Veliki Tabor Castle – 69 km from Zagreb

Castle Veliki Tabor is the most famous Croatian castles.

The castle located on an elevated space covered in vegetation In the northwestern part of the Croatian Zagorje, not far from the settlement of Desinic, just 69 km from Zagreb city.

Veliki Tabor is found in the UNESCO high category world monuments list.

Veliki Tabor Dvorac Palace Zagorje Croatia

The castle was built in the 15th century, and played the part of a fortifications object protecting from the Turkish conquerors, which influence could be seen in its name. Count Rattkaj, who became the owner of Veliki Tabor 500 years ago, initiated works to rebuild the fortified object into a palace.

Veliki Tabor was property of the Rattkaj family for 300 years, and during this period, its architecture underwent significant change. Then, the palace exchanged hands: first, it was bought by the Foreign minister of Austria, then, the Grunwald merchants, and at the beginning of the 20th century, it was bought by the famous Croatian artist Oton Ivekovic.

Here, in the palace rooms, he created his outstanding works and paintings. During the Second World War, a school for village children, organised by the nunnery “Children of Mercy”, operated in the palace.

Veliki Tabor Dvorac Palace Zagorje Croatia

After the Second World War, a group of enthusiasts headed by the Professor Josip Stimac decided to save Veliki Tabor from being destroyed, and since 1993, the palace has been under the protection of the museum organisation “The Museums of the Croatian Zagorje”.

Veliki Tabor, which looks like a giant mushroom rising against the blue sky, causes a lot of amazement among the lovers of old things, the visitors and the travellers passing by the palace along the roads of the Croatian Zagorje due to its unusual shape and location. Twelve different kinds of roof cover give the whole building a special relief. The core of the palace is a hexagonal structure, which is ringed by walls and towers.

The towers still bear marks of stone carvings dating back to the Late Gothic period. The court of the palace is of irregular shape with arches and balconies. Over the palace entrance, there hangs the Rattkaj coat of arms. The palace offers its visitors to look at its museum collections and exhibitions, as well as some entertainment programmes. The wine cellar with its large press is a place where in summer, you can enjoy the cool, and in winter relative warmth and drink a glass of wine.

The palace houses a collection of old means of transportation, a rich ethnographical collection, there is the first manufacture that made medicines, a picture gallery, a major collection of pottery, the armour of the “sad knight” and many other things.

The secrets of Veliki Tabor

The legend of Veronika Desnicska and her unhappy love to Friedrich Celjski is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful legends of the Croatian Zagorje. The legend is dated the 15th century and speaks of love of the son of the lord of Veliki Tabor Friedrich Celjski to a beautiful peasant girl Veronika from the settlement of Desinic.

When he was once travelling around the fief of his father, Friedrich saw the beautiful Veronika. The beauty of the young peasant girl charmed Friedrich, and he fell in love with Veronika at first sight. Unable to deal with the flaming passion, Celjski decided to get rid of his wife Elizabeth, to whom he had been married for eight years. In a spell of rage, Celjski brutally murdered Elizabeth, and two years later, the beautiful Veronika became his wife.

Friedrich’s father Herman, condemning his son’s love to a common peasant girl, decided to punish him by going to the Hungary-Croatian king Sigismund. The king’s sentence was death penalty. But the king’s wife Barbara (Friedrich’s sister) pitied her brother, and she started to plead that her husband pardon him and cancel the verdict. The king did and gave Friedrich to his father, who later imprisoned his son in a fortress in Celje.

Veliki Tabor Dvorac Palace Zagorje Croatia

In this fortress, Friedrich spent five years away from his beautiful Veronika. Veronika, who remained without Friedrich’s protection, was charged with witchcraft. But the court did not recognise Herman Celjski’s accusations and acquitted her, and Veronika was freed. Nevertheless, Herman imprisoned the beauty, who no longer had the strength to resist, in the tower of Veiki Tabor palace, where she was later walled up alive by his orders.

According to legend, ever since, the ghost of the weeping Veronika imploring Friedrich for help appears in Veliki Tabor and the area of Desinic every night. So, Veliki Tabor palace became the tomb of a passionate and unhappy love.

Autumn in Veliki Tabor Castle traditionally hosts the weekend of the Medieval Holidays.

Autumn in Zagorje Croatia

Autumn in Zagorje Croatia

Veliki Tabor open for visitors all year round.

The castle is opened for visitors:

  • Tuesday – Friday from 9:00 to 16:00
  • Saturday – Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00
  • the museum is closed on Mondays
  • last visitor 1 hour before closing

Entrance ticket to Veliki Tabor costs:

  • for adult 25 kn, app.3.5 euro
  • for children, students and senior 15 kn, app. 2 euro

Address of the castle:

Košnički Hum 1, 49 216 Desinić

Veliki Tabor on map of Croatia

Official web of Veliki Tabor castle