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Secret of Donjon-castle

Old Town Ledenice

"This fortress had great importance for the defence of Friuli, Istria and the Kvarner Littoral from the Ottomans. With the liberation of neighbouring inland regions of Croatia – of Lika and Krbava the importance Ledenica as a fortress lessened, but not the stories about it."

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The Ledenice castle developed on the foundations of a Roman settlement, forming in the Middle Ages a settlement surrounded with a wall and fortified towers. In the middle of the castle there was a square defensive tower or donjon. Donjon is an old French word from where the word dungeon originates. This title is connected to the fact that these towers, as the most protected and therefore the safest place, were the best place for the imprisonment of prisoners. However, at the same time the term also signifies the strongest tower in the castle, in other words the place of the last defence and a kind of fort within the fort. The entrances to such towers were never at ground level or at the level of the ramparts, but they were approached by the help of additional steps or crossings that were always wooden, which enabled the rapid disabling of the access to the entrance and breakthrough into the tower. At the northern entrance in to the town there are the relatively well-preserved remains of the Romanesque-Gothic Church of St Stephen the First Martyr, whose bell tower also served as a defensive tower of the town’s gate. The castle, which from 1225 came under the rule of Vid, a Krk count, was mentioned for first time in 1248, and exactly four decades later the representatives of its civil and ecclesiastical authorities participated in the adoption of the Law Codex of Vinodol.