Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Karlovac is a city in central Croatia with 59,395 inhabitants (2001), center of the Karlovac county. Karlovac is located on the Zagreb-Rijeka highway and railway line, 56 km from Zagreb and 130 km from Rijeka.
Karlovac was founded in a fort built in the 16th century where four rivers merge (Kupa, Korana , Mrežnica and Dobra ) with a unique shape: as a six-side star fort. The shape of this star still exists around the town. Its name is Carlstadt in German, after the archduke Charles of Habsburg who had it built starting July 13, 1579 on the Zrinski estate near the old town of Dubovac (the castle of Dubovac still exists). The architect of the city was Matija Gambon .
The first church (of the Holy Trinity) was built in the central square in 1580, but all of the city buildings burned down in the fire of 1594. The forces of the Ottoman Empire laid siege to Karlovac seven times, the last time in 1672, but failed to occupy it. The plague epidemic of 1773 was also a notable threat to the city, decimating almost half the population at the time.
The fort was beginning to be too crowded for the city's rising population, and the Military Frontier government couldn't allow for its further growth. On December 6, 1693 the city received some limited self-government. Queen Maria Theresia, after long insistence from the Croatian Parliament, restored the towns of Karlovac and Rijeka to the Croatian crownland on August 9, 1776. King Joseph II reaffirmed it as a free town with an official charter in 1781, allowing the citizens to expand the city and utilize the potential of being at the crossroads of paths from Pannonian plains to the Adriatic coast. The town blossomed in the 18th and the 19th century with the development of roads to the seaside and waterways along the Kupa river.
The town's fortunes declined in the 20th century, though it is currently recovering.
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