famous persons

from our county

truly famous people lived and created In the Ozalj area

By all means, the most famous were the members of Frankopan and Zrinski families who resided in the Old Town of Ozalj. Both families belonged to high Croatian aristocracy and promoted Croatian culture for centuries. Indisputable is the significance which these two families had in the Croatian history, defence of national territory, culture, civil engineering and economy.

In the 17th century they represented the Croatian cultural life along with several other writers, and in the Croatian literature they are known as writers of the Ozalj literary circle. They wrote in the so called “hybrid” language of three dialects, a mixture of Kajkavian, Chakavian and Stokavian elements. They tried to create a language which would include all elements of the three Croatian dialects, so as to make it more understandable throughout the country.

Literary and linguistic-standardization efforts of the Ozalj circle were abruptly interrupted with the crushing of Zrinski-Frankopan resistance in 1671, but we can only imagine what our region would be like if the course of history had been different! Croatian poet and writer A. G. Matoš wrote in “Jubilej” (Jubilee) magazine, in the edition of Hrvatska sloboda (Croatian Freedom) dated June 15, 1910: “By glorifying the last Zrinski and last Frankopan, we do not only glorify the most wonderful representatives of the old days in our nation, but we also glorify rare people, who were not born a hundred, but several hundred years too soon”.

Slava Raškaj

1877. - 1906.

She finished primary and secondary school at the Department of Deaf Children in Vienna from 1883 to 1892. In Vienna he receives the first lessons from the drawing where his first recorded drawings came into being. In that period, there are drawings of a shower called “Arms and Weapons I and II.” From 1892. These are smaller drawings in the vignette form where the name clearly indicates what is on them. The first person to observe Slavin’s talent was Isidor Kršnjavi. Its watercolors represent the highest range of Croatian watercolor painting at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Of all our painters who used to do it with watercolor, she had the most sense of the pigment and water ratio in watercolors. Hence, its watercolor, fluid and light, is just an example of an ideal aquarium, and are equally flimsy convincing and its pastels.

In the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka there is a Slavina notebook with sketches from January to March 1899, and a watercolor tree in the snow is kept in the Modern Gallery in Zagreb. He lives in Ozalj where a series of drawings and portraits of people from his environment are born. There are two stages in the artistic creation of Slave Raškaj. In the first – the drawing and the color expression are pure observations – a crystal clear experience of the beauty of nature. In the second painting stage, Slavina’s works are the first expression of impressions, and in this mood her best works – watercolors “Kruška”, “Suncokreti”, “Potočnice”, with a transparent background are created. She comes back with motives in nature. Then there is a whole cycle called “Lopoči”, the most famous Slavonian works under the impression of a picturesque lake in Zagreb’s botanical garden. In 1898, Glory painted its famous “Self Portrait”. She returned to Ozalj in 1899 where she continued to paint outdoor watercolors, landscapes, and all that she learned in Zagreb applied to these landscapes. In the last years of life and creativity there is not a lot of works, it’s just eight medals in the technique of watercolors that dominate the motive of women.

Nikola Šubić Zrinski

1508. – 1566.

Nikola Šubic Zrinski (1508. – 1566.), “Croatian pillar and shield, warden of the Siget town and prime source of Turkish dismay of his time”. German authors also write about the Siget hero, and, apart from us, Hungarians glorify him as their national hero as well. He had participated in many wars since his early years, and when he was 21 he distinguished himself in the defence of Vienna (1529), and in 1542, with only 400 other Croats, he saved Pest from certain doom. All of Europe admired his heroism, calling him the new Leonid. On June 17, 1543 Nikola married Katarina Frankopan, a sister of Duke Stjepan Frankopan of Ozalj. The legend says that right here in Ozalj a big wedding feast with many guests was held and lasted for 7 days. And indeed, Nikola erected his home within the walls of the Old Town of Ozalj – the Zrinski Palace. The evidence thereof is the inscription engraved above the entrance: NICO.CO.ZR.1556 (Nicolaus comes Zriniensis 1556 which means: Nikola Count Zrinski 1556). The Palace was built in a rectangular shape and it was erected on a solid rock ascending the slope over the Kupa River, and it has kept its appearance of the 16th century even to the present day. The most famous of Nikola’s descendants are his grandson Juraj Zrinski and great-grandsons Nikola and Petar.

Among numerous works and places dedicated to the Croatian Leonid, the opera “Nikola Šubic Zrinski” is the most prominent. Ivan pl. Zajc composed this cult opera to Hugo Badalic’s libretto. Thanks to him, Nikola Zrinski is also esteemed and admired in Japan, principally for his honourable samurai-like death. As a tribute to this act, Japanese male choirs often perform an aria from the opera which they learnt in 1919 from our sailors who spent two months not far from Osaka, repairing a stranded ship. Subsequently, on February 26, 2006, in a concert hall in Tokyo, a Japanese male choir of 1000 singers sang the aria “U boj” (To Battle), marking a record in choir singing. The concert was attended by 10,000 people.
Nikola Šubic Zrinski wrote in Glagolitic script.

Ban Petar Zrinski


After the death of his brother, Viceroy Nikola, Viceroy Petar Zrinski (1621-1671) continued the movement against the Viennese imperial autocracy together with Hungarian aristocracy. As everyone in his family, he was also a great warrior famous for the many battles he participated in, and even the King called him the “shield of Christianity and the source of Turkish dismay”. This famous hero’s life ended in arrest, trial and beheading on April 30, 1671. In 1643 he married Countess Katarina Zrinski, a half-sister of Fran Krsto Frankopan. Their wedding feast was also held in the Zrinski Palace in Ozalj which was also their home. The farewell letter which Petar wrote to his beloved Katarina before the decapitation in Wiener Neustadt, starting with words “My dear heart…” is one of the most beautiful love letters of the era. In 1660 he published the Croatian translation and remake of his brother Nikola’s Hungarian poem, “Adrianskoga mora sirene” (The Sirens of the Adriatic Sea).

Nikola Zrinski younger

1620. – 1664.

Grand Grand son of Sigrid hero and Croatian ban. At the royal call of 1646, he left for thirty years of war. Due to the demonstrated heroism and military skills, King Ferdinand III, in 1647, appointed him “General of all Croats” and on 27 December of that same year and Croatian ban. He led a famous conspiracy, and after his death in the hunt, the ban and the leader of the conspiracy became his brother Petar Zrinski.
He was a wise politician, writer and intellectual. In his epic work titled “The Desert of Siget”, he described the heroic death of his great-grandfather who entered into all the historical records of the 16th century. The poem was written in Hungarian, and although it was written by the Croat, it is considered one of the greatest achievements of early Hungarian baroque literature. He also wrote the book “The Siren of the Adriatic Sea”.
All in all, Nikola was the man who in the midst of the European era of awakening national consciousness and the beginning of aspirations for national states devoted his life to the preservation of European and Christian civilization. At the same time he found himself involved in the political intrigue of his time, who with his ideals did not have much in common, so he could be considered a tragic person of Croatian history.

Ana Katarina Frankopan Zrinski

1625. -1673.

Ana Katarina Frankopan Zrinski (1625-1673) was known as an erudite woman and a great patron of the Croatian arts. As the first lady in Croatia proper, she was not only a translator, but she also wrote many literary texts. She stood firmly by her husband Petar and helped him in political affairs. She published a translation of the German prayer book “Sibila”, and recently discovered poems of the talented Katarina have been published under the title “Raj duše” (Soul’s Heaven). She spoke German, Hungarian, Latin and Italian. At home, in Ozalj, in 1660 she wrote a prayer book “Putni toveruš” (Travelling Companion), which is one of the most outstanding literary works of the Croatian baroque due to its linguistic and stylistic features.

Ivan Belostenac

1594. -1675.

He is also a member of Ozalj’s literary-linguistic circle, Croatian linguist and lexicographer, and the first Pavlinska monastery in Svetice. His life work is a great, encyclopaedic Illyrian-Latin and Latin-Illyrian truncated dictionary “Gazophylacium”. With the dedication of scientists and the poet’s inspiration for decades, she has collected and stored in her treasures a mild Croatian language diversity. It has collected about 40,000 words per 2,000 pages of text. On this link of Ozalj’s City Library and readers of “Ivana Belostinga” you can literally virtualize this magnificent dictionary.

Virtual dictionary Ivana Belostenac

Fran Krsto Frankopan

1643. -1671.

Fran Krsto Frankopan (1643-1671) was a nobleman, poet, translator and captain of Senj. By all means, he was the most eminent intellectual among the Frankopans. He was a hero in war and eminent author in peace, writer of the lost, and in the 19th century found, “Gartlic za cas kratiti” (The Garden in which to Cheat Time).

Fran Krsto Frankopan, a half-brother of Katarina Zrinski, the youngest son of Vuk Frankopan, a general of Karlovac, was educated in Zagreb, where he discovered his inclination towards books and writing. In order to continue his education, he went to Italy where he studied Italian poetry and met a respectable Roman patrician, Julijana de Naro whom he married. When he returned to his homeland, he followed his father’s footsteps and became a captain of Ogulin. He was also one of the organizers of the historical conspiracy of Croatian-Hungarian aristocracy, with a view to break off from the Monarchy. Due to this participation in the conspiracy, he was beheaded in Wiener Neustadt on April 30, 1671.
Fran Krsto had exceptional, artistic talent; he was born a poet. In his lifetime he published only one literary work, an epic poem “Elegija” (Elegy, 1656), he translated Moliere, and he left behind an interesting philosophic-poetic vision “Trumbita sudnjeg dana”. He is deemed as the most talented poet of the Ozalj circle.

Tragic poet’s destiny was followed by the destiny of his poetry compiled in the collection “Gartlic za cas kratiti”. Two whole centuries passed until it was discovered by a librarian in the Viennese Court Library, Ivan Kostrencic. He was the first one to publish it in a book called Vrtic (Small Garden) in 1871, but only in a selection since some of these poems, erotic ones from the “Gartlic” and “Zganke” cycle, were too provocative for moral sentiments of the readers of that period due to their audacious expressions. Although this little book was a literary sensation, none of the critics of that period recognized its value. According to their standards, Frankopan’s language was flawed because it was “miscellaneous and gaudy”, but this was actually a specific feature of all writers of the Ozalj literary-linguistic circle, which unfortunately did not produce the results it could have.

Namely, when the Croatian literary language was being codified, Ivan Gundulic was the model, so Frankopan’s three-dialect poetry was seen as an aberration from the mainstream development of the Croatian language. However, recent linguistic-historical studies, those of Josip Voncina in particular, have described and valued peculiarities and flexibility of Frankopan’s artistic expression. Re-edition of the book “Gartlic za cas kratiti” was prepared by Josip Voncina, and it was published as a part of the encyclopaedia “Centuries of Croatian Literature” in edition of Matrix Croatica, Zagreb, 1995.