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Continuing our mop-up activities Vjeko and I did Ludbreg with Ivana and Vesna. We met them at the castle and went to see the church which we have never seen inside. As you know, Ludbreg is the Roman Iovio, and the center of the world being exactly at the anti-antipode or something. The church complex within a «cinktor» is predominantly baroque and later (so also are the buttresses on the «gothic» sections), with a piece of Roman building material here and there but inside one starts getting ideas? Is the aisle by any chance originally Romanesque (format!). Or even earlier? Ludbreg was definitely a location of choice, a major medieval castle (today in a baroque guise) may have stood there from the Early Middle Ages on a raised ground within the Bednja marshes and meanders. So also the church complex was probably a wasserburg thus making together an «8». Looking at the city plan one is amazed what has been done to turn a Roman urbs quadrata into an imaginative conglomerate of curving lanes, rounded fortresses, irregular outlines. Another fort, across the Bednja, Gmajna, was mostly destroyed by the sanctuary of Holy Blood for which Ludbreg is famous as a pilgrimage spot (since 1411). The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, a fairly typical dedication for Roman places – succeeding the Roman triad of Gods. Explore, explore!

Whatever you see around Ludbreg, both in the marshes to the Northeast and the hills to the West, bears witness that whoever settled there after the Romans was not just anybody. The forts at Sv. Petar (a neat little Romanesque church which is now a «transept» and «a chapel» to a much larger rather tasteless building) stands on a formidable fort at an important crossroad commanding control of the Drava plane. Štuk at Sigetec is a tremendous oval fort within an old Bednja meander. There are other smaller forts and medieval sites in the area.

On the other side, at the foothills there is Lipa-Katalena, an impressive fortified hill – probably since prehistoric times, and a bit to the North a large fortified hill settlement (double fort, i.e., an 8) called Vučje Grlo (Woolf’s Throat) at Hrastovsko. It runs N-S on top of a very steep hill the top of which is somewhat deranged by agriculture. Yet one can clearly see the two quasi circular elements, and the moat on the eastern side. I suspect that it acted as an early medieval substitute for Ludbreg, although the latter, well placed within the marshes, may have never quite lost the continuity of population.

The archeology of the Vučje Grlo is done exclusively by moles, and the mole hills, once kicked by foot, reveal rich findings of pottery (prehistoric trough 12-14), red house “glue”, fragments of broken rock etc.

By the way, Ludbreg probably comes from People – Hill, thus a hillfort of the people, i.e., a fortified settlement.

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