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Hrvatski dvorci


Style Characteristic
Late Gotic feudal town (burg) transformed into a manor.

Architecture Characteristics
Its architectural form, building technique and fortifications show that Veliki Tabor dates from the second half of the fifteenth century. In spite of later reconstructions and additions, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the medieval castle was turned into a country house, Veliki Tabor retained its late Gothic form and architectural composition. As usual in the case of such old buildings, we know almost nothing either about its builders or its origins: A fortification probably existed on the site earlier. The old name of Vingrad confirms this. In Slav countries the word tabor means a fortification that can, in times of need, provide shelter for the population of surrounding villages. The castle was built on a narrow and long raised plateau.
The keep is a pentagonal structure surrounded by a ring of walls and towers that close an inner court of irregular shape. The pentagonal keep is the oldest part of the castle that was always primarily residential, and only then did it have a defense function. At first it had only two floors and the Gothic windows and stone doorjamb in the interior date from that period. The two-light window situated in a square and decorated with rosettes dates from that time. The third floor has a chapel whose interior walls were painted in the seventeenth century. On the eastern and southern fronts of the pentagonal keep were painted rows of double pillars rising through all the three floors. The top of the keep had a sundial painted in a concave space. Three sides of the first inner court are arcaded as was usual in the seventeenth century. The real galleries, combined with the painted ones, thus formed the typical Renaissance ambience of Zagorje country houses.
The outer walls of the castle surrounding the pentagonal keep comprise four towers, walls, galleries and rooms built over several centuries. Two semi-circular western towers defend the pentagonal keep from the direction of the main gate in the western part of the plateau. Both of them have one room on each floor, the lower rooms having loopholes and the upper ones windows. On the string-course of the tower closer to the present entrance are some late Gothic stone-cutter's marks. The two upper floors of the smaller southern tower hold the Chapel of St John from the end of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the old chapel in the pentagonal keep was probably closed. The wooden tower above the chapel was built in the nineteenth century. The largest, eastern tower was intended right from the beginning for heavy cannon, as can be seen from its large loopholes that do not exist on the other towers. The upper floors of the castle are wider, because they rest on stone consoles. There used to be defense openings in the upper floor between every second pair of consoles, which were later closed in. All the consoles were not made at the same time, so they are of different shapes and construction. Above the castle entrance are the Ratkaj arms (a well with a pulley, and to the left of it an unreadable coat-of-arms, probably that of the later master Thugut. The gatehouse was always in the same place, but as time passed it was the part of the castle that was changed and rebuilt the most often.

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