About Dubovac Castle
Dubovac Castle is the oldest monument of Karlovac, not only for its abundant history, but for the pioneering decision to preserve it for the sake of collective memory. Namely, since 1896 it has been owned by the municipality and open to the public.
Dubovac got its name from what used to be an oak (dub) forest surrounding it, and the name was later also used for the modern city district in the Karlovac periphery.
The old castle on the hill above the Kupa river is the most prominent landmark of the Karlovac cultural and historical landscape. Its high tower opens up a vista not only of almost the entire city, but also of the territory of three sovereign states, and two historical empires. Specifically, Dubovac is located 12 km of air distance from the border with Slovenia, and 38 from the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of its construction, it provided a view of the border between the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires.
The knoll above the Kupa river, the place where the castle was later erected, had been an important geostrategic site since prehistory. The oldest findings, a fragment of a pot from the Lasinja Culture, testifies to the human activity already in the Bronze Age. Archeological explorations have confirmed constant settlements throughout Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, and there are also a few finds from classical antiquity. The Middle and New Age can be discerned through the elements of determination and layers abundant in finds which testify to the way of life of the townspeople of Dubovac.
Dubovac was first mentioned in 1339, when it received its first parish priest. Often written in the Glagolitic script, testimonials of commercial and craft, legal and school conditions of the life of Dubovac citizens-freemen are the most numerous in the several decades preceding the unfortunate Good Friday of 1578, when the Ottomans ransacked their town to the ground.
The following year, refugees found a safe haven in the newly founded city of Karlovac, and what remained was merely the castle which, together with the Dubovac estate, was bought in those years from Juraj Zrinski by the War Council that controlled the Croatian military border. Although not large in surface area, the Dubovac estate was economically important as a regional marketplace. Its owners were, among others, important noble families, (S)Zudar, Blagaj, Frankopan and Zrinski, followed by the command of the Karlovac army.
The Dubovac castle was found in the shape it acquired in the fortification campaign which ensued along the border region in late 15th century. The square guard tower protrudes two floors above the three round, two-floor towers, between which wings with defensive, storage and residential rooms were constructed. The turning point in its construction history is held to be the year 1511, when the then owner, Bernardin Frankopan, mentioned in one of his letters that Dubovac had turned from a mostly wooden to a stone edifice.