Looking from the bridge above the sparkling waterfall of Ozalj, you will see yet another fairytale sight: stone neoclassical palace with a crown-like decoration and graceful arches, surrounded by towering spruce trees...
An uninformed traveller would never imagine that behind the stone building, which looks like a castle, there is an old hydro-power plant of the city of Karlovac – Munjara, one of the most beautiful examples of industrial architecture. The Munjara hydro-power plant was built in less than a year and a half, which is hard to imagine even in today's terms. Herman Bolle, a famous architect, invested his talent in its design. After more than one hundred years, and with more than 5000 working hours per year, it still produces the so-called "green" electricity.
This facility is supervised by the Directorate for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia.
Information number for visitors:
+385 (0) 47 731 404
+385(0) 47 674 350
The Ozalj region has a rich religious heritage with numerous churches and chapels. Particularly interesting are the Ozalj baroque parish church St. Vitus (the patron of Ozalj) first mentioned in 1349 and containing the tomb of Slava Raškaj, and St. Lawrence church in Vivodina, another important monument of baroque architecture built in the 18th century by Baroness Rosina Vojnović Jelačić. The church is located at the top of the hill, where a beautiful view of green vineyards and thick forest extends to the left and to the right.
In the picturesque village of Svetice, located along the road connecting Ozalj with the Karlovac area, next to sun-kissed orchards and vineyards, an extraordinary sacred edifice rises at the ridge of the Vodenice hill – a church with the remains of the once great Pauline monastery. This centuries-old temple of the spirit inspires pilgrims and the increasing number of tourists to come and visit.
Pauline Monastery and Church in Svetice
The Pauline monastery with the parish church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Svetice has been the sanctuary of religion for centuries, but also the sanctuary of Croatian history, art and culture.
long the walls of the old church in Svetice, fig trees which were brought by Glagolitic priests from southern regions still bear fruit. Once, there stood three chapels dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St. Margaret, and St. Catherine, hence the name of the village, Svetice (The Holy Women). This is also the place where Stjepan Frankopan, the last descendant of Ozalj's Frankopan lineage, was buried in 1577.
The first part of the monastery was built in 1627, when the invading Turks chased away Pauline Fathers from Kamensko to Svetice. It was completed in 1660 thanks to the first and long-time prior, Ivan Belostenec, a famous writer and lexicographer. The magnificent three-dialect dictionary “Gazophylacium” was written under the roof of the monastery where Ivan Belostenec, with the dedication of a scientist and inspiration of a poet, collected the treasure of Croatian linguistic diversity for decades, saving it in his treasury.
Hand-carved choir stalls stand out of the extremely valuable inventory of the gothic, and later baroque church. Apart from the main altar, there are also seven other altars, organs, church utensils and clothes, as well as statues and paintings. All of this is outstanding legacy of known and unknown Pauline artists. Passing through the church, drawn by an intricately carved and gleaming main altar, seems to one like leafing through the pages of a richly illustrated art history book from the mid-17th to the 18th century: this is where the best works of famous Pauline painters, Ivan Ranger and Gabriel Taller, are to be found.
Some of the unique features of the church are also crypts (graves) beneath the nave and the sanctuary, arranged in two and three levels with small semi-circular openings. The oldest ones date back to the early 16th century, from the church that preceded the present one and where the bones of long deceased Pauline Fathers and noblemen of our region have been kept for over 500 years.
A picturesque Ethnic Park created with the aim of preserving the cultural heritage, especially architecture, is located along the road towards the village of Trg, less than 1 km from the centre of Ozalj. It is an open museum and a part of the Ethnographic section within the Ozalj Heritage Museum. The Ethnic Park features the traditional architecture and everyday tools of the pre-industrial era. It is organized as an open space collection of residential and business buildings, interiors of low cottage peasant rooms, kitchens and storage areas with authentic inventory, all under professional guidance and monitoring. The cottage roofs covered with rye-straw, so-called škopa, and buildings of hewn wooden beams with so called hrvaški vugli (Croatian corners) are characteristic and represent rare examples of traditional village building.
[Translate to English:] Trg
The methodically built medieval village Trg (the Town Square) is mentioned in 1329 in the charter of Viceroy Mikac. Due to its geographic location, historical development and preserved traditions, it is a unique village in northern Croatia. It is situated on the right bank of the Kupa River, at the band made by its meandering course.
The location of Trg is closely connected to the position of Ozalj that, as an important strategic fort, guarded against access from the Kupa valley into the economically significant Pokupska valley, but it did not provide sufficient protection to residents living beneath the fort. During the first half of the 14th century, it was decided that the unprotected Ozalj population should be relocated to an area suitable for defence – the meander, i.e. the peninsula of the Kupa River. This area was actually an island due to an artificial canal, and was known as “the Ključ (Key) island, also known as the island of All Saints”, as it was called in the old records of the former village Trg. Today, the historic centre is only partially preserved in the central part, near the Church of All Saints, first mentioned as early as 1334. The traditional architecture of cottages of hewn beams with hrvaški vugao na križanke (Croatian cross-corners) and straw roofs is still visible in the upper part of the village Trg.
Jalba is the headgear (cap) worn by married women in villages along the Kupa between Ozalj and Karlovac. It is made of elastic material of porous structure with a special knitting technique (mutual interlocking system) on an upright wooden arch - lucanj. The required motifs are obtained by knitting only with fingers, and two laces (jalbas) are produced simultaneously with only one knitting.
In Trg, where headgears are very characteristic, the traditional craft of knitting jalba on lucanj was kept up longer than anywhere else. In fact, women from Trg wear jalba on rogi (horns). Wooden inserts are placed on a head and covered with poculica, called jalba with perforated patterns, after which everything is covered with a scarf.
The traditional art of knitting jalba is intangible cultural heritage under the Act on Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia, and as such is included in the List of Protected Cultural Heritage.
The Cultural Artistic Society “Ključ” from Trg is in charge of preserving the jalba knitting tradition, while the Student Co-operative “Kotačac” from the “Slava Raškaj” elementary school from Ozalj is responsible for popularizing the jalba.
Due to the tradition that only married women may wear jalba, the most famous knitter of cane jalba, Regina Paljunac, who lived off her skill, was never allowed to wear a jalba because she was unmarried.
Trg used to be known for an archaic custom of transporting the deceased. The deceased would be driven to the cemetery on oxen-drawn sleighs in both winter and summer time.
The residents of Trg, as well as those of Zorkovac, Polje and Mirkopolje villages speak the Ekavian dialect, whereas all other residents of the Ozalj region use the Ikavian speech with Kajkavian dialect (except residents of Žumberak).