Samobor Castle was built on a hill above the crossroads of then important routes in the northwestern corner of the Sava valley, above the medieval market town of Samobor. The castle was erected by the supporters of Czech king, Ottokar II of Bohemia, between 1260 and 1264, who was then in a war with Hungarian king Stephen V. Croatian-Hungarian forces under command of duke of Okić soon retook the castle, for which he was granted the city of Samobor, as well as the privilege to collect local taxes.
The fortification was originally a stone fortress built on solid rock - in an irregular and indented layout, which consists of three parts, out of which the central core represents the oldest part of the castle. In the southeastern part of the core there was a high guard tower (nowadays in ruins), which is the only remaining original part of Ottokar castle. Just next to the guard tower lies a semicircular tower with a small gothic chapel of St. Ana which is estimated to be built in third decade of the 16th century.
In the third decade of the 16th century, reshaping of a castle begint which was done by a gradual expansion of the core towards the north. The fortification thus became an elongated trapezoidal courtyard surrounded by a strong defensive wall and with a pentagonal tower on its ends. Throughout 17th and 18th century, the castle was upgraded and reconstructed. The last building inside the fortress was a three-storey house on its southern side, which along with castle's upper parts forms a courtyard. Its facades are divided by Tuscan columned porches, and its interior is rich with the equipment. This move transformed a castle from its original fortificational function into a countryside baroque styled castle. Last residents left the castle in the end of the 18th century, which triggered the gradual castle's decadence into a shape that it is today.
Nowadays, Samobor Castle is just a picturesque ruin above Vugrinščak creek in Samobor city centre. Even though a project of castle restoration exists, only the chapel walls were renovated so far. In its restoration, the stones of the ruined castle parts, cement and slaked lime were used.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.