Castles and fortifications in 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

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

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

Varazdin Castle

Varaždin medieval castle is the most important monument of the town. Its construction began back in the 14th century and lasted for over four centuries, as it was built and rebuilt several times in different architectural styles. Castle’s rounded towers and the moat filled with water were constructed in the 15th century. During the invasion of the Turks. in the late 16th century, high walls with bastions were built. Ov ...
Founded: 1454 | Location: Varaždin, Croatia

Vrsar Castle

The Vrsar castle is a former palace and residence of the bishop of Poreč who ruled Vrsar from the 6th century until 1778. Today’s castle is basically a medieval building that was extended and altered in Baroque style in the 17th century. With the establishment of the Venetian reign in 1778, the castle was taken away from the Church and laicised. In the 19th century, it came under the ownership of the Vergottini family. ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Vrsar, Croatia

Hum Castle

Medieval Hum town was first mentioned in 1102 in the deed of gift by Marquis Ulrich II. The passage through the early 12th century double entrance gates, and then this one from 1562 leads us into the square. The exceptionally small area has all town features: the town loggia, nobility and folk houses, and the parish church with the priest residence. The castle was located on the site of the current Church of the Assumpti ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Buzet, Croatia

Medvedgrad

Medvedgrad is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower ...
Founded: 1249-1254 | Location: Zagreb, Croatia

Pazin Castle

Pazin Castle is built on a solid rock situated in the middle of the town of Pazin, the administrative seat of Istria County. It is the largest and best-preserved castle in that westernmost Croatian county. The fortified structure was constructed of hewn stone, and, during its 1100 years long history, subjected to several major reconstructions and renovations. The Pazin Castle was first mentioned in 983 in a document issu ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Pazin, Croatia

Fort Punta Christo

Fort Punta Christo was built at the end of the 19th century by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to defend City of Pula, their main naval port. Situated on a small peninsula at 45 meters above sea level, Fort Punta Christo offers a breathtaking view of the entrance to the Bay of Pula, its breakwater, as well to National Park Islands Brijuni on the other side. The fortress is surrounded by a deep ditch and there are three entr ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Pula, Croatia

Dvigrad Castle Ruins

Dvigrad was originally two towns, Moncastello and Castel Parentino. Dvigrad was first mentioned in 879, when it fell under the rule of the Patriarch of Aquileia. However, it had existed long before it as a part of the Roman province settlement. Its name speaks originally of two towns. Today"s ruins are the remains of the northern town of Moncastello, while the other one, Castel Parentino, was abandoned in the 10th ce ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Kanfanar, Croatia

Verudela Fortress

The Verudela Fortress is one of the best preserved fortresses. When its control over Pula commenced, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy decided to transform the town into the Monarchy"s maritime centre, which meant the construction of not only numerous newly-built structures such as the arsenal, hospital or the Hydrographic Institute, but also its defensive system. Thus, a magnificent fortification system was erected, whi ...
Founded: 1866-1881 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Pietrapelosa Castle

Pietrapelosa is a castle in the Croatian part of Istria, now ruined. In the medieval period a family took their name from the castle. 'Pietrapelosa' comes from the Italian words meaning 'hairy stone' after the moss that has always grown on the walls of the castle. It is one of the best-preserved of the Istrian castles. History Pietrapelosa is a few kilometers west of Buzet in a strategic location at ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Buzet, Croatia

Fort Bourguignon

Fort Bourguignon (Fort Monsival) is one of many fortresses in Pula, Croatia that were built by the Austrian Empire in the second half of the 19th century. It was one of the last fortresses built that used inner fortification rings, forming an arc within a radius of 2.5 kilometres distance to protect the port. It was named after the Austrian admiral Anton Bourguignon von Baumberg. The fortress was inspired by the 1820 for ...
Founded: 1861-1866 | Location: Pula, Croatia

Momjan Castle

The Momjan castle, presently dilapidated and ivy-grown, can hardly evoke the power and wealth of the life that characterized it. It was built above the abyss overlooking the Dragonja River, today a border between Croatia and Slovenia. Located at 280 meters above the sea level, it dominates the Dragonja valley, divided from it by the Poganja brook. Momjan was first mentioned in 1035. The Patriarch of Aquileia was given a ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Merišće, Croatia

Krsan Castle

The old town and medieval castle of Kršan lies on the hill, while new town and village is along the road. The castle is first mentioned in 1274. It was abandoned until the 13th or early 14th century, when it was rebuilt byHeinrich III. Until 1374, when counts of Gorizia became extinct, it was in duality of governance, between the real masters Counts of Gorizia, and Aquileia church in which name the Counts ruled over th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kršan, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.