Not many travelers have heard about Zagorje county in close proximity to Zagreb, the Croatian capital. You will be surprised of all highlights this hilly and green region has been hiding for centuries.
If you have a day or two, don't miss to visit few top sights of the region. It could be a good escape from the summer heat and occasion to taste particular cuisine (influenced by Austrian) and to admire the baroque architecture that contracts the Roman and Venetian influence along the coast.
This northern Croatia region is not visited by tourist like other regions along the sea coast but when visiting Zagreb capital I highly recommend some of the highlights, definitely worth visiting.
This region is well-known by more than fifty castles, some of them with their own park. Considering the number of castles this area is the richest regions in Croatia. The most famous are:
Trakoscan was built in the 13th century as a part of Croatia’s northwestern fortification system, as a rather small observation fortress for monitoring the road from Ptuj to Bednja Valley. It is located on a landscaped hill above the lake.
This castle is the one of the most beautiful and the most romantic Croatia castles in this region. I highly recommend to take a day trip from Zagreb to visit Varazdin town (Cathedral of the Assumption and Town Hall), continue to Trakoscan Castle, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour and peek into the lives of the Croatian aristocracy that once lived there.
To learn more about this castle, read a brief history of this castle taken from their official web site.
The 15th century fortified castle Veliki Tabor is the best-preserved monuments of medieval fortification architecture in Croatia.
It is located on a beautiful hill near the setting of little northern Croatian village Desinic. 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 castle was built on remains of a Roman fortress from 2nd century. Read more on castle's website!
Marusevac castle in Zagorje region was mentioned for the first time in 1547, as the property of the Vragovic family. Throughout centuries, the castle had numerous owners. The Count Schlippenbach added new wing to the castle and gave it today’s shape. Read more here!
The castle is located in the village of the same name, in the county of Varazdin. The name's origin goes back into remote times when, according to legend, Marusa, a Chech lady, settled here and established residence. Several centuries later the locality became known as Marusevec. The castle is situated 15 km from the city of Varazdin.
Krapina, picturesque town in the heart of Hrvatsko Zagorje, was mentioned for the first time in 1193. It was fortified town in 1330 of which only ruins have been conserved.
Krapina has become famous when there were discovered the remains of prehistoric men of Neanderthal type. The traces were found in 1899, by Dragutin Gorjanovic Kramberger, in the nearby cave on the Husnjakovo hill.
Today, in front of the cave there are reconstruction of prehistoric men and animals in natural size. The permanent exhibition, the Evolution museum has been opened.
It ranks as one of the most important archeological sites in Europe. Bones taken from the site are in the Archeological Museum in Zagreb.
The home of Croatian naive art is area around the city of Koprivnica (it's outside the Zagorje district). This town belongs to Podravina (under the river Drava), a region spread along the Drava river.
The naive art, sometimes called Croatian peasant art was born in nearby village of Hlebine , first time mentioned in 1330.
In Croatia the conception of the Naive is based on amateurism and naive artists are usually self-taught, painters and sculptors who did not obtain their education at art schools or academies. Regardless of that they have created their own style, achieving their own level of art.
The Croatian Museum of Naive Art in Zagreb holds more than 1,600 works of art – paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, mainly by Croatian artists. The most famous are:
If you visit this small village 40km northwest of Zagreb, probably nobody will tell you who was born there and the main reason this village has been known for.
Officially this village main attraction is a recreation of a 19th Century Croatian village. This open air museum in the Zagorje region consists of a number of restored 19th and early 20th Century buildings made from earth and wood and furnished according to theme.
The truth is that it is much better known as the birth place of President Josip Broz Tito. His house still stands there!