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Jastrebarsko through history

The great Croatian poet, Antun Gustav Matoš, once wrote of the Jastrebarsko region: "...a splendid valley with ancient mills, forests, villages, churches, woods, and then a chain of deep blue mountains, dusted by the colour of a romantic hazy flower... And around the neck of this magnificent, wooded highland with the contours of a sleepy, happy and idyllic life – a necklace of pearls made up of piedmont towns and old, winemaking villages... This fog is frankincense, and these beautiful wooded heights are altars."

The Jastrebarsko region is truly a real treasury of history, tradition, art and beauty. This renowned area, with the telling title of "Cardinals' Valley" or "Bishops' Cradle", this magical landscape, has made a name for its military leaders, viceroys (ban), folk tribunes and national leaders, educators and scientists, painters and poets, actors and athletes.

The city of Jastrebarsko, for ages bearing a hawk (jastreb) in its coat of arms, was named after falconers, medieval breeders of hunting birds, hawks and falcons. Jastrebarsko is first mentioned in 1249 as the "Jastrebarsko lands" and the "forenses de Jastraburcza" in a document from viceroy (ban) Stjepan, as a centre of commerce and the judicial court, on the border of lands that belong to the piedmont county and the fortress in Podgorje (nowadays Draga Svetojanska). The shortened name "Jaska" originates from the tradition of shortening names and can be found as the short form of the name "Jastrebarsko" in ancient documents written in Latin. At the request of the people of Jastrebarsko, king Bela IV granted on January 12th, 1257, the privilege of a "free royal market town", a charter later confirmed by other rulers. This charter was for almost 600 years the basic legal document from which all of our city's privileges have sprung and for centuries it helped the citizens of Jastrebarsko preserve their liberties in the face of numerous disputes with feudal lords.

From 1519 to 1848 the city was under the decisive influence of the members of the aristocratic Erdödy family. Most famous of the Jastrebarsko Erdödys were the famed military leaders and Croatian viceroys Petar II and Toma II. Petar, whose headstone is situated in the parish church of Saint Nicolas, was rewarded with the title of count for his victory over Turkish forces at Oberška (1565). His son Toma made his mark with a great and decisive victory at the battle of Sisak (1593), after which he restored the Jastrebarsko monastery as a sign of gratitude to the Virgin Mary.

With the peace of Schönbrunn of October 17th, 1809, the Croatian regions south of the Sava River are joined to the Illyrian provinces, bringing the aristocracy and market town of Jastrebarsko under French rule. The French withdrew in the summer of 1813.

The feudal period in the history of the Jastrebarsko region and its aristocracy ended in the revolutionary year of 1848. The citizens of Jastrebarsko embraced the revolution with delight, forming a national guard and raising national flags.

Jastrebarsko saw intensive development in the second half of the 19th century, with the construction of a railway from Zagreb to Karlovac (1865) contributing significantly to the progress of the city and the entire region. Along with the school that had existed in Jastrebarsko from the early 17th century, there is a strong expansion of cultural, social and athletic activity (a public reading room, the Croatian vocal group "Javor", the volunteer theatre society, the Jastrebarsko tamburitza society, the volunteer fire brigade, the "Jastreb" cycling society and so forth).

The central political figure of the 19th century, Ante Starčević, called the "father of the homeland", lived in Jastrebarsko for seven years (1871-1878) where he worked in the law practice of his nephew David Starčević. He was a member of parliament and a martyr, a fierce opponent of the Khuen regime.

Vladko Maček (1879-1964) was born in Jastrebarsko. He was a long time president of the Croatian Peasant Party and a leader of the Croatian nation, the creator of the Banovina Hrvatska (Viceroyalty of Croatia), an important step on the path to full Croatian sovereignty. The freedom-loving ideas of the Radić brothers and Maček imbued all aspects of the development of the entire Jastrebarsko region...

In the 20th century Jastrebarsko shared the fate of the entire Croatian people and was hit hard by the two world wars, especially by the brutal and bloody second world war, that subjected the overall development and growth of the city to first a black and then a red totalitarianism.

With the founding of a free and sovereign Croatia and victory in the Homeland war, the city of Jastrebarsko has joined the democratic development of modern Croatia, oriented towards Europe and the world.

Nino Škrabe