Ten greatest Croatians of Zagreb County

Despite being unobtrusive and in the shadow of a big city, small picturesque villages scattered across Zagreb County are home to some important people from Croatian history. Maybe it was precisely the green scenery that inspired their great ideas and achievements. Their names are imprinted onto Croatian history in golden letters, and their fellow citizens remember them with pride.

  1. Marija Jurić Zagorka (1873–1957)

The beloved and important writer from the first half of the 20th century, the first professional Croatian journalist, and nowadays a feminist icon as well, was born in Negovec, a village near the town of Vrbovec. Even though she spent her childhood in Zagorje on her family's estate, Vrbovec locals are proud of their connection to this talented and powerful woman.

  1. Milka Trnina (1863–1941)

The very fact that Puccini himself claimed her performance as Tosca was unrivaled speaks volumes about the greatness of this opera diva. She was born in Vezišće, today a part of the Križ municipality next to the town of Ivanić-Grad. She has performed in the world's biggest opera houses and built a successful career. Vezišće locals have raised a monument in her honor, and many art events in Križ and Ivanić have been named after her.

  1. Dragutin Domjanić (1875–1933)

Domjanić, a native of Prigorje, was born in Adamovec. He is best known as the author of the distinguished poem Fala. Being a lyrical virtuoso, he has composed poems in the Kajkavian regiolect, thus leaving a profound impact on modern Croatian lyrical poetry. A local folklore society was named after him, and the traditional ceremonies “Domjanić Nights” and “Modern Kajkavian Poetry Recital” were dedicated to him.

  1. Đuro Deželić (1838–1907)

Next time you see firefighters hurrying to help somebody, remember that we can thank Đuro Deželić for that. He was the founder of the Firefighting service in Croatia, and you can read about that on a monument set in a street in Zagreb that was named after him. Other than that, this versatile man who was born in Ivanić-Grad was also a writer, a publicist and a diligent public servant.

  1. Ferdo Livadić (1799–1879)

Despite not being born in Samobor, this member of the Ilyrian movement spent the majority of his life there and became a key figure in Samobor's social life. He even had the opportunity to host Franz Liszt in his residence! He was also the first modern Croatian composer and he was especially inspired by his country's treasure trove of music.

  1. Ante Kovačić (1854–1889)

Oplaznik, a village situated next to Marija Gorica, is the birthplace of the well-known Croatian writer whose novel “U registraturi” is required reading in schools in Croatia. He has established himself as a great author of literary realism with his other works as well, and who knows what else could he have created if it were not for his tragic death. The elementary school in Marija Gorica and the library in Zaprešić were named after him.

  1. Ljubo Babić (1890–1974)

The famous painter with a diverse opus, art historian, scenographer and art educator from a noble family was born in the town of Jastrebarsko. He was a great intellectual who left a lasting mark on the social life of Zagreb and Croatia. The elementary school in Jastrebarsko was named after him.

  1. Josip Jelačić (1801–1859)

A national hero, the most famous Croatian “ban” and commander was born in Petrovaradin, but he is inseparably connected to Zaprešić and the feudal estate of Novi dvori. He has renovated and expanded the already existing manor house and estate where he lived with his family and where he was later buried.

  1. Vjenceslav Richter (1917–2002)

Donja Drenova, situated next to the town of Sveti Ivan Zelina, is the birthplace of one of the most famous Croatian architects of the 20th century. He was a prolific artist, sculptor, painter and scenographer. To benefit locals of his hometown, he put into motion the District office buildings project in Zelina in 1953.

  1. Petar Zrinski (1621–1671)

This Croatian “ban” and poet is remembered as a tragic victim of the Zrinski-Frankopan conspiracy. Not many people know that he was born in Vrbovec. As a young man, he was the captain of the Žumberak Uskoks. Together with the Uskoks, he fought in the Thirty Years' War across Europe. After that war, he became a warlord fighting against the Ottomans. A local folklore society from Vrbovec proudly bears his name.

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