Incredible 18th-Century Castle Oroslavje Donji nr Zagreb On Sale

By 8 October 2020
Oroslavje Donji
Oroslavje Donji © Njuskalo

October 8, 2020 – A bonafide 18th-century Baroque castle is up for sale. Although in a state of neglect, Oroslavje Donji is an architectural gem with huge grounds and lies less than 30 minutes from Zagreb. Its price tag? A cool 1 million Euros.

Zagorje refers to a place behind the mountains. Dalmatinska zagora is the hinterland behind the Dinaric Alps. Hrvatsko Zagorje, often referred to simply as Zagorje is the region behind Medvednica mountain. Dominating the skyline of Zagreb, Medvednica lies just north of the Croatian capital and is much loved for recreation, enjoying nature and feasting on traditional foods. In winter, the far side of the mountain offers skiing and when your skis reach the bottom of the slopes, you're at the entrance to Zagorje. Although, Zagorje has another entrance.

antun-cerovecki-medvednica-pogled-na-zg_0.jpgThe Medvednica mountain overlooks Zagreb. On the other side lies Zagorje © Antun Cerovečki / Croatian National Tourist Board

Oroslavje: The Gate of Croatian Zagorje (Vrata Hrvatskog zagorja)

The pretty town of Oroslavje is sometimes called The Gate of Croatian Zagorje (Vrata Hrvatskog zagorja). Though it lies less than 30 minutes drive from Zagreb, Oroslavje feels far from the bustle and pace of the metropolis. It's the kind of idyllic bolthole that Londoners dream of having half an hour from the English capital, a place where premium properties would be snapped up in an instant by the rich and famous. Such places and properties are rarely attainable in such close proximity to London. But, they are in Zagreb.

163639009_10159042440604841_8122501769328929391_n.jpgOroslavje © Grad Oroslavje

A bonafide 18th-century castle in Oroslavje has gone up for sale. Oroslavje Donji is a Baroque castle of 1,270 m2 with four wings, an inner courtyard and a park-sized garden that extends an incredible 26,235 m2. Although in a serious state of disrepair, it is an incredibly grand and historic building. The price tag is a cool 1 million Euros.

Opportunities to buy such dwellings do not come around so often. And, in a charming feature on the sale by, co-owners of the building are said to be hesitant about letting it go. Stunning pictures and details make that more than understandable.

HOL_4165 (1).jpgOroslavje Donji © Njuskalo

The first-floor vault of Oroslavje Donji's main hall holds beautiful wall paintings created in the late 18th century. Elsewhere, 19th-century wall paintings can be found, thankfully above the height of the spray paint graffiti left by some unauthorised visitors - the castle has been left abandoned for many years.

5152781843438140_5586364091109402_donje oroslavje.jpg© Turistička zajednica grada Oroslavja

However, most of the building's major architectural details remain intact, as do ornate, original floor tilings. Outside, at the entrance to the park, there is a magnificent baroque portal. Two Baroque statues also lie within the garden which, in line with trends of the time, was furnished in the late 19th century with exotic trees from all over the world. Today, many species of birds make their home within the branches, undisturbed by human presence.

Dvorac-Oroslavje-donje.jpg© Turistička zajednica grada Oroslavja

Well connected to Zagreb, Slovenia and Hungary, Oroslavje and other nearby towns were once favoured places to live by the upper echelons of Austro-Hungarian society. Oroslavje used to have two castles, but Gornje Oroslavje was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1949. Oroslavje Donji was home to the Vojkffy family (Vojković in Croatian).

In a former life: The Vojkffy / Vojković family in Oroslavje Donji

34090675_10156081226069279_5740500395587796992_n.jpgThe inside of Oroslavje Donje when still inhabited © Faculty of Architecture University of Zagreb

The family earned titles and lands for their service to the Austro-Hungarian empire in their struggle against the invading Ottomans. Ivan Vojkffy I (1520–1595) was the captain of the town of Karlovac, and his son Ivan Vojkffy II (1595–1661) captain of the town of Križevci. In the 17th century, the family moved to Hrvatsko Zagorje.

Sigismund Vojkffy was the royal chamberlain and commander of the guards at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa. For service in the Seven Years' War (1756–63), Maria Theresa awarded both Sigismund and his brother Christopher the title of count in 1763.

Janko_grof_Vojković.jpgJanko Vojković, son of Sigismund. He lived at Oroslavje Donje © Silverije

These were high decorations in the court of the empire. The family subsequently went on to build not only Oroslavje Donje (1770–90) but also the parish church of St. Jelena in Zabok (1782–1805) and several palaces in Zagreb's Upper Town, the most famous of which is the Baroque Vojković-Oršić-Rauch Palace in Matoševa Street. Sigismund Vojkffy died only two years after Oroslavje Donje was completed, but his descendants, including his son Janko, continued to live there.

dvorac-donje-oros.jpg© Turistička zajednica grada Oroslavja

In its golden age, Oroslavje Donje held an approach that was 230 meters in length. In front of the south façade was a decorative garden, to the south-west the park was connected to the forest, and to the left of the approach was a spacious meadow. The last male descendants of the Vojkffy family, Sigismund's grandsons, emigrated from Croatia in the late 19th century. Thereafter, Oroslavje Donje changed hands a number of times before being confiscated by the state in the era of Yugoslavia and subsequently fell into disrepair.

34092181_10156081218634279_606078404395008000_n.jpgHow the interior of Oroslavje Donje looked in its heyday © Faculty of Architecture University of Zagreb

Though few properties like this appear on the market, there are surely a limited number of people who could afford the price tag. Even fewer who would have the funds and determination to restore Oroslavje Donje to its original state of grandeur. But, who knows? A buyer might appear. After all, who wouldn't want to live in a beautiful Baroque castle just 30 minutes from Zagreb?

If you want to read more about some of Croatia's best castles, then look here.

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