Top 10 historical sites in Zagreb County

Looking at the picturesque small settlements around Zagreb, you likely see only peace and quiet in the idyllic rural landscape. It wouldn’t even occur to you that this landscape is a place where history was written. Right here, in front of our eyes, hundreds and thousands of years of history have left so many interesting traces. Until someone finally invents a time machine, visiting historical locations and sites will continue to be the best way to travel back into the past, and see what the whirlwinds of history have brought to today’s peaceful Zagreb County. A visit to a historical monument is a great opportunity to expand your horizons, awaken the explorer in you, and have fun. It may even open your eyes to some new perspectives about the present.

1) Andautonia archaeological park

Present day Zagreb County was once a part of the Roman province Pannonia. From the 1st to 4th century, Andautonia stood near the today’s village of Šćitarjevo. Today, there are but a few ruins of this strategically constructed ancient settlement, which is now open to the public as an archaeological park.

2) Samobor Old Town

From the centre of Samobor, a short walk leads to the medieval fortress that stands on a hill above the town. The fortress was constructed in the 13th century, and today is but a lonely ruin. However, with a little imagination, you can easily picture ancient times when this structure was inhabited by kings, noblemen and knights.

3) Zelingrad

A medieval fortress erected in the 13th century stands on the slopes of Mt. Medvednica near the town of Sveti Ivan Zelina. Once an impressive burg, it watched over the important travel routes. Over the centuries, it has fallen to ruin. It is still a valuable cultural monument and reminder of the once tumultuous period in this area’s history.

4) Lukavec Castle

Lukavec is a well-preserved medieval castle situated near the village of the same name. It is the only defensive structure in Turopolje, and its present day Baroque appearance dates back to the 18th century. This proud witness to history is the ideal backdrop to the Turopolje festivities celebrating St. George’s Day and the Legendfest festival.

5) Jelačić Novi dvori (Curia novae)

Ban Josip Jelačić is one of Croatia’s most important historical figures, and this noble estate that has changed hands many times over the centuries was once his home. It is an exceptionally valuable complex that consists of the manor house, commercial buildings, Jelačić family tomb, chapel and park forest.  If you wish to imagine briefly that you are a medieval landowner, this is the perfect place to do so.

6) Januševec Palace

Virtually hidden from sight, in the peace and quiet of the Prigorje Brdovečki area (Brdovec foothills) stands Januševec Palace, one of Croatia’s loveliest Classicist buildings. This 19th century gem was once home to many great historical figures. Damaged in World War II, it has since been restored, and today houses the Croatian National Archive.

7) Trail of the Budinjak knights

Žumberak Nature Park is not just a beautiful natural landscape, but also encompasses numerous historical sites. The Budinjak circular educational trail will familiarise you with the many layers of history found here. Ten interpretation panels guide you through the natural and geological phenomena and the history of the area, from the Iron Age to Antiquity, to remnants of medieval architecture.

8)  Lužnica Palace

This 18th century Baroque palace near Zaprešić was originally constructed as the home of a noble family, and since 1925 has been under the ownership of the order of the Sisters of Mercy St. Vincent of Paul. Today, it is a venue for educational programmes and gatherings, and the elegant building, surrounded by beautiful gardens, is today protected as a class one cultural monument.

9) Wooden beauties of Turopolje

Turopolje is known far and wide for its wooden architecture. The secular and sacral wooden buildings share the same properties, using the same elements and materials, with a rustic woodworking style. The only difference there were greater opportunities to show off artistic talent through decorations of the church architecture (paliri). Be sure to visit the wooden chapel of St. Barbara in Velika Mlaka, the most attractive and representative example of wooden sacral architecture.

10) Patačić castle, tower and palace

The castle was erected in defence of the Turkish attacks, but it is not known who built it or when. The Assembly of 1554 adopted the decision that the inhabitants of Križevci County must begin cutting trees for the fortification of Vrbovec, and therefore it is assumed that this original fortress was wooden. After the fortress was destroyed in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1755, the Patačić family raised a new brick castle at the site of the ruins, above one wing of the damaged fortress. The Croatian Ban (Viceroy) and martyr Petar Zrinski was born in the castle in 1621, which is why the only preserved tower of the fortress is called the Petar Zrinski fortress.

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