Madjerka Hill: A Mystery of Medjimurje


September 21, 2020 – Madjerka Hill is better known as the mystery of Medjimurje. From up there, you can see 4 countries, taste the most delicious wines, and enjoy breathtaking views.

Mađerkin breg (Madjerka Hill) stands 341 meters above sea level, only three and a half meters lower than Mohokos, which is the highest point of Medjimurje. The view extends to 4 countries – Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, and Slovakia. You can see Zagorje, and in clear weather, you can also see Sljeme. It was named after Emilia Krauthaker, better known as Mađerka (Madjerka). Emilia was born on July 22, 1889, on St. Mary Magdalene in Budapest. Symbolically, the Municipality and Parish of Strigova celebrate their day on July 22. Nives Kutnjak told Matej Scavnicar for eMedjimurje about the history of Madjerka Hill, as she wrote her thesis on this topic back in 2018.

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Madjerka Hill | Photo by eMedjimurje

“Emilia Krauthaker moved to this area around 1940. She came for her husband, a Hungarian soldier, i.e., an officer and a major, Albin Krauthaker. The communists killed him in 1945, and she was left alone. Madjerka’s husband, Albin, also had a sister who married a rich trading family Strahonja from Cakovec. The whole street around the health institution in Cakovec was theirs. Strahonja and his wife Rozika, Albin’s sister, lived on the first part of the hill while Emilija, better known as Madjerka, lived on the second part of the hill. Around 1958, when nationalization arrived in this area, everything was taken away from these two families. They left them only a space of 10 acres. All the surrounding local population came to Madjerka hill to work for Emilia; they even came from neighboring Slovenia. Emilia had a large vineyard, but poverty was growing. From the beginning, she could still pay the workers with the wine she sold and the chickens she had. She was selling eggs in Strigova, and when asked: “How does she live”, she would respond that she lives from those few eggs and is nourished by the beauty of the nature that surrounds her.

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Madjerka Hill | Photo by eMedjimurje

The vineyards failed, but she did not want to sell her land even though she had buyers long ago. It slowly began to decay.

Emilia was accustomed to a gentleman’s life. For the time when women in the countryside did not know how to bake even an ordinary cake, she baked top-quality cakes, cream puffs, etc. Besides, she was a famous dancer, a ballerina in Budapest. Emilija had no descendants, but the Krauthaker family, the descendants of her husband who inherited Madjerka Hill, sold the land in 2014 to the current owners, the wine-making families – Cmrecnjak and Stampar.”

The founder and owner of the Cmrecnjak Winery, Rajko Cmrecnjak, fondly remembers his childhood memories about Madjerka Hill.

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Rajko Cmrecnjak | Photo by eMedjimurje

“All my life, I have been connected to Madjerka Hill. Even as a child, my window looked into the distance at the terraces of Madjerka Hill. The sun is setting behind Madjerka Hill, and I remember watching the sunsets through my house’s broken window. At the beginning of the nineties, we started to be more serious about viticulture. Even then, I dreamed of having our vineyard on Madjerka and that one day, we could take casual or intentional travelers there and show the best position for growing vines in Medjimurje. I would dare to say that the biggest step forward of our winery in recent times was when we bought the so-called Madjerka Hill. This area is undoubtedly the highest quality wine-growing position in Medjimurje and beyond. The condition in which we found Madjerka Hill after the purchase was not desirable at all. It was overgrown with thorns and bushes; it was a state of thickets, the forest’s initial degradation stage with difficult access or extreme inability to access in some parts. It was a great challenge for our winery,” says Rajko Cmrecnjak and proudly concludes that the wine produced from Madjerka Hill has already won a gold medal in wine evaluation.

Fifty meters below, driving through the terraces of Madjerka Hill, eMedjimurje meets David Stampar, the successor of the Stampar Winery, who planted 14,000 Pushipel vines a few months ago.

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David Štampar | Photo by eMedjimurje

“Madjerka Hill is a special place for me; I have known about that hill since I was a child. At that time, I never dreamed that I would be a co-owner of this beautiful lookout together with my family one day. So far, we have planted 25,000 vines of Pushipel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franca. Next year we plan to plant another 15,000 vines of Pushipel and Sauvignon,” says David.

Not so long ago, Art Colonies were held on Madjerka Hill

“Art colonies were held from 2000 until 2005. These colonies were attended by amateur artists – amateur art associations from Medjimurje, Varazdin, and Slovenia. The idea of TZO Strigova was to slowly start branding this beautiful, natural lookout point that could become an important point of the tourist offer of our region in some future times. Other events used to be held – the celebration of May 1 and various bicycle tours,” says Josip Mikec from the local tourist board.

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Josip Mikec | Photo by eMedjimurje

Madjerka Hill experienced its most significant popularity in 2015 when Sime Strikoman took a millennial photo in the shape of a cluster on Sunday, July 19, at the Days of the Strigova Municipality. Then a record was set in drinking gemišt (wine+sparkling water). At the same time, 1,034 gemišt drinks were consumed.

“Madjerka Hill was known before, but only the hosts from nearby villages and a few nature and hiking lovers. Some targeted introduction and presentation of Madjerka began with the Art Colonies to expand millennial photography to the whole of Croatia and Slovenia. Since then, Madjerka has been practically an indispensable point of various events from Urbans, Strigova Nights, First Day of Summer, New Year’s Eve… Today, no Medjimurje resident has not heard of Madjerka Hill,” says the expert associate of TZO Strigova, Josip Mikec.

In agreement with the owners, the Municipality of Strigova has registered the project of Vidikovac “Goričko sviralo” to the INTERREG Hungary Croatia EU fund, and a positive solution is expected. The value of the project is 1,698,366.46 euros. The project aims to maintain and develop the tourist and historical significance of this unique hill. In addition to the construction of a lookout point run by the Municipality of Strigova and the Strigova Tourist Board, the construction of a camp, souvenir shop, wine tasting room, and cellar is also planned.

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Madjerka Hill | Photo by Stampar Winery

What exactly is the secret of Madjerka Hill?

Maybe a beautiful natural lookout, terraced vineyards, a view, fresh air, peace, quiet, the chirping of birds, or the smell of grapes?

Let the secret remain hidden.

Discover for yourself what inspires many photographers to make the pilgrimage to Madjerka Hill, wanting to capture that perfect moment of sunset or sunrise. This is what the hardworking people from Štigova, led by Cmrecnjak and Stampar, who nurture this hill and keep its secret, want.

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