Situated in the very centre of Lukovec town and by a creek of the same name, this is the only walled fort in Turopolje, built in the 18th century by the region’s nobles. It was the main hub for the acivities of the Noble Municipality of Turopolje.
This fort was first mentioned in 1256, but the actual year of its construction is in fact not yet determined. What we know is that there was initially a wooden fortification built from oakwood, as remnants of a wooden palisade were found during recent renovations; also there is a wooden access bridge.
A new wooden fort was built in the 15th century during the ensuing Turkish conquests. The nobles of Turopolje turned to Ivan Tuz, the Lord of Medvedgrad, for help – from then on, the castle owners changed the same as those of Medvedgrad, the last one being Nikola Zrinski. During his reign the nobles of Turopolje finally regained the ownership of the castle through a lengthy legal process. As the castle was almost in ruins at the time, it’s renovation was due in 1612.
Since 1613 ‘spravišće’ (assembly) of Turopolje was being held there annually on St. George’s, and later on St. Lucia’s day, during which their district-prefect was elected. It also served as an archive for the Nobles of Turopolje, that is until 1848 when all was relocated to the town hall, today’s Museum of Turopolje. As there was a ‘copernic’ (witch) prison in the eastern tower we know that which trials were held in the castle; there was also a prison for capital offenders.
This renaissnace lowland castle is surrounded by water and turrets with 70 loopholes, which is a testimony to the power and unity of the nobility of Turopolje. It’s original and main purpose was defense. Atop the main entrance an engraved coat of arms of the noble municipality of Turopolje is displayed, held by two lion figures. Beneath the main tower was a chapel dedicated to Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Turopolje. Only a stone altar and a painting of Saint Lucia remain.
A part of the story ‘Daughter of Lotršćak’ by a famous Croatian writer Marija Jurić Zagorka takes place in Turopolje and the Lukavec castle.
The castle is now a happening place, in a successful attempt to revive the traditions of Turopolje. On 23rd of April which is St. George’s day, great festivities take place in front of the castle: a huge bonfire is lit to chase the winter away and celebrate the arrival of spring , while troops in historical outfits fire from flintrock pistols and cannons.
In may Perunfest is being held, a festival of forgotten legends and traditional folk tales of the Zagreb area. There you can walk among wizards, witches, imps, legendary nobles…So come to Lukovec on the last weekend of May, and step into the world of local legends! (Merica Mikuličin & Agata Juran / ViaNobility)