Dark secrets lurking behind walls of famous Croatian castles and forts…
There are several spooky stories of ghosts and ghouls trapped inside the walls as well as legends about fairies and witches that can make people’s blood run cold, and which are passed on from one generation to the next. However, most people believe that all those stories are just old made-up folk tales.
Veliki Tabor legend
According to the legend, a procession of skeletons was seen marching on All Saints day around the Veliki Tabor castle. The most famous mystery surrounding this castle is the story of forbidden love between beautiful Veronica and the married man named Fridrik. After Fridrik’s wife Elizabeta Frankopan was found dead, the couple fled, but were soon found. Fridrik’s father Herman II. Celjski locked his son in the tower and accused Veronika of being a witch. According to the legend, she was killed shortly thereafter and buried in the northern wall of the fortress, and it is said that her cries can still be heard inside the castle.
Legend of the White Lady from Valpovo
With its 1,700 square metres, the Prandau-Normann Castle in Valpovo is one of the largest in Croatia. The castle owes its glory to the legend of the white lady – the spirit of a girl which haunted it in the 19th century. Kuschmann, a colonel of the imperial cavalry regiment, who was visiting the castle one day complained about seeing a ghost of the young girl who claimed to had been murdered hundred years ago, and whose body was thrown between ice-cellar and city chapel within the castle complex. The Valpovo ghost insisted to haunt the castle until her mortal remains be buried. Baron Prandau ordered the excavation at that very spot the spirit claimed her body was thrown, and lo and behold, a skeleton of women was found, which many believed belonged to a courageous heroine, Catherine, who participated in the defence of the Valpovo fortress against the Turks.
We’ll end this on a slightly lighter note about a goodhearted fairy from Plešivica who protected its inhabitants from the Turkish invasion.
Okić is a steep cliff on the east side end of Plešivica, the farthest south-eastern part of the Samoborsko gorje, and at its top stand the remnants of a medieval fort, which was destroyed over five hundred years ago, but whose entrance and chapel are partially preserved. The legend has it that during one of the Turkish conquests, the army came close to the city in order to occupy the tower. After three years of successfully defending themselves, the inhabitants finally ran out of food supplies. As they were pondering what to do next, a good fairy from Plešivica came down and suggested that they give the remainder of food to the Turks. The Turkish army was confounded and gave up attacking, thinking that they still must have a lot of food supplies.
Another woman who was a real heroine of Okić was an Illyrian writer Dragojla Jarnević, who back in 1843 climbed to the top of Okić barefoot! This is considered to be the first climb in the history of Croatian hiking, and in her honour, a new pathway to the top was marked and named the Dragojlina trail.
Excerpts translated from Punkufer.hr
Photos: Wikimedia Commons