It's only right that Castle Janković should have been placed on a small hillside, its elegant and grandiose front facade visible to the small settlement which lay to its south. The view of this imposing and stately building is now obscured by trees which lie in its front grounds, including the oldest Ginkgo biloba aka maidenhair tree in Croatia. The tree which, like the castle itself is now protected, is a member of the last remaining subspecies of a tree family which dates back as far as 270 million years and has a trunk circumference of some seven metres.
Built between 1771 and 1777, Castle Janković isn't nearly so old, but it's older than most of the settlement it used to face, which has now grown considerably and become the town of Daruvar. Its houses now encroach on the borders of the grand Castle Janković.
The U-shaped building holds three wings and sixty rooms including ones dedicated to the area's Jewish heritage, Janković family history, regional history from the Second World War and one dedicated to the more recent Homeland War. A grand salon, which was once used for concerts and grand dances, is once again open to the public and the venue regularly plays host to occasions of local cultural importance. The castle boasts a celebrated wine cellar which is used for wine tasting events and one of the region's most important wine events, the Vinodar festival, also takes place here.
The Janković family name is one familiar all around eastern Croatia, southern Hungary, western Serbia and even some parts of Bosnia. It was the banishment to Bosnia of one prominent family member, Mihovil Janković, which took their name there and indeed lead to the building of their family seat in modern-day Daruvar. Captured by the Ottomans, following successful defensive campaigns he led against them on behalf of Austro-Hungary, in order to save his life Mihovil promised he would not return to the contested grounds ever again. However, his family returned to north-east Croatia and Hungary after the region's liberation from the Turks and in 1745 his descendant Antun obtained the northern part of the Sirac estate, which also contained a village called Podborje, the original settlement around the castle and the site of present-day Daruvar. Antun is responsible not only for the construction of Castle Janković but also several school buildings within the town and also Daruvar's extremely famous spa building. The spa's thermal waters have been appreciated for several thousand years, although their position within this grand building is now a lot more luxurious than when Roman centurions would have bathed in them.
Castle Janković and its surrounding grounds are the origin of Daruvar's name, the castle's title eventually replacing the settlement's original moniker of Podborje village. Daru comes from the Hungarian word for crane, the town's title meaning crane's castle. The bird is still strongly associated with the town today and appears on its coat of arms.