Klis Fortress

Klis, Croatia

From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia's rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.

Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.

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Don Ante Petaka 1, Klis, Croatia
See all sites in Klis

Details

Founded: 7th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Croatia

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Hermien Cook (3 months ago)
Was good...60 kuna entrance a little steep but then they are restoring and made toilets.. Pity there not more artifacts on site..but I would recommend a visit
Emi Aziel (4 months ago)
Beet expensive but still nice to come over.
Mark Hayes (4 months ago)
The climb to this fortress is not as intimidating as It May seem given its location. It is steep to get to the base but not too far so do not be intimidated. Once you get up there you will find lots of wonderful sights to see and the views are incredible! If you are a Game of Thrones fan there is a filming location here as well. When Khaleesi freed the Unsullied. After it is nice to enjoy a tasty beverage in the shadow of the fortress.
Neill Richardson (4 months ago)
Excellent historic fort - was accompanied by a guide and this made the whole experience really worthwhile.
Jonathan Lindström (6 months ago)
Interesting historical place, well preserved. They filmed parts of Game of Thrones here. Fair amount of history, information signs and pictures for the interested person. View was good but not a good place to see the sunset. Entrance fee was around 60 kn per adult. Free parking was available below the castle, but limited. Parts of the castle were closed of for archaeological excavations during my visit.
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