Medieval castles 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

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

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

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

Walls of Ston

The Walls of Ston are a series of defensive stone walls, originally more than 7 kilometres long, that surrounded and protected the city of Ston. Their construction was begun in 1358. Today, it is one of the longest preserved fotification systems in the world. Despite being well protected by massive city walls, the Republic of Ragusa used Pelješac to build another line of defence. At its narrowest point, just before it j ...
Founded: 1358 | Location: Ston, 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

Knin Fortress

Knin Fortress is situated on the main transport corridor leading from Dalmatia to continental Croatia and Bosnia. Archaeological excavations date that this area was populated since the 6th century. The Croats built the fortress near a devastated Roman settlement, soon after they settled in the area. It was one of the residences of Croatian monarchs, and possibly became the main residence later, since it was much safer to ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Knin, 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

Zrinski Castle

Čakovec or Zrinski Castle is the biggest fortification in Međimurje County. It was constructed of hewn stone and red brick, and, during its more than 7-century-long history, subjected to several reconstructions. Today it is partly restored. First fortification was built in the 13th century by Count Dimitrius Csáky, after whom the city of Čakovec is named. It was later owned by many other notable families, includ ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Čakovec, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.