Castles and fortifications in Croatia

Venetian Castle

The Venetian Castle was built during the 15th century in Split. Built just south-west of the Diocletian"s Palace along the shoreline, the castle had an irregular pentagonal shape with three towers facing north and overlooking the city. The decision to build the castle was made in 1424, however, it wasn"t until 1441 that it was actually built on the grounds of a demolished monastery. By the early 16th century, th ...
Founded: 1441 | Location: Split, Croatia

Fort Bokar

The Fort Bokar, often called Zvjezdan, is considered to be amongst the most beautiful instances of harmonious and functional fortification architecture. Built as a two-story casemate fortress by Michelozzo from 1461 to 1463, while the city walls were being reconstructed, it stands in front of the medieval wall face protruding into space almost with its whole cylindrical volume. It was conceived as the key point in the def ...
Founded: 1461-1463 | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Minčeta Tower

The Minčeta Tower was built by a local builder named Nicifor Ranjina and Italian engineers sent by Pope Pius II in 1463, at the height of the Turkish threat. Originally as a strong four-sided fort, it is the most prominent point in the defensive system towards the land. The tower"s name derives from the name of the Menčetić family, who owned the ground upon which the tower was built. By its height and impress ...
Founded: 1463 | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

St. John Fortress

The St. John Fortress is a complex monumental building on the southeastern side of the old city port, controlling and protecting its entrance. The first fort was built in the mid-14th century, but it was modified on several occasions in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries, which can be seen in the triptych made by the painter Nikola Božidarević in the Dominican monastery. The painting shows Saint Blaise, the patro ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Revelin Fort

Revelin Fort was built outside the city walls and is partially included into the defence complex of the Ploče Gate. The lower part of the fort was built in 1463, in the shape the City model held by St. Blaise on the triptych painted by Nikola Božidarević around 1500. The fort protected both the eastern part of the City from mainland and the entrance to the City Harbour. In 1538 the fort was strengthened and enlarged i ...
Founded: 1463 | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Lotrscak Tower

The Lotrščak Tower is located in an old part of town called Gradec of Zagreb. The tower, which dates to the 13th century, was built to guard the southern gate of the Gradec town wall. The name is derived from Latin campana latrunculorum, meaning 'thieves" bell', referring to a bell hung in the tower in 1646 to signal the closing of the town gates. The Grič cannon is one of the Zagreb landmarks. In the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Zagreb, Croatia

Fort Lovrijenac

Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress is located outside the western wall of the city of Dubrovnik. Famous for its plays and importance in resisting Venetian rule, it overshadows the two entrances to the city, from the sea and by land. Early in the 11th century the Venetians attempted to build a fort on the same spot where Fort Lovrijenac currently stands. If they had succeeded, they would have kept Dubrovnik unde ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Kamerlengo Castle

Kamerlengo Castle was built in the mid-15th century by Marin Radoj as part of an expansion of the Veriga Tower, built on the site in the late 14th century. It is used as a location for performances during the summer months. The word kamerlengo refers to the title of an administrative official (a chamberlain).
Founded: 15th century | Location: Trogir, Croatia

Land Gate

Once the largest city-fortress in the entire Republic of Venice, Zadar’s walls allowed it to retain more of its independence than most of its neighbouring cities, and meant that it was never captured by the Turks. The most impressive gate of the walls was Land Gate - then the main entrance into the city - in the little Foša harbour, built by a Venetian architect Michele Sanmicheli in 1543. It is considered one of the ...
Founded: 1543 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Spanish Fortress

The Spanish Fortress (Španjola) was built at the beginning of the 16th century (during the Venetian rule) and was reconstructed in 1579. Today the fort holds a collection of amphora and other exhibits from antiquity and the Middle Ages. Besides experiencing its exquisite architecture, you will experience an unforgettable panoramic view of the city of Hvar, its surroundings and the Pakleni islands.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Hvar, Croatia

Pula Fortress

Pula fortress was built by the Venetians, situated on a hill in the center of Pula. It is interesting to point out that there are evidence that hill fort of the Histri was once in the same location. Because of its dominating position, the fortress was always used for defense of the city, bay and port. The fortress was built between 1630 and 1633, based on a design from French military engineer Antonio De Villa, so it belo ...
Founded: 1630-1633 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Venetian Fortress

Forte Fortress is situated east of the monumental Land gate, built in 1567 by the Venetian military commander Sforza Pallavicino. The fortress was separated from the city and from land by defensive moats. Today the Vladimir Nazor Park is situated there. Following the shoreline next to the Forte fortress one reaches the area of Kolovare, where a convex well with head was built in 1546 next to the sea and was used to supply ...
Founded: 1567 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

St. Michael's Fortress

St. Michael's Fortress is a medieval fort situated on a steep hill above the old historic center of Šibenik. The location was more or less continuously occupied since the Iron Age, as is witnessed by numerous archaeological findings from the era. St. Michael's Fortress was named after the oldest church in Šibenik, St. Michael's church, which was located inside its walls. One theory suggests that the church was built du ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Šibenik, Croatia

Frankopan Castle

Frankopan Castle was raised by Croatian noble family of Frankopan through several centuries and several generations. After the death of the first Count (knez) of Krk Dujam I Krčki, his sons continue to dominate over the island and the town of Krk. They left first architectural traces in the town of Krk. The oldest part of fortification is the square tower with the diocese, in which Frankopans courtroom was located. The i ...
Founded: 1191 | Location: Krk, Croatia

Mirabella Fortress

Mirabella Fortress is located above town of Omiš. It is a Romanesque fortress, built in 13th century above the town of Omiš. Mirabela was a reliable hideout for the Omiš pirates who used to retreat into the safety of the Cetina gorge. Legend says that in 1537, during an attack by the Turks, the defenders of Omiš confused the attackers with their shouting and shots so much that the Turks overestimated the number of def ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Omiš, Croatia

Morosini-Grimani Castle

The Morosini-Grimani Castle is a medieval edifice with expressed Renaissance features. It was named after the two families, its owners. Svetvinčenat was erected on the border which changed through history with the exchange of conquerors. It was first mentioned in 983 in the document by Oton II as the property of the Bishop of Poreč. Its ownership was first taken over by the Castropola family, and then by the Morosini f ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Svetvinčenat, Croatia

Tvrda Old Town

Tvrđa (Citadel) is the old town of the city of Osijek. It is the best-preserved and largest ensemble of Baroque buildings in Croatia and consists of a Habsburg star fort built on the right bank of the River Drava. Tvrđa has been described by the World Monuments Fund as 'a unique example of an eighteenth-century baroque military, administrative, and commercial urban center'. The star fort was constructed in t ...
Founded: | Location: Osijek, Croatia

Trsat Castle

It is thought that the Trsat castle lies at the exact spot of an ancient Illyrian and Roman fortress. It was owned by Frankopan family who built the present castle in the 13th century. The capture of the Castle of Trsat compelled the Ban of Croatia, Andrew Bot of Bajna (Bajna is a village in Hungary, near Esztergom), to intervene in the Austro-Venetian war, and in June 1509 he first recaptured Trsat with his Croatian arm ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rijeka, Croatia

Brod Fortress

The Fortress of Brod was constructed between 1715-1780 by the Archduchy of Austria to create a defense against the Ottoman Empire. The city of Slavonski Brod was an important strategic and traffic center controlling the border crossing towards Turkey and connecting main commercial trails at the time. The regular star-like form of the fortress was determined by the flat-country. It was built of rammed earth, bricks, wood a ...
Founded: 1715-1780 | Location: Slavonski Brod, Croatia

Tvrdalj Castle

Tvrdalj Castle was the summer residence of Petar Hektorović, the Croatian poet (1487–1572). During the 16th century, the island of Hvar came under attack from the Ottoman Turks. Hektorović, one of the local nobles, undertook to fortify his house so that it could act as shelter for the local citizens. Tvrdalj is a well-preserved Renaissance building, with a long closed facade on the seaward side, to protect ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Stari Grad, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.