If you want to visit the northern part of Croatia, you can’t skip Čakovec Castle. What makes this city so beautiful is its very well preserved castle and the old town core. The famous Zrinski family lived in the castle, one of the most prominent and important strategists in the fight against Turkish conquest. According to them, the main city park – Perivoj Zrinski was named. Today, the castle houses the Međimurje Museum, while in 2007 it is classified as a cultural property of national importance. Certainly, this complex is a symbol of Međimurje’s identity.
History of Čakovec Castle
The castle was built in the 13th century by Count Dimitrij Csáky of wooden elements. During the first centuries, the owners of the fort changed frequently. Nikola Subic Zrinski came into possession of Međimurje during the 16th century by King Ferdinand as a reward for his battles against the Ottomans. In general, Nikola was a Croatian ban and the hero of the famous Siget battle. It transforms the fort into a Renaissance court with ramparts and bastions. Together, they form a pentagonal shape. These bastions are unique in Croatia in that they are made of brick.
During the life of Ban Nikola Zrinski Čakovecki, the castle had the best years when it was visited and described by foreign scientists, diplomats, and travel writers. After Zrinski, the owners change again. n the early 18th century, the owner became Count Althan. After the earthquake, the construction of the baroque palace fortified by the walls begins. This is exactly the appearance of the castle that has remained more or less until today. The architect of this building was the Viennese court architect Anton Erhard Martinelli.
The next owner was the Festetics family, who are starting industrialization. Actually, they opened a sugar production facility. After World War I, it became the property of the trading company “Slavonia” from Zagreb. Also, for a short time, they housed the School of Economics and the dormitory.
Medieval fortified town – Wasserburg
Water has been around the castle for centuries. It came from the small Međimurje river Trnava however the river was later diverted. With the end of the Turkish threat, the water trenches were almost completely drained over time. Only one lake remained on the north side of the fort, however, and it was drained in the 1970s. After that, a former medieval lowland fortified city surrounded by wide, water-filled ditches (Wasserburg) lost its full meaning.
Museum of Međimurje
The Museum of Medjimurje comes to the castle in 1954. The museum is very rich, the exhibits are from the Paleolithic to the present. Also, it has a magnificent ethnographic collection and a very rich gallery. Take a look at the beautifully decorated wedding hall, which has certainly remained in the memory of many generations of Čakovec residents. According to the new categorization, since 2007 it has been classified as a cultural property of national importance (marked N-23).
Renovation of the castle
Renovation of the exterior building – the fortification of the Old Town in Čakovec began in 2018. It is not only about the renovation and much-needed aesthetic treatment, but also about the complete revitalization of the complex with new content. As part of the fortification, it is planned to open a separate Museum of Intangible Heritage in Međimurje called “Treasury of Međimurje”. This project is 85% funded by the European Union.
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