Secrets are hidden. And one of sweetest is being kept for centuries in hills of Zagorje. Because while the world suffered from wars, greed, human insanity – Zagorje lived “peace“
Wise men felt it, so in the “bregi“ (hills) sprouted numeros luxurious castles, Curiae, green and flower parks. And where the castles are, there is literary nights, plays, actors, musicians, concerts, songs, folklore, “popevka“. That inimitable rustic spirit lives on today. Countryside is fairy tale. In Zagorje it’s at hand.
Rustic spirit of Zagorje is best felt in wealthy cultural offer. Tradition is the one which lived in green hills for centuries “underneath old roofs“, in salons and parks of many castles. And there is no place which has so many square feet of it as Zagorje does.
In times of Turkish invasions, Croatian Parliament was in session in the old town of Krapina. Krapina was at the time one of the rare free oasis in which mother tongue was spoken and sung without fear. So it is no surprise that even today it is a center of “kajkavskih popevki“ (songs in the local dialect). Legendary festival hall writes and celebrates Kajkavian culture and way of life every fall. Idea of Illyrianism was thought out by Ljudevit Gaj there, and memory of that event is kept in local museum. All that is only 500 meter form globally important archeological site of Krapina Neanderthal. That written history pf the planet can be experienced in unique exhibition of Krapina Neanderthal Museum.
And this is not the only time machine, because in near Gornja Stubica in the castle Oršić the Museum of peasant revolts is taking us back to the time of the famous Matija Gubec. In his honour every February Stubica-puntar (old Stubica soldiers) become warriors in the massive staging of the legendary revolt. And when the spring sun warms the scene of the famous battle, Stubica countryside once again celebrates the nobility. The famous Knightly tournament brings us back to the time when reaching for sword because of a lady affection was noble.
A similar tournament is held also at the foot of the powerful legendary towers of the castle Veliki Tabor. Tabor walls are guardians of the most famous local love story, the legend of Zagorje-Juliet – Veronika Desinićka who was, because of the unhappy love with a noble man, walled up in the walls of the castle. On the foundations of that legend the most popular local short film festival – Tabor film festival is held here.
Love is celebrated also through the “Zagorje wedding” in the nearby ethno museum in the open – Kumrovec Staro selo (Kumrovec Old Village). The birthplace of Josip Broz Tito is the favourite excursion site of many generations, and all who drop by in Kumrovec cannot bypass the nearby Klanjec, where the Gallery of Antun Augustinčić – whose legendary “Messenger of peace” decorates the UN building in New York – is situated. Why go to New York when the top culture lives on the green hills. In Zagorje fairy tale is at hand.