Croatia Captured Showcase

- Old Town Veliki Kalnik -

The Old Town of Veliki Kalnik is a historic complex of fortifications situated on the Kalnik mountain, near the village of Kalnik in Croatia. This area, steeped in history, has been inhabited since prehistoric and Roman times. The fortifications, built from the 12th century onwards, played a significant role in the region's history. The fort itself was first mentioned in 1243 when King Bela IV emphasized its importance in the defense against the Tatars. Today, the Old Town of Veliki Kalnik is not only a testament to the past but also a popular destination for mountaineers and excursionists, offering stunning views of the surrounding areas.

Photos taken on Octoberr 29th, 2023

Fun fact no 1

According to legend, King Bela IV took refuge in the Old Town of Veliki Kalnik with an escort while fleeing from the Tatars. The locals supported the king by providing them with plums, earning them the name "plum growers." As a gesture of gratitude for their support during the siege, the king granted the locals noble titles. This historical event has inspired works such as "Shljivari" (plum growers) by August Šenoa and Milutin Mayer's historical novel "Tatars in Croatia".

Fun fact no 2

Despite being besieged numerous times since the 13th century by various groups including the Tatars, Avars, and Turks, the Old Town of Veliki Kalnik has never been conquered. This impressive record is partly due to its strategic location on a rock ridge. The fort remains one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in this part of Croatia, attracting many visitors due to its historical significance and scenic beauty.

Fun fact no 3

The Old Town of Veliki Kalnik is surrounded by beautiful forests and rugged limestone rocks, making it an excellent spot for outdoor activities such as rock climbing and paragliding. The area is known for its scenic vertical rocky walls and the remains of the medieval fort, set against a vast plain surrounded by green forests. For hiking enthusiasts, there are well-signposted educational trails like the Poucna Staza 18, which takes about two hours and goes through the botanical reservation called Mali Kalnik.

Learn more

Old Town Veliki Kalnik, a captivating historical site, is a complex of fortresses that began to emerge from the 12th century. Located on Kalnik Mountain near the village of Kalnik, this site has been inhabited since prehistoric and Roman times.

The fortress first gained prominence in historical records in 1243, when King Bela IV highlighted its strategic importance in the battle against the Mongols. According to a legend, the king, while fleeing the Mongols, took refuge in Kalnik with his entourage. The locals, who fed them plums, were nicknamed "šljivari" (plum people), and their efforts helped repel the Mongol invasion. This event marked the Mongols' first defeat on Croatian soil. This legend inspired writers like August Šenoa and Milutin Mayer, who wrote works like "Šljivari" and "Tatari u Hrvatskoj."

The fortress of Veliki Kalnik has been associated with several notable historical figures, including the Hungarian-Croatian King Sigismund of Luxembourg and his wife Barbara of Celje, famously known as the "Black Queen." Throughout its history, the fortress was owned by various nobility, bans, and bishops of Zagreb. Prominent noble families such as Erdödy, Drašković, Keglević, Orehovečki, and Kosače were among its owners.

In 1565, the fortress played a role in the defeat of the Turks at Obrež Kalnički, leading to increased settlement at the foot of Kalnik Mountain.

The fortress is situated on the elevation of St. Catherine on Kalnik. Much of its original structure, showcasing elements from different stylistic periods including Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque, is still preserved. The fortress was once dominated by a large square tower, with the lower parts featuring narrow windows, somewhere between windows and arrow slits, and the higher parts having larger window openings. A unique architectural feature in Croatia is the square towers with protrusions. The remains of St. Catherine's Chapel can also be found within the fortress complex.

Today, Old Town Veliki Kalnik is a popular destination for hikers and visitors, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. On Labor Day, it becomes a particularly favored spot. Not far from the main fortress, on a nearby ridge, lie the remnants of the smaller Old Town of Mali Kalnik.

Old Town Veliki Kalnik is more than just a historical site; it's a place for scenic hikes and a journey into the past. With its rich history and stunning natural setting, it is definitely a site worth exploring for those interested in history, nature, and adventure.