St. Nicholas Fortress

Šibenik, Croatia

St. Nicholas' Fortress was built on the left side at the entrance to St. Anthony Channel, on the island called Ljuljevac. The island is situated at the entrance to the Šibenik channel across the Jadrija beach lighthouse. St. Nicholas' Fortress got its name from the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas, which was originally on the island, but due to the construction of the fortress, it had to be demolished. At the request of domestic Croat population of Šibenik, the Venetian captain Alojzije de Canal decided to build a fort on the island of Ljuljevac in 1525. The fortress was designed and built by the famous Venetian architect and builder Hyeronimus di San Michaela. It was built by in the 16th century to prevent Turkish boats from reaching the port. St. Nicholas' Fortress was armed with 32 cannons. However, its imposing appearance and size were a bigger threat to the enemy than cannons ever were.

The fortress is one of the most valuable and best preserved examples of defense architecture in Dalmatia. It is made of brick because that material was considered to be most resistant to cannonballs, while the foundations are made of stone. Although defense capabilities of the fortress have never been tested in military operations, the structure still proved successful in protecting the city from sea-bound enemy attacks. During the centuries of use, the structure served to various armies and has undergone a number of renovations, some of them necessary only because of the development of arms. It was completely abandoned by the military in 1979 and has been undergoing renovation ever since.

St. Nicholas' Fortress was included in UNESCO's World Heritage Site list as part of 'Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries' in 2017. After reconstruction work that lasted for two years, the fortress was open to visitors in July 2019.



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Founded: 1525
Category: Castles and fortifications in Croatia


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

H awkins (13 months ago)
Excellent tour and boat ride to the fortress for a very low price. The boat trip was really lovely and the guides were great. In the fortress you have some AR tour elements which was really cool. Definitely worth a visit if you have a couple of hours free.
Chris (2 years ago)
This is a really cool fortress and well worth a look around but it’s very simple inside. Can be accessed by foot or by boat. If you do pay for a tour here remember you are paying for the guide and the boat as it’s a load of empty rooms and the history of the place can be found online. Apart from all of that I enjoyed my visit to the fort and would recommend.
Miss ‽ (2 years ago)
Nice 2h tour by boat (half hour each way and one hour in the fort), very friendly and nice guides. You can walk around the fort yourself with audio guide, it's not very big so an hour is more than enough.
Oisin Wallace (2 years ago)
I don't usually recommend some of the big tourists spots like this but it was really interesting, definitely do the tour from Sibenik, it was a self guided tour with AR and games and everything.
Lucas Berger (2 years ago)
It‘s a nice walk to go there, however the access to the fortress is locked when coming from land. You can only visit it when you join a boat tour. Kinda surprising. On the small island in front of the fortress there are a couple of military bunkers - watch your step! Some staircases are not covered or secured and you can fall easily 3 meters if you don’t watch out (especially noteworthy when you go there with kids).
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