Uncovering Croatia's Heritage: Castles Near Zagreb
Zagreb is Croatia's business, economic, diplomatic, and cultural centre, with almost a million inhabitants. This "city of a thousand hearts" has always attracted the attention of tourists and visitors. But you should know that the surroundings of Zagreb are also exciting. When you visit Zagreb, we suggest you take a break and go on a trip to the surrounding area and see one of the beautiful castles. These castles are beautiful examples of architecture whose walls hide a handful of cultures.
Architectural Marvels: A Tour of Zagreb's Surrounding Castles
Some twenty kilometres from Zagreb is the Luznica Castle, a Baroque edition from the beginning of the 18th century. This castle, like many others, has changed owners from decade to decade. The castle's previous owner was Baron Geize Rauch, and today's owners bought it from him in 1925. Who are the new owners? A very unexpected group of people - the Sisters of Charity of St. Vinko Paulski. Yes, nuns. Namely, the nuns bought the castle to make room for retired sisters who had nowhere to go. In addition, they set out to open other things inside the castle, including things like kindergarten and household schools.
Namely, about ten years ago, they opened the Spiritual Education Center "Marijin Dvor", which still operates today. Marijin Dvor is, honestly, a small tourist wonder. The working nurses installed a geothermal elevator in the castle, opened accommodation facilities, equipped congress halls, and so forth. Their work paid off because they received the prestigious award of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies "Simply the Best" for their outstanding contribution to the tourist offer of the area.
Inside the castle, you will find opulently decorated halls and rooms, about eighty, and a beautiful environment. Namely, one of the unique features of this location is the picturesque green surroundings of the castle - a large English park with a lake, woods, and long promenades.
Novi Dvori - The Jelacic Palace complex
The owners of the New Palaces have been numerous counts and lords over the centuries. Still, those who are most likely interested are those from the Jelacic family. Namely, in 1851, the Croatian ban Josip Jelacic bought the property from the Counts of Erdody for 175,000 silver forints. During his stay in Novi Dvori, he poured his blood and soul into them. He finally generously donated his property to the Croatian people.
Today, Novi Dvori, in addition to its historical importance, has added some new attractions. For example, the gardener's house has become a restaurant, a small golf course has been built, the castle has been renovated, and various events, such as flower exhibitions, are known to take place in the threshing floor.
Bezanec Castle is located in Valentinovo, at the entrance to the town of Pregrada. It was built at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries as a single-storey four-winged building with an inner courtyard, initially in the Baroque style. In the 1830s, the castle was restored in the Classicist style. It is located on top of a small hill and offers a beautiful view of the Kostel Valley. At the same time, the surrounding area is adorned by a landscaped park and a maple alley. Of the architectural features, we would single out the courtyard facades open to the arcades and the recognizable clock tower above the main facade. In the park even today there are a couple of centuries-old linden, ginkgo, and plane trees. Several families owned the refuge, the most famous being Counts Keglevic, Baron Kollenbach, Baron Schlaum-Linden, and Baron Ottenfels-Gschwind, originally from Carinthia.
Along with the mentioned nobles, Franjo Ksaver and Josipa Ottenfels were also associated with this castle, who constantly added something to and around the castle so that a large number of Persian rugs after her death paintings and furniture remained in the castle. Therefore, the castle belongs to the first monument category. During the 1990s, renovations began, and until recently it worked as a hotel with a restaurant (Hotel Heritage). Today Bezanec is an idyllic hotel, a great choice for romantic weekends or business events. It is open to all visitors, not only hotel guests but with prior notice.