Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Obssession With Castles: Trakoscan Castle, Croatia

When I was growing up, my dad had this book of all these famous places in Croatia and I was always drawn to this one picture of this castle.  I remember I used to go back and look at it over and over again, imagining I was princess living in that castle with my handsome prince.  Didn't all girls dream of being princesses?  It wasn't until years later that I learned the history of this castle, and although I've since been to Croatia, my dad's native land, I have yet to visit this place that has always held such a special place in my heart.  Today, however, I'd like to focus on Trakoscan Castle in My Obssession With Castles.

This castle is considered to be one of the most beautiful and also the most romantic castles in the region.  It is located approximately 82 km from Zagred, a city I have visited, and is open daily to the public.  It is now a museum, also containing a library which is accessible only by special permission, a museum shop, and restaurant. 

Its History
Trakoscan Castle was built in the late 13th century as part of Croatia's (Hrvatska's) fortification system, a small fortress for observation.  It is not known who the early owners of the fortress were, but legend states that another fortress stood there in antiquity.  Another legend also claims the knights of Drachenstein were in control of the region in the Middle Ages.  Despite this, the first known owners were the Celjski family who ruled over the entire principality as well as Medimurje, Varazdin and part of present-day Slovenia.  The castle then passed from owner to owner until 1584, when King Maximilian gave the estate to Juraj Draskovic for services rendered.  The castle was badly damaged in the 17th century and was used primarily as a military base during this time, even as they continued to restore and repair the damage done.  

In the second half of the 18th century, Trakoscan was largely abandoned by the family to follow other pursuits, but interest was renewed in the middle of the 19th century when the family returned to its traditions.  The current heir turned the estate into a pleasure ground and the castle into a residential manor-house.  The castle was largely occupied until 1944 when the family was forced to flee to Austria.

Trakoscan Castle Today
The Castle Museum went on permanent display in 1953.  Today the castle is owned by the Republic of Croatia.

The exhibits date from the 15th to the 19th centuries.  The castle has four levels; two ground-floors, the first floor, and the second floor.  The First Ground-Floor includes the kitchen, armorer's shop, storage room, and workshop.  There also used to be a dungeon. (I couldn't find any information on who may have stayed in said dungeon though.) The Second Ground-Floor includes the main part of the building which contains large halls for holding receptions.  The First Floor is the most luxurious as this contains the owners' living quarters.  The Second Floor includes the guest bedrooms.  The rest of the floor acts as a permanent museum for many other articles.

You can also view an amazing collection of portraits spanning over three centuries.  Some of these valuable pieces include works called "The Four Continents" by Mihael Stroy, "the best-known Biedermeier painter in the eastern world".  I adore paintings and portraits and would love to see this collection.  There is also some work by one of the first women in Croatia to achieve the level of an "academic painter", Julijana Erdody.  It would be interesting to learn her story.

What I love best about this castle is the garden.  Apparently it has one of the most beautiful parks in the region and is absolutely amazing to see.  I know I will definitely add this lovely castle to my travel agenda when I return to Croatia.

http://www.mdc/hr/trakoscan/eng/dvor-ulaz.html (The Trakoscan Castle) (Trakoscan Castle - A Brief History)


  1. I love castles and those are beautiful :)

  2. How lovely! I just got lucky yesterday and found a book about English Castles that people at book sale was going to pitch in the trash.