Thursday 23 Nov 2017



Of all the cities in the Republic of Croatia, Karlovac is the youngest one. It was founded because of a military and political decision in 1578. The Austrian Empire, and Western Europe, had to be defended against Turkish invasions. Karlovac is one of the few cities that was developed from the drawing board, inspired from Italian renaissance. The city was built in the shape of a 6-pointed star. The precise place where the principal fortress for the defence of Croatia and Carniola had to be built was chosen by the Archduke of' Styria, Charles (Karlo) of Habsburg. The city was called to his name: Karlovac, Karlstadt, Carolstadium. The building of the fortress (Festung Karlstadt) began on July 13, 1579. The next year it was already garrisoned with inhabitants coming in from the villages around Karlovac, that were threatened by the Turks.
Only fourteen years after the fort was constructed, the Ottoman forces suffered a decisive defeat near Sisak (1593). Three decades after their defeat at Vienna in 1683, the political and military balance of power in this part of Europe had undergone a profound change. Karlovac lost its role as a military fortress and became a commercial city. Thanks to its position, it became one of the most important trading centers in South East Europe, handling much of the trade that went on between Hungary and the northern Adriatic.St. Francis' Convent and the Holy Trinity Church
Indeed, the period from the beginning of the 18th century (1718) right up to the building of the Zagreb-Rijeka railway line in 1873 was the golden age of the city. It created an economic base that enabled the middle classes of Karlovac to play an important role in the political and cultural life of Croatia.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Karlovac acquired some of the features of an industrial city. The textile and leather-working handicrafts were to develop into important industries, and were joined by brewing, brick-making, the timber, wood and metal industry. In the second half of this century, Karlovac became an important industrial center.
A year after the first democratic elections in Croatia (1990), Karlovac suddenly found itself on the edge of the rebellious part of Croatia. Up until August 1995, the occupied part of Croatia began only three or four kilometers from the center of the city. In the war for Croatian independence, Karlovac suffered very considerable damage, particularly the southern parts of it: Kamensko, Turanj and Logorište were razed to the ground. The center of the city was also seriously damaged, including the City Hall and numbers of civilian buildings. Human casualties were very high, with several hundred people that lost their lives.
Karlovac beer festival

Karlovac city gards

Zorin dom

Franciscan monastery Karlovac

Dubovac fortress


The promenad is one of the prime features of Karlovac.
The promenaci

When the fortress was decommissioned in 1884, a row of horse chestnuts was planted around the outer edge designed by the Renaissance planner. This gave emphasis to the shape of the six pointed star within which the city was built. When the ramparts were destroyed and the moats partially filled in, this line of trees along the moats remained the most important clue to the historical function of the city.

In Central European dimensions even, this is a unique promenade, a ring that girds the city. It is about 2,500 metre long and can be covered in about an hour at an easy walking pace. The nicest part is the Grand Promenade (Velika promenada), as it is called. As well as by a row of ten middle-class houses, villas from the second half of the l9th century the promenade is defined here by five rows of chestnuts. This complex is a reflection of the urban achievements of old Karlovac, one of the most beautiful of inland Croatian cities. It is thanks to this promenade, and to the park along the Korana, that Karlovac has earned the name of city of greenery.


These are not-to-be-missed points in the Karlovac star. The City Museum is a patrician palace, and in all likelihood the oldest building in Karlovac. It was the residence of the Zrinski family. It has been used in various ways, and since 1953 it has been the home of the City Museum. The museum has four sections: natural science, archaeological, ethnological, and cultural and historical. It is one of the most attractive local museums in Croatia. The Municipal building was built at the end of the 18th century, a second storey being added in 1906. To the far left is the bell tower of the parish church of the Holy Trinity. The parish church, which is in Jelacic Square, was constructed at the same time as the fortress. Its current dimensions date from 1788, while between 1894 and l896 it was restored in a revival style. The convent alongside the church was built at the end of the l8th century, while the bell tower dates from 1683. It was built in such a way that it could serve the defenders of the fortress as their final redoubt. In 1765, the Karlovac gymnasium, or high school, began working in the convent, which also today houses a museum collection.


It is a traditional ten day long event in Karlovac at the end of summer. It is a kind of harvest festival, in which the central place is occupied by the best known product of Karlovac, beer. Nowhere in Croatia is beer so celebrated as in Karlovac. Of the total Croatian beer production of three million hectoliters a year, one million are produced here. But it is not only a matter of quantity and tradition: Karlovac beer has its own distinctive quality. During the Beer Festival, consequently, it is not only lovers of malt and hops that come together in Karlovac, but also those who enjoy a good time and good company.

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