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Hrvatski dvorci


Style Characteristic
It is the most representative example of non-religious baroque architecture in the Croatian Zagorje

Architecture Characteristics
In size and architectural quality it is one of the finest country homes in Croatia. The manor in Gornja Bistra is a two-storey building with three wings and a horseshoe-shaped ground plan. Its rooms run along the outer facade and an arcaded U-shaped gallery runs along the courtyard side. On its axis lies a central oval great hall, together with a chapel at the end of the western wing the main spatial and architectural accento of the building. The hall and chapel have kept their original form, which is rare in the architecture of Croatian manors. The ground floor and first floor are connected by two staircases. The larger stone staircase is a grand staircase and was used by the family and their guests, and the other, smaller wooden staircase was for servants. The ground-floor rooms have barrel vaults, more rarely Czech vaults, and the first floor mostly has trough vaults with several Czech vaults in the wings. The first-floor rooms still have stucco decoration.
The manor's ambiental composition emphasizes the front, north-western facade approached along its axis by a long drive ending in an eighty-metre-long hornbeam avenue. While the main facade is richly decorated with low-relief architectural ornamentation, the lateral external facades are much simpler. The main north-western facade is fifteen windows wide and has three projections. The central projection, and the semi-tower ending in a triangular gable, lie where the central hall juts out from the facade, and they have very complex wall ornamentation. In the ground floor there is a portal with the arms of the Oršić family and the year 1773. At the top of the central projection is an emblem with two lions rampart and two crossed cannon under a crown. A string-course divides the side facades into two floors and only the fenestration gives them a uniform thythm: the eastern wing is thirteen windows wide, one more than the western wing because of the chapel.
The central great hall is elliptic in shape. One end cuts deep into the gallery, and the other projects convexely from the main facade of the building. The hall is much higher than the other rooms. It ends in a dome that rises into the attic zone. Its eight openings are radially distributed. There are three each on the main facade and the gallery, and along the shorter axis of the ellipse, facing one another, are two doors carved in high relief, excellent works of artistic craftwork. The floor is a stone mosaic with a central medallion.
The walls and dome of the hall have illusionist painting showing mythological scenes. Diana, goddess of hunting and the Moon, and Apollo, god of the Sun and symbol of youthful beauty, sit among the clouds painted on the dome, surrounded by figures of the Muses. The main composition in the lower part of the hall are statues of Jupiter, Venus, Diana and Chronos, and in the upper zone there are various details like a lady holding a fan behind a balustrade above one of the wooden doors. The dome has the year 1778 inscribed in it, which is probably the time when the wall paintings were made by an unknown artist.
The chapel has a fine rococo inventory and baroque paintings. It has a rectangular ground plan, is two storeys high, and ends in a Czech vault. The chapel is entered through a large portal in whose keystone is carved the year 1774, and above which there is a large inscription. There is a tower over the chapel. The chapel has three altars - the main altar in a narrow central niche and two side altars. The fields behind the altars are painted with altar architecture and figures. The chapel has a fine rococo gallery and choir in excellent woodcarving. The gallery was used by the masters of the manor during mass, and the ground floor was for the commoners. The choir has a representative tripartite rococo musical instrument that looks like an organ. It is the work of first-class Croatian and Slovenian craftsmen.

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