Medvednica: The Historical and Natural Jewel of Zagreb

Medvednica was first mentioned in 1242 in the document Golden Bula of Bela IV under the name Medwenicha, where the city of Zagreb was granted possession of the mountain. The name Zagreb Mountain has been in use since the 19th century during absolutism, when mountains were named after towns and settlements, indicating the forest owned by the city.

Settlements on Medvednica were recorded as early as prehistoric times, as evidenced by rich paleontological finds from the old and younger Stone Age in Veternica and Vidovec (stone and bronze tools, fireplaces, graves), Marija Bistrica and Kraljev peak.

Antique stone finds in Vrapče, as well as the routes of roads that passed through the marginal areas in Kašina, indicate a Roman settlement.

In the Middle Ages, historical events around Medvednica are related to Medvedgrad and Susedgrad, the castle in Gornja Stubica, and the urban cores of today’s Zagreb – Kaptol and Gradec.

Villages at the foot of the slope are first mentioned in the 13th century: Čučerje in 1201, Donja Stubica, Stubičke Toplice, Marija Bistrica and Bistra in 1209; Vrapče and Granešina in 1217, Mikulići in 1242, Podsused in 1287, Markuševec and Gračani in 1317, Vidovec in 1321, Bidrovec in 1326, and Stenjevec in 1342.

We have nobility castles and mansions from the Baroque and Classicism periods from Gornja Bistra, Jakovlje, Gornja Stubica, Šestine, and Vugrovec.

From ancient times, natural resources began to be used in Medvednica, such as stone for building houses and wood for heating. Iron was melted very early in the 13th century, evidenced by the traces of smelting furnaces (Rudnica and Pustodol).

There was also a mining provision about salt extraction in Slani Potok in the 14th century. Salt then also served as a means of payment.

Little is known about the fact that coal was once mined on Medvednica. In the 18th century, a coal mine was opened near Gornja Planina. Silver was mined in the 16th century in the area of the Rudarski Vrt in the Zrinski mine.

The first basis for managing the forests of Medvednica was created in 1877.

There used to be many watermills: mills, sawmills on the slopes of Medvednica, and the inhabitants of the gentle slopes of Medvednica have always engaged in agriculture, viticulture, and fruit growing.

Since the 19th century, Medvednica has also been used as a recreation area. First viewpoint in 1859, pyramid in 1870, first mountain crafts, first excursion to Sljeme in 1875, and the first ski jump was set up in 1934.

TV Tower Sljeme, Sljeme 360 viewpoint

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Brestovac sanatorium was built at an altitude of 846 meters, which served to treat tuberculous workers. In 1968, the hospital was disbanded and soon devastated due to new conditions in health care and a new way of treating tuberculosis.

Since ancient times, people have felt a sense of gratitude and awe towards the mountain, which is evidenced by numerous sacred objects such as the Roman altar on Bliznec, the chapel of St. Jacob on Veliki Plazur, the chapel of the Mother of God, Queen of Croats, and similar structures.

In the Medvednica Nature Park, there are also three monuments of park architecture located at the foot of the mountain: a landscape garden from the 18th century next to the Oršić castle in Gornja Bistra, a landscape garden from the 19th century next to the Golubovec castle in Donja Stubica, and a garden from the 19th century next to the Junković manor near Stenjevec.

Many citizens of Zagreb often spend their free time on the slopes of Medvednica, which is just one of the reasons why we all love this mountain range located north of Zagreb.

Hi! My name is Ivan, and I'm an author of discoverzagreb.com. I have been photographing and exploring Zagreb for more than 15 years, and if you want to know more about me and discoverzagreb.com, read the Introduction articles by clicking here.

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