The Frankopan Castle of the old town of Grobnik was originally built around the year 1000, however, today the visible parts date from the period between the 15th and 17th centuries. Built in a strategically important position, the Castle was the guardian of the whole of Grobnišćina, and today it is a gallery and museum and the home to various cultural events.
The old town of Grobnik is located at the most militarily, economically and favourable point of Vinodol, on the hill above Grobnik Field. It was inhabited in prehistoric times and was inhabited by the Illyrians, Romans, Goths and Franks. From the 10th century it belonged to Croatia, and in the 13th century it became the property of the Counts of Krk, i.e. the Frankopans.
The old town is located on a 466-metre-high hill, between the left bank of the Rječina River and Grobnik Field. It is built around a well with spring water in the centre of the inner courtyard of the Castle, and it is located on an important traffic route that leads from the Kvarner Bay to the interior.
The pride of Grobnik
The most preserved witness of these ancient times is certainly the Frankopan Castle, which by its appearance overlooks the entire plateau of Grobnišćina and still seems to watch closely at what is happening at its foot and in Kvarner because the view goes all the way to Krk, Cres and Učka. This is the westernmost fortress of the former Vinodol principality. It was built around 1000 AD, on Roman foundations, and even today, from the northwest side of the Castle, looking towards the valley we can see the remains of Roman limes.
The fortress was built in the shape of a triangle, and was built upon from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. With its towers and walls, it provided security against Turkish troops who had repeatedly crossed Grobnik Field. The visible complex of fortifications and ramparts today was built from the 15th to the 17th centuries on the foundations of older buildings. The lower parts of the southwestern tower with the Chapel of St Helen onthe ground-floor belong to an earlier stage of construction and contain a Renaissance portal. In the arcaded courtyard of the Castle is a Gothic well with the coats of arms of the Frankopans and the Gusić – Kurjaković counts of Krbava from the 15th century. The Castle contained a residential area, rooms, kitchens, pantries, storage rooms, a wine cellar, a prison, warehouses and outbuildings. It was separated from the settlement by another belt of ramparts, reinforced towers and half towers – the so-called barbicans.
The Castle today
Today, the Castle is restored and well preserved, and takes visitors back to some ancient times. In the beautiful surroundings of the Castle are the Gallery of Modern Art and the Grobnišćina Heritage Museum. The premises are also used throughout the year for various cultural events.