The Zrinski-Frankopan Conspiracy

Interpretation centre Kraljevica

"The Zrinski-Frankopan Conspiracy due to its consequences is considered as the major event in Croatian history in the Early Modern Age. As a specific occurrence of the oral tradition, the fate of conspirators' families has been arousing interest for three and a half centuries under different historical circumstances in terms of gaining a deeper insight and because it evokes different interpretations."

The Zrinski and the Frankopan families were two most powerful magnate families in Croatia in the 17th century. Their wealth and power was built for centuries and hence they frequently came into conflict with the imperial authorities. Nevertheless, before the fatal Conspiracy they were the highest-ranking military and secular figures in the country. However, as a result of the course of history, unfortunate circumstances and erroneous political predictions, they were defeated against the Habsburgs and the main conspirators faced a tragic ending. The leaders were executed by beheading, their estates confiscated and their heirs deprived of the possibility to ever retrieve the previously-held positions and power. The story about life, bravery and tragic death of the last members of the Zrinski and the Frankopan families has become the cornerstone of the best-known cult venerated by the Croats at the national level. An important topos in the creation of this cult was certainly Nova Kraljevica Castle, which was built in 1654 by Petar Zrinski and his wife Ana Katarina Frankopan as a luxurious mansion at the entrance to the Bay of Bakar. According to oral tradition in 1669, in the chapel in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary, the Count Petar Zrinski and the Marquis Fran Krsto Frankopan vowed to "free the homeland from foreigners...", therefore it is believed that the Conspiracy was hatched precisely in the Nova Kraljevica Castle.