Fortress of Saint Nicholas

Fortress of Saint Nicholas Šibenik, Fortress of Saint Nicholas Šibenik, Fortress of Saint Nicholas Šibenik, Fortress of Saint Nicholas Šibenik

Fortress of Saint Nicholas ŠibenikThe Fortress of Saint Nicholas is a defense fortification that was built during the 16th century, on a small island of Ljuljevac located at the entrance of the channel of Saint Anthony near Croatian city Šibenik. It is located on the southern side of the narrow channel, and its southern end is connected to the mainland by a small narrow path, while its northern part faces the channel and provides an efficient way to monitor the channel traffic. Before the fortress was built, there were two towers located on each side of the channel that had a chain hooked at each end, which was supposed to prevent unwanted ships from entering the channel. Towers were demolished after the fortress was built.

Fortress of Saint Nicholas ŠibenikThe main reason for the construction of the Fortress of Saint Nicholas was the fall of the city of Skradin, that was captured by the Ottoman forces in 1522. The capture of Skradin gave the Ottomans a valuable strategic stronghold in their attempts to control the sea passages in the Adriatic, thus establishing the supply line to their troops inland, but they still had one thorn in their side in the city of Šibenik. Citizens of Šibenik were aware of the fact that the Ottomans will try to capture the city in order to establish control, so they started the construction of the fortress and asked the dominant naval power of Venice to help in their efforts as well. Venice agreed readily, full aware that the fraction controlling Šibenik is the one that will have the upper hand in the fight for supremacy over the Adriatic sea.

Michele Sanmicheli was the military engineer that was tasked with the project of constructing the fort and with the help of his nephew he did just that and started the construction of the fortress in 1540. The island of Ljuljevac was a home of the Benedictine monastery that was demolished for the purpose of the fortress construction.

Fortress of Saint NicholasGoing off of written reports from 1553, the fortress featured a small square with a small chapel and it covered most of the island, it was of the triangular form and featured three bastions. The structure was built from different kinds of materials, for instance, the lower parts of the fortress walls were built using stone blocks, while the upper parts of the walls were built out of bricks. This was because bricks are far better against cannon fire.

One of the most interesting, if not the most interesting factoids about the fortress is its triangular floorplan, which is quite unusual for Croatia and even Europe at the time. The whole fort is rather unique because of some other factors, most notably lack of towers and walls of level height, which give away a uniform look to the whole fortress.
It is also interesting to note that the fortress never landed under siege, in large to its impressive look when coming in from the sea, accentuated by the perfect strategic location.

The fort today is sadly decaying as there hasn’t been a clear plan on what should be its purpose today. However, the Fortress of Saint Nicholas itself is still a sight to behold looking from the sea and is definitely something that you should see if you get a chance.


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