from Syria, Iran and Afghanistan to Western Europe. The migrant hotspot is located in the immediate vicinity of Vojnić, only 20-30 km away, just across the border with BiH. It is a transit area, as Vojnić and Croatia are usually not their final destination.

Central partizan hospital | In the surrounding mountains of Petrova Gora, a world-famous partisan hospital was built: 30 wooden huts hidden in a forest, for various functions including the triage, pharmacy, dentistry and operating room. The entire hospital lays on a web of dugouts – underground tunnels and hiding places where the wounded in the onslaught of fascist offensives were being hidden. During its work, over 5000 wounded and sick people passed through the hospital. A large portion of them, over 1000, remained forever buried in the forest of Petrova gora in the cemetery near the hospital. Fun fact: in 1971, the Central Partisan Hospital in Petrova gora was awarded the Order of the National Hero for outstanding war merits.

The incredible bravery and ability to overcome adversity that the staff and patients displayed during the hospital’s operation is moving and sobering. In the face of many of the wartime conditions and health crises of our day, the Partizan Hospital is a reminder that human perseverance knows no bounds and that community and support will always prevail. Musicville will fill the space with a new artistic interpretation, activating an abandoned site of local trauma and infusing it with sound and movement that serves as a reminder and tribute, but also offers a new perspective that keeps moving forward.

Magaračevac – underground military radio relay | The facility was dug into the rock and built in such a way that it provided the crew with safety from an atomic attack and almost 3 months of life underground. It covers an area of 2000 square meters, with a whole series of rooms with dormitories, an electrical switchboard, a kitchen, food and water storage and a decontamination area. All spaces are separated from each other by partitions and doors with shock valves in case of an atomic explosion. In the exit section, there is a 40 ton concrete door, designed to break and stop a nuclear shock wave. The location ensures an excellent view of the immediate surroundings, but also of a good part of central Croatia, Gorski Kotar and even Slovenia, and especially northwestern Bosnia.

In an increasingly uncertain time in history, we are once again faced with nuclear threats and can therefore connect more deeply with the people of the past. As different as our lives may be, some uncertainties and fears still remain. Musicville will explore these feelings and differences through movement, sound, and an activation of local audiences and resources in order to resist oppression, be heard, and uncover neglected secrets that elude our consciousness.

Vojin Bakić – The Monument to the Uprising of the people of Bania and Kordun | The Monument to the Uprising of the People of Bania and Kordun is a monumental memorial structure erected on Petrovac, the highest peak of Petrova gora. The author of the monument is the sculptor Vojin Bakić. The construction of the monument was completed in 1982. In addition to performing the function of representative work, a museum was arranged inside the monument. At the top of the monument there is a lookout point from which you can see Slovenia, Bosnia and Zagreb. After 1991, the monument and the memorial complex were neglected, the museum was devastated after 1995, and the damage to the monument continues to this day. People remove and carry away expensive stainless steel plating. Despite this, the monument was actually recently the filming location of the TV series Tribes of Europa.

This towering, brutalist structure rises above a peaceful, rural area covered in pristine forests as far as the eye can see, proudly holding up its history and heritage. The site feels simultaneously futuristic and retro, leaning into an otherworldly, alien aesthetic that serves as an excellent starting point for inspiration and artistic play. By activating and repurposing an abandoned, forgotten historical site, Musicville will bring new and fresh worldviews and ideas to an already established piece of art where, much like Musicville itself, multiple artistic disciplines and mediums converge.

Key local resources | Environmental

  • Vast woodlands surrounding the whole area serve as an abundant source of materials for opera production (temporary stages, natural backgrounds, scenography) as well as site specific interventions, land art etc in the form of fallen trees providing wood, sticks, branches, stumps, various greenery and natural fibers that can be composted and/or repurposed at the end of production
  • Ekodrom estate – providing working and living spaces
  • Muljava hunting lodge – providing hiking trails, accommodation and guidance to the participants

Key local resources | Human

  • Čedomir Studen – coordinator and assistant in the city of Vojnić
  • Anton Mezulić – filmmaker and reporter

Key local resources | Cultural

  • Creative organization “RUKE” Vojnić
  • Folklore ensemble KUD Vojnić
  • Cinema club Karlovac
  • Home of culture Dom kulture Vojnić

Key local stakeholders

  • Nebojša Andrić, mag.ing.agr. – head of the Vojnić municipality
  • Ekodrom estate
  • Muljava hunting lodge
  • Croatian Mountaineering Society HPD “Bilo”