The Fortified Town of Krapina

Settlement, town, county: Krapina, Krapina-Zagorje County

Site type: mediaeval fortified town

Period: Late Middle Ages

Type of excavation: systematic

Institution: Institute of Archaeology

Excavation manager: Prof Željko Tomičić (1994), Prof Željko Tomičić and Dr Marija Buzov (2001), Dr Tatjana Tkalčec (2008)

The Fortified Town of Krapina, situated on a suitable elevated position above the Krapinčica river, sprang up in an archaeologically rich environment, from the neighbouring Hušnjakovo Hill with unique finds of the Krapina Early man, to the nearby site of Mihaljekov Jarek with finds of Roman altars and monuments.

The archaeological investigations at the fortified town corroborated intensive habitation also in the Late Bronze Age, during the Urnfield culture. The highest and most prominent point of the hill is the site of the Romanesque core, created probably during the 12th or early 13th century. It is likely that it first consisted of a defence tower of a rectangular plan, to which additions were made during the 13th and 14th centuries. Towards the end of the 14th century and in the 15th century, dwellings and residential buildings (palace) were built below the core of the mediaeval fortified town, in the western part of the narrow elongated plateau of the upper courtyard of the town, while a number of accessory structures were built in the eastern part, as well as a palatine chapel of St. Trinity in the extreme south-east of the fortified town. The archaeological investigations determined the rectangular plan of the chapel, yielding fragments of vault ribs with piriform terminals, fragments of single- and double-mullioned windows. The entrance to the upper fortification is located south of the palace and defended by the entrance tower, from which, toward the east, extend a series of rooms flanking the southern defence wall of the upper fortification. The area of the lower courtyard yielded remains of timber and solid-built structures – these were apartments and accessory structures for servants and artisans, who performed everyday tasks necessary for the smooth running of life in the fortified town. The lower fortification, situated on the lower, southern plateau, has an irregular triangular plan. The entrance is in the western corner, defended by a big barbican, which also accommodated the military crew.

In addition to various objects pointing to everyday accessory craft activities taking place in a mediaeval town (various items pertaining to construction, implements and tools), as well as abundant fragments of ordinary kitchenware, that is, pots used for everyday cooking and iron kitchen knives for food preparation, the finds include also objects pointing to the desire of the nobleman to underscore his social status (glazed windows, tiled roofs, decorated tile stoves, decorated ceramic cups, engobed bottles and jugs decorated with red-painted motifs, glass cups, bottles and small vessels, and decorated iron knives).


  • Kruhek, M. 1997, Krapina – castrum et oppidum, Hrvatsko zagorje – časopis za kulturu, 3(2003)3, Zagreb, 5–22.
  • Tkalčec, T. 2009, Arheološka istraživanja na Starom gradu u Krapini 2008., Annales Instituti Archaeologici, 5, 95–100.
  • Tkalčec, T. 2012, Arheološko blago Starog grada Krapine. Rezultati arheoloških istraživanja, deplijan izložbe, Pučko otvoreno učilište Krapina, Galerija grada Krapine, Krapina.
  • Tomičić, Ž. 1999, Arheološki zemljovid Krapine i okolice (Krapona – locus Krapina – castrum Crapina), u: Željko Tomičić, Panonski periplus – Arheološka topografija kontinentalne Hrvatske, Zagreb, 45–88.
  • Vučetić, R. 2000, Prostorni razvoj srednjovjekovne Krapine, Radovi Instituta za Povijest umjetnosti, br. 16, Zagreb, 7–22.
  • Tkalčec, T., Stari grad Krapina, u: (ur. Buzov, Marija; Ložnjak Dizdar, Daria) Dnevnik jednog arheologa. Prof. dr. sc. Željku Tomičiću uz 70. rođendan, Zagreb 2013., 17-24.


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