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Cities and Sights in Northern Croatia

Image1Bedekovcina | a town in the Krapina river valley in the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje, 6 km northeast of Zabok, population 3500. It developed out of Donja and Gornja Bedekovcina. It was first mentioned in the 13th century. Economy is based on farming and rich clay deposits in the vicinity, used for the production of roof tiles, bricks, earthenware and fire-clay products. Bedekovcina is located on the regional road Zabok - Novi Marof and the railroad Zagreb - Varazdin.
Seven Bedekovcina lakes, formed after clay extraction, are mutually linked by a water stream. The lakes are used for recreational purposes, especially for angling. Bedekovcina also features two nice castles and above the town there is a small church of St. Barbara with an attractive vista point. The larger and more monumental castle, Gornja Bedekovcina, is used as a social welfare institution and thus inaccessible to visitors. The much smaller but very picturesque castle or manor-house, Donja Bedekovcina, is a residence and is used as a meeting point of the Croatian Dragon Fraternity The annual wine exhibition gathers wine producers and lovers of good wine.

Belec | a village in the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje on the southern slopes of Ivancica Mountain, 7 km southwest of Zlatar; elevation 275 m; population 500. Belec is located on a local road, which branches off the regional road.

Bjelovar | The first information you can find about Bjelovar is being one of the youngest cities in Croatia, but that fact doesn’t mean less. Bjelovar has rich political, military, economical, and cultural as well as sport tradition. Bjelovar is settled on a highland at the south part of Bilogora (North West Croatia) at 135 m above the sea level. Bjelovar is a centre of county Bjelovarsko-bilogorska, as well as centre of natural, cultural and political part. Bjelovar is crossroad of our county since we connect road to Zagreb, Osijek, Varazdin and Koprivnica over Cazma to Ivanic-Grad and highway over Daruvar to one and Virovitica to the other side forwards Pakrac and Lipik.
The proof of Bjelovar being on an important map position is building of highway "Zagreb-Bjelovar-Virovitica" which will make a 30 min trip between Zagreb and Bjelovar.
The city of Bjelovar occupying 191,9 km2 of our county, 31 places are under its administration. Population is 42.000 people with surrounding.
Bjelovar celebrates 29th of September as it’s day, when this city defended against JNA and large amount of weapon was collected which helped greatly our county during war.
Economy cattle breeding as well as lumber industry because of natural resources which are well used.

Image3Cakovec | has developed as an important political, economic and cultural centre of the region of Međimurje. There are some 18.000 inhabitants in Čakovec alone and the same number of them living in the surrounding settlements (Ivanovec, Kri¨tanovec, Kur¨anec, Mačkovec, Mihovljan, Novo Selo na Dravi, Novo Selo Rok, Pribislavec, Savska Ves, Slemenice, ¦andorovec, Totovec, ´i¨kovec) belonging to the same municipality. The contemporary Čakovec is probably famous mostly after its textile industry, but there are also other industries equally important for its identity such as construction, graphics and printing, engineering, food and metal processing plants. However, the industry and small entrepreneurs deal increasingly with plastics processing, informatics and several other activities that have been developing in accordance with the demands of the contemporary market.
According to the historical data gathered up to now, the first settlement in the area of today's Čakovec was built by the Romans. It was called Aquama and it was a fortified settlement intended for military purposes. Čakovec was named after Count Dimitrije Csaky who built a wooden fortress in the early 13th century. That fortress was, in turn, named "Csaky's Tower". Čakovec as a fortified town was explicitly mentioned for the first time in a document passed by King Charles Robert in 1333. Throughout its stormy history, Čakovec was, as well as the whole area of Međimurje, subjected to frequent change of owners. The most important period englobes the 16th and 17th centuries during which the Croatian Vice-Roys and warlords of the Zrinskis family had their seat in Čakovec. Several generations of the Zrinskis made the fortified town of Čakovec one of the most luxurious manors in Croatia and Europe at the time.
This was the period when Čakovec was not only an oasis of civilisation and culture at the permanently unstable border with Turkey, but also as well the place at which important decisions were made regarding both Croatia and its Middle European surroundings. During the times of Nikola Zrinski of Čakovec (1620 -1664) the conferences of Vice-Roys were being held in Čakovec.
Through a charter granted by Count Juraj IV Zrinski on May 29, 1579, the inhabitants living in settlements by the fortress of Čakovec gained the privilege of a free market-town and the settlements thus gained the basic features of a town.
In 1848, Čakovec was granted the status of a Royal Borough. 30 members of the Town Council were elected then as well as its 10-member Executive Council and the very first mayor. The construction of a railroad section, which is one of the first section to have been constructed in this part of the world, caused a strong economical and social development of Čakovec in the second half of 19th century.
Čakovec was again incorporated as a town in 1993, when the local government and the self-government units within the Republic of Croatia, namely counties, towns and municipalities, were constituted.

Durdevac | a town in the region of Podravina, 25 km southeast of Koprivnica, population 7000. Economy is based on farming, wood and timber and leather-processing industries, as well as on production of acoustic equipment. Durđevac lies at the intersection of the main roads Varazdin - Koprivnica - Osijek (M3) and Zagreb - Bjelovar - Durđevac (M3.1), as well as on the railroad Zagreb - Koprivnica - Osijek.
Organized big and small game hunting along the Drava river and on the slopes of Bilogora attracts many hunting enthusiasts from the country and abroad. Angling (fishing) is possible on the Drava river and its backwaters. The local gastronomic offer is based on venison, prepared according to traditional Podravina-style recipes.
The so-called Rooster Legend (Legenda o picokima) is the most important cultural event in Durđevac (last week of June). Other events include St. Valentine's Day, the Carnival, St. Martin's Day and St. George's Day.

Klanjec | Klanjec is a city in the Krapina-Zagorje County, about 4 000 inhabitants, however the town of the same name, it capital, numbers only about 600 inhabitants. It is some 30-ish km north-west of Zagreb, about 10 km west of Zabok, on border towards Slovenia, on the Sutla river. As some other cities, Klanjec was also first a community and was upgraded to a city in 1997. The place is known for its rich cultural tradition featuring prominent Croatian artists like Antun Mihanovic, poet and author of the Croatian national anthem; Antun Augustincic, sculptor whose sculpture "Sleeping girl" is the trade mark of Klanjec Spinning Mill; Oton Ivekovic, painter; as well as other celebrities.

Image4Koprivnica | The city of Koprivnica is the central town in Podravina, proclaimed Royal Borough in 1356. Among older cultural monuments, the most interesting are the baroque buildings such as the church of St. Anthony of Padua with the Franciscan monastery, the chapel of Salvator and the Armory from 1714.
Spreading outside the town walls, today's center of Koprivnica, with the square and the large park with the musical pavilion, obtained it's final form the beginning of the 20th century.
Today, the city is a strong administrative centre of the County with approximately 30000 inhabitants. It is an economic centre of Podravina and Prigorje and an important cultural centre (The City Museum with gallery, The Alimentary museum of "Podravka".
The best time to visit Koprivnica is at the beginning of June during the manifestation "The motifs of Podravina" when the town becomes a great gallery of naive art.

Image5Krapina |
Krapina, the largest city of Hrvatsko zagorje, is also the region's main economic, administrative and cultural centre. It is situated in the north-west part of Croatia, near Zagreb.
As far as written documents of the Croatian history are concerned, Krapina was first mentioned in 1193. As opposed to the domination of noblemen who ruled the Old Town of Krapina, the lower town developed on both sides of the Krapinèica River, dominated by the middle class which was granted special privileges by King Ludovicus I during his stay in Zagreb in 1347. The King's chart guaranteed the Krapina citizens a high degree of autonomy, which sped up the development of the middle class and its undertaking the trade, crafts and agriculture as its main lines of work. In order to protect their civic and professional rights, craftsmen founded their associations, guilds.
Health tourism started with the opening of Kneipp's sanatorium in 1903, which treated more than 600 persons a year with a popular method, natural therapy. It can be aid that Krapina could, at the end of 18th century, still match Varazdin and Zagreb in every respect
The remains of the Cave man, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis were discovered on the Hu¨njak hill in 1899. Well-known Croatian geologist and palaeontologist, Dragutin Gorjanovic-Kramberger gave the scientific explantion of his existence. The Early man of Krapina was a hunter and knew about the fire. Many fossil remains of various animals such as cave bear, wild boar, big deer, elk, beaver, rhinoceros, etc. were found there. By the number of collected remains, it is one of the richest paleoanthropolical finding places in Europe and the World. Today, the Hu¨njak hill is an oasis of vegetation. In the open air there are reconstructions of the Early man, his family and the animals. Near the finding place of the Early man, there is the Museum of Evolution with its geological and plaeontogical collections. The exhibits represent rocks and fossils from Hrvatsko Zagorje, the development of life on Earth and the evolution of the man kind.
From the mediaeval Fort of Krapina the town on the hill above Krapina, there has been only one building conserved. Its owner, Baron Franjo Ottenfels donated the building and the belonging ruins to Krapina community in 1919. The Old Town is a place of silence and tranquillity. Everyone who wants to stop the passing of time and experience its permanence, will come here. The oldest owners of Krapina were Croatian and Hungarian kings. Ljudevit I was its owner in 1347. Later on, the Town belonged to Headmen of Celje, Croatian Vice-Roy Vitoavc, then Matija Korvin, "The Count of Zagoje" and his illegitimate son Ivan Korvin who died young. His widow, Beatrica Frankopanska remarried Djuro of Branderburg. After her death, he sold the town to Vice-Roy Petar Keglevic, then M.Jambrekovic, Luka Sekelj. Finally, the King Rudolf II gave Krapina to the Vice-Roy Ivan Draskovic. During the rule of Ivan Draskovic, five Croatian Conventions were in session: in 1598, 1599, 1600, 1605 and 1607. Toma Bakac Erdödy, the winner over Turks in the battle of Sisak, died in this town.

In the Summer of 1994 the archaeological Institute, public scientific research office of the Republic Croatia, did archaeological research of the mediaeval ruins. It discovered segments of the defence architecture and other numerous findings on the area of over 2.ooo sq. m. They are clear evidences of a life continuum from the prehistory to the present time. The archaeological zones have so far given many significant evidences which clearly show organized life during the Bronze.

Image6Krizevci | The city of Krizevci is the oldest town of the County of Koprivnica and Krizevci. It obtained the status of Royal Borough in 1252 by the ban Stephan which was confirmed by king Bela IV a year later. In the beginning separated in the Upper and Lower, these two towns, according to the decision of the empress Mary Theresa, were unified into one city - Krizevci. This town, which today counts over 10000 inhabitants, is a town inspired by history, the town which together with its surroundings, preserves the greatest number of valuable, and even the oldest monuments in the County. In the city itself there are eight sacral buildings. In the oldest gothic church of St. Cross, there are important baroque pictures and a marble altar dating from 18th century (F. Robba). Also interesting is the church of St. Anne from 17th century and the figurative pearl, the Greek-catholic cathedral reconstructed in the new gothic style (H. Bolle) where the iconostasis and the pictures on the walls are works of famous Croatian painters. In the City Museum, a rich archaeological, ethnographic and cultural-historical collection is exhibited. You simply have to be in Krizevci during the main town manifestation "Krizevacko veliko spravisce"

Image7Kumrovec | Kumrovec is a village in the central part of Croatia, part of the Krapina-Zagorje county. The Kumrovec municipality has 2000 residents, but the town itself has only 300people. Kumrovec's claim to fame is that it was the birth place of Josip Broz Tito, the president of former Yugoslavia. This village is indeed very, very small but is popularity during the former Yugoslavia was major. Anyone who passed or stayed in Kumrovec had to visit the house where Tito was born which was a major honour. There were field trips to Kumrovec, just because of this house. The people of Kumrovec were treated like very important persons. All the national contests on the subject of The work and life of Tito were held here. Kumrovec was like a village from were god himself came.

Image8Lepoglava | is a city in the Varazdin County 20 km southwest of Vara¸din. 9000 inhabitants, half of that number in the city itself. Lepoglava is probably most well known as a site of a prison (where a number of important persons were held by regimes of both Yugoslavia in 20th century), but Lepoglava is also a cultural center with a Pauline order monastery and is especially famous for the intricate lacework school. Lepoglava is the historical town in the northern part of Hrvatsko Zagorje, famous for extremely rich cultural heritage. The Pauline monastery from 1400, which was converted into a prison in 1854, is the symbol of the town. The Pauline monks brought the cultural heritage from the developed parts of Europe, such as the skill of hand-made lacework. The beauty and quality of Lepoglava lace has been acknowledged throughout the world and was awarded the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937. The nearby Bednja river and the surrounding artificial lakes provide excellent opportunities for angling enthusiasts, while the forests of the mountain ranges Ivancica and Ravna Gora offer hiking and hunting opportunities.

Ludbreg | Situated in the idyllic Drava valley and near the picturesque slopes of Mount Kalnik, Ludbreg is best known as a spiritual destination for pilgrims. It is a unique holy place, rare in the Christian world, for it was founded by Papal decree in honour of the Holy Blood of Jesus, commemorating an event in 1411 when the priest conducting the chapel service on the Ludbreg estate doubted the transformation of bread and wine into the blood of Jesus. News of this miraculous occurrence quickly spread. Ever since, believers have visited this sanctuary every year during Easter Week, for rest and spiritual restoration and celebration. The relics are kept in the marvellous Baroque ornamental receptacle in the parish church of the HolyTrinity.
Amongst all shrines in Croatia, Ludbreg is quite unique and one of a very few in a Christian world founded by Holy Father himself. On Apr 14th 1513 pope Leo X issued a "bula", a document which confirmed miraculous appearance of Holy Blood of Jesus Christ in the chapel of medieval Ludbreg castle (now Batthyany palace). This miracle occurred in the year 1411 when local priest, in a deep doubt about transformation of bread and wine into Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during Holy Mass, suddenly saw Blood in a chalice that he was holding in his hands. Astonished, he had kept the event as a secret, but finally he confessed and described what happened. Since that time, many pilgrims visited Ludbreg hoping to be miraculously cured in the presence of the sacred relic. It took another 100 years before the miracle was officially confirmed by Holy Father and Ludbreg granted a special status. At the present time the relic is kept in a beautiful baroque monstrance made in 1721, a masterpiece of famous Augsburg goldsmith Casper Rises Von Rissenfels. Monstrance is situated in a parish church of Holy Trinity. The walls of the chapel where miracle occurred, are covered with baroque frescoes describing the miraculous event.
The Ludbreg shrine has great significance to Croatian Christian tradition. In 1739 Croatian Parliament (Sabor) promised to build a chapel devoted to the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ and called the sacred relic "the greatest treasure of Croatian Kingdom". However, as it often is the case, it took a long time before a chapel dedicated to the miraculous Holy Blood of Jesus Christ was finally built in Ludbreg in 1993.
The new chapel surrounded by Via Crucis serves as gathering point to many pilgrims who particularly on a Holy Sunday of Ludbreg (every first Sunday in September) visit our town. Several days before the Holy Sunday itself, Ludbreg is very busy place.
Almost all streets and squares become large old-fashioned fair with open air stands, with lots of religious, cultural and sports events, with abundance of entertainment and plenty of local food and drinks.

Image9Marija Bistrica | a village on the northern slopes of Medvednica Mountain in Hrvatsko Zagorje, 8 km southeast of Zlatar Bistrica and 30 km northeast of Zagreb, population 1200. Economy is based on farming, livestock breeding and tourism.
This famous national place of pilgrimage, the largest one in Croatia, has a centuries old tradition in religious tourism. The main pilgrimage destination is the mediaeval church from the first half of the 14th century with the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Bistrica (Bistricka) from the 16th century. In a year Marija Bistrica receives over 600,000 visitors and pilgrims. The Way of the Cross is adorned with sculptures by the most famous Croatian artists and masters. The sanctuary gallery of Our Lady of Bistrica makes an integral part of the church sightseeing. Gingerbreads, raffles, merry-go-rounds, pottery and wickerwork, as well as the traditional beverage called "gvirc" (a kind of mead) contribute to this wonderful pilgrimage atmosphere.

The pilgrimage church of Our Lady of Bistrica (from 1334 mentioned as the parish church of St. Peter) is surrounded by an enclosure wall. The complex was reconstructed (1878-1883) by H. Bollé in the spirit of Romanesque historicism; having connected the Gothic and Baroque forms, the Florentine and German Renaissance, the architect managed to create a very special architectural unit. The church houses the votive wooden Gothic -statue of Our Lady with Child, standing on the moon with a human head, an original work by a local master (around 1500). A number of goldsmith's pieces (vessels, votive gifts) from the 17th-19th centuries, originating from Marija Bistrica, among them especially the works by the Zagreb goldsmith V. Lehman, and textiles are now kept in the Diocesan Museum in Zagreb. The parish curia (mid-18th c.) was a meeting point of the members of the Illyrian Movement during the period of the abbot I. Krizmanic. - Close to the village is a ground-floor classicist manor-house (1786), surrounded by a landscaped park. It is one of the most harmonious manor-houses in Zagorje. In the past the manor-house was owned by the families Prasinski, Sermage and Hellenbach. Near the cemetery is a high Baroque column of Gabriel the Archangel

Pregrada | This picturesque small town is dominated by the parish church with two belfries, which is due to its monumental aspect often referred to as the "cathedral of Zagorje". The church possesses the exceptionally valuable and large organ. The numismatic collection of Zlatko Dragutin Tuđina, the first of the kind in Croatia, is situated in the parsonage. Important are also the exhibits related to mining in the region of Pregrada. Pregrada area is the westernmost part of Hrvatsko Zagorje. In this picturesque area, there are around 80 villages. Pregrada is the largest and best known town in the area. Pregrada was first time mentioned on the 9th August 1334 in the statutes of Zagreb Kaptol. The statutes were created by John and called by the bishop Ladislav Kobol. The parish must be much older because it was mentioned as the first parish in the archidiaconate.
During the middle age, Pregrada area used to belong to the nobility from Kostel. It is still possible to see the ruins of fort Kostel on the northern side of Kunagora. Earliest written data about Kostel are in the Zagreb Kaptol Statutes from the year 1334, where the St. Emmerich parish to Kostel is mentioned. But the history of Kostel can be followed since the arrival of Celjski counts, who receive fort from King Sigismund in the year 1308, together with other properties in Zagorje. After death of the last Celjski in 1456, Ivan Vitovac becomes the owner of Kostel. Since his aftermaths went to the side of German king Maximillian, Croatian-Hungarian king Matthew Korvin took all their positions in Zagorje away and gives them as present to his son John Korvin. Korvin has brought some Hungarian families to Zagorje. One of the families was Rattkay family. They became owners of Veliki Tabor. Soon after that, Kostel changes his owner once again. John Korvin's widow Beatrice Frankopan marries duke George of Brandenburg who becomes the owner of the castle. Since duke was a squanderers, he had to sell Kostel to Petar Keglevic, the aristocrat from Jajce in Bosnia, for 13.000 Forints. That happened in the year 1523.
The changes in the way of life were the reason why isolated castles were no longer popular. New castles were built in he valleys and adapted to the new way of life. That was the reason why the Keglevics left Kostel in the 17th century. They have moved to the new castle in Pregrada valley and lived there until the 19th century, when they sold it to Antun Kaucic. Other fine architecture objects in the valley are castles Dubrava and Bezanec.

Today's Pregrada is actually a new agglomeration, whose character of the urban centre, although historically initiated in the Middle age, has started to form at the end of the 19th century, when the county board centre was founded. This development has stopped before it got its final shape. Until the beginning of the 19th character, Pregrada still retained its rural character. That is when first industrial plants in surrounding areas were founded. With the exception of trade and crafts, no industrial plant was founded until the middle of 20th century. This was one of main reasons for emigration of local people. Movement and dislocation of feudal centre from north to south has pulled development of Pregrada in same direction. The urbanisation processes have started in the year 1857, when Pregrada has become a county centre. Former Pregrada County consisted from today's communes Pregrada, Desinic, Hum na Sutli and Krapinske Toplice. It was situated in the northwest part of Croatia and Zagorje. In this time, several public objects were built and Pregrada becomes more and more different from surrounding villages. These objects were County house, the post office, the courthouse. Not long after that, the coal-mine was opened.

Trade is an industry that best describes the relations between the settlement and its environment. Since economical situation in the area was poor, the trade was also weak. The trade was done not only in shops but also at the fairs. This practice still goes on, and the trade Day is Monday. Main problems Pregrada in 19th century were overpopulation, lack of land and employment possibilities, traffic isolation and constant emigration of inhabitants. It is known that feudalism in Croatia was abolished in 1848 but it was that way only in the cities. People still had to pay one part of their earnings from land, vineyards and forests. The tenth they had to pay for their vineyards was especially tough for the people. They could pay for part of their taxes through their work. The feudal relations lasted until the end of the 19th century. Agricultural crisis in 19th century has hit the farmers badly because their earnings have slumped. That led to very bad conditions in which the peasants lived and was the cause for many mutinies because some peasants thought it was better for them to die than to live that way of life.

In spring 1850, it came to the mutiny in the upper Zagorje, especially in Krapina and Pregrada County. The peasants refused to pay the wine tax. First information about the mutiny was published in some Zagreb newspaper. The article said that the army was sent to stop the rebels. There was rebellion all the way alongside Slovenian border. Later news said that there were several hundreds of rebels and that there were fights with the army. Information in the County Court in Pregrada tells us that many peasants have fled to the Macelj Mountain and to Styria in fear from the army. There is only one written document in the archive talking about the 1850 mutiny in Pregrada County. It says that there were fights with the army with the toughest one on the March 14.

The abolition of the counties in 1955 has led to the founding of the Pregrada Community. It has existed until 1962 when it became part of the Krapina Community. It still retained its importance because it still retained the Municipal County. In 1978, the Croatian Parliament has again founded the Pregrada Community consisting from local communities Desinic, Hum na Sutli, Pregrada and Vinagora.
New Local Areas Law in 1997 has given Pregrada the city status.

Image10Strigova | a village in the Medimurje region, 20 km northwest of Cakovec, population 600,and these are good in wine-making ( Riesling, White Burgundy), fruit-growing (apples, plums, pears, cherries), livestock breeding (cattle, pigs) and tourism. Strigova lies on the regional road Cakovec - Strigova at the state border Ljutomer (Slovenia). This picturesque village in Medimurje is the wine-growing centre of a wider region, known for its famous wine cellars. The rich history and numerous preserved remains from the past, from the Roman Stridone, the mediaeval burg of Strigovac to the present Strigova (the old core of the village, the parish church) add to the attractiveness of the village.

Image11Trakoscan | The Bednja region is a picturesque and unique place of unspoiled beauty; it is situated in the Northwester part of the Vara¸din district. It is a Continental climate area, and it is surrounded bay mountains: Ivan¨čica(1061 m), Strahin¨čica (847 m),
Maceljska gora (715 m) and Ravna gora (686 m). The hillsides of these mountains descend gently into the Bednja river valley, forming the Bednja plain.
The village of Bednja, placed by the homonymous river, is the centre of administration, industry traffic, trade and culture for the whole region. In the year of 1334 the name of the village was mentioned in a written document for the first time,but the findings from prehistory times and later periods prove the presence of man from times immemorial. Larger villages are Cvetlin and Vrbno.
Trako¨ćan, "the pearl of Hrvatsko Zagorje" is also situated in the area. Its castle is a cultured and historical monument, with a lake and a park also of a monumental value, is the most important tourist destination in the region. You can also visit many churches, chapels, hiking trails, hunting and fishing sites, sports grounds . The beautiful old rural architecture has been preserved in a large scale.

Sight:
Trakoscan was built in the 13th c. within Croatia's northwester fortification system, as a rather small observation fortress for monitoring the road from Ptuj to Bednja Valley.

According to a legend, Trakoscan was named after another fortification (arx Thacorum) that was allegedly there back in antiquity. Another source claims that it was named after the knights of Drachenstein who were in control of the region in early Middle Ages.

The toponym was first mentioned in written records in 1334. It is not known who its owners were in the first years of its existence. As of the end of the 14th c., it was owned by the Counts of Celje, who were in charge of the entire Zagorje County. The family soon became extinct, and Trakoscan shared the fate of their other burgs and estates that were divided and kept changing owners. In these divisions, Trakoscan was, as a whole, first owned by an army leader by the name of Jan Vitovac, then by Ivanis Korvin, who gave it to his deputy warden Ivan Gyulay. The family kept the castle throughout three generations, and became extinct in 1566, after which the ownership was taken over by the state.
King Maximilian gave the estate to Juraj Draskovic (1525-1587) for services rendered, first personally, and then as family heritage. This was how, in 1584, the Draskovic family finally came into possession of Trakoscan.
In the second half of the 18th c., when the building of manors was flourishing in Hrvatsko Zagorje, Trakoscan was abandoned. Neglected, it started dilapidating rapidly. It was only towards the middle of the 19th c. that the family became interested once again in its estate, in the Romanticist spirit of return to nature and family traditions. In this spirit, the deputy marshal Juraj V. Draskovic turned the castle into a residential manor-house, while the surrounding park was turned into Romanticist pleasure grounds. The generations that followed were staying at the castle from time to time all the way until 1944 when they immigrated to Austria. Soon after that, the castle became nationalized.
The Museum with collections on permanent display was established in 1953. The castle is today owned by the Republic of Croatia.

Varazdin | see Varazdin

Image12Varazdinske Toplice | a town, spa and health resort in the Bednja valley and on the slopes of Toplicka Gora and Kalnik Mountain in the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje.

This important tourist, recreational and health resort with a tradition is the most frequently visited spa in Croatia. The old Romans and the Pannonian Iassi (Illyrians) used to heal there, the ruins of the Roman spa can be seen even today. The rich hot springs (58 °C) of mineral water rich in sulphur and the medicinal mud help in the treatment of lesions and backbone disorders, rheumatic and orthopaedic diseases and deformities, various post-operative conditions, neurological diseases.

Veliki Tabor |
Middle Ages town in the Croatian Zagorje region, 3 km east of Desinić. In early references it is called Vingrad and Vrbovec.
It would appear that this structure was erected by Ratkaj after Korvin I donated the land in this region of Zagorje in 1502. The town remained in the family’s ownership until the end of the family line in 1793, after which time it alternated between state and private ownership. Between the two World Wars it belonged to O. Iveković. The late Gothic fortress stands on a small hill, pointed at the front.

Sights;
Veliki Tabor, a fortified castle located on a beautiful hill near the locality of Desinića, dominating the south-western most part of Hrvatsko Zagorje, counts among historical monuments of utmost category according to UNESCO classification. Đuro Szabo, Croatian conservator and musicologist did not guard his words in describing the beauty of Veliki Tabor, nor did Andre Mohorovieia, academician and bard of Croatian building culture, who joined the commendation. Indeed, the outstanding architectural and picturesque apple of the Castle shall be returning to it for ever more. Height of 334 meters above sea level enables full isolation and freshness of atmosphere, while the thick walls store comfortable cool in summer months. In winter though, the snow blanket ads to the Castle's grace and romance. There is a theory that the Castle stands on top of an island of what was once the Panonian Sea. Another theory suggests that where the Castle stands today there was a Roman fortress in the 2nd century. The fact is that the pentagonal tower was built in the 12th century, while the semicircular towers, which render complete the beauty of the Castle, where built in the 15th and 16th centuries. The present entrance door and the whole admission area, were built round 1820. It is worth mentioning that the Castle occupies around 3340 m2.
Twelve different roofing’s add particular relief to the property. The interior of the Castle is enriches by galleries decorated with colonnades which look magical at night when the pillars cast their shadow in the moonlight. The big well is of particular interest for its architecture and also its depth of 31 meters. The former wine cellar with a big wine-press is a place where one can, by a glass of wine, enjoy pleasant freshness in the summer and relative cosiness in the winter. The Big "Rustical Hall" as we named it, is by all means the most beautiful room of the Castle. At present it is decorated with halberds. The first floor houses the Castle’s Chapel, which stores the scull of Veronika of Desinić.

Soon, a particularly fine baroque tabernacle and a painting featuring Jesus Delivering keys to St. Peter will be added, both donated by His Eminency the Bishop of Zagreb, Dr. Franjo Kuharić. Further attractions include a collection of old-timer vehicles, a rich ethnographic collection, a presentation of the first hand-manufacture of medical drugs, a presentation of fencing, musketeers and the suit of armour of the "melancholic knight", a rich collection of paintings, and an exceptionally valuable collection of interest is the euro Prejac collection, with numerous exhibits and archive documents illustrating the life and work of the great poet and musician. Very important is the regional antifascist collection, which is not on the exhibit at the moment. Activities are on the way for the compilation of a Patriotic War collection.

Image13Vinica | a small town in the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje, 16 km west of Varazdin, population 1200.
The small town of Vinica is well-known for its nearby Opeka Arboretum which is, together with Trsteno near Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful in Croatia. The Baroque castle of Opeka, currently in disrepair, was commissioned by the noble family of Draskovics, and the arboretum itself, dating from the mid-19th century, was landscaped by the Bombelles family. It has more than 250 tree and bush species, among which the coniferous trees are especially valuable. Apart from the arboretum, the ruins of the fortified town, the parish church of St. Mark, the Patacic mansion (now Viko factory) with the pillory, and the Dolansky mansion are also worth sightseeing. There are more valuable castles and mansions with beautiful parks in the surroundings.
The ruins of Vinica fortress, first mentioned in 1353, are situated nearby. Vinica has the parish church of St. Mark. The remains of the Gothic church mentioned in 1334 include the western part of the nave, today's sanctuary, and a part of the tower finished between 1768 and 1771. Material of an earlier building (bases and capitols from the 13th century and stone lion figures) was used in the construction of a new church (1808). The church has a Roman style, a Renaissance epitaph of Benko Turoczy and his wife, Ratkaj, the tomb-stone of the historian Nikola Istvanfy and his wife Elizabeta Bot de Bajna , and of F. Kerzer Radovanski , a Gothic custody with a high finial with sea-spiders and the stone pulpit with a caryatid in the angel form from the late Baroque period. The altars and the pews date from the same period, and the painting by F. Keller in the sanctuary is from 1815. The church keeps valuable vessels: a late Gothic chalice, a chalice from 1651, two 18th-century chalices, an osculatorium and a silver plate from the 17th century. The coat of arms of Nikola Istvanfy and Elizabeta Bot de Bajna (1604) are built into the wall of the parish office. The former Jesuit summer residence is in the centre of Vinica; later property of the Patacics; a quadrangular two-storey building with arched corridors . The stone pillory and the measure for grain with the Latin inscription from 1643 and stylised human heads. The well in the immediate vicinity is ornamented with the statue of St. John Nepomuk (end of the 18th c., restored in 1808). The two-storey Dolansky mansion, with a key bearing the Hungarian inscription from 1669 above the main gate, rises on the hill outside the central square of Vinica. The two rooms on the second floor contain late Baroque and classicist mural paintings featuring scenes from the Roman mythology and floral ornamentation (end of the 18th c.). The Rajner mansion (19th c.) has a large open porch with arcades on the southern side. The cemetery of Vinica has valuable monuments, the most prominent of them being the tomb of the KÂroskeny family from 1841. Opeka Arboretum is in the immediate vicinity of Vinica.


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