If you like castles and history, Trakošćan Castle, its forests and the lake is something for you. It is one of the best preserved historic buildings in the country and it is considered to be the most romantic and most beautiful castle in Croatia. After exploring the castle, indulge in a typical meal in a traditional restaurant of Zagorje region. Visit Varaždin, one of the most important tourist centers of northern Croatia.
During this tour you will visit the most beautiful and romantic castle in Croatia. You will see a set of ambient exhibits in the original function, which date from the 13th century until the Baroque, Rococo and Classicism. You will have a chance to enjoy a walk through one of the best established and maintained landscape parks in the country and you will be able to relax in a romantic boat ride on the lake or go fishing. After that we will visit Varaždin – the city of Baroque and flowers also known as “little Vienna”.
You will get to know this city’s rich history and culture, its many Baroque palaces, churches and monasteries, and visit the city museum housed in a Renaissance fortress on the water – the old town. You will be able to relax in walks through numerous parks and gardens and city cemetery which is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.
According to a legend, Trakošćan was named after another fortification (arx Thacorum) that was alleged to have stood in the same spot back in antiquity. Another source claims that it was named after the knights of Drachenstein who were in control of the region in early Middle Ages.
The toponym was first mentioned in written records in 1334. It is not known who its owners were in the first years of its existence. As of the end of the 14th century, it was owned by the Counts of Celje, who were in charge of the entire Zagorje County. The family soon became extinct, and Trakošćan shared the fate of their other burgs and estates that were divided and kept changing owners. In these divisions, Trakošćan was, as a whole, first owned by an army leader by the name of Jan Vitovac, then by Ivaniš Korvin, who gave it to his deputy warden Ivan Gyulay. The family kept the castle throughout three generations, and became extinct in 1566, after which the ownership was taken over by the state.
King Maximilian gave the estate to Juraj Drašković (1525–1587) for services rendered, first personally, and then as family heritage. This was how, in 1584, the Drašković family finally came into possession of Trakošćan.
In the second half of the 18th century, when the building of manors was flourishing in Hrvatsko Zagorje, Trakošćan was abandoned. Neglected, it fell quickly into dilapidation. It was only towards the middle of the 19th century that the family became interested once again in its estate, in the Romanticist spirit of return to nature and family traditions. In this spirit, the deputy marshal Juraj V. Drašković turned the castle into a residential manor-house, while the surrounding park was turned into Romanticist pleasure grounds. The generations that followed were staying at the castle from time to time all the way until 1944 when they were forced to emigrate to Austria. Soon after that, the castle became nationalized.
The Museum with collections on permanent display was established in 1953. The castle is today owned by the Republic of Croatia.
Special and recognizable feature of Trakošćan is a large artificial lake, about mile and a half long, whose area is about 17 hectares and depth is about 2.5 meters. The water is warm in summer and up to 22°C. In winter, the surface of the lake freezes and ice remains for about three months. From the early formation, lake had a dual function – economic as well as a pond and aesthetic and as a decorative element common in the romantic park architecture. Along the lake we have regulated hiking trails, which that space transforms into a unique walkway.
There are indications that the Count Juraj Drašković accessing the reconstruction of the castle had worked out a project for its tourist use. Remodeling of the complex underwent the aesthetic principles and created an attractive environment that is unparalleled even in a wider range.
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