Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija, located in the westernmost part of the country, is one of Coratia's 20 counties. The county is located directly north of Croatia's capital city, Zadar. Krapina-Zagorje shares borders with Slovenia and Varaždin County to the north, Slovenia to the west, Zagreb and Zagreb County to the south, and Zagreb and Varaždin counties to the east. Geographically, the county spans from the peaks of Macelj and Ivančica in the north to Medvednica in the southeast, encompassing the natural region of Donje Zagorje. The region of Zagorje is known for its wine-growing tradition, as most of the houses in the area reportedly produce their own wines. Historically, Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija territory has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the Neanderthal remains found in close proximity to the county's capital city, Krapina, serve as evidence of this. Neanderthal Museum now showcases the archeological finds from the area. Apart from the museum, other historical landmarks can be found in the Krapina-Zagorje territory, one of them being the Veliki Tabor Fortress, dating 500 years back. In the city of Krapina, people can visit the Church of the Mother of God of Jerusalem on Trški Vrh, Krapina's medieval old town, the Gallery of the City of Krapina, and the Parish Church of St. Nicholas.
Krapina, the capital city of Krapina-Zagorje County, features several historical and cultural landmarks that are visited by tourists. One of them is the Krapina parish, which dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest under the archdeacon of Zagorje. St. Nicholas' Parish Church has a considerable history, as it was first mentioned in the Charter of the Zagreb Bishop Augustin Kažotić in 1311 and only rebuilt in 1901-1903. The church incorporates elements of the original gothic-style church, including the sacristy with a gothic ceiling. Moreover, several artifacts, such as gold objects and an organ built in 1903, are housed by the church. Thus, the church serves as a religious and cultural center for the community, hosting various sacraments, ceremonies, and rituals.
Another religious landmark is the Church of the Mother of God of Jerusalem on Trški Vrh, which is a baroque building constructed between 1750 and 1761. It houses a revered statue of Mary from Jerusalem, which is believed to have “miraculous powers in aiding the sick and those in need.” The church, with its crafted altars, paintings, and historical organ, remains a pilgrimage site to this day. An octagonal enclosure with small chapels in each corner surrounds the church. Other monuments in the city of Krapina also include the Franciscan monastery and Church of St. Catherine, dating back over 350 years, containing a collection of sacred art and a library with historical documentation. Additionally, Krapina is home to the remains of a medieval fortress and is the birthplace of Ljudevit Gaj, a considerable figure in Croatia's national revival. The Majcen family house now serves as a gallery, hosting various exhibitions. Krapina is also known for its paleoanthropological heritage, including the Neanderthal remains discovered at Hušnjakovo Hill.
Concerning outdoor nature attractions within the Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija's borders, nature lovers might be interested in visiting the Gubec Linden Tree—located near the Church of St. George in Gornja Stubica—which has been growing there for 400 years and is "the only living witness of the Peasants’ Revolt in 1573." The tree reaches a height of 9 meters and a trunk diameter of 4.7 meters and is presently recognized as a natural monument and a protected cultural monument. Furthermore, tourists can visit the Bedekovčina Lakes, formed between 1937 and 1950, during clay excavation for brick production. The works led to the creation of the interconnected closed-water system consisting of stagnant waters with depths of up to five meters. The lakes are covered with underwater vegetation and have a medium-eutrophic status, mainly inhabited by cyprinid fish species.
Krapina-Zagorje County is a geographical region spanning from the peaks of Macelj and Ivančica in the north to Medvednica in the southeast. Its western border is formed by the Sutla River, which also serves as the state border with Slovenia. In contrast, the eastern border follows the watershed of the Krapina and Lonja basins. The county encompasses the natural region of Donje Zagorje. Although it is one of the smaller counties in terms of area—as it covers approximately 1,224.22 square kilometers of land—it has a higher population density than the Croatian average, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the country, alongside Međimurje and Varaždin counties. Krapina-Zagorje County is accessible by the A2 Zagreb-Macelj highway, part of the European road E59, connecting Croatia with other Central European countries.
Zagorje, located in close proximity to the county’s capital, Krapina, is known for its association with vineyards and winemaking. Reportedly, almost every house in the area boasts its own vine, while local restaurants and wineries offer a selection of wines to the region’s visitors. Traditional Zagorje houses are often accompanied by wine cellars where locals and visitors tend to taste various wines. The predominant grape varieties growing within Zagorje’s borders include Rhine Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the local gemišt. Exploring the vineyards and cellars or sampling the indigenous Zagorje wines are among the experiences visitors to Krapina-Zagorje County can participate in.
Krapina-Zagorje County experiences a continental-humid climate, which is characterized by moderately warm summers and cold, rainy winters. Regarding climate and weather in Krapina, the warmest month is generally July, with an average daily temperature of 28°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, as temperatures have an average high of 4°C. January tends to be the driest month in Krapina because it generally receives 43 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during September, as it gets an average of about 103 mm of rain.
Near the Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija capital, the Krapina fossils, ancient remains of early Neanderthals, were discovered in a rock shelter. Those fossils, dating back around 130,000 years, include the skulls, teeth, and skeletal parts of at least 24 adults and children. The location where the Neanderthal fossils were found is now home to a Neanderthal museum, which showcases not only the Neanderthal remains but also expositions that teach about evolution, making it a considerable destination for visitors traveling to the Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija. The Neanderthal museum is situated in a park featuring statues depicting Neanderthals and the animals they hunted, such as bears, moose, and beavers, creating an experience in the authentic surroundings.
Krapina, the capital city itself, has a history dating back to 1193 when it was reportedly a sought-after location for castles and country houses of Croatian and Hungarian rulers. During the 15th century, Krapina held significance as a center for the Counts of Celje, who strengthened the town and expanded the nearby castle. Later, the city came under the ownership of the Keglević family. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Krapina served as a district capital in Varaždin County within the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia.
There are several historical landmarks scattered across the Krapinsko-Zagorska Zupanija’s territory. One of them is the Veliki Tabor Fortress, a cultural and historical monument known for its fortification structure. Perched atop Mount Košnički Hum, standing at an elevation of 333 meters, the fortress has watched over the Zagorje region for over 500 years. Offering a panoramic view of Hrvatsko Zagorje and parts of Slovenia, Veliki Tabor is reportedly a symbol not only of the region but of Croatia as well. The fortress can be visited by tourists, offering various exhibitions and educational tours.
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