Far away from the larger settlements, in the hilly area of Croatian Zagorje, some 80 km from Zagreb, on a tall hill with a park, in the middle of a park-forest resides the Trakošan Castle. The Castle is an important cultural and historical monument. It has been used as a museum for over half a century and the manor itself and its landscapes have been protected. The castle with the accompanying buildings at the foot of the hill, with its park, lake and immediate part of the park-forest in the area spreading on 87 ha is registered as a cultural good. The Trakošan Castle with its attributes of cultural heritage, the symbols of a magnate life together with the park and lake, is the most romantic area in Croatian Zagorje and a main tourist destination.
HISTORY OF TRAKOŠAN
The Trakošan Castle was at first a small medieval fortress, founded in the 14th century. It was part of a system of forts that watched over the important thoroughfares in north-western Croatia. Castle was situated on a hillock and was constructed to ward off cold steel weaponry. It is not known who built it and it often changed owners until 1569., when it fell into the feudal hands of the croatian nobile family Draškovi, and remained in their possession for around four centuries.
The castle today contains architectural elements of gothic architecture of the 14th century, the renaissance and baroque period (16th to 18th century), and the neogothics from the mid-nineteenth century when the dilapidated, medieval burg was fully restored by the Deputy Marshal George VI. Draškovi, expanding it and turning it into a comfortable and luxurious castle.
With time castles defensive, military and strategic role was lost and it would probably have declined had it not been renovated and adapted to the requirements of modern life by its owners, family Draškovi? in the middle of 19th century. At that time, apart from the castle, the park, spreading through the hill where the castle stands, was decorated as well, the foot of the hill with outhouses was restored and by building a dam in the valley, an artificial lake was created. The architectural renovation and outfitting of Trakošan Castle represented one of the first restoration projects in Croatia whatsoever. The architectural changes and reconstruction work invested in Trakošan transformed it from medieval castle into a manor that was pleasant to live in, and it continued to be a residential home until the end of the Second World War.
The Draškovi family lived in Trakošan until 1944. when they moved to Austria. In 1954. museum institution Trakošan Castle was established, which today manages the entire Trakošan complex which owned by Republic of Croatia.
RESTAURATION AND CONSERVATION
The end of the Second World War found Trakošan in a very bad state. The wartime destruction had spared the architecture, but the interior was gutted. One part of the valuable contents had been removed in time to a museum in Zagreb, mostly the paintings and the collection of weapons. The other objects that remained in the castle were for the most part damaged. Some items were stolen. The furniture was in poor condition. Both structural and decorative elements were smashed or broken, the textiles were ripped, and the rest of the material was stored in unsuitable areas. After the departure of the Draškovi family the palace lacked any adequate purpose, was neglected and without any proper administration, and was left to the mercies of random occasional users that treated it exclusively as a source of material revenue.
With the establishment of the museum institution Trakošan Castle, it became an independent entity with its own professional management and staff. After this, the gradual renovation of Trakošan began. For the last twenty years, renovations at the Trakošan complex have been intensified, and the outbuildings below the castle have been completely redone and acquired a new function, with supplementary museum contents, while one section serves for the refreshment of visitors. The castle itself was in poor condition at the beginning of the 1990′ s. Complicated construction operations were required, including repairs to the roof, resurfacing of the façade, and structural interventions to consolidate the entire edifice. When these were completed, attention was turned to renovating the interior and then new permanent display was created.
With the help and contributors of various state institutions, especially the Ministry of Culture, and despite all the changes in society, that also included war conditions, Trakoš?an was converted from the abandoned, devastated and by the earthquake partly damaged historic property into a remarkable institution in the field of culture.
COLLECTIONS AND DISPLAY
Because of the authenticity of the place’s history and fate the most recent renovation of the museum was carried out according to the conception of the interpretation and presentation of the contents of all the castles phases. Permanent exhibition is focused on the presentation of original architectonal and ambiental monumental values of the castle and it’s surroundings, then on the presentation of original inventry values of representative housing ambiences with the addition of new, attractive museological themes. Presentation is based on the interpretation of Trakoš?an as a monument of feudal architectual heritage ranging from it’s fortificational to it’s residential function and also on showing interior and inventory of family Draškovi?. Attempt was made in the presentation to enable a multilayered interpretation of the cultural, historical, architectural, spatial, artistic and natural features and our intention is to bring our guests closer to the lifestyle of croatian aristocracy through a pleasant walk through the castle and to enlive the image of authentic time and place.
The reconstruction of the rooms has made all parts of the castle accessible to visitors, and in the sequence of the reconstructed original settings there is a storyline that presents the particularities of the former owners and the characteristics of their life style, such as for example the stress on the military past of the Draškovi?es through a unique gallery of portraits of officers or the commissioned wall decoration of regiments from the military careers of family members that took part in the Seven Years War. As against this, the ordinary character of their life is shown by a gallery of children’s portraits, the kitchen or studio of Julijana Draškovi?, the first academy-trained woman painter in 19th century Croatia.
The conception of the permanent display has thus made the most of the possibilities of presenting the museum contents in relation to the authenticity of the historical place as a memory, and at the core of the thinking through of the display was the objective of understanding the complexity of historical changes and the wider cultural history reflections on the whole of the feudal era in this region in Croatia history.
Trakoš?an is the only castle in Croatia that has a display of representative housing ambiences with the preserved original inventory and numerous family objects, which have so far been kept in the museum storage. It’s based on bringing togeather collection of authentic material and installing it in a prestigious building.
Museum has a valuable museum material from the renaissance period to historicism, which is divided into several collections: weapon collection, collection of paintings and prints, collection of furniture, collection of books, collection of photographs, collection of dishes and hunting collection.
Trakoš?an is famous for it’s weapons collection which is extremely valuable entity that gives us the historical overview of cold steel and firearms and the equipment. Collection has about 300 specimens of weapons and protective equipment or their parts produced in the period from 15th until the early 20th century. Today it is difficult to judge which of which came from the time when the castle was a fortress, and who were subsequently acquired for royal decoration. Nevertheless, the value of the collection is unquestionable, and by its typology and content it accompanies military background of Draškovi? family.
Trakošan Castle Images
ACTIVITIES AND DEVELOPMENT
With its many activities all the year round, the museum occupies a central place in the presentation and popularisation of the cultural heritage of the region. Trakoš?an very often serves as a setting for all kind of cultural events becouse of its excellent state of preservation and the unique attractions of its romantic atmosphere. Temporary exhibitions are organised ragulary each year in our two galleries located in the outbuildings bellow the castle and they may not attract as many visitors as castle but they are a source of numerous visual pleasures offered by the works of many Croatian and sometimes international artists.
In order to satisfy the wider interests of the public, in addition to our ordinary museum activities, we also feature an expanded program of local cooperation that encompasses hosting diverse events, concerts, performances. Similary, we rent certain rooms for seminars, presentations, and meetings, and the preserved historical ambient also often serves for various television and photographic filming. The ceremonial “Trakoš?an weddings” are very often held on the terraces of the castle or in the Chapel of the Holly Cross which is located in the gardens.
The museum is the supreme crown in the offerings of cultural tourism in the northwestern part of Croatia, as an essential alement in tourist facility development, and attractive destination for various categories of visitors. As school groups predominate in the structure of visitors, educational activities are of great importance, while we also have a great number of individual visitors who spend the entire day in the castle and its surroundings. After touring the museum, the guests can also descend to the lake and the gardens.
All the previous efforts on preservation, restoration and presentation of the cultural property of Trakoš?an, from organizational, professional to promotional, have resulted in an increasing number of guests. With the annual number of visitors of approx. 70000, we are one of the most visited museums in the country. Museum and a museum exhibition are available to visitors every day of the year.
Once its final restoration, which had been going on for the past couple of years, was finally finished, the castle shone in full splendour and Trakoš?an Castle has become an enviable institution in the field of culture whose features make a unique offer in Croatia and beyond in this part of Europe.
- summer (April- October): 9 till 18 pm
- winter (November- March): 9 till 16 pm
Museum is open every day, including weekends and holidays.
Adults 30,00 kn
School children 15,00 kn
Groups of preschool children 10,00 kn
Professional museum guidance 100,00 kn/group (needs to be announced, group can include a maximum of 50 persons)
Tel: +385(0)42 796 281
FAX: +385(0)42 796 420