Today’s castle of Hreljin represents remains of a medieval town Hreljin, therefore it is considered Hreljin’s old town. It is proudly standing on a high, steep cliff above Bakarac, on the most western part of Vinodol. In the middle ages, the old town of Hreljin was an important residential, trade, defence, and governing centre.
The medieval town of Hreljin was mentioned for the first time in 1225 when the King Andrew II of Hungary donated the principality of Vinodol, which included the town of Hreljin, to the Frankopans. Hreljin was also recognized in 1288 during the composing of the Vinodol Code, whose signatory was Hreljin itself.
The old town Hreljin was abandoned due to the economic changes, particularly after the Karolina road was constructed, connecting Bakar to Karlovac. The last inhabitants of the old Hreljin were the three priests who eventually left the old town in 1790 and began living in the new, also known as today’s town of Hreljin. Since then, the old town of Hreljin was abandoned and left to reviving the glorious spirit of ancient times.
In that sense, today’s visitors of the castle of Hreljin could scenically perceive from the town’s ruins (which was being created from the 13th to the 16th century), its size and appearance, and from that conclude about its former importance.From the given remains, except for the remains of the town’s walls and various other facilities, two church facilities had been preserved up until today, to be more exact, the bell tower of St. Jurje Church along with ruins of the given church, and the Chapel of Blažene Djevice Marije (Virgin Mary). This Chapel of Virgin Mary is particularly important for the people of new Hreljin, as it is the only structure that remains from the old town of Hreljin. Its importance is religious as well, so a tradition of celebrating Our Lady of Snow each August 5th is kept.References:
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.