Visiting Turopolje region near Zagreb, Croatia
Lowland region South East from Zagreb is called Turopolje. It is beautiful and fertile mass of fields and rivers with one hilly section - Vukomericke Gorice. Cultural, historical and archaeological sites are plentifully. From prehistoric, Roman, Medieval and later times different sites and traces can be seen. Ethnological treasures found in national costumes, ways of stitching, songs, structure of old farmer units and so on are still being discovered and preserved. Small wooden chapels are absolutely unique for Turopolje. Its rich history was marked with numerous manor houses belonging at one time or another to foreign and local nobility. One of the major natural resources are big oak forests. (Connection with wooden structures)
Velika Gorica is the main center. It is placed only 16 km South from Zagreb and is considered to be part of greater Zagreb. It's position is near the airport and close to big road junction. Velika Gorica is dynamic, fast growing town often neglected because of the capitals vicinity. In it's center is Turopoljski grad erected in 18Th century. That place was a seat of Noble Municipality of Turopolje. It has a long and proud history marking many laws, regulations and rules typical for this part of Croatia. Turopoljski grad today is a local museum with small but interesting collections.
Important and valuable site near Velika Gorica is Andautonija (Scitarjevo, 8 km NW from the town). It used to be political and military center of Illyrian tribe Andautonians and after they lost it became Roman municipium. Andautonija is hexagonal in plan with remnants of Roman building, parts of the road, spa, pottery, coins and so on. The traces of ancient Romans are found in many villages near Scitarjevo. They are worth visiting.
This is the place where Fiddler on the roof was filmed many years ago.
One of the greatest treasures of Turopolje region are wooden churches and chapels. It is believed that this way of building started already in the Middle ages and became more and more common in the years of Ottoman invasion and destruction. It was common, practical and desirable in 17 Th century to replace former church (made from brick) by wooden structures.
These churches and chapels are with no doubt most precious examples of traditional folk architecture. Very famous are Santa Barbara in Velika Mlaka, Holy Apostles in Busevec, on the Plesko field near the airport is chapel of the wounded Christ and so on.
Only five wooden sacral buildings have been preserved till today.
Kravarsko, Orle and Pokupsko are other three municipalities in the Turopolje region. Their past go to distant times.
Turopolje and Velika Gorica used to be very agricultural. In a manner it still is but with growth, spreading and nearby Zagreb it became center for local recreation and entertainment. It hosts small and big carnival, St Georges day in April, International Folklore Festival in June. Beer festival and so on.
Galzenica gallery and Kordic gallery offer interesting projects for art lovers. Museum of Turopolje (mentioned before) is a must to visit.
Near Velika Gorica is lake Cice and a village with same name. In the nice and warm weather it is a place to visit for swimming, water skiing and sun bathing.
Some parts of Turopolje were badly damaged in Homeland war but effort and industrious approach of local people already changed it. Section of Vukomericke Gorice became residential areas combined with previous weekend houses only. Many commercial facilities stretch with the road that connects Velika Gorica with Zagreb. Although it became indisputable part of metropolitan area so many charm is still preserved and it would be shame to miss it.
About the Author: Josephine Boehm is an Art Historian and author. If you want to read more of her writing visit her blogs: Guide to Croatia and Josephines art history blog. Her web site Croatia vacations is a great place to find short information about almost every major Croatian vacation spot and resort.