Castles and fortifications in Montenegro

Budva Citadel

The entire town of Budva is encircled with defensive stone walls. The fortifications of Budva are typical of the Medieval walled cities of the Adriatic, complete with towers, embrasures, fortified city gates and a citadel. The Old Town of Budva is situated on a rocky peninsula, on the southern end of Budva field. Archaeological evidence suggests that Illyrian settlement was formed on the site of the Old Town before Greek ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Budva, Montenegro

San Giovanni Castle

San Giovanni, also called St. John’s Castle, is perched 1200m high on the hill of St. John. The fortifications date back as far as 532 when Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had the fort built. Since it’s creation, the fort has under seen plenty of changes and battles under Venetian, Russian, and French rule. It’s been bombed by British Naval armies, occupied during World War II, and even survived three separate earthqu ...
Founded: 532 AD | Location: Kotor, Montenegro

Ribnica Fortress

Ribnica is an Ottoman fortress, located in the Stara Varoš neighborhood of Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro. The fortress was built in late 15th century (around 1477), during the period of Ottoman reign. It was built above the confluence of Ribnica and Morača rivers, and was one of two fortresses surrounding Stara Varoš. For a long time, Depedogen was used as an ammunition warehouse. It was severely damaged i ...
Founded: 1477 | Location: Podgorica, Montenegro

Zabljak Crnojevica Castle

Žabljak Crnojevića is an abandoned medieval fortified town in Montenegro located on the confluence of the Morača river in Lake Skadar. It is believed that this fortress was founded in the 10th century during the reign of the Vojislavljević dynasty in then-known Dioclea, whereas the first known written testimony of the fortress originate from mid-15th century. The fortress served as the capital of Zeta under the Crno ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Lake Skadar, Montenegro

Fort Vrmac

Fort Vrmac is a former fortification of the Austro-Hungarian Empire located on the southern end of the Vrmac ridge near Tivat. Established in 1860, the present structure was built between 1894 and 1897, and saw action during the First World War, when it was heavily bombarded by the Montenegrins. It was repaired and disarmed before the end of the war and was abandoned after a period of occupation by Yugoslav troops. Today ...
Founded: 1860 | Location: Kotor, Montenegro

Fort Traste

Fort Trašte was built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire near Tivat in Montenegro. Built on a hill between 1907–09, it overlooks the Bay of Trašte on one side and the plain of Tivatsko polje on the other. The fort was intended to secure the bay against possible landings from the sea. It was bombarded during World War I but sustained little damage. The collapse of the empire in 1918 led to the abandonment of the fort. It ...
Founded: 1907-1909 | Location: Tivat, Montenegro

Fort Kosmac

Fort Kosmač was the southernmost fortress in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, guarding the southern extremity of the border between the empire and Montenegro. It is situated near Brajići village, on a hilltop overlooking the road between Budva on the coast and Cetinje, the Montenegrin capital at the time. Constructed in the 1840s, it was attacked during an 1869 rebellion and was garrisoned by Austrian troops until the fall ...
Founded: 1840s | Location: Budva, Montenegro

Fort Gorazda

Fort Gorazda was built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire near Kotor. The fortress"s predecessor was built prior to the 1869 uprising. The current fort was built between 1884–86 and replaced an earlier structure; its most notable feature is a 100-ton Gruson rotating turret on its roof, the last remaining example of its type. The fort was used by the Austrians in artillery duels against Montenegrin batteries stationed ...
Founded: 1884-1886 | Location: Kotor, Montenegro

Pandurica Castle Ruins

Pandurica is an ancient castle in Montenegro to the south of Nikšić town. It is situated in a hilly area of the same name on the bank of the river Zeta. It is a cultural monument of national significance. The castle was originally built in 1367 by Stracimir Balšić, the Lord of Zeta principality. The area of Pandurica belonged then to Upper Zeta region of the principality, and in 1362 it was included in Balšić famil ...
Founded: 1367 | Location: Nikšić, Montenegro

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.