Ten fun facts about the Green Ring of Zagreb

  1. Dragojla's Route on Okić

An avid member of the Illyrian movement, feminist, educator and writer, Dragojla Jarnević is acknowledged as the first mountain climber in Croatia. She climbed Okić from the steep, southern side in 1843, thus becoming the first female alpinist. That short but challenging trail was named after her. Nowadays, adequate climbing gear is available, so you do not have to climb cliffs barefoot as she did. If you are not partial to going on adventures on your own, you can join the Mountaineering Association Željezničar from Zagreb. They organize Dragojla's trail climbing every spring.

  1. Rosika—a Carnivorous Plant from Dubravica

In Dubravica, situated near Zaprešić, you can find Cret, a protected botanical reserve. This unique area is actually a peat bog; a damp flora habitat made by wilting vegetation. People come here to observe the star of the show: the Round-leaved sundew. A seemingly cloy name hides a rare and precious carnivorous plant that can only be found in just a few locations in Croatia.

  1. The Wooden Churches and Chapels of the Turopolje Region

The humble wooden beauties scattered across the villages of the Turopolje region are recognized as its trademark. The wood-abundant fields have always been a source of material for construction work, and today, there are only thirteen wooden chapels left—understated on the outside, yet luxurious on the inside. The biggest and the most prominent chapel is the wooden Church of Ste. Barbara in Velika Mlaka, built in 1642. The Church boasts a rare display of Ste. Kümmernisse, a bearded saint on a cross.

  1. The Ferryboat at Medsave

The towns of Samobor and Zaprešić have a distance of 15 kilometers between them. You can travel the distance by car, or by a more unusual and old-fashioned vehicle: a ferryboat. This type of transportation may seem like it belongs to some olden days, but it is actually practical and somewhat romantic. In any case, it surely is an interesting experience.

  1. Plešivica Sledding Cup

People have been sledding on the Plešivica Hill since 1907, and to honor the tradition, the Croatian Natural Trails Sledding Championship is held there, along with the magazine cup. You do not even have to participate in the sledding to have fun; you can just support the participants and have a great time because the hosts know how to throw a party for numerous visitors.

  1. Licitar Hearts and Licitar Makers—World Cultural Heritage

In Northern Croatia, making Licitar Hearts and ornaments (gingerbread craft) by gingerbread-makers called “Medičari” is recognized as an exceptional craft and added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The town of Samobor is known for its rich tradition of Licitar crafting, which is best represented by handicraft shops Oslaković and Arko. The Zelina area is also famous for Licitar crafting. Licitar Hearts used to be bestowed as ornaments, precious gifts and tokens of love, and today, they are charming souvenirs ingrained into the local identity.

  1. Jurjevo Bonfire in Turopolje

Observing and celebrating St. George's Day (St. Juraj) has always been important to Turopolje locals because it symbolizes the arrival of spring. Many old traditions surrounding the arrival of Jarilo are still living through interpretations of folklore societies. The main part of the celebration is making a large bonfire to chase winter away and to awaken spring. This ritual was adapted from old pagan traditions.

  1. Naftalan—Unique Healing Oil from Ivanić

Sedimentation of dead microorganisms' remains? It may not sound attractive at all, but this definition refers to mineral oil, a natural healing material that has been used since the time of Marco Polo. This type of oil can only be found in two locations in the world—one is in Azerbaijan, and the other one is here, in Ivanić-Grad. A unique and modern health resort named Naftalan is operating in Ivanić-Grad, the place where the oil is sourced.

  1. The Footprint of St. Martin on the Martin Breg

The Church of St. Martin located on a hill above Dugo Selo is a ruin of a remarkable building set up in 1209, and a significant archaeological locality. This is the place where the first Croatian “footprint of St. Martin” was set, making Dugo Selo a part of a European cities network that worships this popular saint. These cities are connected by a pilgrimage route that stretches across more than ten European countries.

  1. The Ancient Elephant of Marija Gorica

Residents of Marija Gorica were not insane when they chose an elephant to adorn the coat of arms of their municipality. They did it to honor their fellow townsman who used to live there several million years ago. A huge scientific breakthrough happened right here. At the beginning of the 20th century, a petrified remnant of an ancient elephant was found. The only finding of this kind in Croatia is a big step for paleontology and for the history of this small municipality.

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