The site

The city of Ivanić-Grad, located in the western Moslavina region in Zagreb County, Croatia, boasts a rich history dating back to the 13th century. Once known as Donji Ivanić, the settlement traces its roots to the Ivanić fortress, a foundational structure erected during the 16th century on the banks of the river Lonja. Serving as a bustling hub for medieval market fairs, the fortress laid the basis for the city's development.

June 8th holds particular importance in Ivanić-Grad's calendar, as it marks the date in 1871 when Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary officially declared the trading centre a city. This decree symbolised the city's emergence as a thriving urban centre, contributing to its cultural and economic significance in the region.

The strategic positioning of Ivanić-Grad made it a target for frequent Ottoman attacks during the 16th century. In response to these threats, a new fortress was erected in lvanić, a testament to the city's resilience and determination to defend its territory. Architect Alexander Pasqualini's blueprints, dating from 1597 to 1598, illustrate the transformation of the fortress from a simple wooden castle to a formidable stronghold fortified with bastions at its corners.

Throughout its history, the fortress served as a vital military installation, providing lodging for army garrisons, and serving as a storage facility for military equipment. Despite the scarcity of historical documentation and archaeological evidence, remnants of the fortress's past, including a wooden chapel dedicated to St. John Capistrano and a sprawling imperial barrack, bear witness to its enduring legacy. The first archaeological excavations, carried out in the framework of the European Heritage Volunteers Project in 2023, revealed a large amount of metal and glass objects, animal bones and ceramic vessels dated from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

During the Ottoman conquests, Ivanić fortress stood as a bulwark against enemy incursions, safeguarding the unconquered territory of Croatia. Even after the threat of Ottoman attacks subsided, the fortress retained its military significance, serving as a base for the Military Frontier army.

However, the passage of time brought neglect to the fortress's defence mounds, leading to the transformation of the once water-filled moats into breeding grounds for malaria. In 1827, efforts to fill in the moats commenced, marking the beginning of a new chapter for Ivanić-Grad. The reclaimed land provided the canvas for the city's first garden and park, which flourished alongside the contemporary primary school building, offering residents a tranquil leisure space amidst the urban landscape.

Ivanić-Grad's journey from its medieval origins to its modern-day prominence is a testament to its enduring spirit, resilience, and rich historical legacy. As visitors traverse its streets and explore its landmarks, they become immersed in the captivating tapestry of Ivanić-Grad's past, present, and future.


The project

The European Heritage Volunteers Project in 2023 uncovered a wealth of results in evidence of material culture from the 16th to 18th. The project in 2024 will continue this work, focusing on exploring deeper into the archaeological heritage of Ivanić-Grad, particularly concentrating on the area of the former wooden fortress.

The project will entail a comprehensive overview of archaeological exploration, aiming to define the stratigraphic layers of the settlement within the fortress and the old town. Practical activities will commence with cartographic and archival research, followed by archaeological excavations and the processing and documentation of movable and immovable finds. The culmination will involve writing reports and presenting the research results.

The participants will gain insight into the methodology of archaeological research, data documentation and processing, and the handling of archaeological findings. They will also learn about the material cultural heritage of Ivanić-Grad and Zagreb County, as well as modern archaeological approaches in Croatia. Guided by experienced archaeology specialists and supported by local history and archaeology students and members of the Prijatelji Baštine – Amici Hereditatis Ivanić-Grad, the participants will engage in hands-on learning and collaboration.

Community engagement is a pivotal aspect of the project, fostering international cooperation and support for local heritage conservation efforts. The presence of the participants will raise awareness of the cultural heritage of Zagreb County, promote youth engagement in cultural heritage preservation, and inspire local youth to engage in international projects like the European Heritage Volunteers Programme.

As part of the educational program, guided visits and excursions to archaeological sites and museums in the region will be organised. Theoretical workshops on the archaeological heritage of Croatia will also be conducted, culminating in a final presentation of project results to the local community.


The project will take place from September 01st to September 14th, 2024, and is organised by the association Prijatelji Baštine – Amici Hereditatis Ivanić-Grad in cooperation with Ivanić-Grad City Museum and European Heritage Volunteers. 

European Heritage Volunteers