The settlement of Kotoriba with the surrounding area makes the Municipality of Kotoriba. It is located along the Mura River in the southeast of Međimurje County. Kotoriba is 36 kilometers from Čakovec and 27 kilometers from Koprivnica. The international border crossing in Goričan is 20 kilometers away. According to the latest census in 2011, 3232 inhabitants live in the settlement.
Kotoriba was first mentioned in 1567 when Međimurje was ruled by Juraj IV. Zrinski. Due to the threat of an Ottoman invasion, a defense system was built on the Mura River. The construction of a defense system with a series of forts was started by Juraj’s father Nikola IV. Zrinski Sigetski. Within this context, the fort of Kotoriba did not have a civilian population and served primarily as a military base. Kotoriba was the centre of the military administrative unit for the region (vojvodat) during the time of the Zrinskis.
In 1600, the large town of Kaniža (today Nagykanizsa) fell into Ottoman hands. The Ottomans occupied the area around the Mura River. Part of the population Muraszerdehely escaped and found refuge in Kotoriba. There was a solid wooden fort in which the chapel of the Holy Cross was mentioned in 1669. Giovanni Giuseppe Spalle indicated the location as Cottoriba on the map dating back to 1670. From the map it is seen that this is a typical fortification during the period of war with the Ottomans. Kotoriba did not have a water moat, but the location was surrounded with wetlands. From the fort along the Mura River there was a road leading to the Fortress of Legrad. Besides the northern bastion of the town, Spalla charted a chapel on the map.
Ivan Zubić, a priest from Zagreb visited Kotoriba on May 4th, 1688. He made a description of the fort. The central part of the fort was rectangular with small semi-circular bastions on the corners. Palisades were used as defensive walls. All was framed by a narrow ditch of water. Around the fort there was an irregular rectangular mound with a palisade. Wooden buildings were inside the fort. A crew of a hundred men lived there. The fort was located at the highest point of Kotoriba, right next to the former elementary school building.
The Roman Catholic parish was not established until 1789. Today’s parish church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the largest church in Međimurje was started in the 18th century. Kotoriba is known as the first place in Croatia to get a railway station, which occurred in 1860.
The tourist offer in Kotoriba, besides the previously mentioned parish church, also includes one of the stations on the Road of Tradition which represents the traditional crafts. In Kotoriba you can also see the ethnological collection, which includes traditional costumes and presentation of folk customs.