Karlovac – Town on four rivers
Only a few towns in the world can boast that they lie on four rivers, and one of them is Karlovac, a town located 55 kilometres southeast of Zagreb, surrounded by the rivers Korana, Dobra, Mrežnica and Kupa.

The Korana River is a continuation of the Plitvice lakes, its canyon harbouring numerous waterfalls, the most beautiful of which are located on its upper stream. Entering Karlovac, it flows almost through the very centre of the town, where it is extremely mild and gentle. When Europe was facing the great Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, Vienna built defence walls on the bank of Korana. It was believed that the deep green waters of the river filling the ditches around the walls save the town and the entire Europe from the Turkish invasion.

Dobra has both a surface and an underground flow and flows in between hills covered by green forests. After going underground in Ogulin, it again surfaces near the hydroelectric power plant Gojak where, joined by the water from the power plant it becomes wild.

Mrežnica, of an extremely green colour, harbours its secrets in a canyon and is rich in waterfalls and cascades. In Karlovac the green of Mrežnica merges and flows into the bigger Korana.

Karlovac was erected in the 16th century in the form of a six-point star divided into 24 equal blocks, as a protection against the Turks. Only two other towns in Europe have this shape – Palmanova in Italy and Novy Zamky in Slovakia.

The construction of the fortress headed by the then renowned constructor Martin Gambon started in 1579 on the estate of the aristocratic family Zrinski beneath the castle Stari grad Dubovac ('Old town Dubovac'), and it was named Karlovac (Carlstadt) after its founder, the Austrian archduke Karl of Habsburg. Walls and bulwarks were built, and within the fortress squares, palaces, military and sacral buildings.

During the 16th and 17th century the fortress and army were ruling the town, which was changing through time. It faced the danger of floods and fires. In the great fire of 1594, the entire town was burnt down. It was devastated by the plague, the most severe epidemics occurring in 1773, when almost half of the population died from it. Altogether, the Turks invaded Karlovac seven times, but never managed to conquer it. The last Ottoman invasion took place in 1672.

Dissatisfied with the strict military rule, which prevented economic development of the town, the citizens demanded from queen and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria to pronounce Karlovac a free royal town and introduce civilian administration. This happened in 1776, and in 1781 emperor Joseph II passed the Free Royal Town Charter wit the town emblem. In the 18th and 19th centuries Karlovac bloomed economically, becoming the most significant town of commerce between the Adriatic Sea and the Danube valley.

The Karlovac Town Museum testifies of the town's rich history. It is located in a palace from the first half of the 17th century, built by General Vuk Krsto Frankopan and today one of the oldest preserved examples of small palace architecture typical for the region. It harbours the natural science, archaeological, historical, ethnographic and cultural collection of the town and its surroundings.

The castle Stari Grad Dubovac offers the most beautiful view of Karlovac. It is located on an artificial hill overlooking Karlovac, and its name suggests that in ancient times it was covered in an oak tree (Dub) forest. It was first mentioned in 1339 in historical church records.

Along with numerous historical sights, Karlovac offers its visitors natural beauties in the green valleys of its four rivers, a rich culinary offering, strolls along hundred-year-old alleys, rides in old carriages to the sounds of concerts held on promenades, and to nature enthusiasts it offers fishing, bicycle trails, rafting and canoeing on Mrežnica and Dobra. In the summer visitors can swim in Korana on the Foginovo bathing resort in the very centre of the town or explore the natural beauties and culture of the town's surroundings.
Karlovac offers accommodation in three hotels – Korana Srakovčić, Carlstadt and Europa, and auto-camps Radonja and Slapić are located in close proximity to the town.

Karlovac County Tourist Board

Town of Karlovac Tourist Board

Town of Karlovac

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