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Straddling the Mosor and Kozjuk mountains high above the city of Split and the Adriatic Sea, Klis Fortress started life as a small stronghold built by the Dalmatae, one of the Illyrian tribes in the second century BC.
Over the next 2,000 years, it has been the seat of many of Croatia’s kings and a key crossroad between the Mediterranean and the Balkans as well as a vitally important strategic defender of the area, most famously rebuffing the Ottoman advances in the Middle Ages.
Inaccessible from three sides, Klis Fortress has changed dramatically over the years to the point where the original appearance has been lost to history. Many of the buildings you see today are Venetian and from the 17th – 19th centuries. Over the years, dozens of battles have reigned down upon the fortress which changed hands many times between, amongst others, the Hungaro-Croatians, Turks, Romans (who knew it as ‘Clausura’, the origin of the later name ‘Clissa’ and today’s name, ‘Klis’), the Knights Templar, Venetians, Austrians, French and Yugoslavs.
Thirteen kilometres north of Split, Klis Fortress is one of Croatia’s most significant and strategically important fortifications as well as one of the most valuable surviving examples of defensive architecture. On the Game of Thrones map, it was the setting for the outdoor scenes of Meereen, the mercantile city-state and northernmost of the three great city-states of Slaver’s Bay.
Today, Klis Fortress is a popular tourist site in Croatia where visitors can walk through the ancient halls and ramparts as well as visiting the museum full of arms, armour and traditional uniforms.
Visit to Klis Fortress
If visiting Split, here’s a perfect day trip for all generations! The Klis Fortress was mostly visited by domestic tourists but for the past four years its popularity has grown immensely and the fortress has become an essential part of the visit to Split and Dalmatia. Here are the most important information you need to know before visiting Klis Fortress!
Get in touch with history of the fortress
The Klis Fortress is a medieval fortress situated above the homonymous municipality. The fortress was built at the altitude of 360 metres for the purpose of controlling invasions of the enemies. Due to its strategic position between two mountains, Kozjak and Mosor, the fortress played a major role in defense of entire Dalmatia, especially when it comes to Ottomans and their invasions. By the end of 2016, a new historical, cultural and tourist attraction was rebuilt on Klis Fortress – the Rector’s Palace. This move has led to a constant investment in the fortress, not to mention that a project worth over €1.3 million is being implemented which resulted in 3D mapping of the Klis Fortress and cultural heritage management education . The project is called Fortress ReInvented and it introduces visitors with the history of the fortress via digital content.
Game of Thrones meets Klis – visit the mighty Meereen!
Hardcore fans of this worldwide popular TV show probably already know what I am talking about. The famous fictional city-state from Game of Thrones series was introduced in season 4 when Daenerys Targaryen and her army marched towards Meereen to free the slaves. The streets of Meereen were shot both on Klis Fortress and in Diocletian’s Palace in Split. The major part of the fortress did not need additional CGI editing (apart from the Great Pyramid which was obviously computer-generated). There is also an exhibition dedicated to this show, which definitely increased the number of visitors of Klis Fortress. The exhibition includes photos from the set, which shows some of the main characters like Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister at this beautiful place. Don’t forget to take the best photo ever with the most spectacular view in the background!
Source: Screenshot, Game of Thrones, HBO
Go back to Middle Ages
Each year on the last weekend of July Klis municipality organises traditional Medieval festival called “Uskočki boj” or in English “The Uskoks’ battle for Klis”. It is a two-day manifestation which takes visitors back to the era of defense of Klis from Ottoman Empire. More than 300 members from different Croatian and sometimes also foreign historical units get together with the Historical unit “Kliški uskoci” dressed in Medieval costumes and entertain the visitors with various stage performances. You can:
- cheer for your favourite swordsman in sword tournament
- learn traditional folk songs,
- try domestic dishes and beverages
- buy authentic souvenirs
The main event of the festival is for sure the reenactment of the famous battle from 1532 which occurred between the Uskoks and the Ottoman Army. The event is held every year at the end of July and it lasts for two days. Besides the historic battle, there is also a mini Medieval market, you can practise archery or watch sword dance. The battle takes place at the Fortress Klis and it costs 70kn while the other program takes place in the foothill of the Fortress (Megdan Square) and it is not being charged.
The Klis Uskoks
Where to eat and sleep
One cannot visit Klis without making a stop in Perlica restaurant. It is a famous traditional restaurant in the foothill of Klis where the locals love to go to lunch. The best dish here is undoubtedly Dalmatian roasted lamb which is a must-eat. Besides the lamb, the restaurant boasts a great variety of typical dishes from this area such as Dalmatian “peka”, homemade cheese and prosciutto from Dalmatian Zagora, etc. And what’s best, if you need a place to rest, the restaurant also has two apartments for an overnight stay!
Here are some of the private accommodation options near Klis Fortress:
Staying overnight in Klis (Game of Thrones) (HR) Check for accommodation within walking distanceHow to get to Klis
Getting to Klis Fortress might look tricky but in reality it is quite simple. There are two options:
Klis Revives the Rich History of the Fortress with 1.2m Euro Project
A new project for Klis fortress has been granted funds by the Interreg IPA Cross Border Cooperation program.
A project worth 1.2 million euros has been approved for Klis, which will, among other things, make a cultural 3D mapping of Klis fortress - allowing visitors to live through the history, present and future of Klis, reports Dalmatinski Portal on February 6, 2017.
As part of the 'Project Fortress (Re)Invented', this project was signed off in June 2016 by the Municipality of Klis with partners from Zenica and Herceg Novi, and was led by the Department of Facilities Management and Fortification Systems at the Museum of Šibenik. Out of the 37 registered projects, this project was among the five selected to receive funds.
Project Fortress (Re)Invented itself is a partnership with the fortresses in the areas of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro which plans to edit parts of the historical monuments with a modern spirit. For example, by displaying modern technology within the monuments to encourage new versions and visions of cultural tourism. The project will contribute to the joint development and promotion of existing tourist potential by using innovative approaches and digital content in cultural and historical monuments and fortifications in order to become more attractive to the local population and the modern tourist.
“This is excellent news for all of us. Klis Fortress, which is synonymous with Croatian existence, has been waiting for a renewal for decades but now that's all over. The Project Fortress (Re)Invented is completed, and through this new project we will get attractive facilities that both our residents and visitors will be able to enjoy,” said the chief of Klis Jakov Vetma.
“Klis is already a desirable destination for holiday tourists, and the implementation of this project will strengthen its capacity and revive the rich history of Klis with new technologies to make the attraction more accessible and interesting to the growing number of modern visitors,” concludes Maja Zelic, Project Manager at the Business incubator in Klis.
Modern Interpretation of History Presented on Klis Fortress
At the foot of the hill where Klis Fortress is located, the long-awaited Interpretation Centre was recently opened. Klis Fortress is one of the most significant symbols of the rich history of that part of Croatia, and the history and the cultural heritage of the area will be presented to visitors through 3D holographic projections, in a unique combination of modern technologies and history, hrturizam.hr writes.
The project includes the illumination of the exteriors of the buildings at the centre of the village with images of well-known locations, as well as the possibility of 3D mapping on the outside walls of the Interpretation Centre which creates attractive visual content without additional interventions in the space.
The idea of the Centre started four years ago when the Klis Municipality applied for the funds for tourist development with the Ministry of Tourism. The value of the adaptation and the turning of the already existing building into the Centre was around one million kuna, and the Ministry and Split-Dalmatia County invested more than the half of the amount.
At the opening of the Centre, Jakov Vetma of the Klis Municipality said that the project allowed them to offer their visitors the added value.
They will be able to learn about the specificities of the region and the history of the region told in a modern way. Klis was the first capital town in Croatia, and has been a seat of Croatian kings for ages. Nowadays, it's going through a tourist boom, having received over 70,000 visitors last year, mostly thanks to the restauration project of the fortress itself, which then became world-famous after some of the worldwide phenomenon Game of Thrones series was filmed there, and the numbers kept increasing: in the first five months of this year, Klis Fortress has seen an increase in the number of visitors by around 60 percent compared to the record-breaking 2018.
The people of Klis are not stopping their development plans here they're preparing the project of building a summer stage on the fortress, which is worth over five million kuna. The other major project for Klis in the near future is the sale of a very valuable piece of property where an attractive hotel should be built, which should bring more investors and tourists to Klis.
Directions On How To Get To Klis Fortress
How to Get To Klis Fortress From Split
Klis Fortress lies only about 12 kilometers north of Split and is easily reached by both car and public transportation. If you have a rental car, it’s a quick jaunt from Split to Klis Fortress.
Without a car at your disposal, you can rely on Split-Klis bus 22, which leaves the Split city center and takes you straight to Klis. Check this website for the current bus timetable from Split to Klis.
How To Get to Klis Fortress From Zadar
From Zadar, you also have two options to get to Klis. The first one is the same—a drive via the E65 highway, which takes just over an hour and a half.
Your second option is joining a group tour from Zadar to the Split Fortress Klis. Although you won’t have as much freedom on a group tour, it’s still a great option if you’re just headed there as a day trip from Zadar anyway.
Hey, I am SJ. This is my family. We travel & write about food, accomm & the best things to do in the Balkans. We live in Croatia, and are always exploring the region. About us..
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Klis Fortress: A Brief History
- As early as the 2nd Century BCE, Illyrian tribes (the Dalmatae) inhabited the area around Klis.
- Over the centuries, this strategic spot (which straddles Mosor and Kozjak mountains), was also controlled by the Romans, Avars, Slavs, Croatian kings and nobility, Ottomans, Venetians, French, Austro-Hungarians, and Italian and German troops.
- In 1990, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia. Today, the fortress’ Oprah Tower again flies the red, white, and blue flag of Croatia.
- In 2014, the Klis Fortress appeared in season 4, episode 4 of Game of Thrones.
Visiting the Klis Fortress
When we explored the Klis Fortress one February afternoon, the countryside was coming to life. Green patches added splashes of color to the rocky landscape. Almond trees burst with white blossoms. As we walked along the rugged pathways, we admired the extraordinary views of the countryside, the mountains, the azure Adriatic Sea, and a few of Croatia’s islands.
Shawn and I spotted a weathered canyon, ramparts, and look-outs. At times, we tried to imagine what battles took place at Klis over the centuries — especially during the period when it overlooked the border between the Ottoman and Venetian Empires.
Our hosts explained that the climate is different on the north and south sides of the fortress. The climate to the north is more Continental, but the southern, coastal areas are Mediterranean.
Shawn and I have visited other popular fortifications and castles, such as the Kotor Fortress, Dubrovnik’s city walls, and the Neuschwanstein Castle. These tourist meccas can be swamped with visitors.
Klis Fortress, on the other hand, felt relatively undiscovered during our visit. With the exception of our small group, we only saw one or two other couples strolling the grounds.
We did see signs of restoration work. However, we also realized how much work was left to be done when we saw parts of the site that were so untouched that someone could have easily tumbled off the edge of a cliff.
Lunch at Antoničin Mlin, a Historic Mill and Game of Thrones Filming Site
We ended up exploring Klis for a few hours and worked up ferocious appetites. Hopping back into our host’s car, we bid farewell to the fortress and headed to the village of Žrnovnica via winding roads. On the way to Žrnovnica, we passed the stone quarry that served as another filming location for season 4 of Game of Thrones.
Tiny Žrnovnica is home to Antonica’s Mill (Antoničin Mlin) restaurant. This business is located in a watermill that still functions. Incredibly, it might have been built as far back as the 13th century. Originally called Benzon Mill, the historic building is one of the few remaining mills in the area.
Arriving at the stone mill, we felt like we’d stepped back in time. The restaurant was surrounded by an expansive green space. Fresh water raced underneath the mill. Inside the charming building, millstones revolved as they have for centuries, grinding a fine stream of wheat into wooden bins.
Antonica’s owner, cook, and waiter were delightful to chat with. One man mentioned that he was the one who’d caught the trout that we’d be feasting upon for lunch. The man had a twinkle in his eye when he showed us a photograph of himself playing the role of King Arthur in a theatrical production. In the photo, a small Lhasa Apso pup sat on his shoulder. He held a dagger and sword in hand, and a playful entourage surrounded him.
The lunch proved to be a traditional Croatian feast. We enjoyed homemade wine, as well as water naturally flavored with wild sage. Also on the menu were Croatian Swiss chard (blitva), grilled fish, and vegetables and meat roasted to perfection under a peka bell. When we returned to Split a few hours later, our bellies were very content.
Game of Thrones Filming Locations in the Split Area
Admittedly, I’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones. However, during our three months in coastal Split back in 2014, Shawn and I couldn’t escape the hype surrounding this popular television series.
From comments like “my brother was an extra and met Daenerys” to “our friend acted as a slave girl” to “they filmed a scene on the cobbled street in front of our office,” Split residents were excited and speculative about which scenes would make it into the upcoming episodes. Trailers helped them exercise their detective skills and pinpoint some Game of Thrones filming locations even before season 4 debuted.
Eventually season 4 was released, much to the delight of Split’s inhabitants. The Klis Fortress appeared in episode 4 as the city of Meereen. In addition, a few other Split-area locations were featured:
- the eerie basements of Diocletian’s 1,700-year-old palace
- Papalićeva Street, a narrow, cobbled lane near Split’s City Museum
- a quarry in Perun , a centuries-old watermill in Žrnovnica. (This is where we ate our traditional Croatian lunch after visiting the Klis Fortress. If you visit the restaurant’s website, you can see backstage images from the Game of Thrones filming that took place there in 2013.)
For more information about Croatia’s Game of Thrones filming locations, also take a peek at:
History [ edit | edit source ]
Ancient stronghold of Illyrians and Romans [ edit | edit source ]
The ancient Illyrian tribe of Dalmatae, which held a stronghold on this spot, were the first known inhabitants who lived on the site of what is today Klis Fortress. Β] They were defeated several times, and in the year 9 AD, finally annexed by Romans. Β] Today's Klis Fortress was known to the Romans by the name of "Andetrium" or "Anderium", Γ] and in later times "Clausura", which is the origin of later "Clissa" and modern "Klis". Α] To the Romans, Klis became famous for its celebrated siege by Augustus, at the time of the Illyrian revolt in Dalmatia. Δ] The road that lead from Klis to Salona was called "Via Gabiniana" or "Via Gabinia", which according to an inscription found at Salona, appears to have been made by Tiberius. Α] Southeast of the fortress, the traces of a Roman camp are still visible, as well as an inscription carved on a rock both which are supposed to be contemporary with the siege under Tiberius. Α] The description of this siege during the Illyrian Wars demonstrates that this place was strong and unreachable in those times. Δ]
Migration period and the arrival of the Croats [ edit | edit source ]
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Barbarians plundered the region around Klis. Ε] First it was ruled by Odoacer, and then by the Theodoric the Great, after he eliminated Odoacer, and set up an Ostrogothic Kingdom. Ε] After Justinian I fought an almost continual war for forty years to recover the old Roman Empire, he seized Dalmatia, and Klis was from 537, a part of Byzantine Empire. Ε] The name of Klis (Kleisa or Kleisoura) was first described in chapter 29 of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus' De Administrando Imperio. Ζ] While describing the Roman settlement of Salona, Constantine VII speaks of the stronghold, which may have been designed or improved, to prevent attacks on the coastal cities and roads by Slavs. Ζ]
Salona, the capital of the province of Dalmatia was sacked and destroyed in 614 by Avars and Slavs. Η] The population fled to Diocletian's walled palace of Split, which was able to hold up. Η] Thereafter, Split rose quickly in importance, as one of Dalmatia's major cities. Η] After a few decades, the Avars were driven out by the Croats. Η] This probably happened after 620, when in second wave Croats migrated on the invitation by the Emperor Heraclius to counter the Avar threat on the Byzantine Empire. ⎖]
Royal Castle [ edit | edit source ]
From the early 7th century on, Klis was an important Croat stronghold, and later, one of the seats of many Croatia's rulers. ΐ] In the 9th century, Croatian prince Mislav of Littoral Croatia, from 835 to 845, made the castle of Klis seat of his throne. Ώ] Despite Frankish overlordship, the Franks had almost no role in Littoral Croatia in the period from the 820s through 840s. After Mislav's death, starting with Duke Trpimir I, Klis was ruled by royal members of the House of Trpimirović, who were at first Dukes of Littoral Croatian Duchy (dux Croatorum), and afterwards Kings of the Croatian Kingdom (rex Croatorum). They developed the early Roman stronghold into their capital. ΐ] Relations with the Byzantines greatly improved under the Croatian duke Trpimir I, who moved the dux's main residence from Nin to Klis. ⎗]
The reign of Mislav's successor Trpimir I, is significant for spreading Christianity in the medieval Croatian state, and for the first mention of the name "Croats" in domestic documents. ⎘] ⎙] On 4 March, in 852, Trpimir I issued a "Charter in Biaći" (Latin language: in loco Byaci dicitur ) in Latin, confirming Mislav's donations to the Archbishopric in Split. ⎙] In this document Trpimir I named himself "By the mercy of God, Duke of Croats" (Latin language: Dux Chroatorum iuvatus munere divino ), and his realm as the "Realm of the Croats" (Latin language: Regnum Chroatorum ). ⎙] In the same document Trpimir I mentioned Klis as his property — seat. ⎘] Under Klis, in Rižinice, the duke Trpimir built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia, which is known from the discovery of a stone fragment on a gable arch from an altar screen, inscribed with the prince's name and title. ⎘]
|“||(Latin . pro duce Trepimero . – English. pray for the Prince Trpimir . )||”|
A controversial Saxon theologian of the mid-9th century, Gottschalk of Orbais, spent some time at Trpimir's court between 846 and 848. ⎘] His work "De Trina deitate" is an important source of information for Trpimir's reign. ⎘] Gottschalk was a witness to the battle between Trpimir and Byzantine strategos, when Trpimir was victorious. ⎘] During the reign of Croatian king Tomislav, who had no permanent capital, the castle of Klis along with Biograd, were his chief residences. ⎚]
Knights Templar [ edit | edit source ]
From the early 12th century, and after the decay of the native Croatian royal family of Trpimirović, the castle of Klis was mainly governed by Croatian nobility, under the supremacy of Hungarian kings. The Kingdom of Croatia and the Kingdom of Hungary were, from 1102, a personal union of two kingdoms, united under the Hungarian king. [Note 1] ⎛]
Andrew II of Hungary was extremely favorably disposed towards the Templars. ⎜] During his participation in the Fifth Crusade, he appointed Pontius de Cruce, Master of the Order in the Hungarian Kingdom, as a regent in Croatia and Dalmatia. ⎜] After his return in 1219, in recognition of the great logistical and financial support which the Order had given him during the campaign, he granted the Order the estate of Gacka. ⎜] Even before his departure from the city of Split in 1217, he had made over to the Templars the castle of Klis (Clissa), a strategic point in the hinterland of Split (Spalato), which controlled the approaches to the town. Α] ⎜] ⎝] The king Andrew was reluctant to entrust the castle of Klis to any of the local magnates, knowing what great harm could come from that castle. ⎝] It was the king's will that Split receive the castle of Klis for the defense of their city. ⎝] The city of Split showed little interest in the royal favors, so the king entrusted Klis into Templars hands. ⎝] Shortly after this, the Templars lost Klis, and, in exchange, the king gave them the coastal town of Šibenik (Sebenico). ⎜]
Mongol siege [ edit | edit source ]
Tatars under the leadership of Kadan experienced a major failure in March 1242 at Klis Fortress, when they were hunting for Béla IV of Hungary. Β] The Tatars believed that the king was in the Klis Fortress, and so they began to attack from all sides, launching arrows and hurling spears. ⎞] However, the natural defenses of the fortress gave protection, and the Tatars could cause only limited harm. ⎞] They dismounted from their horses and began to creep up hand over hand to higher ground. ⎞] But the fortress defenders hurled huge stones at them, and managed to kill a great number. ⎞] This setback only made the Tatars more ferocious, and they came right up to the great walls and fought hand to hand. ⎞] They looted the houses and took away much plunder. ⎞] Upon learning that the king was not there, they abandoned their attack, and ascending their mounts rode off in the direction of Trogir, ⎞] a number of them turning off toward Split. ⎞]
The Mongols attacked the Dalmatian cities for the next few years but eventually withdrew without major success, as the mountainous terrain and distance were not suitable for their style of warfare. ⎟] They pursued Béla IV from town to town in Dalmatia. ⎟] The Croatian nobility and Dalmatian towns such as Trogir and Rab helped Béla IV to escape. ⎟] After this failure, the Mongols retreated and Béla IV rewarded the Croatian towns and nobility. ⎟] Only the town of Split did not help Béla IV in his escape. ⎟]
Some historians claim that the mountainous terrain of Croatian Dalmatia was fatal for the Mongols, because they suffered great losses when attacked by the Croats from ambushes in mountain passes. ⎟] Other historians claim that the death of Ögedei Khan (Croatian language: Ogotaj ) was the only reason for retreat. Much of Croatia was plundered by the Mongols, but without any major military success. ⎟] Saint Margaret (January 27, 1242 – January 18, 1271), a daughter of Béla IV and Maria Laskarina, was born in Klis Fortress during the Mongol invasion of Hungary-Croatia. ΐ]
Šubić's rule [ edit | edit source ]
The weakening of royal authority under Stephen V of Hungary allowed the House of Šubić to regain their former role in Dalmatia. ⎠] In 1274, Stjepko Šubić of Bribir died, and Paul I Šubić of Bribir succeeded him as the family elder. ⎠] Soon, Ladislaus IV of Hungary, recognizing the balance of power in Dalmatia, named Paul I as Ban of Croatia and Dalmatia. ⎠] Ladislaus IV died in 1290 leaving no sons, and a civil war between rival candidates, pro-Hungarian Andrew III of Hungary, and pro-Croatian Charles Martel of Anjou, started. ⎡] Charles Martel's father Charles II of Naples, awarded all Croatia from Gvozd Mountain (Croatian language: Petrova Gora ) to the river Neretva mouth hereditary to Paul I Šubić of Bribir. ⎡] Thus, Charles converted Paul's personal position as Ban into a hereditary one for the Šubić family. ⎡] All the other nobles in this region, were to be vassals of Paul Šubić. ⎡] In response, Andrew III in 1293 issued a similar charter for Paul Šubić. ⎡] During this struggle over the throne, George I Šubić of Bribir, Ban Paul's brother went to Italy, visiting the pope and the Naples court. ⎢] In August 1300, George I returned to Split, bringing Charles Robert with him. ⎢] Paul Šubić accompanied Charles Robert (later known as Charles I of Hungary) to Zagreb, where he was recognized as king then they proceeded to Esztergom, where, in 1301, the Archbishop of Esztergom crowned him as King of Hungary and Croatia. ⎢]
Paul I Šubić, Ban of Croatia and Dalmatia, became Lord of all of Bosnia in 1299. ⎣] Although supporting the king, Paul I continued to act independently, and ruled over a large portion of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. ⎣] He appointed his brothers as commissars of Dalmatian cities, and gave Split to his brother Mladen I Šubić, and Šibenik, Nin, Trogir and Omiš to his brother George I Šubić. ⎣] After George I Šubić died in 1302, his brother Mladen I Šubić ruled as a Bosnian Ban over Bosnia from Klis Fortress, until he was killed in a battle during 1304. ⎣] Then, Šubić gave the Klis Fortress to his son Mladen II Šubić, who ruled over Bosnia like his uncle Mladen I. ⎣] George II Šubić and his son, Mladen III Šubić, ruled over Klis Fortress until the late 14th century. ⎣] During summer-long festivities in Klis Fortress, open to the whole population, Mladen III Šubić gave his sister's Jelena Šubić hand in marriage to Vladislaus of Bosnia, from the House of Kotromanić. ⎟] Jelena Šubić gave birth to the first Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, who later inherited the fortress. Β]
Petar Kružić and the Uskoci [ edit | edit source ]
Owing to its location, Klis Fortress was an important defensive position during the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. ⎤] The fortress stands along the route by which the Ottomans could penetrate the mountain barrier separating the coastal lowlands from around Split, from Turkish-held Bosnia. ⎤] The Croat feudal lord Petar Kružić gathered together a garrison composed of Croat refugees, who used the base at Klis both to hold the Turks at bay, and to engage in marauding and piracy against coastal shipping. ⎤] Although nominally accepting the sovereignty of the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand I, [Note 2] who obtained the Croatian crown in 1527, Kružić and his freebooting Uskoks were a law unto themselves. ⎤]
When a large Turkish force threatened the fortress, Kružić appealed to Ferdinand I for help, but the Emperor's attention was diverted by a Turkish invasion into Slavonia. ⎤] For more than two and half decades, Captain Kružić, also called (Prince of Klis), defended the fortress against the Turkish invasion. Β] Kružić led the defense of Klis, and with his soldiers fought almost alone against the Ottomans, as they hurled army after army against the fortress. Β] No troops would come from the Hungarian king, as they were defeated by the Ottomans at the Battle of Mohács in 1526, and the Venetians baulked at sending any help. Β] Only the popes were willing to provide some men and money. Β]
Final Ottoman siege [ edit | edit source ]
Pope Paul III claimed some rights in Klis, and in September, 1536, there was talk in the Curia of strengthening the defenses of the fortress. ⎥] The Pope notified Ferdinand that he was willing to share the costs of maintaining a proper garrison in Klis. ⎥] Ferdinand I did send aid to Klis and was apparently hopeful of holding the fortress, when the Turks again laid siege to it. ⎥] Ferdinand I recruited men from Trieste and elsewhere in the Habsburg lands, and Pope Paul III sent soldiers from Ancona. ⎥] There were about 3,000 infantry in the reinforcements, which made a sizeable relief force, that were commanded by Petar Kružić, Niccolo dalla Torre, and a papal commissioner Jacomo Dalmoro d'Arbe. ⎥] On March 9, 1537, they disembarked near Klis, at a place called S. Girolamo, with fourteen pieces of artillery. ⎥] After Ibrahim's death, Suleiman the Magnificent sent 8,000 men under the command of Murat-beg Tardić (Amurat Vaivoda), a Croatian renegade who had been born in Šibenik, to go and lay siege to Klis fortress (Clissa), and fight against Petar Kružić. ⎦] An initial encounter of the Christian relief force with the Turks was indecisive, but, on March 12, they were overwhelmed by the arrival of a great number of Turks. ⎥]
The attempts to relieve the citadel ended in farce. ⎧] Badly-drilled reinforcements sent by the Habsburgs fled in the fear of Turks, and their attempts to re-board their boats at Solin bay caused many vessels to sink. ⎧] Niccolo dalla Torre and the papal commissioner managed to escape. ⎦] Kružić himself – who had left the fortress to make contact with the reinforcements was captured and executed: the sight of his head on a stick was too much for the remaining defenders of Klis, who were now willing to gave up the fortress in return for safe passage north. ⎧] After Petar Kružić's death, and with a lack of water supplies, the Klis defenders finally surrendered to the Ottomans in exchange for their freedom, on March 12, 1537. Β] Many of the citizens fled the town, while the Uskoci retreated to the city of Senj, where they continued fighting the Turkish invaders. Β]
Sanjak centre of Ottoman Bosnia [ edit | edit source ]
During the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress was, for a century, an administrative centre or sanjak (Kilis Sancağı) of the Bosnia Eyalet. Β] On April 7, 1596, Split noblemen Ivan Alberti and Nikola Cindro, along with Uskoci, Poljičani, and Kaštelani irregulars, organized an occupation of Klis. Β] Assisted by dissident elements of the Turkish garrison, they succeeded. Β] ⎨] Bey Mustafa responded by bringing more than 10,000 soldiers under the fortress. Β] General Ivan Lenković, leading 1,000 Uskoci, came in relief of the 1,500 Klis defenders. Β] During the battle, Ivan Lenković and his men retreated after he was wounded in battle, and the fortress was lost to the Turks, on May 31. Β] Nevertheless, this temporary relief resounded in Europe and among the local population. Β] [[File:Rijeka014.jpg|thumb|180px|right|Petar Kružić fighting the Ottomans]]
From the well-fortified position in the Klis Fortress, the Turks were a constant threat to the Venetians and to the local Croatian population in the surrounding area. In 1647, after the Turkish success at Novigrad, the Turks were said to have 30,000 troops ready to attack Split. ⎩] The Signoria send off two thousand soldiers with munitions and provisions to the threatened area. ⎩] Although Split and Zadar were strong fortresses, they were clearly in danger. ⎩]
Venetian domination [ edit | edit source ]
In 1420, the Anjou contender Ladislaus of Naples was defeated and forced to sail away for Naples. Upon his departure he sold his "rights" to Dalmatia to the Venetian Republic for the relatively meager sum of 100,000 ducats. However, Klis and Klis Fortress remained parts of the Kingdom of Croatia. ΐ] From that time, the Venetians were eager to take control over Klis, as the fortress was one of the region’s most important strategic points. Β]
The Venetians fought for decades before they finally managed to re-take Klis. Β] During the Candian War (1645–1669), the Venetians in Dalmatia enjoyed the support of the local population, particularly the Morlachs (Morlacchi). Β] Venetian commander Leonardo Foscolo seized several forts, retook Novigrad, temporarily captured the Knin Fortress, and managed to compel the garrison of Klis Fortress to surrender. At the same time, a month-long siege of the Šibenik Fortress by the Ottomans in August and September failed. ⎪] ⎫]
From 1669, Klis Fortress was in the possession of the Venetians, and it remained so until the fall of the Venetian state. Β] The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress during their rule. ΐ] After another, the seventh war with the Turks from 1714 to 1718, the Venetians were able to advance up to the present Bosnian/Croatian border, taking in the whole Sinjsko field and Imotski. ⎤] Thereafter the Turkish menace was laid to rest and Venice had no serious challenge to its authority in Dalmatia, until Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. ⎤] The border between Christian and Muslim Europe had been moved further east, and the fortress lost its main strategic importance. ΐ] Subsequently, Klis was taken by the Austrians. Β] The last military occupation of Klis Fortress was by Axis powers during World War II. ΐ]
Klis Fortress Experience
You zigzag up a fairly steep incline to access the fortress. It sprawls over the hilltop and is full of lookouts and nooks.
The fortress has three defensive stone walls, which are surrounding a central strongpoint. The structure is irregular because it was designed to fit into the natural topography, an early salvo of "organic architecture."
You can explore the fortress with complete freedom -- a rare and privileged experience at a historical site. There are no guards, lines, cordoned off areas, locked doors, or safety signs. There are also no guardrails. One misstep and you could fall off the fortress walls.
From the fortress, you have a killer view of Split, its harbor, and the surrounding countryside. It's worth going for that alone.
Klis – One day trip to Klis Fortress
Klis is a small village located around a famous mountain fortress ("Kliška tvrđava") only 9 km from the town of Split (and just a few km more from our camp site). Throughout the history Klis played a significant role due to its position (at the altitude of 360m) which made it easy to guard the access to Split, Salona and surrounding areas.
Klis is a must see one day trip destination. If not for its rich history, famous fortress from Game of Thrones scenery, you should visit Klis for its breathtaking view of Split and islands of Brač, Hvar and Vis.
Klis Fortress and history
The Klis Fortress is one of the most important medieval fortresses in Dalmatian history. It was originally built as a small stronghold (by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae) that became a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings. Finally it was developed as large fortress that was as a great source of defense during wars with the Ottomans. Klis Fortress guarded the frontier, and during two thousand year long history it was lost and re-conquered several times. Enough words, just click the photo and experience the fortress through a great 360 walking tour.
Beautiful video of Klis
Discover and feel Klis in this great KLIS LIVE THE TRUE EXPERIENCE video.
Klis Fortress and GAME OF THRONES
As you probably know, Klis Fortress was one of the chosen filming locations in Croatia for the popular Game of Thrones series. The Klis Fortress was the location chosen to represent the city of Meereen, one of "Khaleesi's" conquests.
The Vranjača Cave
When already in Klis, take a 10 min drive to Kotlenice (near Dugopolje) and visit The Vranjača Cave and its underground world of stalactites, stalagmites and underground sculptures which have been created by water for thousands of years.
Pack your camera and take a bus number 34 (see the timetable here) or rent a vehicle and discover Klis.
There are many departure times (10:00, 16:00, etc) depending on the date and time you choose when booking.
The tour visits 3 different filming locations in and around Split, Croatia.
Walking tour of Diocletian’s Palace (including admission)
First, you’ll take a walking tour of the 1700-year-old Diocletian’s Palace in the heart of Split’s old town. You’ll wander the streets that became Meereen, the palace basements and Daenarys’ throne room.
Walking tour of Klis Fortress (including admission)
Next, you’ll take an air conditioned transfer to the mountain village of Klis, about 20 minutes outside Split. In this tiny village lies Klis Fortress, which stands tall on the end of a rocky cliff offering the absolute best view of Split, the Adriatic Sea and neighboring islands. Your guide will take you on a walking tour of the fortress, during which he’ll tell you about the Game of Thrones scenes that were filmed here as well as some of the local Croatian history.
Visit to the water mill filming location
Finally, you’ll visit a 600-year-old stone water mill on the Žrnovnica River that still mills flour to this day. This water mill and the Žrnovnica River that runs along side of it were the setting of several scenes from Game of Thrones as well.
Traditional Croatian peka barbecue feast
Usually veal peka or fish with local wine, water and homemade bread at the water mill (most diet restrictions accommodated, by request).
The tour is 5 hours long. Your guide can drop you off at your accommodation within Split after the tour.
Andrea, our tour guide was amazing! Very informative and customised the tour to our interest! It was so cool to be walking around scenes from GOT. The highlight will have to be the dinner we had at the end. The dish Peka, which is a traditional Croatian dish was amazing! You will not be disappointed.