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Koprivnica-Križevačka County is situated in northwestern Croatia and is part of the Central Croatian counties. It shares borders with Hungary and neighboring Croatian counties and was rated as the seventeenth largest county in Croatia, as it covers an area of 1,748 square kilometers and houses a population of 101,661 residents. Within Croatia, Koprivnica-Križevačka County borders Međimurje County in the north, Varaždin County in the northwest, Zagreb County in the southwest, Bjelovar-Bilogora County in the south, and Virovitica-Podravina County in the southeast. Historically, Koprivnica-Križevačka territory has been inhabited since ancient times, when it was part of the Roman province of Pannonia. Thus, several historical landmarks can be found scattered across the county's cities. Particularly in the city of Križevci, there are eight historic churches, with the oldest dating back to the sixth century. Concerning geographical and natural conditions, the northeastern part of the county is formed by Drava River Valley, known for agricultural activities. In contrast, the hilly part of the region is represented by Kalničko Gorje and Bilogora. There are also several natural protected areas in Koprivnica-Križevačka County, one of them being the nature preserve Sands of Đurđevac, which contains endemic species and sand dunes.
The capital city of Koprivnica-Križevačka County is Koprivnica, located in the central northern part of the territory. The Koprivnica area has been settled since ancient times. In today's time, the history of the city can be experienced in the Museum of the City of Koprivnica, which houses objects of archaeological, cultural-historical, artistic, and ethnographic value. Another museum in Koprivnica City is the "Danica" Holocaust Memorial Museum. Visitors can also venture to Food Museum Podravka, which is a company museum showcasing industrial production processes. Established by the Podravka food industry in 1982, its primary objective is to preserve historical artifacts and advancements in industrial food processing, including the technical equipment and production of raw materials. Housed within the renovated structures of the former City Slaughterhouse, an esteemed architectural landmark dating back to 1892, the museum is located in the central part of Koprivnica. Outside the Koprivnica city borders but in its close proximity, in the village of Hlebine, is situated the Gallery of Naive Art, which is a component of the Koprivnica City Museum. The village of Hlebine is reportedly considered the birthplace of Kaikavian Naive Art. This artistic style is a unique expression of the Kaikavians in northern Croatia, primarily manifested through fine arts during the first half of the 20th century.
Two predominant cities serve as the namesake of the county, one of them being the capital city, Koprivnica, while the other, Križevci, is known as the "town of eight church towers." One of those monuments is the Church of St. Ana and Pauline Monastery, dating back to the 17th century. Another of the eight churches is The Church of the Holy Cross, which is the oldest building in the city, dating back to the sixth century. It houses a late Baroque marble altar and a notable painting by Oton Iveković.
Visitors seeking outdoor attractions and natural recreation might be interested in Kalnik Mountain, predominantly covered by a pale oak forest, with its central portion featuring bare rocks that reportedly tend to attract mountaineers, walkers, and hikers. The highest peak, Vranilac, also features a mountain lodge. Kalnik is crisscrossed by a network of hiking, macadam, and forest roads, while the northern boundary formed by the river Bednja separates it from Toplice Hill in the west and Podravina in the east.
Koprivnica-Križevačka County, located in northwestern Croatia, belongs to the Pannonian mega-region, specifically the slopes of northwest Croatia. The county exhibits a diverse landscape and includes areas of varying natural, economic, demographic, and traffic characteristics. The northeastern part of the county encompasses the Drava River valley, known for agricultural activities and considerable oil and gas deposits. This part of the region features larger settlements with urbanization elements due to their proximity to Koprivnica. Koprivnica and Đurđevac serve as central settlements in this area. The hilly part of the county consists of Kalničko Gorje and Bilogora, with the latter being the highest point within the county. The predominant settlement in that part of the county is the town of Križevci.
Several protected territories can be found within the Koprivnica-Križevačka County's borders. One of them is the nature preserve Sands of Đurđevac. The Đurđevac Sands comprises a protected botanical area with numerous endemic species, distinctive flora and fauna, and visible sand dunes. Spanning approximately 20 hectares, a portion of the Đurđevac region has been designated as a special geographical and botanical reserve in Croatia. In the northernmost part of the county by the border it shares with Hungary is another natural preserve called Veliki Pažut. Situated within the Mura-Drava Regional Park and the ecological network of Croatia, it is part of the proposed NATURA 2000 areas. The purpose of protection is to safeguard wetland and river habitats and conserve endangered bird species at both national and European levels. The site features diverse landscapes, including wetlands, watercourses, canals, backwaters, and sand and gravel drifts, supporting a wide variety of flora and fauna. It serves as an essential location for bird migrations, wintering, and nesting, with species such as wild ducks, coots, moorhens, and black storks being observed.
In terms of climatic conditions and weather in Koprivnica-Križevačka County's capital, Koprivnica, the warmest month is generally July, with an average daily temperature of 28°C. January is reportedly the coldest month, as temperatures have an average high of 4°C. January also tends to be the driest month in Koprivnica because it generally receives 39 millimeters of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during June, as about 86 millimeters is typical during this month.
During ancient times, the housing structure in the Koprivnicko-Krizevacka territory consisted of fortified castles located on elevated positions. The area was suitable for extensive animal husbandry, utilizing large pastures, thickets, and forests. Numerous prehistoric archaeological sites near water sources indicate early settlement in the Kalnica area. During the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, the Illyrian Jasi tribe inhabited the region. In the ancient period (1st to 5th century), the area experienced economic changes, with evidence of Roman influence, including the construction of roads. The region saw a series of invasions by barbarian groups such as the Goths and Huns in the 3rd and 4th centuries.
Koprivnica became a free royal town in 1356 and prospered as a trading center and military fortress. Its development was hindered when it became part of the Croatian Military Frontier during conflicts with the Ottoman Turks. However, it regained peace and continued to grow as a merchant town after a decree in 1765. In the 20th century, Koprivnica experienced considerable growth with the emergence of the Podravka food industry, gaining global recognition for its Vegeta spice. Križevci, a smaller city, developed slower than Koprivnica. It was divided into two parts until Empress Maria Theresa united them in 1752. Despite being affected by wars with the Turks, Križevci regained significance in 1871 by constructing a railway connecting Budapest to Rijeka, passing through the town.
Concerning recent history, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Koprivnica served as a district capital within the Bjelovar-Križevci County of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. In today's time, the city is the capital and the largest of the Koprivnica-Križevci county. People visiting Koprivnica can view several historical landmarks scattered across the town, such as the churches of St. Nicholas, St. Anthony of Padua with the Franciscan monastery, the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, and Koprivnica Synagogue.
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