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

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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.