Very few capitals in Europe can boast the fact that a protected area of nature is right at their doorstep. Among them is Zagreb, the Croatian metropolis of nearly a million people, situated at the foot of the Medvednica Mountain Nature Park. A favourite among day-trippers, it offers various options for sports and recreation, as well as an educational and memorable experience of going on a journey to the Middle Ages.
If you are drawn to stories of mysterious dark areas rich in ore, treat yourself to a tour of the Park and Miner’s Garden. Hidden among beech trees, in the vicinity of the Grafičar mountain lodge, lies a mysterious underground mine that has been explored since ancient times in search of precious metals. The Zrinski Mine was opened in the 16th century, when galenite ore was found in the area. Since it usually forms a compound with silver, miners began excavating underground passages very early on, hoping to find more of the precious metal. Despite their superhuman efforts, the mine never offered a great yield, so the Zrinski family that owned the mine halted production in mid-17th century, leaving the mines to be overtaken with dampness, darkness, and underground creatures.
Peace around the mines was only disturbed by occasional landslides, until in 2004, employees of the Medvednica Nature Park modified them into a tourist attraction and opened them to the public. Since then, the passages of the Zrinski Mine have been very lively – countless visitors wearing colourful helmets listening to the guides talking about the hard labour in the mines, looking at wooden sculptures with interest, imagining the conversations between miners and their foreman, the bergmeister. An already strong impression of the past is further enhanced by the sounds of dripping water and hammers striking the rock. You will also have a unique opportunity to touch the tools that were used in the mine at the time. Due to its value, the Zrinski Mine is protected as a cultural monument of the Republic of Croatia, so make sure to visit and let professional guides of the Nature Park lead you through it. Honour the generations of miners that worked there and discover some of their secrets.
Keep in mind that the temperature inside the mine reaches around 10–12°C, so make sure you bring suitable clothes and shoes with you.
The Zrinski Mine is an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
Crack open the wooden door to the Zrinski Mine, take a walk through its passages and travel five centuries into the past!
“Medvednica Nature Park” Public Institution
Bliznec 70, 10000 Zagreb
Tel.: +385 1 45 86 317