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.


Grižane Castle


“When after the collapse of the conspiracy in 1671 the royal commissioners listed the properties of the Frankopans and Zrinskis, they named the Grižane castle “kasteo s varošicom” (“the castle with a little town”). After they robbed it, it very quickly ceased to exist. The first mention of the castle, situated between the settlements of Grižane and Belgrad, was noted in 1225. Although it isn’t the oldest of the fortifications of Krk’s Frankopans, it is certainly the one that had the least luck.”

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It didn’t even help the people of Grižane that Martin Frankopan known as the “Pious”, the founder of the harbour of Crikvenica governed them once in 1449. He confirmed his religious inclination assigning the castle to the Trsat Franciscan monastery. Moreover, nature also dealt the people of Grižane a blow – in 1323 when Vinodol was shaken by an earthquake, the castle was damaged. Later in its place a landslide opened up, so it could be said that it, despite the pledge, even God had forsaken it.

Even history was relentless, and the path to its disappearance was quick: Chroniclers recorded that in the 16th century the fortress belonged to Bernardin Frankopan, and from the mid-17th to the Zrinski family. The end then came with the list of confiscated property from 1671. All previous privileges that the people of Grižane had were abolished and it was abandoned, most probably, at the end of the 18th century. The castle was in the shape of an irregular square with round towers in the corners. The irregularity of the building was caused by the specific terrain, because it was located on porous soil, built along a rocky cliff known in Croatian as “griže” meaning “living rock” from which the town took its name.

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