13 Mar Top 5 Bosnia & Herzegovina Castles
Top 5 Bosnia Castles by Invicta Travel Sarajevo
Say goodbye to technology and hello to stunning Bosnia castles! We’ve picked the top 5 most stunning fortresses as a must thing to see in this country. This short list of destinations that are listed can be used as a Bosnia travel tip for you.
You might not know it yet, but Bosnia & Herzegovina used to be a strong kingdom with very rich history during the Middle Ages. What remains from those glorious times are numerous fortresses all over the country. Perhaps it is not that famous for its châteaux, but Bosnia & Herzegovina houses a few fascinating medieval castles worth exploring while traveling Bosnia.
5. Jajce fortress
On our fifth place for the list of Bosnia castles we selected the Jajce fortress. Jajce Fortress was the stronghold of the town of Jajce. It also served as a former royal capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia. The palace was built within Jajce Fortress in the mid-15th century. Royal portal was added to the complex, emblazoned with the royal Bosnian coat of arms. Jajce castle still stands on top of the rounded hill at the center of the medieval city. Tall stone walls and watch towers now only enclose a grass-covered plateau that the Bosnia royal court once called home. The fortress is a located just a short walk from the famous waterfall at the center of Jajce. This waterfall is inevitable thing to see when you travel to Bosnia.
Jajce was founded in the 14th century by Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic, a powerful feudal lord in medieval Bosnia. Built at the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas Rivers, the town served as the seat of power for Hrvoje. Hrvoje bore the title Grand Duke of Bosnia and was heavily involved in the political intrigues and military actions. These ware needed to protect Bosnia’s independence from her more powerful neighbors, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. That is why Hrvoje built a fortress atop the hill at the center of his new town, to deter foes and safeguard his own power.
Hrvoje died in 1416 after shifting his alliances one too many times and being stripped of most of his lands in the process. His town and the fortress at its heart, however, still stood. In 1421 King Stjepan Tomasevic moved his royal court to Jajce, making it the capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia. To reflect the city’s new royal status, a palace was built within Jajce Fortress in the mid-15th century. Royal portal was added to the complex, emblazoned with the royal Bosnian coat of arms. Jajce Fortess stood fast for another century and helped maintain the independence of the city. The rest of the Kingdom of Bosnia fell to encroaching Ottoman forces. It could not hold out forever, though, and in 1527 Jajce was finally overtaken. This was the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule.
Today, Jajce castle still stands on top of the rounded hill at the center of the medieval city, but the tall stone walls and watch towers now only enclose a grass-covered plateau that the Bosnia royal court once called home. The fortress is a short walk from the famous waterfall at the center of Jajce. Jajce is a very small town but yet still very unique. When you plan a visit to Bosnia & Herzegovina be sure to visit this beautiful an ‘’open-air museum’’.
Visit Jajce town and its castle on our Jajce & Travnik Tour.
4. Travnik fortress
The forth one on our list is the Old Town Fortress in Travnik. It is one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval fortified buildings in Bosnia. A must visit when you travel to Bosnia!
The castle was built in 15th century. The present appearance of the walls and towers themselves are the result of intervention of Turkish builders of military fortifications. In 1953 the fort was placed under the patronage of the Museum of Travnik. Today it has the status of a national monument in Bosnia. The stone walls gleam so brightly in the sunshine that they appear to have been scrubbed. The restored multisided keep houses a modest museum of local history. This makes Travnik and the castle an ideal location to get taste of historic travel through Bosnia.
Old Fort is one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval fortified buildings in Bosnia to see and to travel to, on which later historical periods left their distinctive characteristics. There is no record of the year and the duration of construction, or the builder. But historians agree that the castle was built in the second half of the 14th or the first half of the 15th century.
The present appearance of the walls and towers themselves are the result of intervention of Turkish builders of military fortifications. In 1953 the fort was placed under the patronage of the Museum of Travnik. Thanks to the director of the Museum Stipe Lozic the cleaning and redecorating of the fort began, with the archaeological and conservation work. Soon Stari grad became a center of cultural and artistic events in Travnik, which is seen by many tourists and visitors. The process of renewal and revitalization of the fortress was initiated in 1999. For Stari grad today has the status of a national monument in BIH. When you travel to Bosnia, you just can’t afford not see this beautiful small town.
A visit to both Jajce and Travnik fortresses are included in one of our bestseller tours, Jajce and Travnik Tour
3. Tesanj fortress
On number three for our Bosnia castles list we have chosen the Tesanj Fortress, the one of the oldest Forts in BiH. Fort Tesanj is one of the largest and the most significant buildings in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This fortified settlement from the medieval period was constructed on the top of a rocky hill. It consists of a polygonal tower and walled yard. The yard once had wooden residential facilities and one well, which is buried now. It was buried by the Germans in the Second World War, after they searched it in detail. In late 17th century, the Ottomans reconstructed the city and added a new part to the Tesanj town. Military troops left the old town of Tesanj in 1840.
The old city of Tesanj, where the castle is located, was built on a hill in the valley, along the river Tesanj, on a steep and partly isolated cliff of a hill, hardly accessible from the three sides of the town of Tesanj in the north of B&H. This beauty on the hill of Tesanj has existed for already three thousand years. This fortified settlement from the Medieval period belongs to a group of larger, fortified towns. On the plateau, specifically built on the top of a rocky hill, you can see the whole city of Tesanj.
After the big intrusion of Eugene Savoy in 1697, Sarajevo was set on fire. In the same year Savoy carried out the siege of the fortress in Tesanj. Heavy siege of the fortress and town was abandoned after unsuccessful three-day attacks. Austrian army withdrew in the direction of Slavonia. It is interesting that Gradina through history, in military terms, has never been conquered. Its geostrategic position is such that all those who tried to take it eventually withdrew.
Visit Tesanj castle on our Vranduk & Tesanj Tour.
2. Ostrozac castle
The second place for our Bosnia castles list is reserved for one of Bosnia’s Gothic treasures, the Ostrozac castle. The castle is located 14 kilometers from Bihac, on a hilltop above the bank of the beautiful river Una. This river is also one of the most beautiful rivers to see when you are traveling to Bosnia. The building originally dates from the middle ages and has a massive defense tower at the entrance. The defensive rampart dates from Ottomans period. In early 20th century the castle was added to the Habsburg family. The outer structure is still in a good condition with the number of doors and window fittings still remaining. It has an eerie atmosphere well suited to its Gothic architecture.
Some chroniclers claim that this castle existed in the year of 405 BC, but has never been historically proven. Lothar von Berks, a leader of the Bihac District, is responsible for the image of the castle today. The Berks stayed at the castle until 1938. In 1946 the castle was nationalized and is a property of the country since then. Today, it is a tourist attraction of Krajina and a very interesting place to visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The number one on our Bosnia castles list is the best-preserved one, and also one of the oldest in the country,the Srebrenik Castle – a birthplace of the first Bosnian king. Castle on the top of the hill with absolutely stunning panorama, is silent witnesses the old times Bosnian spirit. If you happen to be traveling in the far north of the Bosnia, it would be a pity to miss this historical spot.
Srebrenik Fortress looks like it could re-ignite your senses! Set in the outskirts of the town of Srebrenik, Srebrenik Fortress is Bosnia’s best-preserved medieval castle. Located on the lonely rock, this edifice, also known as Gradina Fortress, is perfectly blended with rocks. That is why the fort looks like its is grown out of the rock. The only way to enter is the wooden bridge that connects the rock with the surrounding hills. This made Srebrenik Castle almost an unconquerable edifice. Being the birthplace of the first Bosnian king called Tvrtko I Kotromanić,
Gradina Castle was first mentioned in the Charter of Stjepan II Kotromanić in 1333. At that time, Stjepan II was the Ban of Bosnia and Srebrenik was the capital of the medieval Bosnia. Here Stjepan lived until his death in 1353. Many invaders tried to conquer this place. In 1464, the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus occupied the region, followed by the Ottomans who came 50 years after. Legend said that the Ottoman army was superior regarding the number of soldiers, but the Bosnians were wiser and outplayed them. While leaving the fort during the night, the defenders shoed their horses upside down, so that it looked like traces of the arriving reinforcement. When the Ottomans saw it, they didn’t dare to attack for a long period of time.
Abandoned and forgotten for centuries, the Srebrenik Castle was re-discovered only 70 years ago.
Here in Invicta Travel we have a Medieval tour program, where you can explore and choose the best Bosnia travel optional trips. All of the Bosnia castles mentioned above are open to the public and make for a great day out. While some charge an entry fee, all of the Bosnia fort tours can easily be organized through our agency.