Discover Croatia: Empirej castle is a short post about a very unusual castle in Northern Croatia called Empirej.
On our recent spa break in northern Croatian region of Hrvatsko Zagorje my husband and I made a short detour and visited Empirej Castle before we checked in at our hotel. Croatia is full of beautiful, historical castles and I’ve already written about some of them. However, Empirej castle is unlike any other castle in Croatia or elsewhere. It wasn’t built centuries ago by a noble family. On the contrary, Empirej castle is a story of dreams made true.
A man named Mijo Habulinec gave a Lego set to his daughters and told them to built a castle. Afterwards, he told the architects to design him a castle based on that Lego castle. Mr. Habulinec was born into a modest family but he was very hardworking throughout his life so he has managed to fulfill his boyhood dream of living in a castle. In an interview in one of Croatian’s newspapers Mr.Habulinec jokingly said that he’d built a castle to save money on wedding expenses for his four children. Indeed, two of his daughters did get married in Empirej Castle which is only over 20 years old. The castle is built above Mr.Habulinec birthplace, a little village called Jurjevec (some 50 km from Zagreb).
Empirej Castle is a private property which can be booked for weddings and various other events but it is not open for public viewings without previous arrangements. But you can have a look at it from the outside like we did. We walked uphill through a little forest past the closed gateway (it is only for cars, so you can walk right behind it) and found ourselves in front of the majestic Empirej Castle. There was no one. We walked all around the castle and took some photos. It reminded me of Disney cartoons’ castles a bit. Maybe what we did was trespassing but we just wanted to have a look at this beautiful castle. How did I find out about Empirej castle? I saw an Instagram post about it a year ago. So, you see, Instagram can get you in trouble;)
Do you like exploring castles too? You can read my other blog posts about Croatian castles which can be visited regularly