Dunajec river castles

Niedzica Castle

Niedzica Castle, also known as Dunajec Castle, was erected between the years 1320 and 1326 by Kokos of Brezovica on the site of an ancient stronghold surrounded by earthen walls in the Pieniny mountains. The Niedzica Castle stands at an altitude of 566 m, on a hill 300 m upstream from the Dunajec River mouth. The outline of Niedzica Castle can best be viewed from the ruins of Czorsztyn Castle on the other side of the lake ...
Founded: 1320-1326 | Location: Niedzica, Poland

Nowy Sacz Castle

The Nowy Sącz Royal Castle is partially restored ruins of the castle. The edifice was built by king Casimir the Great in 1350-1360 on a slope within the fortifications of Nowy Sącz, at the confluence of two rivers Dunajec and Kamienica. Initially the castle had two corner towers, a keep and a residential building. The structure was separated from the city by a moat and a wall. Among the notable inhabitants were king Lo ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Nowy Sącz, Poland

Czorsztyn Castle Ruins

The ruins of Czorsztyn Castle stands at the top of the hill nearby Dunajec. According to Jan Długosz, in 1246 the owner of the castle was Piotr Wydżga. However that theory was never after confirmed by other historians, so the beginnings of castle functioning are dated on 14th century. Large development of the castle took place during the reign of Casimir III the Great. In years 1629–1643, when Jan Baranowski was a sta ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Czorsztyn, Poland

Pieniny Castle Ruins

The ancient Pieniny castle was built on northern slope of a steep hill. The complex was small, due to lack of space, but placed in a spot which provided natural defence. The length of the defensive walls was 88 meters, and the walls were 1 meter thick, made from the local limestone rock. The gate was located in western part of the castle, below which cellars were built. According to Jan Długosz, during the disastrous ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Krościenko nad Dunajcem, Poland

Tropsztyn Castle

The Tropsztyn Castle was probably built in the early 13th century by the Ośmioróg family. It was first mentioned in 1231, and remained in the hands of the family for 300 years. In 1535, following a royal order, Tropsztyn was handed to the castellan of Sandomierz, Piotr Kmita. Some time in the second half of the 16th century, it probably became the seat of highwaymen, as it was partially destroyed in 1574 by th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Wytrzyszczka, Poland

Melsztyn Castle Ruins

Construction of the Melsztyn Castle was initiated in 1340, by the castellan of Kraków, Spicymir. In 1362, Bishop Bodzanta blessed the Holy Spirit chapel at the castle. The complex for 200 years remained in the hands of the powerful noble family of Leliwita Melsztyński, which in the late 14th century built a Gothic keep, located in the western wing of the castle. In the 15th century, Melsztyn was one of centers ...
Founded: 1340 | Location: Melsztyn, Poland

Czchów Castle Ruins

The history of the Czchów Castle dates back to the 13th century, when a Romanesque watchtower was built here. In the 14th century, a defensive castle was added to the tower. It became the residence of the Czchów starostas, and was destroyed in the Swedish wars of the mid-17th century. Finally, the castle lost its military importance, and was turned into a prison, which was closed in 1772, after the first par ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Czchów, Poland

Roznów Castle Ruins

The Rożnów Castle is a complex of defensive objects, consisting of a medieval “upper castle” and Renaissance fortifications (“lower castle”). Its history dates back to the 13th century, when the Gryfita family built here a watchtower. The castle itself was probably built in 1350–1370 by Piotr Rozen. It is in the shape of a rectangle, 44 meters by 20 meters. In 1426, the castle was ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rożnów, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

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 source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.

Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.