Reenacting the 1441 Battle of Samobor

Total Croatia News

Photos by Janett Vučeta
Photos by Janett Vučeta

Photos by Janett Vučeta

March 8, 2020 – A step back in time, as hundreds of people gather outside Zagreb to stage the historic 1441 Battle of  Samobor.

Having recently gathered to recreate the greatest battle of the Peasants’ Revolt in the hills of Hrvatsko Zagorje, the vibrant Croatian reenactment scene convened again this weekend to bring to life a similar scenario which took place in a peaceful town near Zagreb almost 600 years ago – the town of Samobor, which is also known for its carnival and an signature cake called Kremšnite.

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On a spacious meadow, beneath glorious remains of the fortress of Samobor, the reenactment of battle was held. But before the clash of swords, there was a chance for visitors to enter every historical camp. A river of people approached with curiosity, but only the bravest challenged great knights for a fight. The smell of fire and smoke in the air indicated that royal lunches were being prepared. A teasing sun came and then hid again, while a light breeze made you look with longing at those warm knight’s mantle.

After the death of king Albrecht Habsburg in 1439, a fight for the heritage of the throne began throughout Croatia and Hungary. Ulrik II Celjski sided with Elizabeth along with the military commander, the Czech mercenary Ivan Vitova. Stjepan Banić Lendavski chose the side of king Vladislav Jagelovic. Two years later, these armies clashed at Samobor on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 1441, and the fierce battle ended with Vitovc’s victory. It was a victory which included capturing the military leader Banić, as well as winning considerable booty. However, Queen Elizabeth died in 1442, forcing Ulrick II to recognize Vladislav III. as king, and to release all the prisoners.


The main organizers were Samobor Museum, Samobor Tourist Board, Knights of Zelingrad, and the Samobor Public Theatre. They built a wooden fortification around the aforementioned meadow and gave the public a chance to see the battle in its entirety, but from a safe angle. Many historical groups came to participate in this event, including the Knight Order of Saint Nicholas Varaždin, and Koprivnički mušketiri i haramije. There were also many groups from Slovenia and Hungary. The event has progressed considerably since it was first held back in 2006. A lot of visitors came, but so many people still do not know about this event. This included one couple who happened to be in Samobor for the day and were quite thrilled: “We came here to relax in nature, what luck to find such an amazing battle!”

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Children were enjoying playing with knights, while amazed parents were trying to capture the moment. Phones were only used for photos and videos; no one paid attention to them as people were in some different universe. It was more than pleasing to see how everyone took pleasure on a sunny day in the fresh air. Nourishing a tradition in this way keeps people outside, teaching them about the history and all that while meeting other people and maybe even make one join one of the knight order. What a chance.

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