While in Croatia one could have done hundred other things, near by, no matter where you are, but when it comes to a day trip, in my opinion, it has to leave long lasting impression just as vacation itself. So, this time around, on a spectacular sunny day, we went to rediscover Trakoscan castle. Trakoscan (Trakošćan) is definitely one of the best preserved castles in Croatia. It’s located in northern part of country, in Zagorje region.
Since 1952 restorations are ongoing process. Interior space open to public today is as if Croatian nobleman left only yesterday. Kitchen itself is so well preserved that one can easily imagine tastes and smell aroma of local dishes still found in the surrounding area, particularity in Bednja. Castle features an extraordinary collection of furniture, weapons and art works that include 3 1/2 centuries of Draskovic (Drašković) family tree, as well as complete atelier of the painter Julian Erdödy.
Guide is available and visit (without young children who will run through centuries faster then conquerors) will take you in peace through hundreds of years of history.
Trakoscan was build sometimes in the 13th century as a fort in that part of Zagorje region. Apparently it is not known who had laid down the foundation.
At later date first recorded owners of the fort were nobleman from Celje (today in Slovenia), who ruled over all of the region. In mid 15th century their reign ended and all of the cities in the region got new owners. At first Trakoscan exchanged few owners until 1566 when crown takes the ownership.
Finally, King Maximilian gave the castle to ban and cardinal Juraj Draskovic (Meaning of Croatian word ban is governor), at first for personal use and then in 1584 in permanent possession of his family. Castle stayed in possession of Draskovic family until WWII when last family members left the castle.
Trakoscan, the good times and the bad ones
The oldest image featuring Trakoscan in today’s form is dating back to 1667. It is believed that it took that shape in 1592 when brothers Ivan and Peter Draskovic had build additional tower on the west side housing canons to provide better defensive capability.
Trakoscan photo gallery…
Conflict in between Gaspar Jr. and Nikola Zrinski, in 17 century, left the castle partially in ruins. For that reason family moves out of the castle to live elsewhere but keeps restoring it, mainly as a military fort. During the 18th century castle was left mainly unused until first half of 19th century when family once again restores the castle. Juraj V. Draskovic restores the castle at that time as a residential palace inspired by German romantic castles. At the same time, parks and the ground surrounding it take today’s form, including creation of an artificial lake.
Trakoscan castle on video…
After that restoration, which lasted 22 years, and had begun in 1840, subsequent generations made few additional changes. They include north tower above the entrance and a terrace on the south-west side.
Trakoscan is another jewel of Croatian history that survived wild 20th century for generations to come.
Trakoscan is a remarkable place to spend a day exploring history while surrounded by pristine nature. If driving from elsewhere in Europe and entering Croatian highway A2 at Mecelj, you’ll be only minutes drive from the castle if you take exit for Trakoscan.
More castles in Croatia…
Hope you’ll enjoy the visit as much we did!