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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Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.