According to available data the written history of today’s area of Krapina – Zagorje County begins at the end of the 12th century. Based on archaeological findings it can be concluded that in the area of today’s County an organized life existed even during Bronze Age. The population of the Bronze Age inhabited, 3000 years ago, the rocky hill in the area of today’s Krapina, which testifies the large number of found ceramic fragments, stone mould for casting, bronze axes and dwellings. On the hill Hušnjakovo near Krapina the remains of cave man, which knew how to use fire and lived by hunting, were found. It is one of the largest European finding sites. Found evidence of about 1200 pieces of stone tools indicate that the prehistoric man belonged to the known prehistoric culture (Premousterien). On the hill Podoštinje, above Radoboj, in the year 1850 11 prehistoric tumulus were found. On them, among other things, tiles, pieces of iron and several pots were found. In the stream near Radoboj also a stone axe was found.
The creation of a thousand-year Roman Empire did not bypass also these parts. The evidence of their stay can be found in several places. In Mihaljekov Jarak (Mihaljek’s ditch), on the south side of Krapina, the altars of god Jupiter were found in 1895. They were set up by Titus Accius Severus and Marcus Ulpius Placidinius, senior officers in time of Emperor Commodus (180-192). Here was probably the arms station and intersection of the roads from Bednja over Radoboj and Lepoglava with the road on Krapinčica. A branch of the Roman road from Ptuj towards Sava was probably going through the pass near Krapina. Several significant archaeological findings, which speak about the existence of a Roman settlement with a military and travel service, were found here. Except next to the roads, we can find the traces of the Roman culture also next to thermal springs and mines.
The Middle Ages represent a new phase of life and culture development in the area of Zagorje. Building of medieval castles on the slopes of hills on the north side of the County in the 13th and the 14th century, and their reconstruction, which began during the fights with Turks, did not cause major grouping of settlements. Population still stayed in their mostly wooden houses, and left them only in the final moments of danger, mostly during Turkish attacks, seeking the shelter and defending themselves at the same time. Due to frequent Turkish invasions, lack of transport connections, stores and specialized crafts there were no conditions for the formation of larger settlements or city centres. The farmers’ dependence on feudal estates, to which they were bound to, did not make the immigration and enlargement of individual settlements possible. These are also the main reasons why in the late Middle Ages only two places started to develop as city centres – Krapina and Klanjec.
The most important noble families who lived and worked in the area of Krapina-Zagorje County were:
In the period of most severe Turkish invasions on Croatia five Croatian Parliament sittings were held (1598, 1599, 1600, 1605 and 1607) in Krapina fortress. City of Krapina changed its owners frequently. The oldest owners were Hungarian – Croatian kings, and except them the masters were also Celje counts, families Keglević and Drašković, while the last masters of the town were families Lichtenberg and Ottenfels. In the Middle Ages Krapina was an important developed trading centre. In year 1347 the king Ljudevit granted it the privilege of a free kingly city. At that time it was a centre of the County, to which all Zagorje estates and castles belonged. In the 15th century it was annexed to the Varaždin County. The other six present cities in the County - Zabok, Zlatar, Pregrada, Oroslavje, Donja Stubica and Klanjec – developed during the Middle Ages, mainly, like the most of the settlements, around sacral buildings.
At the beginning and in the first half of the 16th century many European countries have been affected by a wave of peasant revolts. Such revolts happened also in Zagorje area, when Croatian Parliament declared peasants to traitors of the homeland, after they stopped paying levies and taxes to the feudalist Franjo Tahi. Ambroz Gubec (later called Matija) from Gornja Stubica was elected for the leader. In the night from 27th to 28th of January 1573 the revolt started with the attack on Cesargrad. During February 1573 the revolt of Slovenian peasants was smothered, and a day later the peasant army by Kerestinec was overpowered, and other revolts followed. Only Gubec freedom fighters remained undefeated in Croatian Zagorje near Stubičke Toplice, and were attacked on the 9th February 1573 by the army of nobles. After the battle Matija Gubec was captured and taken to Zagreb, where he was on the 15th February 1573 on the square of St. Marcus in a cruel way executed.