Medvedgrad, Croatian for bear-town or city of bears is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower of the castle is Oltar Domovine (Altar of the homeland) which is dedicated to the fallen Croatian soldiers in the Croatian War of Independence.
The fortress was constructed after the Mongol invasion of 1242 when the city of Zagreb was destroyed and burned to the ground.
It was built by Philippe, bishop of Zagreb, between 1249 and 1254; later it was owned by bans of Slavonia. After an earthquake in 1590, the fortress was heavily damaged and abandoned. It remained in ruins until recently when it was partly restored and now offers a panoramic view of the city from an altitude of over 500 meters (1,600 ft).
Notable Croatian and Hungarian poet and ban of Slavonia Janus Pannonius (Ivan Česmički) died in the Medvedgrad castle on March 27, 1472.
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