Prozor Fortress sits prominently above the town of Vrlika. The known history of fortress begins parallel with the history of Vrlika in the 7th century, when the Croats moved there and formed a village on the spring of the river Cetina, in a field below the mountain Dinara.

After the crowning of Ladislaus as the Hungarian King in Zadar in 1403, and in political maneuvering against his arch political rival and enemy, king Sigismund, he appointed Hrvatinić as his deputy for Croatia and Dalmatia as he promised earlier. In 1406, king Ladislaus of Naples gifted Prozor Fortress, at that time Castrum Werhlychky, as a center of Vrlička župa to the Hrvoje Vukčić.

At the beginning of the 15th century, Hrvoje Vukčić fortified and strengthen the Prozor Fortress over the Vrlika valley to defend inhabitants from the invasion by the Ottoman Empire. After 1416, and Hrvoje Vukčić death, his son Balša Hercegović was unable to hold Prozor Fortress, which then passed to Ivaniš Nelipić, and later to Ivan Frankopan.

In 1421, king Sigismund donated Vrlika with the Prozor Fortress to Mihača Nikolin Vitturi, but Ivaniš Nelipić refused to handover the fortress. When wealthy Prince Ivaniš Nelipić, the last male member of Frankopan's illustrious clan, died in 1434, the problem of inheritance became acute. According to his will, his only daughter, Princess Catherine or Margarita Nelipić, was to inherit all of his extensive possessions from the Velebit ranges to Cetina river. Her patrimony was argued and eventually shared by Frankopan. In spite of the legality of this bequest, and his consent to the marriage upon request of the late Ivaniš Nelipić, king Sigismund denounced the testament and demanded that Frankopan turn over to him the legacy of his wife's inheritance. When Frankopan refused to obey, Sigismund proclaimed him a rebel and deprived him of all honors and possessions. After that the fortress was lost to Venetian noble Mihača (Mikac) Nikolin Vitturi from Trogir, who was a commissioner of king Sigismund.

The Turks invaded the fortress in 1522, and held it until 1688. After the fortress was taken, the Turks, disregarding the conditions of its surrender, massacred all within it. After the Turks, the fortress belonged to the Republic of Venice, then to the Austrian Empire, when it lost its main strategic importance. From 1805 to 1813, it was under French rule, and from 1813 to 1918 it again under the Austrian rule, as was all Croatia.

Prozor Fortress was built on isolated rock, detached from the craggy cliff on the end of mountain Svilaja range of hills. The remains of the Prozor Fortress are the ruins of a spacious residential building, a water tank, stone walls and a chapel. The Prozor Fortress was expended while it was owned by Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić at the end of 14th and early 15th centuries from the small stronghold built by the Illyrian tribe of Dalmatae. In Turkish times the mahala, or the housing area of Vrlika fortress, developed around it. Prozor Fortress is dominated by the tall keep or donjon, around which is an open court with houses and a chapel. The courtyard is defended by the lower ramparts and a round tower. A drawbridge once gave access to the keep. Today's condition of Prozor Fortress is poorly, as the fortress is ruined, although slightly renovated.

It is partially restored, and entrance is free of charge. The way up to Prozor Fortress starts at the Roman Catholic parish church in Vrlika. It takes a 1.5-kilometre car ride towards small village of Maovice, followed by a 25-minute walk along a dirt trail.

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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Croatia

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