Today’s castle of Hreljin represents remains of a medieval town Hreljin, therefore it is considered Hreljin’s old town. It is proudly standing on a high, steep cliff above Bakarac, on the most western part of Vinodol. In the middle ages, the old town of Hreljin was an important residential, trade, defence, and governing centre.
The medieval town of Hreljin was mentioned for the first time in 1225 when the King Andrew II of Hungary donated the principality of Vinodol, which included the town of Hreljin, to the Frankopans. Hreljin was also recognized in 1288 during the composing of the Vinodol Code, whose signatory was Hreljin itself.
The old town Hreljin was abandoned due to the economic changes, particularly after the Karolina road was constructed, connecting Bakar to Karlovac. The last inhabitants of the old Hreljin were the three priests who eventually left the old town in 1790 and began living in the new, also known as today’s town of Hreljin. Since then, the old town of Hreljin was abandoned and left to reviving the glorious spirit of ancient times.
In that sense, today’s visitors of the castle of Hreljin could scenically perceive from the town’s ruins (which was being created from the 13th to the 16th century), its size and appearance, and from that conclude about its former importance.
From the given remains, except for the remains of the town’s walls and various other facilities, two church facilities had been preserved up until today, to be more exact, the bell tower of St. Jurje Church along with ruins of the given church, and the Chapel of Blažene Djevice Marije (Virgin Mary). This Chapel of Virgin Mary is particularly important for the people of new Hreljin, as it is the only structure that remains from the old town of Hreljin. Its importance is religious as well, so a tradition of celebrating Our Lady of Snow each August 5th is kept.
The old town of Hreljin keeps memories of the past times, its glory and importance, offering to each visitor moments through which they become part of these memories.