Medieval castles in 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

Cetin Castle

The fortress of Cetin is situated 5 kilometres south of Cetingrad above the village of Podcetin. The date when Cetin was founded is unknown. There are some indications that a settlement existed there in the times of the Roman Empire. The Parish of All Saints, in which the fortress is situated, was first mentioned in 1334. In 1387, king Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor gifted Cetin to Ivan Krčki. Thereby it became the proper ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Cetingrad, Croatia

Trzan Castle

The Tržan Castle is a ruined medieval castle above the village of Modruš. Having been built on a ridge of a steep hill 670 metres above sea level on the eastern slopes of the Velika Kapela mountain, the castle was at a strategic place overlooking the road that connected the Adriatic Sea and the Pannonian Basin since ancient times. According to the famous Croatian historian Vjekoslav Klaić (1849–1928), a kind of a ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Josipdol, Croatia

Kamičak Castle

Kamičak was first mentioned in 1345 in a document issued by the Croato-Hungarian king Ludovik I of Angevin to confirm the property of the castle to Ivan II Nelipić, whose family possessed it at least from the 11th century. According to oral tradition, it is assumed that Petar Svačić (Snačić), the last king of the independent Kingdom of Croatia, killed in the battle of Gvozd Mountain in 1097, was born in K ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Drniš, Croatia

Cacvina Castle

Čačvina Castle guarded approach from Bosnia during the wars with the Ottomans. It is 705 metres above sea level about 8 kilometres from the town of Trilj. Its strategic location enables its crew to oversee the traffic of goods through the mountain passage that goes through the Dinaric Alps and leads to Bosnia. First written record of fortification dates to 1345.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Trilj, Croatia

Klenovnik Castle

Klenovnik is one of the largest castles in Croatia. First document of the castle dates back in the 13th century when the Hungarian-Croatian king Béla IV takes it away from Pochun and gives it to then ruler of town Varaždin. In the late 17th century, king Maksimilijan sells this castle for 20 000 forint to noble Croatian families Gašpar I Drašković. In the 19th century, Count Drašković sold Klenovnik in order to ga ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Klenovnik, Croatia

Mali Tabor Castle

Mali Tabor Castle was mentioned for the first time at the end of the 15th century. It was then owned by the Ratkay family but its builders are unknown to this day. Between 1490 and 1504 it was owned by the viceroy of Croatia-Hungary John Corvinus. For almost three centuries it was owned by the powerful Hungarian family of Rattkay (1524-1793). In 1972, Ivan Rattkay left the Mali Tabor castle to his nephew, the baron Joseph ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Mali Tabor, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".