This fully preserved castle (which is also a museum) is one of the most impressive fortresses in Croatia. Some sources claim that the construction of the oldest part of the castle began in the beginning of 16th century; however, recent archaeological and architectural analysis proved that construction began in the middle of the 15th century. The castle’s true age isn’t its only mysterious aspect, as it’s also linked to the legend of Veronika of Desinić.
According to the tale, the land around Veliki Tabor was once ruled by Count Herman II of Celje. His son, Fridrik, fell in love with a local girl named Veronika. The Count did not approve of their romance, but nevertheless the lovers escaped to Slovenia, where they were married in secret.
But soon, Frikrik’s father found out about the marriage and imprisoned his son in the Celje Tower, where the young man spent over four years. Veronika escaped, but was eventually caught near Veliki Tabor. The Count accused her of being a witch who had cast a spell over his son.
Although the trial proved her innocence, Count Herman ordered his soldiers to kill Veronika. She was drowned in the courtyard of Veliki Tabor, and legend says her body was built into one of the castle’s walls. People claim that at night, especially on long, harsh, cold winter nights, you can still hear Veronika’s cries and wails all over the hills and valleys of the area.
For most of the time, the fort was ruled by Rattkay family until 1793, when Veliki Tabor was placed under the management of the Hungarian Chamber. After years of different owners and various purposes, Veliki Tabor was revitalized in the late 1980s and hosted activities such as falconry, art exhibitions, and knight tournaments.
An institution called Muzeji Hrvatskog Zagorja took over the fort in 2003, and various research projects were launched, as was the reconstruction, which was finally finished in 2011.
Know Before You Go
If you are a movie lover, you can visit Tabor Film Festival, international short film festival that takes place every year in Veliki Tabor during July.