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Visit Hrvatsko Zagorje and enjoy.

Visit the famous castles of Hrvatsko Zagorje and the surroundings of Zagreb and revive historic legends

Hrvatsko Zagorje is known for its many stories and myths about people who have lived and ruled in the region throughout its history.

A blue-eyed, golden-haired, village girl was also named the forest fairy because of her beauty, a queen of beauty of snow white complexion. She lived in the 15th century in the village of Desinić near Veliki Tabor where the powerful Croatian Ban Hermann II Count of Celje ruled. His son Frederick fell so passionately in love with the beautiful Veronika and bewitched by her, he had his own wife killed. The ban was unhappy about this and the couple fled to Slovenia, where they secretly married. However the father didn’t need too long to find them and Veronika managed to escape, whilst Frederick was imprisoned in Veliki Tabor. He spent four years locked in a tower, without windows or a door. And today it bears his name, Frederick’s Tower, and an unhappy fate also befell Veronika.

They caught her and threw her in a dungeon in Veliki Tabor. Although the ban sought to accuse her of seducing his son, after two days of questioning and deliberation, the judges ascertained that there was no guilt or crime within her, but only love for her dearly missed Frederick. “Love has never been a sin, let alone a crime. Love is one of the most beautiful of human virtues”, said the judges. But the ban was inexorable and ordered that the unfortunate Veronika be drowned, and they then bricked her body into a wall on the first floor of Veliki Tabor.

This is the most beautiful of all legends

The legend says that during the long winter nights one can often hear her despair and sobbing, whilst in the castle a woman’s skull was also found, which is believed to have belonged to Veronika of Desinić. The passionate and forbidden love of the young couple has been the theme of many folk traditions and artistic works, lyrical and epic poems, fairy tales and myths for centuries, but that’s not all.

The beautiful Veronika is also mentioned in another version of the legend, as a sorceress who saves Taborgrad from the Turks. According to some beliefs, as the Turks came within reach of the town, she threw straw at them which turned into a swarm of hornets and chased them away.

Memories of Veronika still live today

These are just some of the many versions of the tragic destiny of Veronika, so what other stories are connected to her, does her ghost really walk the hallways of Veliki Tabor today, are her cries heard, do mystical spectres appear, like a black dog, buried treasure or what about the sound of banging on the town’s doors at night, these are questions which preoccupy many who on the picturesque hilly surroundings of Zagreb, in Hrvatsko Zagorje, explore the beauty and historical events in one of the best preserved mediaeval and Renaissance fortresses in Croatia. It was built in the 16th century by the aristocratic Rattkay family.

It is a pentangle tower, with four more semicircular towers added later. It is decorated in the Gothic style, and various historical objects, crockery and weapons, which describe how people lived in the castle, were found and have been preserved inside it. The secrets are also stored in the museum, and the beauty of the architecture of the castle and its magical green landscape give additional charm to this monument of cultural and historical heritage which is under UNESCO protection, as a monument of the first category.

Behind the green hills hides one more jewel

One of the most attractive castles in Croatia watches you from the clearings of the River Bednja Valley. This is Trakošćan. The impressive white castle is situated on the top of a hill and seems totally surreal, like a drawing, and once you enter it, the impressions become even more memorable.

It was created in the 13th century and was originally used as watchtower of a defensive system in the ownership of the Drašković family of landed gentry. Later a lovely historical look was created with an artificial lake, maintaining the natural and romantic atmosphere which permeates the whole castle and its surroundings.

Whether you visit it in the winter, or in the summer, the experience will be the same – the unique ancient memories it guards will amaze you, the guardians of the past, such as the dungeon, the luxuriously furnished Baroque and neo-Renaissance rooms, salons, dining rooms, workshops and libraries with books from the 18th and 19th centuries, the impressive hunting trophies, portraits, amour, weapons, armouries, whilst also special is the ceremonial knights’ hall, which is regarded as the most representative part of the castle.

All of these, along with the accompanying legends, take us back to a famous, romantic mediaeval past. The first academically educated female painter in Croatia, Julijana Erdödy Drašković, once lived and worked here. Her studio has been preserved in its entirety, with an easel, piano and portrait.

What kind of other collections are located in the magnificent interiors of the famous Trakošćan castle, how it is infused with the spirit of times past and the then life, from which it took its name and what more sweet secrets does it hide, you will discover in the beautiful romantic grounds and wooded park which surrounds it.

A region known for its many aristocratic castles

Hrvatsko Zagorje is known for its many mediaeval castles, Veliki Tabor and Trakošćan are just two of them. Are you interested in how villagers once lived and worked in the these regions in the 18th and 19th centuries, do you want to hear the story of the historical Peasant Revolt, then there is nothing else to do than to take a trip of the surroundings of Zagreb. Find out why they are said to be like a beautiful necklace, with their natural beauties, historical and cultural treasures that are guarded by its numerous castles and spots to visit.

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