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Events from the past

Events from the past

The history of the Noble Commune of Turopolje

Inhabitants and the Roman Civilisation

The remains of the Stone Age – stone axes found in Mraclin and Peršinovec - testify the existence of life in these parts even in prehistoric times. Findings that testify about it are the Roman graves with the money from 69 – 79 before Christ, and the remains of the town of Andautonija. People that lived in this region were Illyrians, Celts, Romans and Slavs. Croats came to Turopolje in the 7th century and in the 8th century they founded a state, the Principality of Posavska Hrvatska with Ljudevit Posavski at its head, having seat in Siscia.

People of Turopolje became noble

Turopolje or, more often, The Field of Tur got its name from ancient Slavic inhabitants who called it after wild cattle known to them from their previous homeland. The tur disappeared in the 17th century as a result of cutting down forests and hunting. The first record of Turopolje, referred to as Campus Turou, can be found in a roll from 1334. Until the 17th century the area of Turopolje was in documents referred to as the Field of Zagreb (Campus Zagrabiensis).

In 1225 the Croatian King Bela III exempted several inhabitants of Turopolje serving to Zagreb, promoting them thus, from the status of free citizens to the class of nobility. Their constitution, autonomy and annual election of the district-prefect, as well as their ancient rights were recognised and determined by the Slavonian-Croatian convention held in Zagreb in 1278. The following year Governor Nikola issued a document which was later used as the first known statute. In 1279 the king Ladislav IV confirmed the statute of the Noble Commune of Turopolje, on the basis of which the district-prefect could be only the nobleman who was elected on basis of common decision by the nobles of Turopolje. It could be considered as the first mention of “spravišče” – an assembly of noblemen of Turopolje where their district-prefect was elected and where the most important decisions were made. It took place on the day of St. George as long as until the beginning of the 17th century when it began to take place on 13 December, the day of St. Lucy. The first known district-prefect was Vojislav in 1257.

Among many charters of kings and governors, the most important is the one issued by King Matija Korvin from 1225. In this way, it obtained a decisive royal authority and credibility which was of great help when the inhabitants of Turopolje went to court to fight against the attempts of the owners of Medvedgrad to get hold of Lukavec Castle and to impose feudal serfdom upon them. In 1524 the Royal Court adjudged the inhabitant of Turopolje the status of true noblemen in the kingdom in political, administrative, military, economic and fiscal sense.

New Statute, Seal and Coat of Arms

In the 18th century the Noble Commune of Turopolje was on the peak of its undisputed military and legal importance in Croatia. Officials from Turopolje were highly honoured and the annual elections (premembe) became very fierce. It was stopped by Governor Esterhazy who in 1736 made new election rules according to which candidacies were placed at the 22 election assemblies while only judges and officials could participate in the election assemblies held on St. Lucy's Day. The act also obliged the people of Turopolje to keep a troop of 120 soldiers in times of peace and 300 in times of war. The Noble Commune of Turopolje gained a higher public and legal importance in 1737 after King Carl III had awarded them a seal and a coat of arms.

The economic Renewal and Cultural Development

In 1602 the Noble Commune of Turopolje got the right to organise a market in Velika Gorica and in 1614 a new town hall and a fort were built. The economic prosperity from the beginning of the 18th century enabled the construction of the stone Castle of Lukavec and the Castle of Turopolje (Town Hall) in Velika Gorica. Since then Velika Gorica started to develop not only as a traffic and commercial centre but also as a craft, administrative and cultural centre of Turopolje. The 17th and 18th century was the time when many timber churches were built throughout Turopolje. With a rise in literacy and education more and more residents of Turopolje held prominent cultural and public positions in Croatia. Let us just mention Juraj Habdelić in the 16th, brothers Petar and Nikola Škrlec in the 18th, the Mikšić, the Pogledić and the Josipović in the 19th century. Governor Josip Jelačić also descended from the Jelačić family from Kurilovec.

From the 1895 Act on the Organisation of NCT to the Communist Expropriation

After the feudal relations were abolished, the Noble Commune of Turopolje lost its judicature and its political role was reduced. The joint property could not be divided or alienated and the prefect was elected for the term of ten years. New rulebooks for all the jurisdictions and the Commune were made as well as the land-registry books. The Independent State of Croatia imposed an emergency management over the Commune and the jurisdictions. The forests were destroyed mercilessly. In April 1947 the NCT had to stop its work. From that moment the representatives could only sadly observe an inappropriate management of their property.

The Renewal of the NCT in 1991

A more democratic environment created in the late 80s brought back the ideas that this tradition could be restored. On the basis of the documents and records from the archive he reconstructed “Turopoljsko spravišče” (The Assembly of Nobles of Turopolje) which was on 15 December 1989 performed as a folk custom and a theatrical play in Galženica Gallery, for the first time after 1947. The Assembly of nobles was performed again on 14 December 1990. On that occasion, instead of professional actors and amateurs, exclusively the descendants of the nobles of Turopolje acted parts. A Charter of the Fraternity of Turopolje as a moral renewal and reestablishment of the Fraternity of Turopolje was made and signed on parchment. The renewal assembly of the NCT was held on 7 July 1991.