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.
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.
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.
Our visit to Klanjec couldn’t be possible without efforts and help of Tourist Board of Town Klanjec and its staff.
Photos by: Andrea Seifert, www.mint-media.hr and TZ Klanjec