The mountain of Medvednica stands proudly above Zagreb’s roofs, and its beautiful slopes are the resident’s most common spot for outdoor leisure. We bring you five secrets of Medvednica Nature Park, since the site provides much more than beautiful scenery.
With 7127 meters in length, Veternica Cave is the fifth longest cave in Croatia. Only nine kilometers away from the city, it is a point of dense archeological and paleontological research. Many unique features were found in its depths, including sand dunes and erosion-educed vortex forms. It was quite a vivid place in the past, as remains of numerous animal species were found in its dirt (including rhinoceros bones and shark teeth). Human presence was also discovered, as witnessed by primitive Neanderthal tools, Roman coins, brass buckles and oil lamps. During the winter period, however, the cave serves as a hibernation ground for bat colonies. Of course, it is closed at that time.
How to get there?
On foot: 3-kilometer hiking trail leading from Gornji Stenjevec to Veternica and Glavica mountain house nearby.
By bus: Bus 124 for Gornji Stenjevac, from the station at Crnomerec. The cave is accessed via trail number 3, along the Dubravica creek; it takes about 20 minutes to get there.
By car: Take Avenija Bologna westward, turn right to Ulica Dubravica in Gajnice, go down Zelena magistrala, from Ponikve to Glavica mountain house, then take number 3 hiking trail, and you will reach the cave in 5 minutes.
The Zrinski Mine
In 1463, King Matija Korvin granted a royal mining privilege to Count Petar Zrinski, enabling him and his descendants to open gold and silver mines on their territories. With this privilege, the Zrinski family was able to conduct mining operations in the area today known as Rudarski Vrt (Mining Ground). In 1527, Petar Zrinski’s descendant Nikola signed an agreement with the citizens of Zagreb, allowing their residents to work in mines as well. Since that day, around 30 miners were working onsite every day, producing 10 tons of ore and 5 kilograms of silver. There is an urban legend that mines are filled with secret passages, connecting their tunnels with Medvedgrad fort and St. Mark’s Church in Zagreb’s Upper Town.
How to get there?
On foot: Take Miroslavec trail from Sestinski Lagvic to Kraljicin zdenac, then cross the asphalt road and continue along 1M trail.
By bus: From Mihaljevac to Tomislavov dom
By car: Take the Sljeme road to Graficar mountain house.
This fort was built after the invasion of the Tatars in the 13th century. It is situated on the southwest slope of Medvednica Mountain, at 593 meters. It provides a spectacular view of Zagreb. The construction of Medvedgrad was ordered in 1250 by Filip, the bishop of Zagreb, with the aim of defending Kaptol and bishops’ estates. Around 1260, King Bela IV gave the fort to Duke Stjepko Subic, after which it was used by several Croatian governors. The fort was severely damaged in the earthquake in 1590, so the last inhabitants left in 1602. In 1994 the Altar of Homeland, a monument to all Croatian heroes, was erected. Today many fairs and concert events take place in Medvedgrad at the weekends. Myths and legends about the site have been created over centuries, the most famous one about the mean Black Queen and the buried treasure.
How to get there?
Public transport/on foot: Take bus 128 Crnomerec – Luksic, walk to Luksic and across Himper take the asphalt road to get to Medvedgrad.
Bus 102 Mihaljevac – Britanski trg: go to Sestinska Church, continue up trail number 12 from Lagvic to Medvedgrad.
By car: Go from Luksic to Himper, from Himper to Medvedgrad – this is a one-way asphalt road; on the way back go down one-way road from Kraljicin zdenac to Sestinska Church.
With nine meters in height, this is the largest waterfall on Medvednica Mountain. It is easily reached by following a trail from Gornje Vrapce, which includes romantic sceneries such as old wells, tiny creeks and picturesque meadows. Couples usually like to take pictures on a small wooden bridge, located just opposite of Sopot waterfall. Most of the way towards this destination goes through lovely forest scenery.
500 Horvat’s Steps
The architectural pearl of Medvednica, built by hiker Vladimir Horvat between 1946 and 1953, is located on the north slope. It is an attractive trail made of 500 stone steps leading to several small chasms, vantage points, Medvednica cave, and finally to Srnec landing with benches. The marked trail starts at Hunjka meadow, in front of Zvonimirov dom. Less than an hour of pleasant forest-walking later, you will reach Srnec. This is a wonderful outing for families with children, and refreshment can be bought at local mountaineer houses.
These were five secrets of Medvednica Nature Park. Reveal more of them during your visit in Croatian capital of Zagreb.