Josipdol is the northernmost community of the Lika region in the Karlovac County. On the Viničica hill above the town, traces of the ancient Iapod civilization were found, as well as of their most important settlement, Metulum. The later history of Josipdol is connected to the legend of how this little town got its name. The story goes that the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, the son of Empress Maria Theresia, was riding on his way towards Senj and then, due to poor road quality, fell off his horse right where today’s Josipdol is. After the incident the legendary Josephina road was built.
Would you like to see Marshal Marmont’s bridge and the Gothic church built by Bernardin Frankopan, discover where elephant and rhino teeth were discovered and where the famous Proteus anguinus lives, visit the stone remnants of the old Modruš castle or take a swim in the Šmit Lake? Then Josipdol is the right destination for you!
The local people like to say that Josipdol is the heart of Croatia. If that is really so, you can find out for yourself. Even the ancient Iapod civilization considered this location worthy of establishing its largest and most important settlement and defending it unwaveringly. During the fiercest battles at the time of the siege of Metulum, the Roman Emperor Octavian was wounded here. The historical portrayal of this event can be found in his memoirs. During the desperate last attempt to conquer Metulum, the Roman army of the wounded Octavian attempted a last desperate attack. In order not to fall into Roman hands and be turned into slaves, Metulum’s defenders and their families committed a mass suicide. The entire population of Metulum perished in the battles or in fires, and the settlement itself was completely demolished. After the fall of Metulum, the remaining Iapods were conquered by the Romans, and their territories became a part of the Roman province of Illyria. The story of the tragic faith of Metulum echoed around the Roman Empire, and for a long time the people were telling stories about the brave defenders of this area.
If you are looking for a less tense and tragic legend, then you can relax next to the Šmit Lake and try to find the stone imprint left by the hoof of the horse of St. George, who saved a girl from a dragon’s attack. Or try to find the unique cave-dwelling Proteus anguinus in the Rupećica cave. Fragments of Roman amphorae were found in its spring, and also some elephant and rhino teeth. Isn’t that enough to make you start an exploration mission?