Vranov Castle, built on the steep rock cliff high above the Jizera River at the beginning of the 15th century, was one of the last castles built in the region.
At that time the design of the castle perfectly fitted the requirements for defence as the group of sandstone formations falling down the valley of the Jizera River from all sides nearly vertically was incorporated. Judging by the scratches and furrows in the rock walls, the domestic buildings within the premises of the Vranov were mostly wooden; therefore only the cellars carved in the rocks are preserved. The access to the castle used to be in two steps, through two fortified gates. There was a wooden tower on the highest rock block that dominated the whole premises.
Vranov experienced periods of great development and severe decay. In 1802 the domain of Malá Skála, including Vranov, was bought by František Zachariáš Rtimisch, an entrepreneur, who had the access to the castle adjusted and built a lookout platform high above the Jizera. Inside the castle and in the near vicinity, he ordered the installation of various tombstones, inscriptions, signs, stone urns and dates in memory of legendary and historic personalities and events, writers, artists and poets. There are the names and events from the period of the Napoleonic wars in one room and the names of ancient legendary heroes connected with Czech history in another room. In addition, Shakespeare, Goethe, Cervantes and many others are celebrated there as well. The newly adjusted premises of Vranov Castle were named the Pantheon.
However, Rtimisch's successors did not pay so much attention and care to Vranov so a big part of the Pantheon riches was damaged. What is still there is the superb view of Malá Skála and the running Jizera River.References:
The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.
The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.