Medieval castles in 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

Gvozdansko Castle

The Gvozdansko Castle was probably built in the second half of the 15th century, due to mining rights of Croatian Zrinski noble family. The castle was first mentioned in 1488. Nikola III Zrinski and his son Nikola Šubić Zrinski frequently came to Gvozdansko in order to inspect the mines and the mint. The Turks attempted to conquer the Gvozdansko Castle on several occasions. Three major attempts were made in 1561 by Mal ...
Founded: 15th 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

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

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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.