Old Town Bosiljevo: Tracing the Ruins of Croatia’s Medieval Heritage

I have talked about visiting four old towns and castles in one day in the article Exploring the Renaissance Beauty of Old Town Dubovac: A Historical Gem in Karlovac, and this is the second part of that story. Unfortunately, the Old Town Bosiljevo isn’t as good example of preservation old architecture and heritage like the one with Old Town Dubovac. This is abandoned and in ruins, and unfortunately you can’t enter and explore this place, even though it looks cool. I just hope there is hope and will to resurrect this place and make it like it once was – beautiful and safe for visitors.

The Old Town Bosiljevo is a medieval fortified town located in Bosiljevo, characterized by its blend of Renaissance and Gothic architectural styles. As one of Croatia’s most beautiful feudal architecture monuments, the castle’s name is derived from the oak forest that once surrounded it.

The castle, originally fortified, was transformed into a castle by the Frankopan family, its owners for almost two centuries until 1671. Subsequent owners included the Erdödy family for a quarter-century, and from 1740, the Auerspergs.

Built on a location chosen for its deep tranquility and wild nature, the Old Town Bosiljevo is situated on a rocky cliff above a small spring, surrounded by a once vast lake, now a swamp. The area is now a protected park of horticultural architecture since 1974.

The oldest part of the fortress, significantly altered over time, is a three-story square defensive tower built on the steep cliff. Despite numerous modifications and later thorough reconstructions, the fortress’s layout consists of two larger parts. The oldest section is likely the southeast tower, housing St. Anne’s chapel.

Historically, the entrance to the fortress was always from the east, with special guardhouses and other significant structures within its vicinity. The fortress underwent several raids by the Ottomans but was never conquered.

After the fall of the Zrinsko-Frankopan conspiracy in 1671, the castle was extensively looted, with its appearance during the 15th and 16th centuries remaining largely unknown. The economic courtyard was located next to the fortress, although no trace of it remains today.

The Old Town Bosiljevo was once a vibrant cultural and patriotic hub under the ownership of the Frankopan family. The tragic end of the Frankopan lineage in 1671 marked a turning point for the region. The castle and its estates changed hands multiple times thereafter, including ownership by the Auerspergs, who later sold it to Count Laval Nugent.

Under Nugent’s ownership, the castle was restored in a medieval style and became a cultural center for the Croatian nobility. However, after his death in 1862 and subsequent events, the castle’s glory faded, leading to its eventual decline. In the early 20th century, the Kozulić family from Rijeka purchased what remained of the Bosiljevo estate. Today, the Old Town Bosiljevo stands as a testament to the region’s rich history, surviving through centuries of turmoil and change.

Check the Showcase page of the Old Town Bosiljevo by clicking HERE.


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