The towns in this region are small and some are one-site wonders, but each has unique points of interest that might appeal to tourists intent on soaking up Croatia's history.
Lipik -- This quiet town is known for its medicinal spring and for the Lipizzaner horse farm that once flourished there. In the early 19th century, Daruvar's Count Izidor Jankovic built baths in Lipik to take advantage of the area's thermal waters. He also built a hotel to house the people who came to soak in them. The current spa buildings are part of a hospital that was built at the end of the 19th century, damaged in the 1991 war, and partially rebuilt in 2004. Several other nearby spa sites built by Jankovic (and the Lipizzaner farm) are still undergoing repair. Right now the only thermal pool in town is the hospital's; there is also a public pool [bazeni]. The Lipizzaner farm, which has been totally renovated, remains horseless at this time. The Lipizzaners that were moved to Serbia during the hostilities have not yet been returned to Croatia. Even though very few tourists choose to stay in Lipik these days, the entrepreneurial town has found a way to take its mineral water to the people: The water is bottled and sold all over Croatia under the Studenac brand. Note: Croatia was close to a deal with Serbia to return surviving stolen Lipizzaners. However, Serbia is demanding a $200,000 ransom to return the kidnapped horses.
Pakrac -- Pakrac was on the front line during the 1991 war, but much of the damage done to the town was inflicted during its liberation. At that time, both armies on the front line went through the center of Pakrac with Serb forces on one side of the street and Croat forces on the other, shooting at each other. Today much of Pakrac is still in ruins, mostly because foreign aid to restore the town has dried up and war repairs have slowed. However, it is worth a drive-through just to see the devastation caused by the war. Many of the tumbled-down structures are still owned by Serbians, who once made up a large part of Pakrac, but most Serbs fled during the war and have not returned. If you do stop in Pakrac, be sure to see the palaces that belonged to Baron von Trenk, a Hapsburg officer who owned vast tracts of property in Slavonia. The exterior of his palace in town has undergone some renovation.
Pozega -- About 145km (90 miles) east of Zagreb and 34km (21 miles) north of the Nova Gradiska exit off the autocesta (toll road), Pozega is a busy market town in western Slavonia that was founded by the Romans in the 13th century, occupied by the Turks from 1536 to the last decade of the 17th century, and renovated in the baroque style in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Today's Pozega is a combination of commerce and cafes, churches and memorials. Its Stari Grad (Old Town), on Trg Svetog Trojstva (Holy Trinity Square) in the southern part of the town, is the main tourist attraction. It has two churches on the south end of the square: the 14th-century St. Lawrence Church (Crkva Sv Lovre), which was redone in the baroque style in the 18th century; and the Church of the Holy Ghost (Crkva Svetog Duha), which was built in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 19th century after being destroyed by a fire in 1842. Holy Ghost is flanked by a Franciscan monastery, which contains many rare books and historical documents related to Pozega. Archaeological finds dating back to the Romans and beyond can be seen in Pozega's City Museum (Gradski Muzej) along with present-day exhibits. On the north side of the square you'll find an 18th-century Plague Column built in 1749 to honor the 798 citizens of Pozega who died in the 6-month-long plague of 1739. Pozega's Cehovska (Guild) Street is home to specialty shops and numerous cafes, as well as a gateway for visitors to Papuk Nature Park to the north, a 518-sq.-km (200-sq.-mile) area with diverse flora and fauna, the remains of seven medieval towns, and archaeological sites dating to the Bronze Age (700-200 B.C.).