When it comes to medieval structures, Bosnia and Herzegovina has plenty to offer everywhere you turn. You will not find overly posh glamor here, but Bosnian palaces, citadels and forts are still majestic and grand in their own way. The remains of some of the oldest castles (which can be found spread all over this Balkan country) date all the way back to the distant 12th century! If you ever feel like exploring, you should definitely put the following ones on your to-visit list.
The entire town of Jajce is a fortified complex, which was built in the 13th century. The medieval walls surrounding the city and the citadel perched atop of the town’s hill have played an intrinsic role for the former Kingdom of Bosnia’s history. Nowadays the walled town is a national monument and its grounds offer rich diversity in terms of historical, cultural and architectural heritage that attracts tourists from near and far. Taking a stroll down the old town’s streets is much more colorful than wandering around any palace’s courtyard, which is yet another reason why Jajce is a popular touristy destination for Slavs and non-Slavs alike.
Located near the Bosnian-Croatian border, the Ostrožac castle was built during the 16th century. Inhabited by Bosnians, Ottomans, Austrians and other foreign rulers who have left their mark on the majestic exterior and the once luxurious halls through the centuries, this palace and its fortifications are among the best castles in Bosnia and Herzegovina for tourists all year round. Due to its cinematic landscapes and its proximity to Croatia, the edifice has become a popular attraction that stands out from the rest of the medieval architecture spread across Bosnian territory. The only downside is that while the courtyard is filled with greenery and ruins of exquisite statues, the inside of this castle is completely unkempt and stripped down of all of its former glory.
One of the best preserved castles in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Srebrenik system of fortifications, which was built in the 1330s in the outskirts of the town of Srebrenik. Oddly enough, most of the grandeur of this medieval façade is still standing tall even in present day despite the fact that the castle grounds have been allegedly fully abandoned for nearly 7 centuries! Breathtaking views of the surrounding area expand from every angle and flocks of tourists can be seen there each year, regardless of the lack of usual touristy amenities like cafes, restaurants, etc. on the premises.
If you’re into old medieval ruins and truly abandoned ghostly places, you needn’t look any further – the Blagaj Fort is the best one you’ll see on Bosnian grounds. According to recent historical findings, the fort was constructed in the early medieval period and was probably already finished and fully functioning on its high hill in the 10th century. Partial remains of a necropolis, a residential castle, an outer and an inner forecourt and pottery shards have been excavated through the years near the 14 meter high walls, proving that local settlements have flourished here before the glory of the fort was forever ruined by a gunfire explosion that took place in the late 18th or the early 19th century.
Perched right on the Vrbas river’s bank is the Kastel Fortress – one of the many fortifications in the river valley surrounding the Banja Luka area (the second largest city in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina). The city was once part of the Kingdom of Ilyria and even though the Kastel Fortress dates back to medieval times, archeological findings have been able to prove that it was actually built over the remains of older fortifications, which go as far as pre-Roman times!