The fortification of Ribnica is situated at the confluence of the Ribnica and Moraca Rivers .

Science has not yet established whether the original name of a settlement or a station on the Roman route Skodra – Anderba, at the site of the present-day Podgorica, was Birziminium or Alata. The settlement was first documented in AD 300. It was also mentioned in the Peutinger Table in the 6th century. The Ravenna Geographer made reference of both names in the 9th century.

The earliest source referring to the name Ribnica is «The Life of St. Simeun», written by 1216, which says that Nemanja was born in Zeta, on Ribnica. At the time of Nemanja's birth Ribnica was probably just a small settlement – a temporary residence of Nemanja's father Zavida. The Church of St. George from 11th -12th century provides evidence that some settlement had existed at the confluence of the Ribnice and Moraca rivers at the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century. The name Podgorica was first mentioned in 1326 in the Kotor archive book. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Podgorica was repeatedly mentioned, always in reference with trade, customs duties and transport of goods, therefore, it is supposed to have been a trade station in the Nemanjic and Balšic states. By 1457, the Turks assumed the control over the whole Upper Zeta and Podgorica.

Most likely, the existing tower was built by the Turks between 1474 and 1478. Of this Turkish masonry, from the initial period of firearms use, only a portion of the wall with a pentagonal tower and a triangular protruding structure, serving also as a tower, have remained unaltered. These parts might even be older. Other parts have undergone numerous reconstructions over later periods. Originally, a moat was built in front of the tower, probably connecting the banks of the Ribnica and Moraca rivers.