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Hrvatski dvorci


Its name is first mentioned in 1334 in a list of parishes (ecclesia de Tracustian), and a medieval castle is mentioned in 1399 when King Sigismund granted Trakošćan and other Zagorje castles to his father-in-law, Count Herman of Celje. After the death in 1456 of Ulrich, who was the last Count of Celje, Trakošćan and some other castles were siezed by Jan Vitovac and his sons. In 1488 Jakov Sekelj, captain of the Croato-Hungarian king, drove Vitovac from Croatian Zagorje, which after that fell to King Mathias Corvinus. Sekelj kept Trakošćan and Vinica for a time, demanding that the king compensate him for the expenses he had incurred in driving out Vitovac. Mathias Corvinus gave Trakošćan and the other Zagorje castles to his son Johannes, who became Ban of Croatia in 1496, and in 1503 Johannes granted Trakošćan to his Vice-Ban Ivan Gyulay. After the death of Ivan Gyulay's son in 1567, Trakošćan was governed by Emperor Maximilian II. In 1569 he granted it for life to the Ban of Croatia and Bishop of Zagreb, Juraj II Drašković, as compensation for his banal pay. In 1570 the Emperor issued a special charter confirming the liens of Trakošćan and Klenovnik to Bishop Drašković. In the following year the Croatian Sabor demanded that the Emperor grant Trakošćan to Bishop Juraj Drašković in permanent ownership because of his great merit. In 1584 the Emperor Rudolf II, at the request of his Chancellor Juraj II Drašković renewed and extended the deed of gift issued by Emperor Maximilian II in 1570, and made Gašpar Drašković, brother of Juraj II, the first owner of Trakošćan. In this way, thanks to the Bishop, the Drašković family entered the Croatian peerage.
For three and a half centuries the Drašković family owned Trakošćan, with a small break of six years between 1645 and 1651, when the castle was owned by Nikola Zrinski.
Trakošćan attained its present appearance in the middle of the nineteenth century when the ruined medieval castle was renewed. We know very little about the appearance of the original castle. Some architectural parts, like the thick walls of the western fort and tower, the remains of defense walls and passages, the vaults of the cellar and ground-floor rooms and the main structure with the small courtyard and cistern, were part of the medieval castle. There are few records about any reconstruction and additions to Trakošćan from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The year 1564 carved into a stone plaque built into the courtyard with the cistern probably refers to some architectural work. The stone plaque with the Drašković arms and the year 1592, above the entrance to the tower and in one other place, records that Ivan II and Petar I, sons of Gašpar I, did some building in Trakošćan.
In the middle of the nineteenth century Trakošćan was neglected and it did not offer the comfortable life most Zagorje castles did. The Drašković family, however, retained an affection for their first and main seat, and they found it hard to watch as it fell into ruin. At that time the masters of Trakošćan were ViceMarshal Count Juraj VI Drašković and his wife Sofija nee Baillet-Latour. In 1853 they began renovation of the old fortifications. Work went on for three years and the renewal is commemorated in an inscription on a stone plaque set above the main entrance on the court side. To raise the necessary money, Count Juraj VI sold Klenovnik, the property of ~alinec and his mansion in Varaždin. This was a period of romanticism in art and under its influence many manor houses were renewed or new ones built in the style of old medieval castles, more the fruit of imagination than a copy of what old castles really looked like. Many castles in the valley of the Rhine in Germany were renewed at that time, and Miramare Palace near Trieste was built then, too. Similar or identical architectural elements were used in all such renewals, like drawbridges, corner towers, pointed Gothic windows, loopholes etc. At that time it was called the Norman style.
The Trakošćan domain was one of the twenty largest feudal domains in Croatia. In the fifteenth century it was composed of two parts, the estate around the market town of Kamenica and the estate around Trakošćan Castle. In about 1460 Kamenica Castle was destroyed, and its estate was first joined to that of Trakošćan, and later to Klenovnik, which was an independent domain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The size of the Trakošćan domain and the number of houses and people on it changed over time. In 1517 the domain had 210 village households, in 1737 it had 638, and in 1750 about 720. The Emperor Rudolf II's deed of gift from 1584, confirming Drašković as owner of Trakošćan, mentioned 46 settlements belonging to Trakošćan. According to the 1804 census, the Trakošćan estate covered 276 acres of arable land, about 3,275 acres of forests, hayfields that could be mowed in one day by 249 mowers, 31 acres of pastures, 7.5 acres of uncultivated land and vineyards with about 940 vines. On the Trakošćan domain the Drašković family enjoyed all regal rights, for example jus gladii (the right of execution), the right of selling wine, fishing, toll collecting, patronage rights etc. In the sixteenth century there were ten toll-houses on the Trakošćan domain, more than on any other domain in Croatia. The Draškovićes had right of patronage over all the churches on the domain and they treated them as they did all their other possessions.
For almost four centuries the history of Trakošćan was linked with the Drašković family, so that Trakošćan and the Draškovićes have become almost synonymous.

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