Archaeological finding sites

The district of Ivanec could be detected on every archeological map of the world, as one of the first habitats of human race. In the caves: Vindija, Velika pečina (Big cave) on Ravna gora, in Severov quarry in the near of Vuglovac, the finding sites with archeological evidence were preserved from the oldest stages of human history.

The district of Ivanec is rich with archeological finding sites from ancient human history, such as: stone axes from Bronze Age in the near of Ivanec, Prigorec, Stažnjavac, Vuglovec, and in near of Sveti Rok, Kuljevčic i Bedenec. In river Željeznica, that is flowing thru Ivanec, ancient money was found and in Vuglanec, stone axe was found together with some bones and bronze sickle.

There are countless evidences of fossils from ancient humans, tools and extinguished animals which are sustaining evidence that humans were living here from ancient times until today. Stjepan Vuković and Mirko Malez, scientist from Ivanec, had given a huge contributed to archeological science, and they devoted their entire life exploring archeological finding sites in Ivanec district. Mirko Malez, academician, had in short terms describes humans which used to live in this area:

- Convenient climate conditions, rich flora and fauna, had made today’s northwest Croatia, in are of Pleistocene, possible for continues human existence in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic era. Hrvatsko Zagorje was natural oases for hunters in Pleistocene are, and cradle of Paleolithic human existence, not only in Croatia but in whole southeastern Europe.

- In the near of settlement Punikve, in ancient time during the warm period, was a habitat of ancestor of Ivanec people. On fields, road junctions, gullies Stjepan Vuković, archeologist, had found crude stone tools; oval, brachial bolts; hand-spikes and logs, made crudely. Those were the oldest man made tools which were used by ancient humans in down of civilization. They were used in different kinds of activities: beating; making holes; cutting etc. Ruling opinion is that those tools were made and used in older Stone Age, approximately 500 thousand years ago. Stjepan Vuković had cold these tools, stone industrial findings of Punikve, which can be sorted in lowest Stone Age civilizations in Croatia and Europe.

Old city of Ivanec

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Old city of Ivanec doesn’t exist any more. It was demolished in Second World War, and two towers which survived the war were destroyed in 1959. Stone parts of old city had been built in foundations of main streets in Ivanec.

First accurate time of city’s origin isn’t still confirmed and only one accurate data of city’s origin is from 1558 when in the estate had moved Frakcija Choron, wife of Benedikt Petheő. In document of King Ferdinand II, it’s mentioned that the old town is built from the ruins of old crusader chapel. But this data is wrong because it’s proven that chapel had existed in that time.

Petheo chapel

Suzana Oršić, at that time owner of the town and widow of Stjepan Petheö, ordered in 1674 to bring down the old chapel. She passed away that year, so rebuilding of the chapel slowed down. Her son Gregur Petheő wanted to build a new chapel out of the town, on a place known as Rupešišće. Nevertheless, the citizens of the town were dedicated to the old chapel and demanded it to be built in the town again.

The solution was achieved in 1685. The town wall was breached on the east side and the new chapel of the St. Johan the Baptist was built there. One side of the chapel was out of the city wall and the other (entrance) within the city. In 1686, the chapel was finished.

The chapel was spacious, long about 16 meters, and wide about 6 meters. It was all built and arched, floored with bricks, roofed with oak splints, with the wooden tower above the entrance in which the bell of 100 kg. was placed later. The chapel was high and had two choruses. One of them was on the entrance and the other was on the north rock, which was intended for high caste that was coming from town, probably by open wooden balcony.

Altars were being brought gradually and had artistic values. The main altar was placed in 1689 and dedicated to John the Baptist. The pulpit was placed in 1694. The left secondary altar was set up in 1694 and it was dedicated to M.B. Chandlery. He did not stay there for a long time because the miraculous picture of Virgin Merry was brought. The picture was brought from the chapel “Uznesenja Marijina”, beneath the town Bela whose parish priest completely neglected the picture that was almost ruined. Ivan Pethő ordered a new altar for it and his wife Barbara Falusi ordered the right altar of St. Barbara. The chapel had a collection of valuable dishes among them four chalice.

The sad thing was that the beautiful chapel of Pethő´s was not well built. Already in 1771 the high church clerk noticed cracks in the beautiful painted ceiling. The chapel’s falling apart was speeded by departure of count Erdődy from the town of Ivanec in 1817. The new owner, Adam Peharnik and his descendants did not allow people to come to masses saying that the chapel was private because the entrance was within the town. The high-church clerk was for the opinion that the chapel was always public.

The chapel was brought down in 1844, and the only thing left from it was the chapel’s bell that could be found today at the chapel of Holy Ghost above Prigorec.

Old town of Ivanec

Ivanec´s old town was building which was being built for a long time. From one document kept in Croatian state archive, we can find that the last Petheő in 1713 had owned 14 dwellings, 1 more palace, and a basement, then a warehouse, a kitchen and other necessary facilities, a chapel, a stale with three following objects, fishpond, a mill with three grinding wheels for wheat and one for porridge.
The old town of Ivanec consisted of four wings that were enclosed in circle. On the north wing, which was pointing towards path from Varaždin to Lepoglav, was a defensive structure with three impressive towers, which were used for defending town gate, and east, and west wings of town.

A guard tower was the biggest and highest tower of all three of them. It was three-storey tower first and second floor were used for living and third was garret. From this tower you could see all roads that were leading to Ivanec.

The main tower was square, west was polygon shaped, and the east was semicircular. The west tower was in a shape of irregular hexagon. It was strategically important because it was looking toward the road, which led to church, village and further toward hill of Ivančica. The view from it reached all the way to the Očura. The towers were all connected with large defensive wall.

The west wing of the town was used for housing, and it was probably the same age as the main tower. Ladislav Erdődy built the south wing in 18 century. The southeastern wing, which was surrounding the yard, was also built in 18 century, and it was used by servants and masters.

Deep ditches filled with water from Bistrica surrounded the town walls, and you could approach town gate only by the bridge that was over this ditch. On the place of today’s park a large fishpond was located which also was filled with water from Bistrica.

Ivan Petheő left the estate in poor shape with lots of debts. After death of his widow Barbara Falussy in 1730, the estate was passed to royal ownership. King Karlo IV soled this property in 1740 to Ladislav Erdődy Novomarofskom who renovated and spread it, and in ditches, he brought water again.

Female descendents of the family Petheő, figured out that the estate on which they had all legal rights was unjustly taken away from them, because their cousins bought it with their money and they didn’t got it as a present from the king. Descendents initiated a lawsuit that lasted for 54 years to retreat it. The lawsuit was ended in 1817 in their favor, mostly because of influence of their relative, Mirko Reffaya (1753-1830), a bishop of Đakovec.

The successors were families: Peharnik, Fodroczy, Balogh, Kovacčoc, Švagel, Krajačić, Bužan, Dominić, Konoty, Bedeković, Josipović, Lovinčić, Barabas i Kukuljević.
The town of Ivanec, together with some of its land, belonged to Baron Adam Peharnik-Hotoković. His daughter Katarina married to a lawyer Nikola Faller, and she left Ivanec to her daughter Maria who married to Filip Sarlay.

Sarlays in 1844 allowed the old dilapidated chapel to be partly demolished, while they rented the first floor to a district. In 1867 Sarlays sold Ivanec to Ladislav Kukuljević. The town of Ivanec was finally, at the time of Ladislav Kukuljevic, taken care of.

Ladislav destroyed the rest of Petheö´s chapel, broke through the east wall, and on that way opened a way to stable and other buildings. He had high ramparts shortened down, ditches that didn’t have water in, filled in and leveled. He died in Ivanec in 1896.

His nephew Bozidar, the youngest son of Ivan Kukuljević, inherited him. He turned the neglected fishpond into an English garden, park today. His son Radovan pressed by depths, ceded most of family depths to his brother-in-law dr. Josip Šaban, who, to get rid of depths, sold the property leaving only castle with garden, mill, and some of the forest. Shortly before World War II out of whole property only castle with park remained, this time serving as a rented house and owners, in summer holiday, used only five rooms.

During World War II the castle was severely damaged in a fire. Partisan unites, in their action of liberation, attacked the town, when castle was put on fire, and severely damaged. After the war, the estate was nationalized, but new owners did not have taste in renovating it. The remaining two towers were knocked down in 1959, and remnants of it were built into foundations of main Ivanec´s streets.

Parish church in Margecan

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Paris church St. Margarita is mentioned for the first time in 1431. Zagreb’s public notary informed, in this document, ban Herman Celjski on 6. July 1431. that, by the ban’s command, landmarks of the estate Gotalovec of Jakob Gotal were established. Inspecting these landmarks in this estate delegate and the Master of Arts Antun Karduš together with ban’s representative Benedikt Komorski (Bedeković) ascertained that “while passing the peak Hum and getting down to Lipno valley they found a path that leads from Gatalovac to the church St. Margaret beneath the fortress Bela.”

After this observation passed, more then 120 years till another archive the one about parish priest Stjepan in 1551.

The history of Magrečan´s parish can be followed in Kanon´s documented visits from 1638. That year Varandin´s archdeacon Petar Oškoci on the request of Zagreb´s bishop Benedikt Vinković officially visited the parish Magarečan. From that first documented visit we can find out that the church was built on the estate of Petheö family, it had a stone belfry with one bell, a wooden ceiling, a half arched shrine, and a floor paved with brick

The church had three altars, an ancient chancel, and pulpit. Around the church was well fenced churchyard.

The central part of the church that was stone built is kept in its authentic shape until today. Today’s Church St. Margaret is baroque, monobasic building with a tower and chapel by the south wall of the church. It was finished in this shape in 19 century.

Interior church equipment, a wooden altar, a pulpit, and organ in style of historicism date back to 19 century. On the south wall of shrine a tombstone is built into with Latin epigraph that was dedicated to father Stjepan who died in 1937, by Metel Ožegović. Under the epigraph is family’s coat of arms.

The church owns some interesting examples of ritual objects. Very beautiful is gold-plated monstrance, decorated with precious stones, and it is the oldest gold plated ciborium from 1670.

Parish church in Ivanec


The parish Ivanec was mentioned for the first time in 1547. The reason for late establishment of this parish was inexistence of a parish church, and reason for that was a church’s jurisdiction of belskih ivanovaca and theirs chapel of St. John the Baptist in Ivanec that existed until 1674.

Ladislav Erdödy and his wife Marija Illeshazy were building the parish church St. Marija Magdalena from 1758 to 1760. The church got its current appearance in 1894 by rebuilding of the old church. Its ground plan is in the shape of cross with spacious shrine and lateral chapels. In its interior exist few historic and artistically important sculptures and paintings.

In the church exist also three important stonecutting works. Highly important is a baptistery. Its base consists of two stone sitting lion sculptures that on its heads have little pools with relief on a front side decorated by two cherubs. Mentioned parts of baptistery are chiseled with different kinds of stone and represent a work of two sculptures folded in one mutual whole. Parts of baptistery are for sure remnants of the old church. These lions can date back to the Middle Age, and beam to the Renaissance.

On a chancel, a font for baptism in a shape of shelf is situated. This simple stonecutting work is valuable because on it is engraved a year when it is made (1673), confirming that the work existed before final construction in 19 century.

Built in the south wall of the church is another important stonecutting work. It is a tombstone from 1616 with relief of late Ivan Petheö de Gerse, the former owner of Ivanec.

For hundreds of years a thick layer of mortar hid a great artistic treasure situated in the church. Beneath a layer of lime mortar a luxuriously pictured arch was found, which for now is prescribed to someone very close to Ivan Krstitelj Ranger, the most important painter of frescos from order of St. Peter (Pauline order) , or Ranger himself.

Paintings on the chancel are also valuable. They are only partially saved, and they were painted by Antun Dovečer in1779. With well-known late artistic baroque way, he painted scenes of general and to everybody known physiognomy images with fine strokes of his paintbrush and good color

The church owns valuable church dishes, older and plain handiwork, and the baroque one is decorated by precious stones- chalice and pacifier (cross with stalk that’s used by priests during certain celebrations). Highly valuable is baroque monstrance as well as reliquary with particle of St. Cross of Jesus. Heferv´s organs date back to 1887.

The church has several valuable stained glass windows, among which stand out those with the motif of St. Maria Magdalena on main apse and those with St Rafael with Tibia on the north wall of the shrine. All windows were brought from Vienna in 1895, from a workshop of Karl Seyling.

The Holly Ghost chapel


The chapel dominates the entire region due to its remarkable position on the top of a tall hill. It was mentioned for the first time in 1649 as “S. Spiritus un Monte Dubovecz vocato” and later named “S. Spiritus sub Monte Ivanchicza“. It was probably built in the late 14th century.

The chapel is a Gothic single-nave building. The interior decoration comprises two carved baroque altars with an altar painting of the Holy Spirit (by E. Weingarten from 1893) and a statue of Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen of Rosary. All that is left of the destroyed altar of Saint Vitus is the canvas painting on the right side of the navel depicting martyrdom of the saint. The altars, made in the first half of the 17th century, are probably work of local woodcarvers. The altars' construction and plastic details have characteristics of the Renaissance art.

In the chapel's tower there is an interesting bronze bell from the 17th century with the inscription: ”NICOLAVS BOSET VRBANVS CELEAE ME FVDIT ANNO 1686”. It is believed that the bell is from the chapel of the Pethö de Gerse family.

In Urota zrinsko-frankopanska [Eng. The Zrinski-Frankopan Conspiracy], a novel by Eugen Kumičić, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is mentioned as the place where Petar and Katarina Zrinski got engaged.