In the area of the former Vinodol principality, the princes Frankopan had built nine castles, and their representatives were signatories of the Vinodol Codex from 1288. In today’s Vinodol area, there are still three of the nine existing castles – in Bribir, Grižane, and Drivenik, and another one, dating back to ancient times – Badanj. Badanj was erected on the foundations of an ancient fort and it towered above the valley spreading over the very heart of Vinodol towards the sea.

The castle of Drivenik is the most preserved and the most attractive castle of Vinodol, which is, along with St. Dujam’s and St. Stephen’s Church, situated on the hill overlooking the Tribalj Lake. The castle of Grižane was built on the rocky cliffs, which the locals like to call «griže», after which the castle was named. Only the remnants of the walls of the castle of Grižane are reminders of its glorious past today.

Out of what used to be the castle of Bribir, only the quadrangular tower and a part of the town wall from 1302 were preserved, because the people of Bribir in the 19th century built a school and the town hall where the former castle was located.


Drivenik Castle


“The title of Drivenik castle, one of the nine towns that the Law Codex of Vinodol mentions, testifies to the fact that it was originally wooden. It was only built of stone in the period from the 13th to 15th century. With it the Frankopans defended and monitored traffic through Vinodol, and they received it via a deed of donation of the Croatian-Hungarian King Bela IV for their military service.”

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In the first phase of construction the Frankopans raised the southern part of the Drivenik fortress with a circular defensive tower and high walls that enclosed a square courtyard. In the second phase a new external wall was built reinforced with round towers at the corners and at the entrance on the west side. Below the fortress is the Church of St. Stephen from the 15th century, and the Parish Church of St. Domnius is baroque, renovated in 1821. The Drivenik castle was once entered via a drawbridge over a moat. A wooden corridor for defence passed around the castle walls. From it one entered through a door in the corner towers, and with them one descended into its interior by steps. Inside the castle were residential buildings, storerooms, cellars and cisterns. After the collapse of the Zrinski-Frankopan Conspiracy Drivenik castle came into the possession of the Viennese Chamber. From that time on it lost its importance. In the mid-18th century the Bakar-Novi Vinodolski road was built and the inhabitants also descended from the hill into the valley where the present-day settlement of Drivenik was established.

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