|The area of Gorski Kotar
from the past until now divides or connects continental
hinterland and coastal ports, therefore, such
geographical characteristic of mountain are has very
often influenced, not only its general, but also its
In the ancient time the main roads avoided difficulty crosses woody mountains of this area. At Roman times, the main roads from the north Italy or from Aquilia, bypassed Gorski Kotar from the north or south side, so that it found itself between Roman provinces of Panonia and Dalmatia, outside of the economic flow and activities of that time. Significant changes began with the great migration of people with invasion of Barbarians coming from the Far East and North, especially from the 4th century, with strong Gothic blows on Roman Empire. Witness of those times are remains of fortification “Liburnia Limes", stretching from Tarsatica to the sea over Grobnik Valley to Prezid in Gorski Kotar. Collapse and disappearance of the West Roman Empire in the 5th century caused on the territory of Gorski Kotar permanent changes of rulers, from Langobards to Franks and Byzantine. In the 7th century the Croats settled these areas.
Settlement of Gorski Kotar became more intensified, and with certain political and economic plans, not before the second half of the 13th century. After Turkish invasion at the end of the 15th century, the Frankopans more intensively colonize this territory with new population, fleeing before Turkish conqueror of the south territory.
Krk dukes, later on Frankopans expanded their estate until the border with Kranjska, developing economic and cultural activities. There are records of the first settlements on today’s mountain area dated from 1481, when the Royal Tribunal of Zagreb requested from the Duce Stjepan Frankopan to obey privileges of Zagreb merchants trading at Lukovdol, Brod, Moravicame, Vrbovsko, Delnice, Lokve etc. Because of very favorable position by crossing through Kupa, Brod becomes with time the center of spacious estate.
In the 16th century the Frankopans are succeeded by the Zrinski, who very strongly activated commercial connections through Vinodol with other Croat Kings, even with Slovenia and Hungary. At that time Čabar began to be exposed for its significance, which shall later on become a separate landed estate. Gorski Kotar remains in ownership of Zrinski Dukes all until their ruin in 1670. From than on, numerous different masters in Gorski Kotar obstinately and ruthlessly increase feudal exploitation, all until Austro-Hungarian Monarchy occupied these areas.
The beginning of 18th century marked the new development stimulus for the Monarchy, including Gorski Kotar. At the time of reign of the Austria Emperor Charles 4th, the King Charles Road was opened, connecting Gorski Kotar with Rijeka Bay and Croatian hinterland. After Napoleon wars, Gorski Kotar became part of Hungarian part of the Monarchy within Civil Croatia, and Budapest starts to more actively reach this territory. The new, modern, considerably faster and better traced Louise Road was completed. In the middle of 19th century a railroad was built through Gorski Kotar in order to connect Rijeka with Budapest. All these made more favorable conditions for stimulus of new contents in Gorski Kotar, however, insufficient for demographic, space, and economic development of Gorski Kotar, so that those consequences are felt even in the 20th century.
Fran Krsto Frankopan
The King Charles Road
© Ineco, 1995./2005.