Medieval castles in 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

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

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

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

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

Posert Castle Ruins

Posert Castle, also known as Šabec (Schabez) and St. Martin, is a ruined fortress near the road between Paz and Šušnjevica, in municipality of Cerovlje. The ruins of the castle depending on the name are dating back to the 11th century (St. Martin), or 16th century (Šabec), while by archeological evidence to the second half of the 14th century. The castle was vastly devastated in the Uskok War (1615–17). Between 2009 ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cerovlje, Croatia

Sumber Castle Ruins

Šumber castle was built at the site of the prehistoric hillfort. The site was first mentioned in documents in 872, and in 950 when Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porfirogenet confirmed the presence of Slavs in these villages. In 1260, has passed into the possession of vassals of the Counts of Gorizia, the Austrian noble family Schönberg by which it got its name. Among the signatories of the peace treaty in 1274 betwe ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Sveta Nedelja, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Limburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.

In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.

The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.

The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.

The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).

Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.

Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.

The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.