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

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

Klis Fortress

From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major sour ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Klis, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cochem Castle

The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.

In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.

In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.