Throughout its turbulent history, the Doboj fortress has been burned and ransacked at least 18 times as per official records. One of the most important defenses in the medieval banate/duchy of Usora, this large stone structure was built in the early 13th century on the site of an earlier, clay and wood-based structure from the 10th or 11th century. In the first period of its existence, from early 13th to about early 15th century (1415), the fortress was built in the Romanesque architecture style.

Doboj fortress underwent a major reconstruction in the spring of 1415. While still retaining some of its original Romanesque elements, the fortress now displayed Gothic structure and had its large keep reinforced with thick walls - up to 3 feet or about 1 meter thick at the Eastern wall. Northern tower received an addition of a bastion/plateau with six cannon. The captain's tower was turned into even more dominating feature, a 5-stories tall donjon. Moreover, additional outer walls were built around the original triangular core and three big towers have been strengthened as well.

The fortress frequently changed hands in the wars between Bosnia and Hungary from 13th through early 15th century.

Turks had conquered the city of Doboj and its fortress in 1476 and in following decades had the fortress completely reconstructed and gave it a new shape by adding the second outer wall and additional structures. Particularly large works were done in the early summer of 1490. It appears that the fortress was briefly retaken by Hungarian and Bosnian forces loyal to short lived Hungarian-backed Jajce Banate (1463-1528). However, as officially recorded, from 1503 the old town Doboj and its nearby fortress are firmly in Ottomans' hands until 1878. In the Austrian/Turkish war (1697) Doboj fortress had been sacked and burnt by Prince Eugene of Savoy and his Austrian armies on the march to Sarajevo. The fortress had been conquered and burnt by Austrians again in the summer of 1717. In 1740, Turks added a torture chamber to the fortress's interior but its garrison at the time consisted of only 40+ standing soldiers. Doboj fortress gradually lost its military significance in the late 18th century as the Turkish borders shifted dramatically in the Austrian/Turkish Wars, and later Napoleonic wars on Balkans and elsewhere.

In 1878, Austro-Hungarian army captured the fortress after a very heavy and prolonged battle.  While strategically obsolete, of note is that fortress remained in use by Austrian forces in WWI and it stationed a strong Croatian Ustasha and German Wehrmacht unit in WWII. This unit remained firmly entrenched on the fortress throughout the entire war. Members of German forces built additional impromptu bunkers surrounded by concertina wire in the early summer of 1941, 

On the evening of September 9th 1944, in coordinated action, 14th Central-Bosnian Partisan Brigade and 21st Slavonian Partisan Brigade attacked Doboj and took most of the city by the following morning. However, they were once again unable to take Doboj fortress as strong Wehrmacht units and SS-Prinz Eugen anti-armored battalion (SS-Sturmgeschutz Battalion 7) defended it ferociously. The very last shots were fired from the fortress in early morning hours of April 17, 1945, as the elements of Yugoslav Partisan 53rd Division and 14th Central-Bosnian Partisan Brigade stormed into the city from Southern and Eastern lines of defense.

Despite some damages suffered from shelling during the Bosnian War, the fortress is very well preserved. There were several attempts at conservation and research of the castle grounds, the largest one taking place in 1962. Unfortunately, the interior was briefly vandalized in early 2010s but the grounds were renovated again soon thereafter. More recently, in 2016-2017, new works took place in partial conservation of the fortress along with new archeological diggings revealing medieval arrowheads and crossbow projectiles, pieces of clay and glass and decorative pottery, and both elements of crude and fine metal work. The lower layers of three flanking towers, in particular, remain inadequately researched with much more potential for future digs and detailed and long lasting conversation of this historical structure. Doboj Fortress is one of the most important cultural-historical National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.



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Doboj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Haris Demir (5 months ago)
Medieval fortres overseeing the Doboj Valley. Pretty much preserved. History description plaques placed on the walls are helpful and give an insight into the history of the place. Definitely worthwhile paying a visit.
Michał Kornatowski (9 months ago)
Entrance is free of charge and beautiful view.
Milica Radakovic (11 months ago)
It said on the door that it closed at 17h, but was opened when we arrived two hours later. It was empty, but we had a nice view on the Doboj city. It is a great place to hang out, but don't expect much excitement and content. We didn't pay anything.
Amir Sehic (13 months ago)
Nice , but could be better presented
Zoran (16 months ago)
Amazing piece of history and architecture from 13 or 14 century, open for visitors from 9 AM to 5 PM.
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