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Zagrebacka zupanija

Zagrebacka Zupanija, or Zagreb County, is one of Croatia's 20 counties, surrounding the country's capital, Zagreb, on its south, west, and east sides. Zagreb County contributes to Croatia's state borders with Slovenia in the west. Near the border is located Nature Park Žumberak - Samoborsko Gorje, featuring not only natural but also historical landmarks. There are several hiking trails that may attract visitors who want to explore Zagreb County's nature.[4] Another natural protected area in Zagrebacka Zupanija is Turopoljski Lug, located in the southeastern part of the territory.[5] Generally, the area of Zagreb County covers approximately 3,078 square kilometers of land, with rivers such as Sava, Kupa, Lonja, Krapina, Sutla, and Odra coursing through its territory. Zagrebacka Zupanija is home to approximately 301,206 people, making up 7.75% of Croatia's total population. Velika Gorica is the largest city in the county, while Ivanić-Grad is the smallest. The overall population density is slightly higher than the national average, with the highest mountain regions and floodplains being the least populated areas.[2] One of the predominant attractions to Zagreb County is its history, as there are a number of historical towns and other forms of settlements scattered across the region.[8] One such historical destination is the town of Samobor.[7]

What Zagrebacka zupanija is known for

Zagreb County features a number of historical places and towns that may pique the interest of tourists. One such town is Samobor on Kralja Tomislava Square, where people can observe historical buildings and enjoy local specialties at the Filipec family's tasting room, such as mustard, Samobor cream pies, and bermet. There is also the Samobor Museum, the ruins of the Old Town, and the Anindol Forest Walk. At the old family restaurant Gabrek 1929 and the Etno farm Mirnovec, people can experience local traditional cuisine. In fairly close proximity to the town is also found Grgos Cave and Mine of St. Barbare in Rude, where people can try the traditional miner's greblica pie.[7] 

A number of historical landmarks can be found throughout the county. There is Andautonia archaeological park, and at Zelingrad, there is a 13th-century fortress near Sveti Ivan Zelina, offering insight into the area's past. Travelers can also visit Lukavec Castle in Turopolje, showcasing a Baroque appearance from the 18th century. Jelačić Novi Dvori provides a glimpse into medieval landowners' lives, while Januševec Palace houses the Croatian National Archive. Lužnica Palace near Zaprešić displays Baroque design and features castle gardens. Lastly, visitors can explore the ruins of Patačić Castle and the Petar Zrinski Fortress, where historical figures made an impact.[8] 

People who prefer natural destinations and more active holidays can opt to travel to Nature Park Žumberak - Samoborsko Gorje, which features various hiking routes. Oštrc Trail starts at Šoić's House—a historic mountaineering facility—and continues to the hillfort called Lipovec, providing panoramic views of the surrounding nature. The trail then proceeds to the ridge, climbs to PD Željezničar on Oštrc, and loops back to Šoić's House. This path covers 7.4 kilometers in around 3 hours. As for the Plešivica Trail, this route is a shorter 2.5-kilometer hike that starts at Klet Poljanice hunting lodge and leads to Noršićka Plešivica summit. For a more challenging hike, people can take the Sveta Gera Trail, a 13-kilometer path to the highest peak in the park, Sveta Gera. The hike takes about four to five hours to complete. Furthermore, the nature park also bears considerable historical significance. At the top of Budinjak Hill lies the oldest settlement and largest graveyard in Žumberak, consisting of approximately 140 burial mounds. Archaeologists have excavated only a quarter of these mounds and discovered significant artifacts, including metal weapons, ceramic pots, and jewelry. Among the archeological finds is a preserved bronze helmet, believed to have been worn by the Prince of Budinjak to signify his rank. A replica of this helmet can be seen at the Eco-center Budinjak, while the original is displayed at the museum in Samobor.[4]


The geography of Zagrebacka Zupanija is fairly diverse, with hilly and mountainous regions in the west and lowlands in the south and east—encompassing an area of approximately 3,078 square kilometers. In the west, Žumberačka Gora and Samoborsko Gorge form the highest parts, while low Vukomeričke Gorica separates low Turopolje from lower Pokuplje in the south. The eastern basin of the Lonja River comprises some of the most extensive plains in the territory. Soil quality varies, with alluvial and marshy clay soils along rivers and wet lowlands, pseudoglay soils on drained plains, and brown acidic and leached soils in hilly areas. The water sources are the Sava River and its basin with other rivers, namely Kupa, Lonja, Krapina, Sutla, and Odra. Ponds, lakes, and wetlands such as Black Mlaka provide additional water resources. Forests are relatively preserved in mountainous regions and sparsely populated parts of Pokuplje, with common oak dominating lowlands, sedge oak in drained areas, and beech and fir in hilly regions.[2]

There are several protected areas in the Zagreb County. One such territory is Nature Park Žumberak - Samoborsko Gorje, located in the western part of the region on the borders with Slovenia. The nature park boasts diverse landscapes with limestone karst topography covering about 90% of its surface. The park features 140 known caves, with Dolača being the deepest at 155 meters and Provala being the longest, extending at least 1,862 meters. The area also features over 1,000 different plant species and a variety of animal species, including bears, wolves, and birds. Žumberak - Samoborsko Gorje's forests are home to species such as the Croatian iris and Blagay's daphne. The karst landscapes also support a variety of cave-dwelling organisms, making the park an area for biodiversity preservation in Croatia.[4] Another protected area in Zagreb County, located towards the southeastern borders of the territory, is the Turopoljski Lug. The area provides a range of habitats, supporting a considerable number of plant and animal species protected by national and European laws. The Turopoljski lug and river Odra host 220 bird species, including the common kingfisher and various raptors. Additionally, the area is home to the Alpine pine vole, a glacial relict unique to Turopolje and Motovun forests.[5] 

Regarding climatic conditions in Zagreb County, the territory experiences a continental climate, with warm summers, moderately cold winters, and occasional snowfall.[2] The warmest month in Zagreb is generally July, with an average daily temperature of 28°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, as temperatures average a high of 4°C. January also tends to be the driest month in Zagreb because it generally receives 51 millimeters of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during September, with an average of about 105 millimeters.[6]


Historically, today's area of Zagreb County was an administrative region in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It covered the northern part of present-day Croatia, with Zagreb as its capital. The county shared borders with Styria, Carniola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and several other Croatian counties. It was an important region with the river Sava flowing through it. Throughout history, the territory of Zagreb County had various affiliations, being part of the Kingdom of Croatia, entering a union with Hungary, and later becoming part of the Habsburg monarchy. Zagreb County was re-established after liberation from Ottoman occupation in the 18th century. In 1920, it became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia). Since Croatia gained independence in 1991, the area has been part of the Republic of Croatia.[1]

Zagreb County, also known as Comitatus Zagrabiensis, was initially established in the 18th century, with official recognition given by Empress and Queen Maria Theresa on July 17th, 1759, when a coat of arms and seal was presented. The date is now celebrated as Zagreb County Day. Yet, modern borders of Zagreb County have been in place since January 1st, 1997, with Croatia's capital city, Zagreb, lying outside the county's borders. This ultimately created a county of its own called Grad Zagreb.[2] 

Proof of inhabitation that dates back to ancient times can be found within the borders of Zagrebacka Zupanija. One such place is Andautonia, a Roman settlement located in modern-day Šćitarjevo, which existed between the 1st and 4th centuries AD. It was mentioned by the ancient geographer Ptolemy and later found in the Antonine Itinerary. Excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries revealed Roman artifacts, streets, buildings, and a necropolis. It is believed to have been a municipium—a tribal center under Roman control with local authority. Among the findings was a relief of the goddess Nemesis, suggesting the former existence of an amphitheater. The site is now an archaeological park open to visitors.[3]