Around Zagreb – Zagorje – A fairy tale at hand

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Entering Croatia from the North, you will find Hrvatsko Zagorje, which, because of the gentle and soft curves of its hills, is also known as “tame” Zagorje. There you will find some medieval and Renaissance fortresses and numerous Baroque castles connected by a dense network of roads, so that they can be seen on a romantic round-trip.

The most famous Renaissance fortress and palace, VELIKI TABOR, was built in the beginning of the 16th century for the noble Ratkaj family. The vast pentagonal tower in the center served as the living quarters (palas),and is encircled by an oval space enclosed by walls supporting arcade porches on two levels and by five strong semi-circular Renaissance towers accentuated with consoles at the top.

Here we present several Baroque castles from the Zagorje region in order to show each one’s individual character.

TRAKOSCAN, Trakoscan was built in the 13th c. within 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 romantic castle attracts numerous tourists.

ZAJEZDA, a castle near Zlatar, is a good example of a three-winged Baroque castle. It was built in the styrian architectural style for the Patacic family in 1740. The arcades on columns on both the ground and upper levels open up the living quarters towards the courtyard. On the fourth side of the castle is a wall with a playful baroque entrance portal. The castle features a large central hall with intricately decorated vaults and a lovely family chapel. It is surrounded by an extensive garden, which is typical of most castles of the period.

BISTRA is also a three-winged Baroque castle with accentuated corner pieces. An oval projection standing at the center exceeds the rest of the castle. Within is a wide oval hall luxuriously equipped and decorated with marvellous frescoes.

MILJANA is a harmonious little castle that was built in the 17th century, though its most valuable assets are the 18th century Rococo frescoes by A. Lerchinger which grace the walls of the castle’s rooms. The paintings show landscapes and allegorical themes, such as the four elements and the four seasons, painted to illustrate the lives and customs of the highly developed nobility of the period. A good example is the fresco depicting a musician playing a horn and a group of aristocrats leisurely sitting on the grass and listening to the music.

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