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Medimurska zupanija

Medimurska zupanija, or Medimurje County, located in the northernmost part of Croatia, is one of Croatia's 20 integral self-governing units. Medimurje region contributes to the state borders with Hungary to the northeast, to the northwest, the county borders Slovenia, while to the south, Medimurje borders Varaždin County and Koprivnica-Križevci County. Geographically, the region is bounded by the Mura and Drava rivers. The area is often referred to as the "flower garden of Croatia," with fairly diverse landscapes, including vine-covered hills, fertile plains, and the various natural habitats of the Mura River. Međimurje's location and developed transport infrastructure also make it a considerable gateway to Central and Eastern Europe.[11] One of the natural protected areas in the Medimurje region is the Regional Park Mura-Drava featuring a variety of habitats creating a home to a number of species, namely waterbirds.[5] Concerning local history, one of the historical focal points in Medimurje is its capital city, Čakovec, found in the central part of the county. Čakovec's territory has been inhabited since ancient times when the area was part of the Roman Empire.[6] In the heart of Čakovec is located Perivoj Zrinski, a park featuring the Zrinski Castle, which is home to the Museum of Medimurje.[12] 

What Medimurska zupanija is known for

Čakovec, located in the central part of Medimurje County, is both its capital and the largest city. The area of today's city has been inhabited since ancient times when in the 1st century, the geographer Strabo reported that the present-day location of Čakovec was known as "Aquama" during Roman times. At that time, it was a marshland and served as a military post and a camp for Roman legionnaires.[6] Thus, several historical and cultural landmarks can be found within the city's borders. One such attraction is the Zrinski Castle, located in the historical part of town. The Zrinski family, known for their military power, acquired Čakovec and Međimurje in the mid-16th century. Manors and castles are located throughout Međimurje, with one of the examples being the Zrinski Castle in Čakovec, which now houses the Museum of Međimurje. Additionally, the museum's atrium is used as an outdoor theatre in summer.[12] In an attempt to preserve the folklore and traditions of the Medimurje region, the Museum of Intangible Heritage "Treasury of Međimurje" has been established. The museum houses records of Međimurje's songs, traditions, beliefs, and crafts that were passed down through generations. This intangible heritage complements the material culture exhibited in the Old Town's fortification in Čakovec. Furthermore, Međimurska popevka, traditional children's toys, and gingerbread crafts are listed on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.[9] 

Medimurje County offers a fairly wide selection of activities for outdoors enthusiasts. Water lovers can enjoy Mura and Drava rafting, while horseback riding, paintball in the adrenaline park, and quad biking are available in the region as well. Swimming in thermal spas or Čakovec pools is another possible option. Individual sports enthusiasts can participate in golfing at Spa & Sports Resort Sveti Martin. Moreover, hunting and fishing opportunities are available for those seeking outdoor adventures.[10] 


Međimurje County, located in the northernmost part of Croatia, is characterized by its flat terrain between two rivers, the Mura and the Drava. Mura River forms the county's northern and eastern borders with Slovenia and Hungary, while the Drava flows along its southern border. There's also the Trnava River that runs through the county. In terms of still waters, the Medimurje region features two reservoir lakes, Lake Varaždin and Lake Dubrava, which supply hydroelectric power plants, with Lake Dubrava being the largest artificial lake in Croatia. Medimurje's landscape has varying elevations, with the highest point at 344 meters and Čakovec, the county seat, at around 160 to 165 meters. Agriculture occupies a significant portion of the county, with orchards, vineyards, grasslands, and forests covering a total area of 105 square kilometers.[3]

The Regional Park Mura-Drava covers approximately 87680 hectares of the Medjimurje County area. The Mura and Drava rivers are among the last lowland rivers in central Europe with natural courses, fostering considerable diversity of plant and animal species. Riparian forests, wet grassland, backwaters, abandoned riverbeds, meanders, sandbars, and eroded steep riverbanks make up the local landscape. The wetlands are home to 60 habitat types and 37 endangered species. Predominant among them are bird species since approximately 20,000 waterbirds, such as geese, ducks, Eurasian coot, and others, tend to winter in the area.[5]

In terms of local weather conditions, the climate of Medimurska zupanija is continental, with hot summers and cold winters that typically have temperatures dropping below 0°C.[3] The warmest month in Medimurje's capital city, Čakovec, 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 also tends to be the driest month in Čakovec because it generally receives 37 mm of rainfall on average. In contrast, most precipitation falls during July, as it gets an average of about 86 mm.[4]


Medimurska zupanija, or Međimurje, has evidence of Neolithic settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Celts, Pannonians, and Romans later inhabited the area. However, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the lands of Medimurje witnessed migrations and eventually remained part of the Zagreb Diocese. As part of the Croatia-Hungary Union, Međimurje shared Croatia's outcome but was considered part of Hungary. Despite the Ottoman conquest of Hungary, Međimurje remained unconquered.[1] 

The town of Čakovec, today's capital city of Medimurje, was named after Dimitrije Čak and had its beginnings in the 13th century with the construction of defensive walls. In 1333, the town was reportedly declared a "center more important than other places" and was gifted to Croatian ban Stjepan I. Lacković. The city experienced considerable development during the 16th and 17th centuries under the Zrinski family, which was a family of Croatian military leaders and intellectuals. Apart from the military-strategic position, the area was a hub of trade and crafts. However, earthquakes and fires damaged the city considerably.[2] 

Following the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, civil disorder erupted in the Međimurje region. The National Council of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs attempted to take control but was initially defeated. In a second attempt led by Slavko Kvaternik, Hungarian troops were forced to withdraw, and on January 9, 1919, Međimurje joined the newly established Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The region underwent several administrative changes until it became part of the Banovina of Croatia in 1939. During World War II, Međimurje was occupied by Hungary, but it was later liberated by Bulgarian troops and incorporated into socialist Croatia within Yugoslavia.[3]