Hrvatsko Zagorje – the best kept secret in Croatia
, the North-Western part of Croatia, borders in the North with Slovenia and Hungary and in the South with Medvednica and Zagreb
and it is the best kept and unexplored secret of tourism in Croatia.The characteristic features of Zagorje are green hills, forests, small streams crossing the meadows, old manors and castles
, spa centers
, and all of that only 20 minutes away from the Croatian capital Zagreb
.The region of Zagorje has a recorded history from prehistoric times of the Neanderthal man, through its role of a safe haven for medieval refugees fleeing the Turks and until its more recent history of idyllic place for Austro-Hungarian and Croatian nobility full of manors and castles built in the 18th and 19th century.
Come and visit Hrvatsko Zagorje
The administrative and cultural centre of the region is the town of Krapina – also known as a prehistoric cradle of men. There are also Marija Bistrica, the famous National Sanctuary of the Mother of God, Klanjec and Kumrovec, places of perfect beauty that inspired the poet Antun Mihanovic to write the Croatian national anthem, Gornja Stubica. located under the Northern slope of Medvednica, that was the center of the largest peasant rebellion in the 16th century. There are numerous hot water springs and spa centres like Krapinske, Stubicke and Tuheljske spa. There is also Belec, a very small village famous for its church St. Mary of Snow, which is covered in the most beautiful and most valuable baroque frescos in Croatia. The village of Lobor known for its church of St. Mary of the Mountain, which in spite of its modest size will astonish any visitor with the oldest baptistery in the Northern Croatia and its catacombs where the Knights Temples found their peace.
You can read about all these and many other places at Inland Croatia tour - local guide to inland Croatia, which will take you to an enchanted green world, offering an audio guide, personal guided tours, advice about travel routs or organisation of trips via a local travel agency.
Hrvatsko Zagorje is a perfect place to relax or hike, to explore history, enjoy great food or take a wine tour.The highest mountain in Zagorje is Ivancica (1061 m high). Beside the fact that is one of the hikers’ paradises, the Ivancica is a real treasure chest that hides the remains of medieval forts that back to 15th century, making at that time the main defence line in all Austro-Hungarian battles against the Turks.River Krapinica is another natural symbol of Hrvatsko Zagorje, like a murmuring leitmotiv connects Zagorje and flows towards Zagreb. Along the river there is a railway and a motorway which will take you to Zagreb and other parts of Croatia. The most famous castle in Zagorje is Trakoscan, located in the valley of Bednja, surrounded by forests and meadows that are perfect for walking and enjoying the tranquillity and greenery. Trakoscan was built and rebuilt during several centuries, representing the mixture of several styles of construction and architectonic styles, changing from a simple tower to the most romantic castle and home of the Draskovic family, who were the last owners of the castle. In the early 50s of the 20th century, the castle became a public museum.
However, the most beautiful and architecturally the most valuable castle in Zagorje is the castle Veliki Tabor. It is located in the Western part of the region. Originally, in the early middle Ages this caste was a military fort. Its first owner, the Count of Celje, started transforming it from a fort into a great castle for living. Tabor tells a lot of war stories, but also one of the most tragic love stories – the one about the love between a girl called Veronika and a young count - Fredrik of Celje.
The place which every tourist must visit is Varazdin. The city, administratively speaking, is not a part of Zagorje, but it’s at the border, the meeting place of two northern regions – Zagorje and Medimurje, a spot where these two regions friendly shake hands. Many would say that Varazdin is the most beautiful baroque city in Croatia, can be called the Noble Gentleman of all the towns in the North, which enchants by its beauty, its streets and palaces and the old Zrinski castle which is today the town museum. In this museum you can see wonderful porcelain collection, old furniture and chandeliers from 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Varazdin is equally close to Trakoscan in the Zagorje region and Cakovec in the Medimurje region and it is always difficult to leave Varazdin and decide which side to go to visit first.
More you know about Hrvatsko Zagorje, more you love it. Even though local dialect can be so specific that people from village to another sometimes cannot communicate well, this does not mean that language can be a barrier or a problem in Zagorje Even UNESCO protected one of its dialects (the one spoken in Bednja area) as the world's Intangible Cultural Heritage.Whatever language you speak the local people will welcome you at any time with their warm hearts.
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