Medvedgrad is a fortress situated on the slopes of Medvednica mountain above Zagreb. It was constructed in 13th century and it's the most important example of medieval civil architecture in Zagreb region. It was, however, destroyed by a huge earthquake in 16th century and remained in ruins as far as 1970's, when restoration took place.
Medvedgrad had great strategic significance, as it could be easily defended during times of war, and it was situated close to the border of the Hungarian-Croatian state. It was owned by several prominent noble families and feudal lords, later becoming a military base until its destruction in 1590.
You will probably have to hike up there, but believe me, it's worth it. It's location is simply perfect - very close to the city, yet far enough to provide you with a sense of remotness, tranquility and romanticism. The view from the walls is stunning - on a clear sunny day it is possible to see as far as Sisak.
On the Sljeme Puntijarka meadow, on the southern slope just by the Sljeme road, in 1948 year they started building a health and recooperation home. In 1949 they gave up bcs the city council decided to proclaim Medvednica mountain where Sljeme park belongs to become a protected park and thus was not suitable for hospital type accomodation. Thus the Gernment gave for free the land to the mountaineering society and the PLANINARSKI DOM IVAN PACKOVSKI was finally finished in 1951. Today it is the largest and best equipped Hut on Medvednica with electricity., sewage, heating, tel, 3 dining rooms, terrace and picnic area that seats 300 people. It also has 35 beds in 14 rooms, open all year round and well stocked. It is at 957m above sea level.
Check out the photos and some details in the travellogue.
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gunflint - the piece of flint that provides the igniting spark in a flintlock weapon
firestone - a piece of flint that is struck to light a fire
flintstone - pebbles of flint used in masonry construction
silica, silicon dioxide, silicon oxide - a white or colorless vitreous insoluble solid (SiO2); various forms occur widely in the earth's crust as quartz or cristobalite or tridymite or lechartelierite
The day we arrived in Zagreb will go down in history as the hottest day on record, and NOT because we arrrived but because there was a heatwave sweeping Europe. When we met up with our friend Hrvojka she suggested we "throw" our stuff into her house and then we go to Medvednica just outside the city. We drove up the beautiful road that winds through old forests to the top of the mountain top. It was gratefully cool on top and the view would have been perfect except for one thing...clouds. Oh well you can't have everything. Hrvojka said that on a clear day you can see forever...But you can see (or not) Zagreb behind us in the picture. The park itself has hiking trails and many people also use the roads for bike riding. And the best part is that it is only a few minutes outside Zagreb.
The medieval castle of Medvedgrad is situated in the Nature Park of Medvednica, the hill that rises-up above the town of Zagreb. The huge complex of the castle has been long time neglected, now it is partly reconstructed and opened for the public visitors.
Zagreb’s Bishop Filip built the Medvedgrad fortress in the 13th century, after King Bela IV granted him a deed authorising its construction. The fortress on Medvednica had great strategic significance. It could be easily defended during times of war, and it was situated near the west border of the Hungarian-Croatian state. The double-ringed protective walls were impressively high and thick and the strong towers, together with the well-defended accesses and entrances to the town, show what a well-organised defence structure this really was. Access is possible only from the north, where the entrance to the town is located. From the first gateway, there is a long, narrow, funnel-shaped corridor between the inside and outside ring-like walls leading to the second gateway, emerging on an area of open space. If an invader managed to get past all of this, he would be surprised by yet another door. All these facts were no secret to potential invaders, so Medvegrad has not seen many attempts at invasion in its history.
The medieval noble town at the top of the southern slope of Medvednica is the most important example of medieval civil architecture in Zagreb. Some of its parts have extraordinary monumental value, and the recently discovered Chapel of Saint Philip and Jacob is undoubtedly a prime example of early Gothic church architecture in Croatia. Thanks to extensive restoration, Medvedgrad has become an integral part of the city's panorama, daily inviting people to visit it. As the fortress was built on a steep slope, the view from its walls is magnificent. With its ideal location, close to the city, yet far away enough to give the visitor a sense of remoteness, tranquillity, romanticism and mystery, a short trip to Medvegrad makes for a relaxing journey through medieval history
A long ski tradition exsists on the mountain of Medvednica. Skiing is mainly related to the top area of the mountain and it's northern slopes, from the top of the mountain called Sljeme (1033 m) towards the area of the Municipality of Bistra in Zagrebaèka county, where the main ski runs and ski lifts are located.
Most people who visit Zagreb miss that wonderful walk of Dolje. You go through a tunnel to get to the other side of the hill where you could explore the natural beauty. It is really quite and fresh feeling up there. There is bar up there as well to give you energy to carry on further. I think that you can take cable car or Zicara (croatian for cable car). This cable car goes to the heighest point of mount Medvednica. You can have a lovely view of the city ( i presumed so as i was too tired to go to the top)
From the final tram stop we first proceed through the Tunnel and then, immediately below the bottom station of the Sljeme cable car run, we take a right turn to the access road, following it downwards to the parking lot at the start of the Sljeme road. At the edge of the parking lot a path leads off to the right, climbing towards Puntijarka, one of the most popular spots in the whole of Medvednica. Taking that path, after 20 minutes we come to a resting place sited by a well, and a further 20 minutes take us across Bistranjsko sedlo (Bistra Saddle), while 7 further minutes bring us to a shelter, at Njivice. From here, we continue uphill left of the shelter and immediately come upon a crossroad. The path leading straight ahead is the shortest, but is also rather steep. After 30 minutes of fairly steep climbing we come to the WW2 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and shortly afterwards to the small house known as Vila Samoze (Villa Solitude), and then to Puntijarka, from below. There is another option: a pleasant approach via Gornji Mrzljak - if we turn right at the above mentioned crossroad. Gornji Mrzljak (Upper Frosty) is a powerful spring at an altitude of 752 m., next to which a comfortable shelter has been built. Beyond it stretches a somewhat more serious ascent which, after 2 minutes, brings us to an intersection: to the right lies the route to Hunjka, to the left a steep uphill climb to Puntijarka. The path then continues on, passing the overgrown ''South Downhill'', coming out onto the direct route at Villa Solitude.
From the time Medvedgrad was built and throughout the following seven centuries, it had a total of 107 owners. Until the 16th century, it was owned by several distinguished noble families, such as Bela IV, Draškoviæ, Gregorijanec, Radiæ, Zrinski, Andrija III, Zagreb Kaptol, and King Matijaš Korvin.
Take one of your sunny days to visit Medvenica gora, the big mountain near Zagreb. Go up by "linbana" (electrical boxes on a line, hahah!??) and go down by foot. On the way down don't miss Medvedgrad, and old fort (borg?) with a breathtaking view over all of Zagreb. G-R-E-A-T!
Medvednica is located north of Zagreb and the nuclei of Gradec and Kaptol lie on its most southern spurs. The main range is 24 kilometres long and its highest peak is Sljeme 1035 m). It is the most visited mountain in Croatia due to its proximity to Zagreb and good roads connecting it. Medvednica is not populated, although villages line its slopes - the suburb settlements of Borcec, Sestine, Gracani, Remete, Markusevac, Cucerje, Vugrovec and others.
Borcec is famous for being the alleged birthplace of the legendary vagabond and jester Petrica Kerempuh, who can be compared to Till Eulenspiegel in German literature.
The citizens of Gracani were Gradec's serfs, hence their name, and they often fought against the lords of Medvedgrad. The name Sestine has its origins in 'sestina', the Croatian word for one-sixth, one-sixth of their harvest which peasants had to give to the feudal lords of Medvedgrad. The village was famous for its picturesque, ornate and very tasteful folk dress. Today, its is famous for its cemetery, where the Croatian politician Ante Starcevic lays buried. In 1591 Remete felt the anger of Bosnian Hasan Pasha Predojevic who had six Paulist monks executed. The Paulist monastery was built here at the end of the 13th century, later razed and plundered. Today, only two Baroque wings of the monastery building remain. The building is Gothic with Baroque elements, frescoes and has a marble Baroque altar with a wooden Gothic retable of the Virgin Mary dating from the 15th century. Markusevac also has a Gothic church with baroque elements and a Baroque chapel dedicated to St. Mary of Wine with a wooden Gothic Madonna. Cucerje and Vugrovec both have parish churches dating from the Baroque. In the villages on the slopes of the Medvednica one can find cosy inns and lodges.
Medvednica offers mountain cabins, inns, huts, health resorts and the odd church. The Tomislav Lodge is a popular resort and the church of the Holy Virgin of Sljeme is well-known among the citizens of Zagreb.
Another interesting sight are the remains of the old salt mines at the stream Slano in the eastern part of the Medvednica, which were used from 1347 to the beginning of the 20th century, and Rudarski vrt (Miner's Garden) where the miners of the Zrinski family dug for silver in the 17th century. The greatest jewel of the Medvednica are its forests, in the lower belt there is horse chestnut, oak and hornbeam, in the middle beech and in the top fir, ash, maple and elm. The Medvednica has eight woodland reservations. Its valleys and steep meadows become ski routes in winter. There are also karst terraces, sink holes, grottoes - the most famous one is the Veternica (4,516 m). There are also interesting geomorphologic phenomenon such the Dolomite rocks called Kameni svetovi, which are shrouded in legends sung by Croatian author August Senoa. The Medvednica also has cascades, such as the Sopot cascade, which is concealed by a thick forest. It also has hot springs, for instance, the Sustinsko vrelo, which is surrounded by tropical fern and other rare vegetation, such as the alpine primrose. From the TV tower on Sljeme one can see the Slovenian mountains and the Croatian Zagorje.
If you feel like going for a hike or a picnic, just wanna spend some time in a really nice natural surrounding and meet a few relaxed local people maybe, who are doing the same, go to Sljeme, the mountain over Zagreb. You can take the tram No. 14 or 8 to Mihaljevac then the 15 to Dolje and then take the cable-way up the Sljeme mountain for a really nice view of the city and then hike the way back again through the forests (but don't get lost! - It shouldn't take more than 4 hours!!).
By the way, in winter you can also go skiing or sleigh riding here...
When you are in Zagreb, there is no way not to notice our big natural protector from the North, a homeland of Zagreb if you like it, the mountain Medvednica with its top Sljeme. With Jarun, it is also one of the beloved Zagreb's people sanctuary, during all four seasons. You can hik all over it, but make sure there is someone who knows the way. To reach the top, use the cable car operating from the vicinity of the last tram station. Its easy to find it, just follow the signs or ask people. You can also drive a car up there but please, don't do that..save the clean air and clean forrest! Somewhere on the half of it you can see the ruins of the old castle Medvedgrad, which was once the cradle of Zagreb.