Farms, churches and castles


A typical residence in Haloze and Zagorje used to be a house made from hewn timber. It was usually erected without foundations and placed only on corner stones. The location was always carefully selected. People from Haloze and Zagorje have been devout and modest people for centuries. This is witnessed by numerous churches erected on the most exposed locations. The well preserved mighty castles of Trakošćan, Borl, Mauretinci, Hamre, and the Pavlinski complex gaze down upon the landscape from the hill tops.

 It is very difficult to come across a typical house nowadays. Some typical houses have nevertheless been preserved and are a good example for reconstruction.

Vuk's homestead

A wooden "cimprana" house with a kitchen with fireplace, a room with baker's oven, balcony and thatched roof sits on a basement made from stone. It dates back to the Eighties of the 19th century.

Dominko's homestead

Everyone is amazed by this 300 years old typical Pannonian house with its walls from logs still firmly standing. The builders had to be real masters of carpentry and "cimpranje" and roofing, as they were usually one and the same person.

There are many still inhabited old houses on many slopes in Zagorje and in particular in Jamno under Sv. Avguštin. Many old Zagorje houses such as Banfićeva house in Jarki pri Cestica are being reconstructed.

In Marčan and Vinica they once built stone houses, because of the vicinity of a quarry, made from hand sawn calcite stone "vinecite", which is very soft and at the same time solid. Such houses can be seen at the centre of Vinica and its surroundings.


            There are twenty churches to be visited and some ruins on top in the relatively small Haloze area. Such sacral heritage is hard to describe in short and we will therefore only provide a list and present its basic features and distinctions.



Church of St. Nicholas, deanery and parish church, first mentioned in 1430, the current building dates from 1670 with quality Baroque furnishing;

Church of Virgin Mary, the patron of rafters on Drava, was built in 1538;

 St. Mohor on Turški vrh, 17th century, late Gothic presbytery, excellent lookout point at the national border;

 Church of St. John, Gorenjski vrh, local name Janž, 17th century, Baroque furnishing;

 St. Urban, ruins of a late Gothic church on Belski vrh (Vrbajnšak, 412 m above the sea level, the church was destroyed by lightning in the 19th century.



Church of St. Margaret
The church stands on a presumed location of a Roman temple and was first mentioned in 1391. The present neo Romanesque image of the church dates from 1854. The Germans blasted the church during the Second World War but the locals immediately repaired it.


Church of St. Catherine at the Bela brook was built around 1290 as a late Romanesque building, the first church in the interior of Haloze. Turks burnt it down in 1532 and the locals quickly rebuilt it. It was later abandoned and is now empty.

Church of St. Barbara sits on a place where a decade after Turkish carnages the chapel of St. Barbara was built, surrounded by a defence wall, and then replaced in 1674 with the present church nave and added in 1750 the 52 meters high Baroque church tower, which is one of the tallest and most beautiful in the Štajerska region. Owners of the Borl Castle, Counts of Sauer, buried in the crypt of the church, helped the most in building of the church.

Church of St. Anne, Veliki vrh, pilgrim church (26 July) was built between 1684 (when the Church of St. Barbara in Cirkulane was completed) and 1699, quality Baroque furnishing with three altars by the Maribor sculptor Franc Krištof Reiss.

Church of St. Elizabeth in Pohorje, built before 1673, lookout point.


Zgornji Leskovec

Church of St. Andrew, parish church in Leskovec, built before 1545, rebuilt several times, rich paintings.

Churches of St. Augustine and St. Magdalene, Velika Varnica, 504 m above the sea level, exceptional view of Haloze, Zagorje, Pannonian valley, Pohorje and Slovenia all the way to the Alps. Church of St. Augustine is the only Slovenian pilgrim church dedicated to this saint, built around 1800, and from the same period is also the Church of St. Magdalene only a few steps away, both just a few meters from the national border.


Church of St. Vitus
The core of the church dates back to the Romanesque period. It got its present image back in 1445; Gothic core, reconstructed in Baroque style, the altar of St. Rocco is the work of Jožef Straub.

Succursal church of St. John, used to be the chapel of the former Traun Castle, Dravinjski vrh, Romanesque building, built around 1300, church tower younger, several Roman stones built in the chapel, the most famous is the relief of the flight of Ifigenia from Taurides.

Church of st. Family, Sela


The Church of Maryhas 
Gothic architecture with star-shaped arched presbytery, the church was surrounded by a wall for protection against Turkish raids (already in ruins), it was the parish church until 1828, when the parish seat was transferred to the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Church of the Holy Trinity, Gorca, is a majestic Baroque building dating from 1654, the main altar dates from 1671. The building by the church is the Minorite monastery of the Holy Trinity dating from the same period.

Church of the Holy Spirit, Rodni vrh, dating from 1662, with an older presbytery dating from the 15th century, lookout point.

The new church of Mary Stanošina


Church of St. Michaelin Žetale, Gothic building from the 15th century.

Church of Mary the Comfortern Brezje pri Žetalah, built between 1716 and 1723, majestic Baroque building, church organ by Celje organ maker Frančišek Janeček from 1763.

Church of St. Sebastianunder Resenik dating from 1414, dedicated to the patron saint against the plague, built during a plague epidemic.

Church of St. Donatounder Donačka gora, built between 1716 and 1741 on the southern slope, žrmljenšak, special stone for grinding cereals in querns was produced there According to a popular legend, the church once stood on the top of Donačka gora (883 m above the sea level) but a lightning struck and destroyed it and then one of the two church towers rolled down the southern slope stopping where the church stands today.

Church of st, Mohor and Fortunat from the 15th c., Kupčinji vrh


Church of St. Anthony the Hermit was first mentioned in 1441. The original Gothic building was reconstructed a number of times. Statues on the high altar, dating from 1750, are the work of the famous Jožef Straub.

Ptujska Gora

Church of Mary the Patron with Coat
Stone relief on the high altar dating from the beginning of the 15th century represents Mary with the child, who took under her coat and thus protected a number of real people of the time. An exceptional Gothic space and architecture, a number of Baroque altars, exquisite (Baroque) pulpit, some of the most beautiful Gothic plastic arts and contemporary windows – the singing windows representing the Sun Poem of St. Francis.

Church of St. John the Baptist dating from the 15th century, Janški vrh, sitting on the highest point in the area (462 m above the sea level), destroyed by the Turks in 1487, lookout point.


Church of St. Nicholas
It was a parish church back in the mid-13th century. The present building was constructed in 1639 and has been reconstructed several times since then.

Church of St. Wolfgang, Jelovice, dating from 1649, reconstructed a decade ago, painted wooden ceiling and frescos uncovered.


Parish church of St. Mary in Lepoglava
It is an exceptional piece of Gothic church architecture later reconstructed in Baroque style and is particularly famous for frescos of the most famous artist of this type, Paulinite Ivan Krstitelj Ranger ((18th century) who painted many churches in Croatia. His artistic work in the Haloze-Zagorje Tourist Zone is also present in chapels of St. John in Gorica, St. George in Purga and Our Lady of the Snow in Žarovnica, and parish churches of Blessed Virgin Mary in Višnjica, St. Martin in Donja Voća and St. Bartholomew in Kamenica.

Church of St. Mary in Lepoglava

Monastery complex in Lepoglava

Parish house in Lepoglava


     St. George in Purga

     St. Thomas in Kamenica

     St. Florian in Zlogonje

     Our Lady of the Snow in Žarovnica

     St. John on Gorica in Lepoglava 

     St. Francis Xaver in Donja Višnjica and 

     St. Jacob in Očura

 Parish church of St. Bartholomew in Kamenica

 Curia of the parish house in Kamenica

 Parish church of Assumption of Mary in Donja Višnjica

 Parish house in Donja Višnjica

Municipality of Cestica and Natkrižovljan

Church of St. Barbara in Natkrižovljan
One of the most beautiful lookout points overseeing the hills of Haloze and Zagorje can be found near the church of St. Barbara in Natkrižovljan. The view takes us to Varaždin, Donačka gora, the Varaždin and Ptuj fields, on the vineyards and to the Drava river. The church was built in Baroque style and has the famous pieta – the Mother of God with dead Jesus in her arms – made according to the Michelangelo's model and carved from a single piece of wood.

The legend has it that the best vine first cultivated already by the Romans grows on the slopes between the two churches of St. Barbara – that in Natkrižovljan and the one in Cirkulane. According to the legend the wine from these parts was drunk in Rome in the ancient times even before the birth of Christ.

Miklin chapel in Križanč and the chapel of St. Laurence in Mali Lovrečan

Elevation curch of the Holy Cross in Radovec

Curia of the parish house in Natkrižovljan

Municipality of Vinica

Church of St. Mark the Evangelist

Burial chapel of Count Erdedy in Gornji Ladanj

Column of St. George in Dolnje Vratno

Column with the painting of Tired Jesus in Dolnje Vratno

Municipality of Donja Voća

Chapel of St. Thomas and Isidore in Donja Voća

Parish church of St. Martin in Donja Voća

Curia of the parish house in Donja Voća

Municipality of Klenovnik

Parish church of the Holy Trinity in Klenovnik

Column of St. John of Nepomuk in Klenovnik

Chapel of St. Vuk in Vukovoj

Municipality of Bednja

Column with the statue of Madonna in Bednja


     St. John in Trakošćan

     The Three Holy Men in Melja 

     St. Joseph in Sveti Josip

     St. Valentine in Vrbno 

Curia of the parish house in Bednja

Parish church of St. Mary in Bednja

Parish house in Sveti Josip

Municipality of Đurmanec

Parish church of St. George in Đurmanec


     The Queen of Crown in Gornji Macelj,

     Blessed Virgin Mary in Hromec 

     The Lady of Lourdes in Goričanovec

Municipality of Jesenje

Parish church of St. John the Baptist in Gornje Jesenje 

Parish house in Gornje Jesenje


           The mighty castles are another characteristic of the Haloze and Zagorje countryside.



It is a pearl of Croatian Zagorje. Many believe this to be the most beautiful and most romantic Croatian castle. It has a museum collection of Baroque furniture and small items. Trakoščan was under different lords until the mid-16th century – from Counts of Celje to Jan Vitovec, and in 1568 the castle came under a long period of ownership by the Drašković family. The castle got the present pseudo-Gothic form and image in the mid-19th century when it was arranged as a representative building.

The castle is surrounded by a lake and a park with rich plant life, interesting views and hidden corners.

Paulinite complex in Lepoglava

Lepoglava is a place of mystique and mystery… a place of Croatian history. The Paulinites established a monastery here around 1400. The first Croatian gymnasium was established here in 1503, a school of arts in 1656 and afterwards the first Croatian university. Their majestic buildings were at least partly preserved to the present day (the parish church of St. Mary, the monastery with richly painted walls and furnishing – frescos, altars, church organ and other church furnishing). The Paulinite order was abolished in 1786 and the location was turned into a penitentiary in 1854. Today the monastery is again being arranged as the pastoral centre of the Varaždin Diocese.


The Borl Castle sitting on a sixty meters high rock above the Drava river is one of the largest and most visible feudal buildings in Haloze. It was erected on an important river crossing on the border between Štajerska and Hungary in the beginning of the second millennium. Borl is the building with the thickest castle walls in this part of Europe – tower being the base of the castle has 12 meters thick stone wall. The inner arcade yard with a Baroque tanker carved in solid rock is an interesting sight to see. Several legends are related to the castle and one of them is linked to Parsifal and the search for the Holy Grail.


The Muretinci Castle was first mentioned as a fortified estate of the Borl Castle in an appraisal document of the Borl lords in 1542. The Counts of Szekely were owners of both castles at the time and later the new owners Herbersteins gave the Muretinci Castle its present form (in 1632). Twenty years later the castle was given to the Knight Order of Crusaders from Velika Nedelja, who immediately began the reconstruction and building of the Chapel of St. Anne. A senior citizens home was in the castle for a while and now it is again owned by the Knight Order of Crusaders from Velika Nedelja.


Breg was mentioned for the first time in 1448 and among the nine farms a mill was also mentioned, which the German Minorites changed into a smithy and its German name (Hammer) gave it the present name. The Hamre Castle was by 1461 owned by Minorites from Ptuj, who turned it into the seat of their Upper or Jesenice office from the 16th century. It was reconstructed in Baroque style in 1935 and the forged balustrade dates from that period.


A 17th century castle is also historically important.


The medieval fortified Klenovnik castle was a present from Bela IV to the Mayor of Varaždin Mihaljo, and the new rectangular Renaissance two-storey castle was built by the Counts of Drašković in 1616 who owned it until 1850. The Croatian parliament, Sabor, even held sessions a few times at the Klenovnik castle. After having some foreign owners the castle became the ownership of the Count of Bombelles who sold it to the Central Office for Workers' Insurance in 1925, which opened a clinic for pulmonary diseases in the castle. It is used for that purpose to this day.


The Opeka castle is also located in the park Opeka Arboretum, which got its name from primitive brickworks, where bricks where produced (opeka = brick)… the castle is in need of renovation… Where earth used to be dug for bricks there is a small lake today. Historical data say that the castle dates from the 17th or 18th century and that it has been changed since then. The most important of the many owners were Draškovićs who built today's castle in historic style. Count Franjo Drašković had no son and his daughter Ferdinanda married the Count Marko Bombelles in 1852. Bombelles are a French family and Marko's uncle was married to the ex Napoleon's wife Maria Luisa – an Austrian princess. Marko's father was a teacher of Franz Joseph and Maximilian von Habsburg. The promenade along the castle dates from the 19th century with the prevalent Baroque idea based on the classic English promenade with high aesthetic value and dendrological variety like no other promenade has. The promenade features trees and bushes brought from Japan, China, Tibet, the Caucasus, North America and a number of European countries. Various swamp and water plants grow around the lake.

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