The rock castle of Neudahn is situated on one of the sandstone rock outcrops that are typical of the Dahner Felsenland region. The name Neudahn ('New Dahn') is rather confusing, because the castle is older than Grafendahn Castle in the nearby group of three castles of Dahn, albeit more recent than Altdahn ('Old Dahn'). Its location enabled it to protect and block the old road running through the Wieslauter valley, the course of which is now used by the B 427 federal highway and the Wieslauter Railway.
The castle was probably built just before 1240 by order of the Bishop of Speyer, because from 1233 to 1236 the office was held by a certain Conrad IV of Dahn. The governing ministerialis was Henry of Dahn, who is also recorded as Henry Mursel of Kropsberg. He was probably granted the castle from the outset as a heritable fief. His second name, like other later heirs, indicates clearly that there were family ties with the South Palatinate – Kropsburg and Burrweiler.
Within a hundred years of the castle being built, the Mursel family died out, and its possession passed to the related Altdahn line. Probably razed during the Four Lords" War of 1438 and then rebuilt, the site was again badly damaged during the German Peasants" War in 1525. Because, King Henry II of France stayed overnight at the castle in 1552, it must have been thoroughly renovated before then. After the last lord of Dahn, Ludwig II died in 1603 in his castle at Burrweiler, Neudahn was returned to the Prince-Bishopric of Speyer. From then on the castle was used by the episcopal Amtmann as his headquarters until French troops finally destroyed it in 1689 at the start of the War of the Palatine Succession.
Today the castle appears to visitors largely as it did in the renovation and extension phase in the period after 1525 and after the last destruction.
Left of the site of the original gates in the southeast there are still remains of a tower of 7 metres diameter. From this tower, parts of a thick defensive wall runs westwards, before bending north. On the steep northern and northeastern side of the hillside the wall has entirely disappeared. It led to the flanking tower at the northern end of the site.
Of the oldest – late Hohenstaufen – castle on the vertically hewn, central rock outcrop, which is just under 20 metres high, the only surviving features are a cistern at the western end and the southern wall of the small palas with its window and door openings. At the northwestern end of the main rock outcrop in the south was a late medieval domestic building and, west of that, a well. A formerly plastered newel tower from the same period on the northwestern edge of the rock outcrop leads up to the upper ward. The actual entrance into the ground floor is, as on many castles, probably not authentic and may have been made for modern visitors, which the date 1975 over the entrance suggests. It alsl lies outside the inner gate. The historic entrance is inside the gate to the left and at a higher level.
The dominant image of the castle is the two four-storey, roughly 24 metre-high, battery towers on the opposite side. They date to the first half of the 16th century. The west tower measures about 7 metres in height, the east tower, about 10 metres. The thickness of the walls is about 3 metres. Two embrasures (so-called Maulscharten) on the southern battery tower have been ornately carved into the shape of lions" faces.
On the continuation of the hill to the east-southeast the site was protected by a wedge-shaped bastion that was also a recognition feature of Neudahn. Its shape was intended to prevent shells from striking the castle frontally. It protected the upper ward on the more gentle slope of the hill on that side. The bastion and the weapon towers show that, in the late Middle Ages, considerable modifications to the castle were carried out and the lords of the castle took account of the introduction of firearms and cannon.References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.