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.
Zagorje is within an hour’s drive from Croatia’s capital, Zagreb. Our team of Croatia travel experts can help you combine your visit to Zagorje and Zagreb as part of a Croatia multi-centre holiday.
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.
To fully enjoy a tour of the outer and inner area of Trakošćan Castle and the surrounding grounds and lake, you need to allow plenty of time. As you wander around the observation fortress that monitors the road from Ptuj to Bednja Valley, or explore the ancient artefacts that are on display in the museum, time will just disappear.
Inside Trakošćan castle you can admire displays of collections of original weapons that were once used in battle. There are over 300 specimens of weaponry and protective equipment dating back to the 15th century. Many of the cannons feature the Drašković coat of arms. Helmets and armour parts from the 16th century are also on display.
If you’re an art lover you can admire the Trakoscan castle collection of over 200 oil paintings and prints. Most of the paintings are commissioned portraits that were painted during the period from the late 16th to the early 20th century. Landscapes and religious theme paintings are also included in the collection. The elegant rooms of the castle have been reconstructed in authentic neo-Gothic, Baroque and Rococo styles and furnished with lavishly ornate furniture and decorations that date back through the centuries.
If you’re exploring the forest park, take a walk to St Cross Chapel to admire its contrasting simplicity. The small chapel was built in 1754 in a simple classic Baroque style and features a bell tower as its prominent decoration. Inside you will find a pulpit, a raised lectern, an elevated organ and an altar with a large crucifix.
Looking for an alternative way to explore Croatia? Our selection of Croatia cruises takes in the historic cities and idyllic islands on the Dalmatian Coast on a Dubrovnik to Split cruise. Call our Croatia travel experts today to find out more: 020 8004 2345.