Kastel, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Medieval fortress Kastel is located in city Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina. The fortress is situated on the site of previous fortifications going all the way back to Roman and even pre-Roman times. The fortress is well-preserved, and is one of Banja Luka's main attractions.
Kastel fortress is located in the heart of the city Banja Luka and is the oldest historical monument in the city. The oldest traces of settlements on the territory of Banja Luka are the remnants of Neolithic settlement that were exactly found on the territory of the city fortress Kastel.
The early beginnings of the development of settlement on the site of Kastel originate from the Paleolithic era as indicated by findings of stone tools and weapons. The location of this settlement, which was still developing through the era of the Neolithic and Bronze Age, is characteristic of the Baden culture as it is situated on the raised parts of the Vrbas river terrace.
The total area of the complex Kastel is 48.000 square meters, approximately half of that is located within the walls of the fortress. The ramparts are made out of nine bastions and two towers within the walls. There are several buildings on the inside, including the central camp with two towers and a small arsenal, the central armory, the so called stone building, and several different walls that divided and formed individual internal spaces.
Already in the past fortress Kastel was a strong army fortification, surrounded by thick stone walls on all sides, and protected the basin of the river Vrbas from enemy rush. In the Bosnian medieval state there was a Vrbas city, which, according to an assumption, was located on the position of current Kastel.
Several examples of late antique bronzes, ceramics, and a late antique bronze fibula were found inside the fort. In addition, in the central part of the fortress are remains of the ancient fortified buildings of larger dimension, with a semicircular apse projection on the south side. Systematic research that lies ahead will determine whether it was an ancient Roman sanctuary, an administrative building or complex of different content.
There are no confident data on the period of foundation of this object. However, many circumstances point to a conclusion that exactly on this location there was a Roman settlement Castra. The Romans were exposed to frequent rushes of barbarian nations, and they had strong reasons to defend the road that passed through the basin of the river Vrbas.
In a charter from 1525 it is precisely stated that Banja Luka is actually a name of a fort named "Castell Nostro Bagna Luca". From the content of the charter, one might even conclude that the Banja Luka fortress was built on the site of an older and smaller fortification after 1463, as part of the border on Vrbas river in the defense system of the Kingdom of Hungary against Turkey.
The name of Banja Luka was first mentioned in the chart signed by the Hungarian King Ladislaus II Jagiellon in 1494, written in Latin and issued in Buda (present Budapest), although the city had existed even earlier. Prehistoric archaeological sites and the objects found prove that there were human settlements in this area in the period of Mousterian back to 50.000 – 35.000 B.C. In the antique period, the wider area of Banja Luka and western Bosnia was inhabited by the ancient tribes of Illyrians, known as Maezaei and Oseriates, that left numerous forts in the area.
How to visit Kastel
We at Monterrasol Travel welcome you to see Kastel during multiday private car tour. Contact us if you would like to customize your tour to Kastel.
We have developed several tours that visiting this beautiful place. But, if you have a special conditions or any from these tours fit you, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can organize a tour exactly as you would like. And remember, we have no problems to take you from almost any place where you stay, hotel or private accommodation.
Last updated on: 27 October 2019
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