A town in the region of Pokuplje, near the confluence
of the Kupa, the Mreznica, the Korana and the Dobra rivers, 55 km
southwest of Zagreb; elevation 112 m; population 59,999. Cultural
(theatre, art colony in winter months, Korana Sculpture Park), trade
and industrial centre; metal-processing (gas and steam turbines,
diesel engines, boilers, pumps, tools), chemical, textile, leather,
wood and timber, food (dairy, brewery) and building material (brickworks)
industries. Karlovac is located at the intersection of the main
roads Zagreb - Karlovac (M11.01, E65, E71), Karlovac - Rijeka (M12,
E 65), Karlovac - Senj (M12.3), Karlovac - Zadar (M13.01, E71) and
on the railroad Zagreb - Karlovac - Ostarije - Rijeka, i.e. Split,
Zadar and Sibenik, respectively.
Karlovac was named after the founder of the fortress
and the burg, the Styrian Archduke Karl II Habsburg, the commander
of the Croatian Military Border. The construction of Karlovac started
on 13th of July, 1579, according to an Italian model (N. Angelini),
on the estate of the noble family Zrinski. The shape of a six-pointed
star, divided into 24 almost regular blocks with the quadrangular
pattern of streets, was based in the spirit of Renaissance conception
of the defence and residential space.
Karlovac developed around the Renaissance-style
fortified town in the 16th century, between the Kupa and the Korana
rivers. The only remains of the fortifications are moats, while
the remains of the former old town include ten-odd nice and regular
streets with valuable Baroque structures and the central square.
Among the sacral buildings, the most prominent are the early Baroque
church of the Holy Trinity with the Franciscan monastery and the
national shrine of St. Joseph. Other valuable structures include
"Zorin Dom", the Town Museum, the Music School and the
very well preserved mediaeval fortification Dubovac, today converted
into a hotel.
The attractive position of the town on four rivers
(the Kupa, the Korana, the Mreznica and the Dobra) and an extremely
favourable location in terms of traffic - on the main road from
Zagreb to the Adriatic Coast - facilitate the development of tourism,
especially transit. The landscaped park Vrbanicev Perivoj and Marmont
Alley of plane trees are protected horticultural monuments, and
the peat-bog plant community Banski Moravci, east of the town, is
set aside as a special biological reserve.
Among cultural and entertainment events and performances
in the town, the most important are the Beer Days (at the beginning
of autumn), a kind of local variant of the world-famous Oktoberfest
in Munich. One should also mentioned pilgrimages to St. Joseph in
Dubovac (19th of March), the floral exhibition and fair (at the
beginning of June), St. John's Bonfires (at the end of June) and
the Karlovac Cultural Days (in October, November and December).
The most important sports and recreational activities
are connected with the four rivers of Karlovac (bathing, angling,
etc.). The surroundings also offer hunting and hiking opportunities.