Ivanec holds the memory of the Knights Hospitaller

Ivanec holds the memory of the Knights Hospitaller


Ivanec and Ivančica, Ivanečko Polje or the Ivanšček creek are only few of the names in the Ivanec area that remind and hold the memory of the Knights Hospitaller, who came to Croatia in mid-12th century.

The Knights Hospitaller- Fratres Hospitalis sancti Johannis Iherosolilmitani- were founded by Italian merchants at the end of the 11th century as a fraternity for nursing sick and weak pilgrims. Since their hospital was near St. John the Baptist's Church, they called themselves The Order of Saint John of Jerusalem or the Knights Hospitaller. Historical sources say that they were invited to Croatia by Ban Borić. Over the years they claimed numerous estates thanks to the charters of Croatian- Hungarian kings who appreciated their work.

Bela IV, for example, gave them 4 acres of land in 1238. They owned villages on the left and the right bank of the Bednja river and ruled them from an old Templar fort- Bela.

The Knights Hospitaller protected and nourished the ill, especially pilgrims and crusaders on their way to the Holy Land.

The beginnings of the town of Ivanec are tied to the Chapel of St. John the Baptist that the Knights Hospitaller built in the crossroads of paths from Varaždin to Lepoglava and Klenovnik.

The Order of St. John the Baptist began weakening after the end of the Crusades and their retreat to Malta. Finally, Pope Inocent VII abolished the order in 1405. In 1439, 34 years after the order was abolished, Ivanec and other estates that had been owned by the Knights Hospitaller from Bela came into the ownership of Ban Matko Talovac.

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