Čakovec or Zrinski Castle is the biggest fortification in Međimurje County. It was constructed of hewn stone and red brick, and, during its more than 7-century-long history, subjected to several reconstructions. Today it is partly restored.
First fortification was built in the 13th century by Count Dimitrius Csáky, after whom the city of Čakovec is named. It was later owned by many other notable families, including the House of Lacković, the Counts of Celje as well as the House of Ernušt, House of Zrinski, House of Feštetić and others.
Nikola Šubić Zrinski, Ban (viceroy) of Croatia and hero of Siget, was granted the castle together with the whole area of Međimurje on 12 March 1546 from King Ferdinand as a compensation for his battles against the Ottomans.
Nikola Šubić Zrinski's great-grandson Nikola VII Zrinski, long-term Ban of Croatia and famous warrior against the Turks, was born in Čakovec Castle in 1620 to Juraj V Zrinski and Magdalena Zrinski née Széchy. In his castle he established and owned a unique book collection named 'Bibliotheca Zriniana'.
In 1660 the castle was visited by Evliya Çelebi, Turkish traveller and writer, and in 1661 by Jacobus Tollius, Dutch philologist. The famous Hungarian poet-general Miklós Zrínyi died here in 18 Nov 1664.
On 30 April 1738 castle was heavily damaged in an earthquake. It was immediately rebuilt and redesigned in baroque style, and it was given its present-day look. Water-filled moats, that entirely surrounded the castle, were later drained and filled with earth.
The castle's main palace houses the Međimurje County Museum, the biggest museum in the county, and its atrium is also used as an outdoor theatre during the summer months. The place was the scene of the Zrinski-Frankopan conspiracy, a significant event in the history of Croatia.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.