Right between Zagreb and Adriatic coast, you will find a region of Croatia which is rich in culture and historical value. We bring you five places to visit in Karlovac County, a perfect destination if you wish to meet the Croatia’s more continental side.
Rastoke watermill village
Rastoke, a village where the Slunjcica River flows into the Korana River, is located near the town of Slunj, only a half-an-hour drive from the Plitvice Lakes. Owing to its beauty, Rastoke watermill village is the first stop, but certainly not just a stopover for many visitors on their way to the Plitvice Lakes.
According to the first records, this watermill village was created as early as the 17th century, and in the late 19th century local inhabitants decided to make dwellings exactly where the Slunjcica River flows into the Korana River. Rastoke village was known for its mills and wooden houses used for grinding grain. The waterfalls in Rastoke were named after the mill owners, and the most famous ones are Buk, Hrvoje and Fairy Hair.
Because of its beauty, beautiful streams and waterfalls, as well as because of its historical and ethnographic heritage, in 1969 Rastoke was included in the Register of Immovable Cultural Monuments at the Regional Institute for Protection of Monuments of Culture in Zagreb.
Rastoke is located on the main road and it is very easy to get there. Today, it is a tourist village with a varied gastronomic offer and restaurants, and many people come to Rastoke for fresh trout and unleavened homemade bread.
Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales in Ogulin
The House of Fairy Tales of one of the most famous Croatian female writers, Ivana Brlic Mazuranic, is situated in an ancient Frankopan castle in Ogulin, the town where the writer was born in 1874. Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales is a multimedia and interactive centre where visitors can learn about the creative work of Ivana Brlic Mazuranic.
The House of Fairy Tales consists of a permanent multimedia exhibition, library, multifunctional space for workshops and a souvenir shop. The permanent exhibition comprises several parts, and each part is named after a part from one of Ivana’s fairy tales – Magic Forest, Fires, Magic Mirror, Spellbound Corridors, etc. In the creative room, one can participate in various workshops and educational programs.
The Old Town of Ozalj
Next on our list of five places to visit in Karlovac County is The Old Town of Ozalj, located on a gorge above the Kupa River. It is reachable across a wooden bridge that was movable until 1821. The Old Town of Ozalj is comprised of a castle, which is architecturally diverse due to its numerous building extensions.
The entrance tower of the castle was built by Juraj Zrinski IV in 1599, and many years later the castle was owned by the Zrinski family – a family of great significance for the Croatian history. After the execution of Ban Petar Zrinski in 1671, the castle changed several owners, and since 1928 it has been in the ownership of the Brethren of the Croatian Dragon, a society which had the castle renovated.
Today, the Old Town of Ozalj is home to the town museum where you can get to know the rich history of the very castle, as well as of the Town of Ozalj, and only 100 meters from the Old Town of Ozalj there is the Ozalj Hydroelectric Power Plant, which is the second oldest hydroelectric power plant in Croatia.
The Caves of Barac
Six kilometres east of Rakovica there are three historical caves, known as the Caves of Barac. They are located at the foot of Barac’s Brina, and the spring called Baracevac is located between the entrances to the Caves. The three caves famous for their beauty are called the Upper, the Lower and the New Cave. The Caves are rich in fauna – about 30 species have been found inside the caves, and the Caves of Barac are a home to as many as 2 species of bats and a habitat for as many as 17 endangered plant species.
The City of Karlovac
The town on four rivers, Karlovac, was founded on 13 July 1579 as defence against the Turkish army. The layout of Karlovac is made in the form of a six-pointed star, and similar layouts in Europe can only be found in Palmanova in Italy and Novy Zamky in Slovakia. In the centre of the six-pointed star is the central square, and it is interesting how the city streets intersect at a right angle. The city of Karlovac is also connected with the Zrinski family as it was built at the foot of the old town of Dubova, which was owned by the Zrinski family. However, Karlovac was named after Karl, the Archduke of Austria.
Karlovac lies on four rivers – the Korana River, the Kupa River, the Dobra River and the Mrežnica River –which is the reason why the city used to be the trading centre for a long time. In the 18th and 19th century, it was one of the richest cities in Croatia. This Renaissance city, located in central Croatia, has always been a link to the Adriatic coast because of its location. Today, Karlovac has 53 settlements.
These were just a few great places to visit in Karlovac County. Share your experiences of this Croatian destination in our comments section below.
Written by: Lana Mindoljevic / The Zagreb Times