More than Words

Samobor: A Hidden Gem of Zagreb Region

Explore the interesting historical revival of the famous battle which happened near Zagreb. And while tracing the trails of it, get to know the beauties of the region surrounding the Croatian capital.

The city of many traditions

Samobor is a picturesque old town located near Zagreb. It is best known for its long tradition of "fašnik" or carnival, which is held every year in February. During that period, the whole city becomes a playfield for dressed up characters, and "maškare" or masked people are even handed over the key of the town in a ceremony.

Another thing that Samobor is famous for is "kremšnite" – the famous dessert which consists of many delicate cream and dough layers. There is not one person who leaves Samobor without trying one of these. So, if you're a dessert lover, I highly recommend a visit to Samobor as a great day trip option.

Image credit: Davor Đopar (arhiva TZG Samobor)

Lastly, Samobor is also a location of the event which revives a battle that took place in 1441 during the Habsburg rule. There is no secret that Croatian history is full of bloody battles in which territory was either defended against many different occupators throughout centuries, or they happened as a result of dissatisfaction of the people with the aristocracy and the elite. After the death of Habsburg king, Albrecht Habsburg, in 1439, the two opposing sides started their battle for the throne. They finally met up on March 1st, 1441, near Samobor and measured the strength of their armies on a battlefield.

This historic battle was reconstructed in 2006, and from then on, every year has been an improved experience with the main goal – the revival of medieval atmosphere and what it all looked like once upon a time.

Image credit: Edin Tuzlak (arhiva TZG Samobor)

The revival of the middle ages 

When I first heard about this event, I didn't know what to really expect of it. But as I've always been a history buff, it caught my attention, and I really wanted to visit it. I did so at last year's event. Now that I have more information and personal experience of it, I can share it all with you in this blogpost.

So, this is how the event functions. The themed reconstruction of the battle is organized every year by different groups that gather lovers of the Middle Ages in collaboration with Samobor museum, Samobor Tourist Board, "Vitezovi zelingradski" association and the association "Oživljena povijest Samobora." 

Image credit: Edin Tuzlak (arhiva TZG Samobor)

Their goal is to give the audience the most realistic reconstruction of this famous battle by using costumes and accessories, which were characteristic for the 15th-century warriors.  The event usually has around 400 participants who have some kind of role in the revival of the battle. The whole thing starts in the morning when the drummers march through the town and proclaim the declaration in which they warn the citizens of Samobor about the upcoming battle. Just like it was in the olden days.

As I learned, by this public announcement, people were warned to stay in their houses and behind the walls of the old town until the battle was finished.  Also, the part which was very interesting to me was a reconstructed talk between the city elders which really accurately shows the atmosphere of that time. I liked the whole experience, and you kind of get pulled into this different time when there was no internet, social media, mobile phones, or any technology whatsoever to make you feel safer in these uncertain times.

Image credit: Edin Tuzlak (arhiva TZG Samobor)

Apart from the reconstruction of the battle, there is also a fair on which different artisans show off their crafts. You can see how objects like shoes, metals, swords, jewelry and much more were made once in the past. It is really amazing to see how people learned this craft and passed it on from one generation to another and how strong the tradition is even though today with mass production and technology, we have more products available than ever before.

What more to explore in the Samobor area?

If I sparked an interest to explore more of the Samobor area, here are a few tips. Near Samobor, you can find one of the most beautiful caves of northwest Croatia named "Grgos cave." It is located in the St Barbara mine and it's a very popular weekend destination for many Zagrebians as it is quite close to Zagreb. My advice is though that if you're going there in the warmer months, definitely take a jacket or something long-sleeved with you because temperatures can get quite low inside the cave. But the experience is definitely worth braving the cold and enjoy truly breathtaking sights inside the cave.

Image credit: M. Vrdoljak (arhiva TZG Samobor)

Lastly, if you're a nature lover, definitely consider taking beautiful hiking trails of Samoborsko gorje, the hills located in the Samobor area. Again they are a very dear hiking destination for the people who live in Samobor and Zagreb area. Nature there is beautiful in every season and you can enjoy many of the hiking and biking trails and explore the beautiful nature. If you love to spend your free time actively, this is a perfect spot for you to explore.

Image credit: Arhiva TZZŽ

So if you find yourself in Zagreb for a more extended period of time, make sure to set aside some time to explore the beautiful and interesting towns and locations in its close proximity. You won't regret it. 

Header image credit: R. Ibrišević (arhiva TZG Samobor)

Author: Darija Ilić