Playful Croatia

Play the Hirc’s Secret Level

Gamified tour in cooperation with the Bakar Tourism Board

This is how dragutin Hirc writes about the copper region in his book Croatian Littoral. In this book, the great explorer also records his observations about the Sinks, the lake that emerges and disappears.

Bakar Tourim Board has entrusted our Iva with the task of gamified guided tour design – as it seemed like a perfect activity for the game of nature – a dissappearing lake of Ponikve (Ponikve means Sinkholes). One of the goals of this activity was to pay tribute to the great explorer Dragutin Hirc. Dragutin Hirc was a teacher in one of the schools in the city of Bakar. During his time there, he explored every corner of the town’s surroundings. One of his books includes a chapter about the dissappearing lake of Ponikve. All of this made a great fit for the storyline of the gamified tour.

Water springs are filling up Ponikve sinkholes and turning them into a lake

The playful tour Play the Hirc’s Secret Level was one of the events, part of the traditional Bakar summer festivity. It was a great activity for everyone who loves walks in magnificent nature, or for those who love challenges, for those who like to learn something new, and especially for the ones who love all of the above.

What exactly was going on in Ponikve that summer? A real competitive adventure. Whenever you visit Ponikve, you will find a different sight. Sometimes there is a lake, sometimes springs of water penetrating from the depths, and sometimes a valley and its trees. Only a careful examination of the trees will show you the water marks high on the tree barks as a proof how water can fill up the sinkhole. This game of nature also has a secret level, which we discovered during the gamified tour. When you enter that level, you time-travel into the year 1877, when little was known about the origins of this natural wonder. In order to get back to our time, we must make up for lost knowledge, discover the peculiarities of Ponikve and the nature that surrounds Bakar. Together, the players celebrate the contribution of old Bakar teachers to science in an unexpected way – by playing a game.

The visitors were divided into three teams and then embarked on a fun adventure.

Discover Hirc's secret level
Some of the props.

Play the Hirc’s Secret Level took place in Summer 2020 and was organized by the Bakar Tourism Board and sponsored by INA.