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Samobor was a bustling center of commerce and agriculture during medieval times, but now it's an affluent bedroom community where many city folk from Zagreb have built large, expensive homes. Others flee metropolitan madness for Samobor. Besides excellent access to hiking and cycling trails in the mountains west of town and in the Zumberak region, Samobor has several museums and galleries worth a look.

Anindol -- Taking a walk on this wooded promenade in Samobor is reason enough to visit the town. The path is in a park on Tepec Hill above the center, which also is where you'll find the Chapel of St. Anne and the Chapel of St. George, both tucked into greenery. Between the two, there are 14 stone Stations of the Cross with carved reliefs. The ruins of Old Town Samobor and its castle are farther up the hill above the chapels. Built in the late 13th century, only the defense tower and part of the walls remain.

Liberation Park -- This green space in the heart of Samobor is dominated by a monument to the victims of the Homeland War. There is a statue of the Blessed Virgin outside St. Anastasia Church on the park and a memorial wall engraved with the names of 51 people from Samobor and environs who died in the fighting.

Samobor Castle -- The ruins of Samobor Castle sit atop a hill right above the town of Samobor, which is only around 25km (16 miles) west of Zagreb. To reach the castle take the Zagreb-Ljubljana highway, get off at the Samobor exit, and follow the road with the concrete surface toward Samobor, taking the left fork into town. Proceed through the town center and walk up from the park on the western edge of town (you can see the ruins immediately above). It is only about a 10- to 15-minute ascent on a switchback trail. As of this writing there was a locked gate at the main entrance to the ruins, but you could still gain access by walking around to the rear.

By the charter of King Bela IV in 1242, the town of Samobor was granted the privileges of a free market town. The castle was built around the same time, and various additions and renovations were made over the next 500 years. The castle was owned by a number of eminent families: the Babonics, Counts Celjski, the Frankopans, the Ungnads, the Erdodys, the Kulmers, the Kiepachs, and the Allnochs. Samobor Castle was abandoned in the 18th century and gradually fell into ruins.  -- Courtesy of Tocher Mitchell


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