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6 fascinating castles in inland Croatia

Trakošćan Castle

Cultural heritage and protected as a history entity, Trakoscan Castle is the most visited and popular castle in Croatia. It is located in northern Croatia in the Varaždin County. The castle was built in the 13th century and according to the legend, it was named after an earlier fortification that stood in the same place. Trakošćan castle was owned by several families until it was completely abandoned in the second half of the 18th century when the building of castles in the region was increasing rapidly. In the middle of the 19th century, it acquired its present look when it was turned into a residential estate with a stunning garden. The museum was established in 1954 with a permanent exhibition and the castle is a property of the Republic of Croatia.

Trakoscan castle

Old Sušica Castle

Old Sušica castle is one of the pearls of the region of Gorski Kotar, well protected by the forest. It was owned by the famous Croatian noble family Frankopan and it was built in a strategic place, which was confirmed by the fact that even the Turks during their violent invasions in 1956 failed to reach and conquer the castle. In the early 19th century, the castle was owned by Count Nuget and was bought at the end of the century by Rijeka merchant Neuberger. They both renewed the castle in Romantics style as we see it today. This small, but very charming castle became a holiday resort for children, owned by the city of Rijeka.

Old Susica castle

Medvedgrad Castle

Medvedgrad (“The town of bears”) is a medieval castle, located on a small hill near the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. The castle was built in the 13th century after the Tartars invaded and burned the city of Zagreb and devasted the whole area. The castle was owned by several families during the following years, until 1590 when an earthquake devastated it. Medvedgrad remained in abandoned and in ruins until the late 20th century when some parts of the castle were reconstructed. You can observe the chapel of Saint Philip and Jacob, residential palace, part of reconstructed walls, the tower and enjoy the amazing view of the city of Zagreb. Just below the tower, there is a monument called  “Oltar Domovine” (Altar of the homeland), dedicated to all the Croatian soldiers that were killed during the Croatian War of Independence.

Medvedgrad castle

Veliki Tabor Castle

Veliki Tabor is a medieval castle located in the region of Zagorje. It was built back in the 15th century by a noble Hungarian family of Rattkay, who owned the castle for 300 years. Numerous exhibitions and presentations can be seen in the castle, which include ethnographic items, armor, paintings, presentation of the Rattkay family who owned the castle for over three centuries. Veliki Tabor castle is on the Tentative list for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

Castle Veliki Tabor

Varaždin Castle

The Old Town is a medieval castle and the most important monument in Varaždin. Its construction began back in the 14th century and lasted for over four centuries, as it was built and rebuilt several times in different architectural styles. Castle’s rounded towers and the moat filled with water were constructed in the 15th century. During the invasion of the Turks. in the late 16th century, high walls with bastions were built. Over the centuries the castle has undergone many transformations. Since 1925, it hosts the Varaždin City Museum. There are several collections in the museum, like historic documents, glass, clock, ceramics, weapons, and fascinating rooms furnished in several different styles and chronologically displayed starting from Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Empire etc.

Castle Varazdin

Sisak Castle

Stari grad or The Old Town is a castle located in the southeastern part of the city of Sisak, naturally protected by the rivers of Sava and Kupa. It was built in the 16th century and it became famous when the Croatian managed to stop the Turkish invasion and the Ottomans were finally defeated. It is one of the best-preserved fortifications from the time of Turkish invasion, although it was severely damaged during many battles. The castle had various owners and changed its appearance several times during the centuries. During the WWII, the castle was severely damaged, in particular mode the northwest tower, but after the war ended the castle went through repairs.

Castle old town

Photo credit: Hieronymus / Shutterstock, Inc.

 

 

30.01.2017 / by / in ,
Croatia UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Old City of Dubrovnik

This beautiful old town has been nicknamed “The Pearl of the Adriatic” and every year attracts thousands of tourists from all around the world. Dubrovnik was founded in the 6th century and after being a part of various empires, back in the 14th century, Dubrovnik became the capital of the Dubrovnik Republic which was one the most important mercantile and maritime centers on the Mediterranean. The town was destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 1667 that killed more 5000 people. The Republic was dissolved by Napoleon back in 1808 and in 1815 Dubrovnik became a part of Dalmatia and Croatia. Since 1979 Dubrovnik is on the Croatia UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Dubrovnik sunset

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice National Park is a magical pristine world of woodland, lakes, waterfalls and caverns. The park is famous for its chain of 16 lakes arranged in cascades and divided into two groups, upper and lower, divided by a long lake Kozjak. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of eight Croatian National Parks and the most popular one. In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register.

Plitvice lakes

Stari Grad Plain

Stari Grad is an enchanting city with many fascinating stories to tell.  The Croatian jewel will welcome you with its crystal clear sea, stunning nature, relaxed island life, cobbled narrow streets and centuries of rich history. The town is located in the north-western part of the sunniest island in the Adriatic and it was founded by the Greeks in 384 BC who discovered springs of drinking water and fertile field. Its heritage was recognized by the UNESCO which added the Stari Grad Plain on the World Heritage List in 2008.

Stari Grad Tvrdalj

The Cathedral od St James in Šibenik

The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik was entirely built in limestone back in the 15th century. The cathedral was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Decorative elements of the Cathedral represent the amazing amalgamation of Gothic and Renaissance details. The building of the Cathedral began in 1402 and it was completed in 1536. The concrete work was consigned to masters from Dalmatia, Northern Italy, and Tuscany in 1436, and they began to transform the older Romanesque Cathedral in the one we admire today.

Sibenik Cathedral

Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyard

Stećci are monumental medieval tombstones located in four countries ( Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia) combining 30 sites. The cemeteries date from the 12th to 16th centuries CE and are laid out in rows, as it was the common custom in Europe from the Middle Ages. Vertical and horizontal tombstones with a flat or gable-top surface are carved from limestone. Their most impressive characteristic are decorative motifs, many of which remain a mystery to this day. Inscriptions were written primarily in extinct Bosnian Cyrillic, others in the Glagolitic and Latin script. Stećci were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.

Stecci monuments

Historic city of Trogir

Trogir is a small historic town situated on the Adriatic coast, just 30 km west of the city of Split, founded in the 3rd century BC by the Greek colonists. Its historic center has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997 and it is one of the best preserved Romanesque – Gothic towns in Europe. Trogir’s historic core, situated on a small island, with its orthogonal street plan which dates back to the Hellenistic period, treasures a high concentration of historic monuments from Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Trogir aerial view

Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Center of Poreč

The Euphrasian Basilica  (6th century) or the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Mary is the third church built on the same site and it conceals parts of the previous basilicas such as the fascinating floor mosaic made in the 5th century. Episcopal complex apart from the basilica includes the atrium, episcopal palace with the bell tower and the baptistery. It combines classical and early Byzantine and Romanesque architecture elements in an extraordinary way. It holds numerous holy objects and artworks dating back from the 4th until the 19th century. The whole complex of the Euphrasian Basilica was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

 

Porec Basilica

Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian

Split was founded more than 1700 years ago by the Roman Emperor Diocletian and his imperial palace occupies the most important part of the old town. With the beachfront and palm trees right in front of the palace, Split offers the perfect Mediterranean postcard. During its long history, many cultures left their footprint still visible today on the squares and the alleys of the city center. The most important monument in Split is the Diocletian’s Palace from 305 A.D. The Palace was built as a massive structure, with its 200 meters long and 20 meters high walls. Underneath the Palace, there are Diocletian’s cellars that lead from the Riva waterfront to the Imperial square Peristil, the colonnade ornamented plaza with two sphinxes from Egypt.

Peristil Split

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Properties submitted on the Tentative List

  • Zadar – Episcopal complex
  • Historical-town planning ensemble of Ston with Mali Ston, connecting walls, the Mali Ston Bay nature reserve, Stonsko Polje and the salt pans
  • Historical-Town Planning Ensemble Tvrda (Fort) in Osijek
  • Varazdin – Historic Nucleus and Old Town (the Castle)
  • Burg – Castle of Veliki Tabor
  • Lonjsko Polje Nature Park
  • Velebit Mountain
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire Croatian Limes
  • Diocletian’s Palace and the Historical Nucleus of Split (extension)
  • Lubenice
  • Primošten Vineyards
  • Hermitage Blaca
  • City of Motovun
  • The historic town of Korčula
  • Kornati National Park and Telašćica Nature Park
  • The Venetian Works of defense between 15th and 17th centuries
  • Extension to the Joint World Heritage Property “Primeval Beech forests of the Carpathians (Slovak Republic and Ukraine) and the Ancient Beech forests of Germany (Germany)”

Source: UNESCO

25.01.2017 / by / in , ,
Useful information

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Travel documents

Croatia is a EU member state. Valid passport or national ID card is required, however, there are some countries whose citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter Croatia (check if you need a Croatian visa – www.mpv.hr Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website)….

04.01.2017 / by / in
Croatian phrasebook

General terms

Good morning – Dobro jutro (DOH-broh YOO-troh)
Good afternoon – Dobar dan (DOH-bahr dahn)
Good evening – Dobra večer (DOH-brah VEH-cher)
Good night – Laku noć (LAH-koo notch)
Yes – Da (da)
No – Ne (ne)
How are you?
– Kako ste? (formal) (KAH-koh steh?)…

04.01.2017 / by / in
16 Interesting facts about Croatia
  1.  Croatia is the land of thousand islands, precisely 1246 and only 66 are inhabited.
  2.  The necktie or cravat was invented in Croatia way back in the 17th century by the Croatian soldiers.
  3.  Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods among European countries along with Spain.
  4.  Famous scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla was born in a small village Smiljan in Croatia.
  5.  Croat Salvoljub Penkala invented a chemical pen and a solid fountain pen back in 1906.
  6.  Dalmatian dog breed is named after a Croatian region of Dalmatia.
  7.  In Zagreb back in 2006 was opened an unusual museum named the Museum of Broken relationships dedicated to failed love relationships.
  8.  The biggest truffle ever was found in Croatia by Giancarlo Zigante back in 1999 near Buje, Croatia that weighed 1.31 kg.
  9.  First tested parachute was invented by a Croat Faust Vrancic back in 1616 and was tested from the tower of Venice.
  10.  The founder of Republic of San Marino situated in the northeast of Italy was the sculptor Marin from the village Lopar on the island of Rab.
  11.  The fingerprint identification system was introduced by a Croat Josip Vucetic.
  12.  The smallest town in the world is Hum, located in Istria with a population of only 17 people.
  13.  Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was staged in Dalmatia.
  14.  The Dubrovnik Republic was the first to formally recognize the independence of the United States.
  15.  The first hydropower plant was “Iskrice” and it was made in Šibenik and put in 1895 on the river Krka.
  16.  If you should have your baby born on a Jadrolinija ferry, your child will have a free ferry transport for life.
Hum

Hum

04.01.2017 / by / in

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