Located across the Sava River from the capital of Croatia is Zagreb County’s largest city, Velika Gorica. Its name translates as “Big Vineyard”, and it has been an important wine-growing region in the country since ancient times.
The most prominent attraction in Velika Gorica is the Turopolje Museum which details the cultural heritage of the historic Turopolje region within a mid-18th century city hall. It combines both Baroque features and traditional Turopolje architectural elements and houses around 3,500 artefacts and more than 10,000 photographic records. It is situated on the main commercial thoroughfare of Ulica Zagrebačka, just a short walk from the tourist information centre and Park Doktora Franje Tuđmana, dedicated to the first president of Croatia following independence from Yugoslavia. The People’s Open University remains an important cultural hub in the city, presenting theatrical performances and concerts, as well as art exhibitions and cinema screenings. A short drive from the city is the Vrata od krča “timber gate” monument, built in the late 18th century to symbolise the reclamation of this fertile land by the people, while the atmospheric old town of Lukavec lies just to the west. Its wooden fortifications were built to defend against Ottoman invasion in the 13th century before being rebuilt by Turopolje noblemen during the mid-16th century. The area is renowned for its ancient wooden chapels, some of which can be traced back to the Middle Ages. The majority of those which remain date from the 17th century and can still be visited in Vukomeričke Gorice and Pokuplje to the south of Velika Gorica.
Velika Gorica is home to the Franjo Tuđman Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Croatia, as well as being connected to Zagreb by regular train services. Public bus routes travel throughout the city and connect it with the surrounding regions, with the main bus interchange a short walk from the city centre.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the land on which Velika Gorica lies has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, with the first major settlement of Andautonia founded in the 1st century AD. Croats arrived here in the 8th century and the settlement of Velika Gorica was first mentioned in the early 13th century, eventually becoming the main hub of the historical Turopolje region.