Hydroelectric power plant Ozalj “Munjara”, the protected monument of culture, is the oldest continental hydroelectric power plant in Croatia which was built and opened in 1908 to supply Karlovac lighting. The power plant was built on a natural waterfall of the Kupa river in the center of Ozalj.
The river Kupa arrives from the mountainous region of Gorski Kotar and after the fall in Ozalj waterfall begins its smooth and peaceful flow.
In the second part of the 18th century, people tried to overcome the river’s wildness and its common floods that were admired from the walls of The Old Town of Ozalj.
After the big flood in 1895, in which people were left without lightning, the citizen of Karlovac came up with the idea to build a hydroelectric power plant on the waterfall in Ozalj.
It was built according to plans by the city’s construction engineer Valerijan Rieszner, and its historicist architectural appearance, like a Neo-Renaissance castle, owes to the famous Austrian architect Hermann Bollé.
A stone-like building like a castle or a fort with crowned toothed ornaments and harmonious arcades, surrounded by the guard of tall spruce, is one of the most beautiful examples of industrial architecture. The exterior looks the same for more than a century. Not a single detail was changed. And after more than a hundred years, with over 5,000 hours of work a year, still produces precious so-called ‘green’ electricity.
And where is the electrical energy, there is also Nikola Tesla. This well-known inventor from Smiljan finished high school in Karlovac. Several years later, he counseled Karlovac’s government and gave them ‘green light’ to build the facility at this location. It was built in just 15 months.
After the introduction of electric current, Karlovac was the second city in Croatia with public electricity lighting, while the first was Šibenik 1895.
In the beginning, “Munjara” was used only for the public lighting, and consumption was free.
All these years, since 1908, it works on the same scale and facility as in the past hundred years while the equipment has been partially changed. At this moment, this beautiful hydropower plant is under reconstruction, which in no case can disturb antique elements.