Let's say you are in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. You have visited some of the museums, parks, vibrant streets, and squares. And now, it's the time to move towards the seaside. Only 70 kilometers from Zagreb, in Karlovac County, I'd recommend a short break. Our destination is Ozalj, an intriguing and unique town, full of history with its impressive castle. So, let's go!
Ozalj is maybe one of the most underestimated places in Croatia, while the city and its region have a lot to offer to all of us. Ozalj's history is exciting and important to know. That's how we can perceive the town better. According to historians and archeologists, Ozalj was inhabited since the prehistory. From the mid-14th century until the end of the 17th century, the town lived its most glorious days. In this period, the noble houses of Zrinski and Frankopan were ruling the city. Its influence is huge and still visible in the Ozalj Old Town. As the records say, the town of Ozalj was unofficial Croatian capital for some period.
Ozalj Old Town or Ozalj Castle (in Croatian: Stari grad Ozalj or Gradina Ozalj) was built on the river Kupa, during the city's glorious period, on the foundations of the 13th-century fortification. Later, in the 18th century, it was renovated, and since then, it has the present shape. It looks amazing how the castle was built on a cliff of a river. Around the castle, nature is extremely beautiful and somehow all green. So, it's clear why its founders chose this exact place. Today, Ozalj Castle is home to a library and a museum (Zavičajni muzej). In the museum, one can learn more about Zrinski-Frankopan period, as well as artifacts from prehistory, Middle Age until today.
Ozalj Castle itself is one of the most significant historical sites in Croatia with its various architectural styles, that witness multiple periods - from the Romans until the late 19th century. That makes it so intriguing and unique.
Ozalj's citizens and visitors are blessed with its nature. The Kupa River is beautiful, and on its banks, you can rest from the town heat or just make a break while traveling. Nearby is Žumberak-Samoborsko polje, a nature park perfect for hiking, cycling or climbing.
Ozalj, an intriguing and unique town, is definitely one of the places off the beaten path. Its nature and its castle are splendid and definitely worth visiting. In the end, let me complete this story with one stunning video that represents all Ozalj beauties, during all four seasons. PS: Don't forget to try wine together with strudel (Croatian: štrudla, the local pastry. By the way, Ozalj people made the biggest strudel in the world - 1479,38 meters long).
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