Blagaj na Korani or Hrvatsko Blagaj as it is called today is easy to reach by the state road D-1 from Karlovac to Slunj. Five kilometers behind Veljun, immediately after a long straight climb is a sharp turn to the right on the local road to Blagaj and after some 300 meters you will reach the church of St. Spirit.
I am free to recommend that you leave your car here and continue on the paved road on foot, and I will tell you why later. After some two hundred meters turn right onto the gravel road and stick to it. The road winds through the forest for the next three hundred meters and emerges into the clearing in front of the old estate, or new cottage. You will also understand that you are on the right track by the fact that the owner made a tree house, probably for kids. Here the road now leads you to the left and after a few hundred meters you will reach the remains of the Blagaj fortress. Along the old medieval road on the right is the front of the fort overgrown with thickets, and when the vegetation is stronger, it is probably not visible at all.
Blagajski are an old Croatian nobility whose famous past dates back to the beginning of the XIII. century. The first known member of the family was Prince Stjepan called Babon, after whom they took the name Babonići, and according to the estate of Vodice not far from today's Hrvatska Dubica, they were often called the princes of Vodice. They were considered relatives of the patrician family Ursini (Babone-Orsini), so in addition to their names in books, there is often a Latin form of the surname Urisinius. The name Blagajski (de Blagay) began to be used after they built the town of Blagaj on the Sana.
About a hundred years later (more or less) they built this fortress on the Korana, which was named Blagaj after them, and which was their last line of defense in fierce battles with the Turks until the end of the 1897th century when they left it and moved to Kranjska. The last member of the Babonić Blagajski nobility was Count Ludwig, who died in Ljubljana in XNUMX. With their property, they bordered on the Frankopan princes of Krk, with whom they were closely related by family and always in good and allied relations. As many as seven marriages have been recorded between these families.
Four princesses of Blagaj were married to the princes of Krk, Frankopan, as follows:
• Ursula Blagajska, married around 1290 to Prince Dujam II. Of Krk with whom she had two children, Frederick III. and Cecilia
• Dorothea of Blagaj, married around 1465 to Prince Martin II. Frankopan with whom she had no children
• Ana Blagajska, married around 1510 to Prince George III. Slunjski Frankopan with whom she had no children
• Dorothea of Blagaj, married around 1540 to Prince Nicholas VIII. Frankopan with whom she had four children, Gašpar, Stjepan V., Klara and Uršula.
Three princes of Blagaj married princesses Frankopan, all three Dorothea:
• Stjepan Blagajski, married around 1465 Princess Dorothea Frankopan, daughter of Prince Dujam IV.
• Ivan Ursinus Blagajski, married in 1480 Princess Dorothea Frankopan, daughter of Prince George II.
• Stjepan Ursinus Blagajski, married around 1505 Princess Dorothea Frankopan, daughter of Prince Michael.
So much about the history of the burg and the family of princes Babonić Blagajski. This is not an encyclopedia, but a note from a trip. We return to the ruins of the Blagaj fortress. If you are persistent and resistant to blackberries and thorns like Goran Majetić and Tata Tomy, you will be able to break inside and look around the walls of the former rooms. On the north side, slightly larger openings suggest that there were windows, and on the east, along the wall towards the road, that there was a main entrance. It is good that the vegetation has not started yet, so something can still be seen. When prolista will be an impossible mission, especially since the season of ticks and hops will begin, and avoiding them is not much fun.
The second part of the fort complex is physically separated from the one described by a road leading to the Korana canyon, which suggests that it was entered by a wooden bridge high above the road. And it is in poor condition, though still impressive, especially the south side on which is visible a tower high or rather about fifteen feet deep, since it descends from the level of the castle along the rock of the canyon. Using a sketch from the Hungarian website varak.hr, I made a drawing of the possible appearance of the Blagaj fortress, so take it with you when you dare to go on a tour. I hope it will be useful to you and kindle your imagination.
Eh, now we come to why park a car a mile and a bit further, when you can get a lot closer, to maybe just a few hundred meters. So to warm up if you decide to descend into the Korana canyon to the remains of the Mravunčev mlin, because if you try to do it unheated - you will probably curse everything that the damned gave. The first thing that is especially interesting is the realization that you are moving along a real medieval road that is still in very good condition. The road has three branches of serpentine, and the height difference is about seventy meters. Here reigns if not eternal, then at least long-lasting shade. The sun - perhaps - appears in the late afternoon or perhaps early in the morning. Despite this, it was not wet and slippery and we happily descended to the river. And that was the highlight of our trip, even though we were at the bottom in terms of height. The canyon is, to put it mildly - beautiful.
We were delighted by the small sandy beach, which is rare to find on the Adriatic. All that remains of the mill are the stone girders and one millstone in the grass a little upstream. Goran drew our attention to the large curbstone blocks of the carrier in the water. In his opinion, these are parts of the covers of Roman tombstones. We climb the steep road and stop every now and then to take another shot. In fact, we pause to rest and catch our breath. It’s good that we’re at least warmed up so our climb doesn’t fall as hard as it would have fallen if we hadn’t. Or at least we take comfort in that.
Photos: Tomislav Beronić
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