Until a few years ago for the historical fortresses in coastal and the continental part of Croatia were knew the local residents and a few tourists. Today the fortresses from ancient times is a more common destination for thousands of tourists. I’ll introduce you to the fortresses which offer the most beautiful panoramic views. Croatia has many forts that are worth mentioning and visit as well, but about them in another article.
The old town Medvedgrad was built in the 13th century on the southern slopes of Medvednica Mountain above Zagreb. It offers a magnificent view of the capital of Croatia. This city was built after the attacks of Tatars in 1242. Medvednica was one of the largest fortifications in Croatia.
Osijek Fort is a baroque city-fortress from the 18th century. After liberation from the Turks, the Austrian authorities have launched the planned construction of the fortress following the example of Dutch lowland-fortifications. It is not high and you will not get tired climbing up to it, but it is worth mentioning and certainly worth seeing and with one of its embankments you have a magnificent view of the river Drava and part of Osijek.
Photo Credit: Kninski muzej
West of Knin rises a medieval fort built in the 10th century and its final appearance got in the early 18th century when was artificially separated from Mount Spas. Knin Fortress is one of the largest fortification facilities in Dalmatia. It is divided into Upper, Middle and Lower section (town), which are connected by drawbridges. The oldest is the Upper Town in the northern part of the fort, while the Middle and Lower Town were built in the late Middle Ages. On the hill of Spas was discovered a late antique and old Croatian settlement.
Today fortress occupies an area of 123.147m2 and is one of the biggest cultural and historical monuments in Croatia. The fort is 470m long, 110m wide and the altitude is 344m. Throughout the fortress are winding up huge walls and ramparts that are somewhere high more than 20m. There is the order of loopholes, fighting places, dark corridors, wells, bridges, secret passages and the fortress’s Church of St. Barbara dedicated to Cyril and Methodius, where the epitaph was written in the Slavic alphabet.
Next to the church of St. Barbara is also the bell that St. Father Pope John Paul II gave to Knin during his visit to Croatia in September 1994.
This fortress is more popularly called the Tower Nehaj or Nehajgrad and served Uskoks as a military fortress and a place from which was defended Senj from the Turks and Venetians. The fort was built at the end of the 16th century on the hill Trbusnjak.
Nehaj Fortress is 18m high and 23m is wide, the outer walls are thick 2 to 3.3 meters, and in the walls are hundreds of loopholes and 11 large cannon openings.
This fort is now used for tourism purposes, and from the top of the fortress is a beautiful view of the Croatian coast and islands of Rab, Goli, Prvic, Cres, Krk and mountain Ucka and Velebit. Given that this is a symbol of the town, the fortress is in a stylized form on the coat of arms of the city of Senj.
Klis Fortress is a historic fortress that saved the Dalamatia and Split form the invasion of the Turks. This fortress is a symbol of resistance and unconquered. Today, this fortress is a place that is visited by tens of thousands of tourists. Klis Fortress became famous after the shooting a scene from the popular series Game of Thrones. It offers a magnificent view of Split and the surrounding islands.
If you visit Hvar, then you must visit fortress Spanjol or Fortica which is located in the northern part of the city, 88 meters above sea level. This city fortress, together with the mighty medieval walls, has in the past represented the central defensive fortress. The origins of the Hvar fortification system determined the Venetians decree on the construction of in 1282, and construction of the fortress on the top of the hill was completed in the mid-16th century.
You can reach the fort by climbing up the steps between the stone houses of the northern part of the city, and later on, by walks on the pleasant trails in the countryside composed of diverse Mediterranean vegetation. Already on this track are magnificent views.
The Hvar Fortress combines a historical story, architecturally interesting content and a viewpoint overlooking the old part of the town with its arches and Pakleni Islands.
The impressive Fortica is located on the cliffs above Cetina canyon and has its foundations lying on an ancient defensive fort from the first half of the first millennium BC. Its present appearance, however, is inspired in the 13th century during the Venetian rule. Its position allows an unobstructed sea view to the sea. It’s pretty inaccessible terrain and if you’re not in the fit form you’ll need around 40 minutes of walking by steep rocks (like a goat’s tracks) to get to the top, but it’s worth it. The look is wooowww.
Omis is boasting with its fortress Mirabella which rises just above the city. This fortress dates back to the 13th century, with a view of the entire archipelago, islands Brac, Solta, and Hvar and the red roofs of Omis.
If you are in Sibenik then must see the fort of St. Nicholas. This fortress is not on the hillside and does not provide that kind of landscape view, but since 2017 it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. This fort was built in the mid 16th century at the entrance to the Canal St. Anthony. Neither this fort was built because of aesthetics but as a defense of the Turks after the fall of Skradin 1522.
Fortress of St. Mihovil is one of four fantastic forts in Sibenik. On this fort was built a summer theater and therefore this place is for various events throughout the summer. From it is a beautiful panoramic view of the sea and the channel of St. Anthony, and a unique seaport entry to Sibenik.
There is also the fortress Barone, unique guardian of Sibenik’s history, a combination of history and modern technology. Here visitors can use smartphone, tablet or AR glasses to explore the contents of the rich history of Sibenik.
New appearance gets the nearby fortress of St. Ivan, better known as Tanaja. Along the promenades, runways around the entire complex, the fortress offers an unforgettable panoramic view of Sibenik and the surrounding islands.
Venetian rule in the 15th century started building the tower of Kamerlengo in Trogir. These towers were guarded nobility against the rebellious citizens. The tower was built by Renaissance rules and is inspired by antiquity. From this tower you have a beautiful view of the entire stone town of Trogir.
These walls connect Ston and Mali Ston. This is one of the largest medieval ventures. The walls are long, even 5.5 km and reinforced with 40-strong tower and 5 fortresses. Some parts are still under reconstruction but it does not bother you to tour the longest defended ramparts in Europe. The walls were built 30 years after the Dubrovnik Republic gained Peljesac peninsula in 1334.
Walls were needed to protect Ston. The walls were of great importance due to the defense of the saltworks in Ston which in then the Dubrovnik Republic brought about 16,000 ducats each year, and the shellfish farms and the city itself.
Dubrovnik walls are most likely and most famous in Croatia. They were built during the 14th and 15th centuries and were upgraded until the 17th century. These walls are 1940 meters long and somewhere are high even up to 25 meters, and the thickness of the wall to the mainland is 4 to 6 meters. The walls stretch all four sides and are protected by imposing towers. According to legend, Minceta tower was built at the time when was the lacking of stone, so it is commanded that anyone who is coming to Dubrovnik must bring one stone with it according to its physical structure.