The present Ekenäs castle was built in the 17th century on top of the foundations of a medieval fortress from the 14th century. Ekenäs is one of the best preserved renaissance castles in Sweden with its three impressive shingled towers. Its military character is clearly shown by the surrounding moat and its situation on a cliff on the shore of a lake which has since been drained. One of the first owners of the property was Svante Sture, who lived during the reign of King Erik XIV. Sture built the first stonehouse built on this rock in 1562. Baron Peder Banér, councellor of the King, owned Ekenäs in 1630 - 1644. The castle was built in a Renaissance style.
Ekenäs is, and has always been, a privately owned castle. Visitors are welcome year-round, however, the castle itself is only open during the summer. A jousting tournament and Medieval festival has been held here in May/June every year since 1993.References:
Medvedgrad is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower of the castle is Oltar Domovine (Altar of the homeland) which is dedicated to Croatian soldiers killed in the Croatian War of Independence.
In 1242, Mongols invaded Zagreb. The city was destroyed and burned to the ground. This prompted the building of Medvedgrad. Encouraged by Pope Innocent IV, Philip Türje, bishop of Zagreb, built the fortress between 1249 and 1254. It was later owned by bans of Slavonia. Notable Croatian and Hungarian poet and ban of Slavonia Janus Pannonius (Ivan Česmički) died in the Medvedgrad castle on March 27, 1472.
The last Medvedgrad owners and inhabitants was the Gregorijanec family, who gained possession of Medvedgrad in 1562. In 1574, the walls of Medvedgrad were reinforced, but after the 1590 Neulengbach earthquake, the fortress was heavily damaged and ultimately abandoned. It remained in ruins until the late 20th century, when it was partly restored and now offers a panoramic view of the city from an altitude of over 500 meters.