Travel | 3 comments
By: Zdenko Kahlina
Croatia is a small country with long history and lots of castles
Construction and development of manors and castles on the territory of Croatia can be followed with certainty in the last two millennium – from Roman villa rustics and palaces (like Diocletian’s palace), to medieval castles (burgs), renaissance villas-summer houses in Dubrovnik and Dalmatia, to baroque and historicist manors of Northern Croatia, and town villas and palaces in most bigger Croatian towns.
Manors were built as early as the antique period and, with occasional interruptions, were built continuously until the beginning of the 21st century. In Croatia, manors have been reused and adapted to new uses for the past 14 centuries, from the reuse of Diocletian’s palace in the 7th century to contemporary reuses at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century.
Since the earliest times, manors have been continuously destroyed, extended or remodeled, and had to adapt to new uses and new owners. Roughly, half of the manors (45%) are in a very bad condition and in need of urgent reconstruction. 17% of the manors are used for dwelling – of which 5% maintained their original use (dwelling of aristocratic families was preserved in continuity); 16% of the manors are used for cultural purposes; 10% of the manors are used for business purposes; six manors were converted into schools; two are used as archives. Social institutions are housed in five and hospitals in seven manors; one manor was put to a religious use, and only four manors are used for tourist purposes.
Here in my blog I am mentioning only some of the castles in Croatia. There is many more spread all over the country.
Trakošćan is the biggest and most celebrated Croatian castle that was built during the 13 th century and which represents one of the best examples of European feudal fortification systems. Today, Trakošćan is transformed into a museum which offers a unique opportunity to discover its and Croatian rich history. It is located in the Varaždin County and it has been meticulously maintained. This castle is currently one of the best preserved historic buildings in the country.
Veliki Tabor is a fortress and museum in northwest Croatia, dating from the 16th century. Most of it was built by the Croatian noble family Rattkay. Veliki Tabor is a fortified castle located on a beautiful hill near the setting of little northern Croatian village Desinić. There are few stories about the castle’s history – one legend says that the castle was situated on the top of an island of what was once the Panonian Sea, and the other legend states that Veliki Tabor was built on remains of a Roman fortress from 2 nd century. Actually, this pentagonal tower which was proclaimed as a historical monument of utmost category by UNESCO, was built during 12 th century. The castle has twelve different roofing, a big well in the central court that is 31 meters deep and a wine cellar equipped with a big wine-press. But the most interesting feature of Veliki Tabor castle is definitely the scull of Veronika Desinić, a young and beautiful village girl who was killed and built in the walls of the castle during 15th century because she had a love affair with one noble man whose father didn’t approve their relationship. There is a legend that one can hear Veronika’s screams around Veliki Tabor during the nighttimes.
Maruševec Castle dates from 1547th, when it is mentioned for the first time as the property Vragović family. Throughout history the castle has changed owners frequently but Count Schlippenbach and gave it its present appearance.
The town Sisak is located in the southeast of Zagreb on the mouths of the Rivers Odra into Kupa and Kupa into Sava. Its geographical location and natural advantages influenced the development of the city, which beside the rich cultural-history offers its visitors many other interesting landmarks in its surroundings.
Stari grad Dubovac is located on a hill overlooking the river Kupa, providing a view of the entire town of Karlovac. In the 15th and 16th century, it was owned by the dukes Frankopan and Zrinski.
Varaždin is the centre and the headquarters of the County of Varaždin. The very diverse and rich cultural heritage are a part of its tumultuous past and rules. It is a city museum, a city of exhibitions, fashion, pupils and students, a city of modern life.
It is most proud of the historic Old Town, where there are palaces, churches and monasteries dating back to the Baroque, Art Nouveau, and Rococo periods and has one of the oldest town halls in Europe. The famous theatre and cemetery is a monument of landscape architecture, which has encircled the entire city.
During the year there is a lively scene of cultural, sporting and other events that make it a pleasant place to live in. Baroque music echoes in the nights every autumn in the beautiful Baroque atmosphere of religious and secular buildings, and the festival of street performers Špancir fest shows how relaxed life is in Varaždin!
This old proud town in Banija, by which the clear green river Una flows, was named after the rich chestnut woods which surround it. The Zrinski family’s heroic battle against the Ottomans bestowed the town its title of Defender of the Homeland.
A well known place for excursions – Djed – was declared a forest park, and the 19th century Hotel Central in the town’s centre is a wonderful example of secession architecture. Apart from the carnival, the Kobasijada (sausage festival), art colonies and summer events on the river Una, the most important event in the autumn is the chestnut festival, which is the brand and synonym of Hrvatska Kostajnica!
Hrvatska Kostajnica: http://goo.gl/GsZaJ
Gornja Bistra is an example of an elegant baroque manor built to suit the taste of the highest eighteenth-century aristocracy. In size and architectural quality it is one of the finest country homes in Croatia and the most representative example of non-religious baroque architecture in the Croatian Zagorje, and is a zero-category monument. It is situated near Zagreb, under the northern slopes of Medvednica, and its main front faces Stubica and the Croatian Zagorje. Today it is a hospital for chronic diseases of children.
Jastrebarsko – Erdödy manor house, surounded by a large garden with a fish-pond and farm buildings along the brook Reka, the natural boundary of the estate, lies in the immediate vicinity of the main square and historic centre of the town of Jastrebarsko.
Location: near Ozalj, little town in central Croatian region. Ribnik is a fortified town situated near Ozalj. The castle is preserved and is still under its original roof. The castle is situated near a brook called Obvrh and has a big fish-pond. It has two floors and it has been made of high quality rocks. Their best features are the gothic architectural details that can be found all over the castle.
This is one of the most valuable Croatian castles, situated in northern Croatia. Its three floors have been gradually built since 17 th century and its first owners were those of family Keglević. Oskar Keglević, the last representative of this noble family, sold the castle in 1905 to a merchant Moric Seflenger.
Until 1935, the castle didn’t have any major purpose. That year, the castle is bought by dr. Janko Pejas. He places home for social protection inside the fortification. During the Second World War, the castle was used in a very negative way – it was a place where the Jews were gathered before they were sent to the execution camps. Today, Lobor is the home to the social-health protection and is owned by the state. Lobor is much known for its fresques with mythological scenes which can be found in the central part of the castle.
Klenovnik is the biggest Croatian castle. First mentioning of the castle dates back in 13 th century when the Hungarian-Croatian king Bela IV takes it away from Pochun and gives it to then ruler of town Varaždin. In the late 17 th century, king Maksimilijan sells this castle for 20 000 forint to noble Croatian families Gašpar I Drašković. In 19 th century, count Drašković sold Klenovnik in order to gain money for the restoration of his other castle, Trakošćan. Klenovnik was bought by then Austrian minister of finance, baron Bruck. His family later sold the castle which, since then, changes its owners regularly. Today, the castle is owned by city of Zagreb and it has become a hospital for patients with tuberculosis. Before its renovation in 1925, Klenovnik supposedly had 90 rooms and over 365 windows. The castle has a huge and beautiful park, stunning wall paintings from 19th century, three baroque altars, pulpit and a Drašković family vault.
Location: city of Karlovac. This castle overlooks the Croatian city Karlovac. Square tower was probably built during the 13 th century. In 15 th century the castle is rebuilt in renaissance manner. The owners of the castle were various – from Slavonian nobleman family Sudar to famous Croatian counts and dukes Frankopan and Zrinski. From 1671. until 1809. the owners of Dubovac were the Karlovac generals. In 1837., a new owner, count Laval Nugent, rebuilt the castle in the spirit of romanticism. Dubovac was once again renovated in 1952. in relation to graphics from the end of 18th century.
Follow Zdenko’s Corner on Facebook !