The Croatian Zagorje with its picturesque hills, numerous small rivers and woods is located in the northwestern part of Croatia. The nature of this region inspired not only creative perople — artists, poets and writers.
The best season to explore Zagorje region of Croatia is the autumn, when the hills and nature around multicolor – yellow, orange, red, gold!
In the previous centuries, many noble and rich people built their family estates and palaces here. Nowadays. Vineyards, forests of Medvednica, Ivancica, Maceljsko gorje, and the thermal springs found in the area — Krapinske, Stubicke and Tuhelske toplice — have become the basis for tourism development.
On the territory of the Croatian Zagorje there is one of the most famous holy places of Croatia — Marija Bistrica, the settlement of Krumovec, the place of birth of Josip Broz Tito, where every year, on his birthday, on the 25th of May, Tito’s admirers from different countries of the world assemble.
The Croatian Zagorje has one of the leading places in Europe as long as the number of monuments located on its territory is concerned.
Castels in Croatia
Croatia has about one thousand castles and palaces.
Orsic Castle in Gornja Stubica of Zagorje
A palace in the Baroque style, built in the 18th century on the remains of a medieval fortress. In the 19th century, a balcony with Greek columns of the Classicism was adjoined to it. The chapel house of St Franje Ksaverski with frescoes and a Baroque style altar. The ceiling of the chapel house is decorated with allegorical images. In the chapel house, a collection of the sacral art of the Croatian Zagorje is found.
The Orsic family lived in the palace from 1756 to the 1920s. Since 1973, the palace houses the Museum of Rural Rebellions, and in close proximity from the palace there is a monument built in the honour of Matije Gupca and the rural rebellion of 1573, made by the sculptor Antun Augustincic. The collection of the museum presents the history of the feudal society in Croatia, the events connected with the rural rebellion of 1573, and the later rebellions. You can get to know the architecture, the customs and the culture of the Croatian Zagorje. The theme of the 1573 rebellion is given through specimens of tools and weapons of the time, replicas, graphical works, fax documents, videos and computer projections.
Trakoscan palace Zagorje
Trakoscan palace is not only a cultural monument of the highest category, but it is also a splendid example of scenic ensemble. It was built in the 14th century as a fortress at the top of a rock with a view of the unusual beauty of the nearby areas. During the 18th century, the fortress was abandoned, and in 1850, it was bought by Count Draskovic, and it has been property of this family for almost 400 years.
The palace was built in the Neogothic style by the project of an architect from Graz. Some of the elements of the palace stand out — the facades, decorated with Gothic ornaments, the roofs of the towers in the Baroque style, the drawbridge. Inside, the interior of the palace is also luxurious: a knight hall with armours of the 18th and the 19th centuries, weapons of the 15th-19th century, banners of the 18th century, a collection of portraits and furniture of the 18th and the 19th century, a library and the palace kitchen.
The lake, the park and the forest adjoined to the palace make the ensemble unique. The reflection of the palace in the lake is particularly beautiful. In the forest, you can see boars, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, martens and other animals. In the park, made in the English style, there live numerous kinds of birds. Around the palace and the lake, there are made walking paths.
Veliki Tabor Palace Zagorje Croatia
In the northwestern part of the Croatian Zagorje, not far from the settlement of Desinic, on an elevated space covered in vegetation, there lies one of the most famous Croatian palaces — Veliki Tabor, which is found in the UNESCO high category world monuments list.
Veliki Tabor palace was built in the 15th century, and played the part of a fortifications object protecting from the Turkish conquerors, which influence could be seen in its name. Count Rattkaj, who became the owner of Veliki Tabor 500 years ago, initiated works to rebuild the fortified object into a palace.
Veliki Tabor was property of the Rattkaj family for 300 years, and during this period, its architecture underwent significant change. Then, the palace exchanged hands: first, it was bought by the Foreign minister of Austria, then, the Grunwald merchants, and at the beginning of the 20th century, it was bought by the famous Croatian artist Oton Ivekovic.
Here, in the palace rooms, he created his outstanding works and paintings. During the Second World War, a school for village children, organised by the nunnery “Children of Mercy”, operated in the palace.
After the Second World War, a group of enthusiasts headed by the Professor Josip Stimac decided to save Veliki Tabor from being destroyed, and since 1993, the palace has been under the protection of the museum organisation “The Museums of the Croatian Zagorje”.
Veliki Tabor, which looks like a giant mushroom rising against the blue sky, causes a lot of amazement among the lovers of old things, the visitors and the travellers passing by the palace along the roads of the Croatian Zagorje due to its unusual shape and location. Twelve different kinds of roof cover give the whole building a special relief. The core of the palace is a hexagonal structure, which is ringed by walls and towers.
The towers still bear marks of stone carvings dating back to the Late Gothic period. The court of the palace is of irregular shape with arches and balconies. Over the palace entrance, there hangs the Rattkaj coat of arms. The palace offers its visitors to look at its museum collections and exhibitions, as well as some entertainment programmes. The wine cellar with its large press is a place where in summer, you can enjoy the cool, and in winter relative warmth and drink a glass of wine.
The palace houses a collection of old means of transportation, a rich ethnographical collection, there is the first manufacture that made medicines, a picture gallery, a major collection of pottery, the armour of the “sad knight” and many other things.
The secrets of Veliki Tabor
The legend of Veronika Desnicska and her unhappy love to Friedrich Celjski is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful legends of the Croatian Zagorje. The legend is dated the 15th century and speaks of love of the son of the lord of Veliki Tabor Friedrich Celjski to a beautiful peasant girl Veronika from the settlement of Desinic.
When he was once travelling around the fief of his father, Friedrich saw the beautiful Veronika. The beauty of the young peasant girl charmed Friedrich, and he fell in love with Veronika at first sight. Unable to deal with the flaming passion, Celjski decided to get rid of his wife Elizabeth, to whom he had been married for eight years. In a spell of rage, Celjski brutally murdered Elizabeth, and two years later, the beautiful Veronika became his wife.
Friedrich’s father Herman, condemning his son’s love to a common peasant girl, decided to punish him by going to the Hungary-Croatian king Sigismund. The king’s sentence was death penalty. But the king’s wife Barbara (Friedrich’s sister) pitied her brother, and she started to plead that her husband pardon him and cancel the verdict. The king did and gave Friedrich to his father, who later imprisoned his son in a fortress in Celje.
In this fortress, Friedrich spent five years away from his beautiful Veronika. Veronika, who remained without Friedrich’s protection, was charged with witchcraft. But the court did not recognise Herman Celjski’s accusations and acquitted her, and Veronika was freed. Nevertheless, Herman imprisoned the beauty, who no longer had the strength to resist, in the tower of Veiki Tabor palace, where she was later walled up alive by his orders.
According to legend, ever since, the ghost of the weeping Veronika imploring Friedrich for help appears in Veliki Tabor and the area of Desinic every night. So, Veliki Tabor palace became the tomb of a passionate and unhappy love.
Video about Castles in Croatia:
Klanec – town with many centuries of history and culture
Klanec, a romantic cultural and historical centre in the western part of the Croatian Zagorje, lying on the river Sutla, is located on the very border of Croatia and Slovenia.
Klanec is a small town with great history. It was founded as a settlement near the fortres of Caesargrad in the 12th or the 13th century. In historical documents, it was first mentioned in 1463. After changing its owners several times, in 1521, it became the fief of the noble Croatian-Hungatian family Erdodi. This family ruled this area for four centuries and had a considerable impact not only on the future of Croatia, but of the whole Europe. The members of the Erdodi family participated in numerous battles with the Osman empire and with their victories, they influenced the fates of the peoples of Croatia and Europe. When in 1603 they built Novi Dvor Caesadgradski palace, the Erdodi family announced the advent of a new style in culture — Baroque, which appeared in the cultural circles of Vienna only seven years later. Apart from the palace, in 1630, by the order of Sigismund and Nikola Erdodi, the church of the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin, one of the first sacral monuments in the style of early Baroque, is built, and the mausoleum of the Erdodi family, as well as a Franjen monastery. The restored sarcofaguses, taken out of the tomb under the main altar, have not only a historical importance, but they are also evidence that the Erdodi family belonged to the feudal elite of the time. The economig might of the family was such that in their burial rites, they began to imitate the Habsburg dynasty.
A large role in the development of this place was also played by the market located in the town square, up to the 19th century. Throughout its hundreds of years long history, Klanec has been the cradle of numerous famous people in the spheres of culture, science and art of Croatia. The author of the anthem of Croatia “Our Beautiful” Antun Mihanovic spent some part of his life in Klanec. In 1910, a statue of Mihanovic was placed in the main square. The motifs of his home region were moved into the paintings of the great scenery painter Oton Ivekovic. The famous sculptor Antun Augustinic was also born in Klanec. The creator of the first Croatian dictionary Ivan Broz was also born here, among many other people.
Free from the hustle and bustle of the modern cities, Klanec gives its citizens and guests an opportunity to have a walk along quiet streets or forest paths after dinner and see the nearby St Florian church, the protector of the town, and to enjoy fishing on the river Sutla.
The settlement of Kumrovec
The settlement of Kumrovec is located on the left bank of the river Sutla, which acts as the border between Croatia and Slovenia. Here is located an ethnographic museum, which shows the life of an old settlement of Zagorje and old-fashioned crafts. The main sight is the “Old settlement of Kumovec” museum with the house of the old leader of Yugoslavia – Josip Broz Tito.
This is the only open-air museum in Croatia which, with its look and the exhibits it has, returns us to the turn of the 20th century.
In the 18 objects occupying the area of about 1,560 square metres, there are found permanent exhibitions demonstrating the trades traditional for the population of Zagorje: smithing, the smithy of the Broz family, a cart repair guild, pottery, making wooden children’s toys and folk music instruments, the process of manufacturing cloth out of hemp and flax, the medicine of that time, candle-making, basket weaving. You can see an old school with a classroom and teaching materials of the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, and a photo exhibition, which documentally demonstrates the process of the reconstruction of the “Old settlement of Kumovec” museum.
The exhibits of the museum show the visitors the spiritual and the material culture of the population of the northwestern part of the Croatian Zagorje.
Seljačka buna in Stubica – 35 km from Zagreb
Seljačka buna / Peasant Revolt / Peasants jacquerie in the Stubica traditionally held in winter time.
Donja Stubica is situated in 35 km from Zagreb city.
Neanderthal Museum in Krapina – 56 km from Zagreb
The Krapina Neanderthal Museum covers a surface area of around 1,200 sq.meters and is one of the most modern museums in Croatia.
In the museum you can find the interesting story about the life and culture of the Krapina Neanderthal, enjoy the many multimedia components and other contents, as well as very specific architecture.
Štrukli – What test in Zagorje?
Štrukli is a popular traditional Croatian dish – the Zagreb & Croatian Zagorje delicacy
On this page used photo from www.croatia.hr, www.uzagorju.com, www.apartmani-artus.com