Klis serves as a name for three things, the mountain, the settlement, and the Klis fortress. It is most famous for its role during the Ottoman rampages when it served as a fort that guarded the ‘’Gates of Dalmatia’’ and most notably the city of Split. Klis was also a mountain overpass, which connected Split with Zagora since the day Split and Salona were founded and still does to this very day. It is placed to the east of mountain Mosor, and to the west of Kozjak. Split is located five kilometers from it.
The first mention of the Klis fortress dates back to the 5th century when Slavs took control of the Roman fortification Kleis, which enabled them to capture the city of Salona in the first part of the 7th century when Croats took control of the region. Only two centuries later, Klis has become a noble seat and one of the central parts of the Croatian Kingdom. In a document issued by count Trpimir, Klis is mentioned as his land and it is noted as the seat of the Old-Croatian Klis county. Over the years Klis has been under control of various Croatian nobles, but its biggest role was the one it played during the Ottoman wars starting with the 16th century. The 16th century marked the era of the biggest Ottoman threat to Croatia.
During that time, Klis fortress was under the command of Petar Kružič, who along with the fort fought back and managed to hold it for two and a half decades before he was killed in battle, after which the fort and its occupants surrendered to the Ottomans. Klis fortress was finally liberated in 1698 when locals along with the Venetian help managed to capture the fort. After that the fort changed owners (Venetia, France, Habsburg monarchy, Croatia) for a number of times until it finally came under full Croatian control in 1990.
The Klis fortress has been built atop a rocky gorge, which gave it the name (cro. Klisura – eng. Gorge). This position also helped to remain unconquered for a long time during the wars that happened throughout the years. Since it was built from limestone and since it is built on limestone it is difficult to pick out the fort when looking from a far away. It is completely inaccessible from three sides, and the only entrance is located on the northwestern side of the fort. North side of the fort has a steep fall, while the south one is only slightly less steep. The fort is long and narrow in the floor plan, which contributed to older parts of the fort being destroyed and lost forever as the fort was rebuilt from time to time. The most of the fort’s features date back to the time it was under Venetian and Hubsburn control, when it had its last modernization. When the Ottomas took control, they built a mosque inside the walls which was later converted to a Catholic church of Saint Vitus, that still stands to this day.
Due to it’s authentic shape Klis fortress is very common film scenery, recently act as Meereen in Game of Thrones.
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