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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lednice Castle

The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.

In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.