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

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Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.