The Frankopan noble family used Kraljevica as the harbour for their town of Hreljin. The castle is on the hill of a peninsula, at the very entrance of the Bay of Bakar. Petar Zrinski began to build it in 1651. As the residence of a powerful feudal dynasty, it followed the then architectural style of aristocrats. The builders, most likely Venetians, arranged the large rectangular complex (44 metres long and 36 metres wide) with four large towers situated at the corners. The square inner courtyard has a cistern in the centre.

The castle originally consisted of a basement, ground floor and first floor, whilst later the owners, Jesuits, in the 19th century added a second floor. The luxurious feel to the interior was probably taken care of by Katarina Frankopan, the wife of Petar Zrinski. The main salon was decorated with gilded leather wallpaper with marble fireplaces, floors paved with a marble mosaic, whilst the frames of the doors were made of black and white marble. On one of the paintings from the 17th century it is visible that the castle also had a special room called the Museum, intended for the storing the family’s rich heritage. At that time it was one of the earliest museums in Croatia. Such collections, also known as cabinets of wonder, as the forerunners of museums appeared in the castles of affluent people throughout Europe. Genius loci, the spirit of a family museum in a castle, is re-awakened in the layout of this visitor’s centre.

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Founded: 1651
Category: Castles and fortifications in Croatia

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