The irresistible charm of Prigorje
The Zelina area, the northeastern gate of Zagreb County, stretches over 206 square kilometres. Sveta Ivan Zelina and the Bedenica municipality with its settlements are at the centre of the area, which has a population of 18,000. The main economic activities in the area are agriculture, wine-growing, livestock breeding, chemical and textile industries and, of course, tourism. The large number of sacral monuments, churches and chapels is scattered throughout the Zelina area, and its tourism attractions include its historical heritage, wine cellars with renowned wines along the attracting wine road, thermal baths and other recreation possibilities. The Zelina area is where Zagreb County borders with Varaždin County to the northeast, and with Koprivnica-Križevci County to the east.
Sveti Ivan Zelina
Sveti Ivan Zelina is a picturesque town on the southeastern slopes of Mt. Medvednica along the Lonja River valley. The town lies 37 kilometres from Zagreb on the Zagreb – Varazdin motorway. There are two exits that will bring you to Zelina: Sveta Helena and Komin. Zelina is connected to Vrbovec via Rakovec, and with several smaller roads to Hrvatsko Zagorje. The town is an old cultural and economic centre of Prigorje, and has a population of about 2700, while about 15,700 people live in the outlying settlements.
The Zelina area attracts many excursionists due to its beautiful landscapes. In passing through the old villages, one can still come across the remnants of old mills, water mills, charcoal kilns and lime kilns, though many of these old masters and crafts are no longer. Today, the Zelina area is well known for its wines, nurtured by the Zelina wine-growers and wine-makers who are increasingly winning prizes and recognitions at international wine exhibits and fairs. The wine road passing through the wine-growing hills is very attractive, from Donja Zelina towards Nespeš and Gornje Psarjevo, towards Sveti Ivan Zelina. Visit the wine cellars, wine huts and vineyards of the renowned Zelina wine-growers and wine-makers and try several of the noble wines and excellent home-cooked delicacies. A special atmosphere is in the air during the harvest and wine holidays, such as St. Martin’s Day or St. Vincent’s Day. The Sveti Ivan Zelina Museum (currently closed) holds exhibits of paintings and collections and displays a wine-growing display which is often given on loan for exhibit.
Each year, the traditional Exhibit of Wines of Continental Croatia is held. Over the past 40 years, more than 8000 wine samples have been exhibited and assessed with traditional strictness, professionalism and impartiality. Without a doubt, the exhibit has strongly influenced the development of the wine industry in Croatia, and today represents a meeting place for the best wine-growers, wine-makers, oenologists and all those who love this noble nectar.