Traditional wooden architecture

The basis of traditional construction is oak (Quercus robur), as an autochthonous building material that local craftsmen knew how to breathe life into. Peasant houses – cottages, manors – country …

The basis of traditional construction is oak (Quercus robur), as an autochthonous building material that local craftsmen knew how to breathe life into. Peasant houses – cottages, manors – country houses of the wealthier Turopoljes, such as the Modic-Bedekovic manor in Donja Lomnica, “čardaci” – wooden one-story homes with beautifully decorated staircases and beautiful wooden chapels were built from oak.

The art of craftship

Manors and smaller houses were very often built in a simple way, which is characterized by the horizontal stacking of planks, joined by wooden wedges that overlap in the corners in the old Croatian embroidery of unhewn beam ends or German embroidery of hewn ends. The roof of the house used to be thatch – rye straw, then shingles – wooden planks, and today tiles. In order to protect the walls of the ground floor, they often added an attic – a protective eave at the level of the ground floor ceiling.

On the wooden ceiling beams, you can find initials drawn from the Christian tradition, such as the motif of the cross, chalice, heart, as well as the owner’s name and dates, which were often inscribed, i.e. carved on the main ceiling beam (ridge), and sometimes above the entrance door.

Houses were built by village masters paliri, using centuries of folk experience and skill. They were organized into groups, and the paliri from Kuč, Čička Poljana, Bukevje and Lijevi Štefanki were well-known. Turopolje houses were also special in that it was possible to move them from place to place using various wooden tools that were used by the horsemen or the carts to move the houses.

Villas and manors

The Kupa and Sava valleys are rich in oak forests and provided a good economic base and were very attractive for settlement, but until the embankment was built in the second half of the 19th century, these areas were occasionally flooded. In order to be protected from flooding, the homes were raised on poles and thus greenhouses or conservatories were created. When the Kupa and Sava rivers were regulated by the construction of embankments and when the constant danger of more permanent floods disappeared, the lower part of the house on stilts was closed, which was the first move towards a multi-storey building. Due to the wetness of the soil and the danger of occasional floods, the ground floor of the wooden houses was never used for living, but there were sheds or sheds, storage rooms for tools, while the living quarters were exclusively on the first floor.

The most famous examples of this construction can be found in Mraclin and Posavina with beautifully carved porches and external staircases like lace. Today, they are protected cultural monuments that speak of construction and builders in past centuries.

Wooden mansions are a distinctive part of the residential architecture of northwestern Croatia, of which only about fifteen remain to this day, while once this type of building prevailed in the area with more than a hundred buildings, and the oldest examples can be found from the middle of the 18th century. It is precisely these smaller towns located away from the main centers, in Turopolje, in the vicinity of Samobor, Pokuplje, Posavina, Zagorje and Prigorje, that in the period from the 16th to the 19th century were centers of power, small sources of culture and education, and favorite meeting places of the Croatian nobility. This alone allowed the Turopolje prefects Josipovic, noblemen Jelacic and Modic-Bedekovic to be part of the spiritual and social life of the Croatian intellectual, cultural and military-political circle, while at the same time they could manage their properties, grow fish, forests, and orchards.

There were utility rooms on the ground floor of the manor, and there were usually five large rooms on the first floor. The largest one, called the palace with the big table, served as a dining room, and next to it there was a lounge with classical furniture and three more bedrooms. Spacious yards surrounded the manors, and some of them were turned into beautiful parks.

Wooden chapels

Wooden chapels represent the highest range of folk architecture in the area of Northern Croatia, built mostly in the period from the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century. Although a small number of them have been preserved to this day, the wooden chapels of this area are particularly interesting due to their typological diversity, and one of the characteristics of some wooden chapels in Turopolje is the addition of vestibules where rituals were performed on holidays and days of patrons.

Most often located on a small hill near the village, surrounded by tall and old trees, with a small wooden bell tower, they fit harmoniously into the landscape. We are convinced that it will delight you with its architectural simplicity and originality, as well as the multitude of details that testify to the artistic abilities of the folk craftsmen of the Turopolje woodworking and carpentry companies.

Method of construction

Constructive characteristics of construction by horizontal stacking of planks, connected with wooden wedges – brains, on different embroideries is the basic feature that connects sacred and profane monuments in the area of Turopolje. The wooden walls of simpler houses, including wooden castles, were built of horizontally stacked rough or fine hewn, and from the middle of the XIX. century and sawn oak planks 7-12 cm thick and 25-30 cm high. Planks processed in this way are connected along the length with wooden pegs, and in the corners they are joined or overlapped in the old Croatian embroidery with unhewn ends of the beams or the newer German embroidery (with hewn ends). The strength of the structure depends on the type of overlap and the density of the wedges.

Most of the wooden castles were plastered and whitewashed on the outside, so the original wooden structure could not be seen. If the planks were shorter, they were connected, gathered, with a post with a poberuh that was vertically inserted into the foundation (cecek, podsjek) and the final beam (wedding ring). . In order to separate the oak from the soil and moisture, the four undercut beams are generally thicker, wider and longer than the others, and the structure built in this way was laid on earth and stone foundations, which were later replaced by brick columns, i.e. the foundations were built entirely with a brick.

The high degree of assembly and mobility, as well as the purity of the construction process of folding construction, allows the building to be completely dismantled, the materials to be transferred and reassembled with a repeated inversion process, or the entire building to be lifted using wooden screws and moved to another location using rollers, winches and ropes.