No visit to Zagorje is complete without a tour of the impressive Trakošćan castle. Situated 23 km northeast of Krapina and 40 km southwest of Varaždin, Trakošćan is a legendary castle that was built in the late 13th century. There are many rumours about the castle’s name and previous owners. What’s definitely true is that walking around the majestic protected heritage site will instantly make you feel like you have been transported back in time.
The first known record of the medieval Trakošćan Castle claims that the counts of Celje, who managed the entire Zagorje county at the time, had legal ownership. The unique property of Trakošćan was once home to general Jan Vitovac, who later donated it to his viceroy Ivan Gyulay. The family maintained the castle and passed it down through three generations, until 1566 when the estate was taken over by the state. To reward his services, King Maximilian awarded the castle to the Croatian nobleman, statesman, bishop and cardinal Juraj Drašković.
Trakošćan Castle was neglected for many centuries. Juraj Drašković transformed it into a residential castle with an elegant park and artificial lake. The castle was subsequently passed down through generations, and today, it belongs to the Republic of Croatia. In 1954 Trakošćan established a museum with a permanent exhibition of weaponry, paintings, furniture and books arranged over four floors. In Trakošćan Park there is also a chapel dedicated to St Cross.