Tag Archives: Franciscans


Just north from Nova Gradiška, mere ten minutes drive from the city centre, lies a village Cernik. It is a lot older settlement than Nova Gradiška and boasts with historical and religious monuments. In 1525 the noble family Dežević gets permission to rule the baroque castle Cernik. Just some ten years afterwards the castle together with strongholds of Šag, Gračanica, and Podvrška falls into the Turkish hands.

Turks used the castle for their regional political, military, economy, craftsmanship and religious centre. It returns in the Austrian/Croatian hands in 1691. Later the castle is transformed in a baroque mansion which changed the owners frequently.

But Cernik is far more famous for its Church of Saint Peter and the Franciscan Monastery. The first Franciscans came here in the end of 17th century, when they lived in the wooden constructions. In 1728 the contemporary monastery starts to be built. Three wings of the monastery encircle the inner garden, while the fourth is closed by the Church of Saint Peter, a beautiful masterpiece of the religious architecture built in 1743/1745. The church has many ornamented altars inside.

But the real treasure lies in the monastery’s museum, where many archaeological artefacts from the Biblical lands are on the permanent display. The time spans from the prehistory up to the Turkish period and items are usually tied to the everyday life. There are also many Bibles and the older manuscript replicas on various languages. It also displays the Croatian translation of Biblical texts. The monastery also houses a very valuable cultural-historical library, among which two very rare incunabula, and some five thousand books of religious, artistic, literature, medicine, and natural content.

The rolling hills of Cernik are slopes of the tongue-twisting Psunj Mountain, the highest mountain of Slavonia (Brezovo polje peak is at mere 988 metres above sea level). Although quite low even by the Croatian standards, Psunj is beautiful place for outdoor pleasures, especially in summer when rich woodlands make so necessary shadows from the hot sun. Hiking, camping, cycling, hunting and fishing are among great possibilities of enjoyment on Psunj.

Many head to the Strmac destination, which is situated in a picturesque mountain valley made by the Šumetlica creek. The air is excellent here and very suitable for the modern psychiatric unit of the Saint Raphael Hospital, run by the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God. In Strmac is also a mountain hut of the Strmac Mountaineering Club from Nova Gradiška, founded in 1932. They care for the hiking trails and paths all over Psunj and one of them leads to the Gračanica Fort, a unique bastion from the Middle Ages, possibly built by the mystical Templar Knights.

Klanjec – Historical Town in Sutla Valley

Largest city in Sutla valley is Klanjec, picturesque cultural and historical centre of the western part of Croatian Zagorje, situated beneath ruins of medieval Cesargrad castle. First mentioned in 1463 in a document of King Matthias Corvinus, Klanjec remained a very cosy town with extraordinary cultural and architectural heritage.

Many craftsmen, merchants, and famous persons lived in Klanjec and citizens are very proud of this heritage. The authors of first Croatian dictionary Ivan Broz and Franjo Iveković were born here, as well as the great painter Oton Iveković and famous sculptor Antun Augustinčić. Antun Mihanović, the author of Croatian national anthem lived his last days in Klanjec.

One thing everyone will immidiatelly notice in Klanjec is the parish church of Announcement of Virgin Mary and Franciscan Monastery joined to it. We were lucky to have almost a personal tour through this sacral treasure. The church itself is one of the best preserved baroque sacral monuments in Croatia, with adorned altars and beautiful nave and paintings of Italian and Austrian masters. We were taken through sacristy to the inner corridors of the Franciscan monastery where sadly only two friars now live. Within the walls of monastery is also a unique library with several centuries old books.

But what really strike the visitors are two sarcophagi from the tomb of the noble Erdödy family. One is sarcophagus of Croatian ban Sigismund Erdödy who died in 1639. The elaborate sarcophagus is also a testament to the long connection between Klanjec and Erdödy family. Everything began in 1630 when Sigismund and his cousin Nikola gave the land to the Bosnian friars, obligating them to build a monastery and a church. The family decided that the church will become their mausoleum.

Another sarcophagus is the one of Emerik Erdödy, count of Varažidn and Sigismund’s nephew who died some 50 years after his uncle. There are big stylistic differences between two sarcophagi, and Emerik’s is especially adorned with deer horns and skulls, resembling the famous mausoleum of Habsburg family in Vienna. No wonder, as they were done by Viennese masters Lauffer and Stumpf who made sarcophagi for Ferdinand III. Habsburg and his two wives. Sigismund’s resting place is ornamented with golden lions, angels, palms, and berries, giving it a substantial baroque decor.

World famous Antun Augustinčić was born in Klanjec in 1909 and the town opened a gallery in his honour in 1976, where permanent exhibition is thematically divided into intimate plastics, portraits, and public monuments for which Augustinčić is known worldwide. A new gallery is now open, featuring a more modern approach to art.

Zelenjak – poetic introduction to Zagorje cuisine

Klanjec is also a centre of gastronomy surroundings. Although the town itself has no particular restaurant, vicinity boasts with fine restaurants, agritourisms, vineyards. In Klanjec itself a particularly pleasant place is wine cellar, wine and honey tasting room Klanječka Pelnica. It is located in a medieval manor which the family Erdödy built in the mid 18th century as their barn. Organised groups of up to 60 people can contact the Tourist Board of Klanjec to enjoy the testing of premium wines from Klanjec’s vineyards and local culinary specialties.

Broz Winery

Sever – Wines under the Cesargrad Hill

Among the wine makers we have visited Sever and Broz wineries, but there are also others worth trying. Family farm Jambrešić is known for eco-production of aromatic and therapeutic blackberry wine Kupilek, obtained by natural fermentation of ripe blackberries on sunny plantations of eco-farm, and they also offer jam and blackberry syrup. Family cellar Petrišić boasts with award-winning wines Graševina, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Yellow Plavac, Cabernet Sauvignon, Frankovka, and Traminer. Family farm Posavec cultivates Chardonnay, Riesling, Graševina, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Cuvee Posavec, while Grape and Wine Production Lovrek is famous for its mixed white wine Lovrek, Silvaner, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir-Rose, an Graševina. All of these wineries will welcome you in their tasting room.

Fairytale at Stara Vodenica

Our visit to Klanjec couldn’t be possible without efforts and help of Tourist Board of Town Klanjec and its staff.

TZ Klanjec
Trg Antuna Mihanovića 2, Klanjec

Photos by: Andrea Seifert, www.mint-media.hr and TZ Klanjec