Castles in Croatia have always been the source of inspiration for many legends, myths, and fairy tales. A fairy tale cannot complete without Prince Charming and a lavish hilltop castle.
To get a clear insight into the history, you should surely visit stunning castles in Croatia and hear some legends and myths which could grab your eyes. Many castles in Croatia are built during the Renaissance era or the Middle Ages.
Some of them even serve as museums and are open to the public these days. Croatia is known as one of the most intriguing and alluring, established holiday destinations in recent years.
Even though it is mostly because of its serene beaches, coastline, and favorable climate, the fascinating history of Croatia also has its importance. Along with the aesthetic appeal of this country, you can also get around to explore the beautiful castles in Croatia.
So take a look at these serene castles in Croatia where you can explore its rich past.
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Top 10 Stunning Castles in Croatia to Visit
Located in Virovitica, Pejačević castle is a neo-classic and late-baroque castle in Pordavina County, north Croatia. It is one of the various castles to visit in Croatia which were owned by Pejačević family members in Slavonia.
Built by count Antun Pejačević in 1800-04 and his son Antun on the site of the last fortress built on the Middle Ages, is designed by a Vienna based architect, N. Roth. The castles belonged to Virovitica estate where proprietors changed more often.
The castle built in single-story edifice in the heart of the nearby park and it is rectangular by design. The structure is virtually symmetrical, with a bit of projecting block and its two wings project ahead. Its main frontage turned for the main downtown square. The backside of the castle designed with two arcade lines which follow the corridor lines, the upper one has fragmented windows.
In 1930, Virovitica municipality bought this castle and rearranged it well. It has a town museum having collections related to history, culture, ethnography, and archeology since 1953. It now houses the Virovitica Municipal Museum.
Located in the Gornja Stubica municipality in northwestern Croatia, Oršić is a baroque castle. Built by count Krsto Oršić in 1756 where the former fortress situated on the Middle Ages designed in an L-shaped plan. Both wings on the backyard are open in arcades following the line of a corridor, and the outer front is simple, with well-aligned windows and some rustic details on corners.
When a high-intensity earthquake hit the castle in the 19th century, a classicist porch added with Doric columns and tympanum. It has a well-kept chapel inside with illusionist murals as well as a well-designed baroque altar.
It is one of the best castles in Croatia as it is owned by the Oršić family who had already owned a lot of other castles, estates, and villas in Croatia. Most significant castles among those include Slavetic in Jastrebarsko, Gornja Bistra at Zapresic, palaces in Varazdin and Zagreb and Jurketinec at Varazdin.
The castle was known as a feudal residence by Orsic family until previous members moved in 1924. A part of the castle was occupied by a primary school for sometime later on and cooperative society of local peasant as well. At the beginning of the 70s, the castle was completely renewed and turned into Peasants’ revolt based on a severe event took place in 1573.
There is a park in the castle with the giant monument as a revolt of the Peasants and to Matilja Gubec, its leader, made by Antun Augustincic, a well-known Croatian sculptor.
Built-in a village named Pribislavec near Cakovec in northern Croatia, Feštetić castle was built mostly in the 16th century and owned by Zrinski family members till the end of the 17th century. The castle named after Feštetić family from Hungary, who held it from 1791 to 1923.
Before it was rebuilt in the year 1870 from the order of count György Festetics, the castle is surrendered with a beautiful garden, a park, and a chapel.
It has got a neo-gothic look from the reconstruction, especially marked by a steeple (tower) on the bay windows, southeastern side, window and door jambs, and garlands.
Even though it has been ablaze and destroyed several times during the wars over the centuries, the structure of this building was renewed over the centuries and is known as the most romantic and beautiful castle located in Međimurje, and it serves as a primary school.
It is one of the youngest castles in Croatia on a hill of the same name, near Koncanica settlement, around 7km north of Daruvar, built by contemporary owners of feudal possession of Daruvar in 1904, the Alajos Tukory and Paula, for Marija, their daughter.
The owners didn’t want to show the castle to give an impression of the house or countryside villa for hunters. It should appear as a lord’s house.
The castle has a very luxurious architecture, and it has been a vibrant and stunning monument thanks to its outdoor elements matching the room’s interior. The owners changed over the hundreds of years, and the castle served different purposes.
The Dioš castle was handed back to the Silesian monks in 1995, and it is entirely private. They conduct a procession every year on the Catholic holiday in May during which many tourists and believers gather.
Ozalj Castle located in the Ozalj town of Croatia. Positioned on a stone cliff above Kupa River, the Ozalj Castle is one of the most impressive fortifications of its kind in Croatia. It is a very ancient stronghold turned into a castle, mentioned in the year 1244.
This beautiful castle has been famous and owned by the two noble families of Croatia – Zrinski, and Frankopan. It was the scene of Zrinski-Frankopan conspiracy, which was an unfortunate event and it marked the past of Croatia. There are libraries and a museum in the castle and are still in good condition.
When you ask the locals, they will first tell you that Stara Susica survived the notorious Ottoman ransacking in 1856, which was terrible and quick. You can also check how close invaders were in the past and how did they set the small church by fire, which was too close to the castle. The existing St. Anthony church of Padua built-in 1874 located here.
Built by Frankopans, the Stara Susica castle is positioned around Ravna Gora around 800m above the sea level in the coniferous and unhindered forest is the symbol of both idyllic and warring days over the centuries.
After the successful Ottoman renaissance with 1785’s Ravna Gora, Stara Susica declared as the prosperous town of King Joseph II’s Empire of Croatia – Hungary, and monstrance as a gift in 1778 from Empress Maria Theresa and kept in Parish Church to his day of St. Theresa of Avila. With the development of Via Carolina Augusta Road, the castle built in the 18th century.
The castle was bought in the 19th century by Laval Graf Nugent, who was an aristocrat based in Ireland, inspired with the heritage and spirit of Frankopans and castle’s restorer. Rijeka merchants Joseph and Felix Neuberger bought it in 1890 and recovered the castle in the era of Romanesque architecture. With the addition of a spire and tower, the fortress got its final structure. There was upstream and glasswork in Stara Susica, and sawmill provided electricity to both the castle and estate.
Located 5km south of Catingrad over the Podcasting village in Croatia, and is unknown as to when the Cetin fortress is founded There are some signs there was a settlement in the Roman Empire. The fort located at the Parish of All Saints, where is first mentioned in the year 1334. The Holy Roman Emperor, King Sigismund, gifted this castle to Ivan Krcki in 1387. Later on, owned by the Frankopan family.
For Cetin, the Middle Ages were a golden era. There were many churches and a Franciscan monastery located around the fortress. The Cetinski branch of this family was formed in the 15th century, which lasted only a century. In the Battle of Krbava field, Ivan Frankopan Cetinski has died. His son Franjo and his brother Grgur became the Kalocsa archbishops.
Also, the family member of Frankopan Cetinski is Franjo Frankopan, while Frankopan Slunjski family owned the fortress after his death. Cetin played a vital role in Croatian history. After Croatian nobility’s defeat in 1526 at the Battle of Mohacs, they gathered at Cetin’s Parliament.
Ferdinand Habsburg elected on January 1, 1527, as the Croatian king. Croatian nobles signed the chart and representatives of Habsburg Ferdinand are one of the most prominent documents of statehood of Croatia and are preserved well in Vienna in Austrian State Archives.
Located on the Hvar Island, Tvrdalj Castle situated in Stari Grad of Croatia. Tvrdalj was a summer retreat of Croatian poet, Peter Hektorovic (1487-1572). The island of Hvarcame, during the 16th century, was under Ottoman Turks’ attack. One of the local nobles, Hektorovic fortified the house so well that it could serve as a shelter home for nearest citizens.
Tvrdalj is a well-kept building of the Renaissance era, with a façade which was closed for a long time on the seaward side to protect against attack. The inner courtyard has a fishpool of seawater enclosed by an arcaded and vaulted terrace.
There is a tower with a dovecote next to it. With several quarters and wells, the living quarters are arranged well across the pool. There is a walled garden behind the main complexes where Hektorovic cultivates medicinal plants and herbs. A range of inscriptions set on walls of the mansion in Croatian and Latin.
Medvedgrad is an age-old fortified town on the south Medvednica mountain slopes, located partly from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia to the hilltop of Sljeme. It is built on a hill for defense purposes, named Mali Plazur, spur of the main ridge of the mountain facing the city. One can see the castle far away when skies are clear, especially the central high tower. Oltar Domovine located below the central tower which is devoted to the Croatian army, killed in the Croatian War of Independence.
Mongols invaded Zagreb in 1242. The city burned and diminished to the ground, prompted Medvedgrad’s construction. Encouraged by Philip Turje, Pope Innocent IV, the fort was built from 1249 to 1254 and owned by Slavonia bans. Hungarian ban and poet and notable Croatian Janus Pannonius died in this castle in 1472.
The last inhabitants and owners of Medvedgrad was Gregorijanec family had also owned this castle in 1562. The Medvedgrad’s walls were reinforced, but the fortress was abandoned and damaged due to an earthquake in 1590. Until the late 20th century, it has been in ruins when it was recovered partly and offering a beautiful view of the city around 500m above the sea level.
Drivenik Castle located in the hinterland of Novi Vinodolski and Crikvenica in the north of the Adriatic coast of West Croatia. A drivenic castle is mentioned for the first time in 1228 as among the Vinodol Code co-signers. Located in Vinodol region of Drivenic village on Glavica point, 181m above the sea level. The castle located in front of Krizisce mountain range in Drivenic, a small village around 8km from Crikvenica.
The castle was a seat of administration from the 13th century and Dragoljub, and their deputy lived there in the year 1288 on the arrival of Frankopans. The castle stretched in size, and it got round towers in Renaissance style in the 16th century. A noble family of Zrinski owned this castle in 1577.
In 1746, the construction of a road linked Bakar and Novi Vinodolski to Drivenik. This way, residents moved from hilltop to the valley where Drivenik village has developed roadside. The castle was abandoned ultimately as an active settlement. Only the cemetery and Sveti Dujam church survived till date.
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