Medieval castles in Croatia

Erdödy Castle

The Erdödy Castle is the oldest building in Jastrebarsko. The castle is located in a beautiful old park that is actually a monument of horticulture. It was originally a water castle, a lowland fort surrounded by moats that are now filled and covered with grass, but still visible in the outlines of the landscape. According to records, the castle was built by Matija Gereb between 1483 and 1489. The Erdödy family came into ...
Founded: 1483 | Location: Jastrebarsko, Croatia

Dreznik Castle Ruins

The old town of Drežnik is mentioned in the historic sources back in the 12th century. Its history has been marked by wars and its different rulers. The historic events in the area have mostly been marked by constant wars, which is also the reason that it did not develop as a trading place or a settlement but rather as a defence fortress. After 1830, the Austrian monarch sold the fortress to a private trader, who started ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rakovica, Croatia

Kastel Sucurac Castle

In Kaštel Sućurac stands the defensive fortress built in 1392 by A. Gvaldo, the Archbishop of Split. Archbishop Averaldo rebuilt the castle to his summer residence in 1488, and castle gets its final form in 1509. Today, there is the exhibition room 'Podvorje' where one part of archeological artifacts from Putalj is held.
Founded: 1392 | Location: Kaštel Sućurac, Croatia

Hreljin Castle

Today’s castle of Hreljin represents remains of a medieval town Hreljin, therefore it is considered Hreljin’s old town. It is proudly standing on a high, steep cliff above Bakarac, on the most western part of Vinodol. In the middle ages, the old town of Hreljin was an important residential, trade, defence, and governing centre. The medieval town of Hreljin was mentioned for the first time in 1225 when the King Andrew ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bakar, 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

Kostajnica Fortress

Fortress Kostajnica was built most probably in the 14th century and owned by the members of the noble families Frankopan, Lipovečki, Tot, Benvenjud and finally (in the 16th century) Zrinski, so it is today also known as Zrinski fortress or castle. It was conquered by the Ottomans on 17 July 1556, but it was freed from their rule relatively fast, in 1688. Situated on the bank of the river Una, the fortress has very st ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Hrvatska Kostajnica, Croatia

Erdut Castle

Built in the 14th century, Erdut Castle lies on a bluff 70 metres above the Danube. The surrounding area below the bluff is completely flat, which provided an excellent view of any marauding hordes invading from the east. The settlement and castle is first mentioned as Ardud in 1335. The documents of the 15th century in Titel provost and the Bánffy family owned estate is mentioned in the Erdődy, dated 1552 an ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Erdut, 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

Milengrad Castle

Milengrad was built during the reign of Hungarian–Croatian King Béla IV after the Mongol invasion of 1241–1242. Around 1303, King Charles Robert donated the fortress to the Cseszneky family in compensation for their loss of Ipolyvisk Castle. The counts Cseszneky sold it soon to Ban Mikcs, who, in 1309, ceded the lordship to the Herkffy family. In 1536, by the marriage between Katalin Herkffy and Miklós ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Budinščina, Croatia

Vrana Castle

The significance of Vrana to the medieval Croatian history was closely connected with three religious communities: the Benedictines, the Knights Templar, and the Knights Hospitaller. The arrival of these three orders in Vrana and their cultural and political influence was conditioned by the medieval circumstances in Croatia and by the Roman Pope. Vrana had become one of the most important centers of political life, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pakoštane, Croatia

Sokolac Castle

Sokolac Castle back to medieval times, while the town was held by the noble Frankopan and Gorjanski families. The castle was part of an important medieval fortified city held by Frankopan family. The cast was documented first time in 1411. Sokolac Castle was an extremely grand building, dominated by the powerful perpendiculars of the entry tower, and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. The entry into the burg was through a s ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Brinje, Croatia

Dinaric Fortress

Glavaš-Dinarić Fortress was built in the 15th century, when Croatia was threatened by Turkish invasions. It was chain link of nearby forts like fort Prozor and Potravnik.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Vrlika, Croatia

Ruzica Castle

Ružica Castle is large ruined castle in Virovitica-Podravina County, Croatia. Since the origin of the medieval structure remains unknown, it has become the stuff of legend over the years. It is one of the most picture-perfect places in the country and a must-see for those in search of hidden gems that are far from mass tourism. The first document of Ružica castle dates from 1357. It lost its military purpose after Turk ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Duzluk, Croatia

Orsic Castle

In the green corner of the docile Slavetić region with scattered orchards, vineyards and flower fields, on the top of the hill opposite the parish church of St Antony the Loner (Sv Antun Pustinjak) from 1600, lies the castle of the counts of Oršić. The old town is mentioned in 1294 within the foothill county, and after changing a few masters, in 1468 it came into possession of counts of Oršić, until 1869 when its own ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Slavetić, Croatia

Nečven Castle

Fort Nečven is a medieval Croatian fortress from the 14th century, and one of the most important fortified buildings in Croatia in terms of size and degree of preservation.  The fort and its associated yard cover a square kilometer. It used to be surrounded by high walls made of small, poorly assembled stones combined with lime. The northeast courtyard wall was separated by a deep moat and perhaps a moving (lifting) b ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Promina, Croatia

Durdevac Castle

Đurđevac castle and old town was built by the Bishop of Pécs, most probably around 1488. The town, or fort, was built on high ground in the middle of a swamp to the north of the town of Đurđevac in Croatia, because of the threat of the Turkish, and constant conflicts between the nobility. The height of the tower is aroun 9 m.
Founded: 1488 | Location: Đurđevac, 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

Gracanica Tower

Gračanica castle tower dates probably from the 14th century.  The curtain wall partially remains.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Baćin Dol, Croatia

Zrin Castle

Zrin Castle was first mentioned in the 13th century as a fortress ruled by the Babonić clan. Between 1328 and 1347, it was possessed by the members of Iločki family. In 1347, King Louis I the Great bestowed the fortress to the noble Šubić family who then changed their family name after it, becoming the Zrinski. It remained in their possession until the Ottoman invasion and conquest of the region, which led to the fort ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dvor, 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

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.