THE OPENING OF ‘JELSA SQUARE’ IN ST. ANDRA, AUSTRIA
In October 2021, Jelsa was specially honoured by the Austrian town of Sankt Andrä with the naming of a beautifully decorated square in celebration of the twenty-fifth year of friendship between the two towns.
The Jelsa Municipality has been formally twinned with the Austrian town of Sankt Andrä in the Wolfsberg district of Carinthia since 1997, although the close friendship between the two towns dates back further to 1991, thanks to the good offices of Franz Baumann and then-Mayor Petar Stauber from Sankt Andrä, who organized invaluable donations of firefighting vehicles and equipment to help Jelsa during the Homeland War. When Petar Stauber resigned as Mayor due to ill-health, in 2019 the Jelsa Municipality organised a big celebration at the Hotel Hvar, at which he was made an honorary citizen of Jelsa, and formally thanked and honoured for his outstanding contribution to the Jelsa community.
The newly named ‘Jelsa Square’ is situated next to a promenade in Sankt Andrä’s historic centre, and is decorated with motifs representing Jelsa and Hvar Island. The initiative was a wonderful surprise for the Jelsa authorities. The ceremonial opening caused great delight to the visitors and local people present alike. A tree was planted symbolically on behalf of the Jelsa Municipality, and a stone plaque was presented engraved with the name ‘Trg Jelsa’ and the Municipality’s coat of arms. All the square’s other embellishments were created independently by the Sankt Andrä authorities: you can see what the Square looks like and view photographs from the opening ceremony in the picture gallery below.
The dedication ceremony was attended by representatives from the Carinthian government, and marked by a big party. The event was fully covered in the Austrian media.
For the one-day visit on this special occasion, the Jelsa Municipality officials were accompanied by part of Jelsa’s ‘KUD’ folklore group, the ‘Priženca’ male a cappella singers, a representative of Jelsa’s Winemakers’ Association and the owner of the ‘OPG Deanović’ company which makes lavender products. The day offered the opportunity for Jelsa’s Tourist Board to present Jelsa’s attractions as a destination, its wines, olive oil and lavender products, not only at the dedication ceremony for the Square, but also at the local provincial fair.
The Jelsa Municipality is very grateful to the town of Sankt Andrä, its Mayoress Marija Knauder, former Mayor Petar Stauber, Franz Baumann, who is President of the ‘Friends of Jelsa’ Association, and Daniel Feldner, right hand man and associate of Carinthia’s overall President.
Every year, the Jelsa Municipality benefits from several thousand tourist overnight stays from this part of Carinthia, with the numbers rising year on year. For our part, we very much encourage people from our Municipality to visit Sankt Andrä in this beautiful part of Carinthia in Austria, where they can take pride in our very own ‘Jelsa Square’ and all that it represents.