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Ancient fortresses on the Krka River
The Krka River had a significant role in history: from Antiquity when it was the border between the Illyrian tribes, the Liburnians and the Delmati, medieval times when the nucleus of the first Croatian state was established in this region to the early Modern Age when the Republic of Venice, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire fought for it.

In the wider area of the Krka River, there are many remains of medieval fortresses, erected from the 12th century by Croatian aristocratic families Nubić and Nelipić from the Svačić clan. The Krka River was their boundary. A testimony to how powerful they were is the fact that Venice signed contracts with them directly. The Šubić family owned Bribir, Ostrovica, Čučevo (Trošenj), Rog, Uzdah-tower and Skradin, which thanks to the help of Banus Pavao Šubić, changed its status from fort (castrum) to town in 1304.
The Šubićs experienced the pinnacle of their power during the reign of Banus Pavao, when they governed the entire continental Croatia, Dalmatia and Bosnia.

Bribir

It is located 14 kilometres northwest of Skradin. The discovered archaeological findings on this area can be continually traced back from the late Bronze Age, through Antiquity, the medieval times to the Modern Age. During the reign of the Šubićs the St John Church and a Franciscan monastery with the church of St Mary were built, where Banus Šubić and his family were buried. Bribir was of strategic importance in the middle ages as it controlled, together with the Ostrovica fortress, the important road from Knin to Zadar. This locality enjoys a top category protection status on account of the several archaeological and historical layers.

Ostrovica

It was first mentioned in the 12th century and was ruled by the Šubićs for two centuries, after which it came under the rule of the Croatian-Hungarian King in 1347. In the 16th century, it was conquered by the Ottomans.

Uzdah - Tower

This is a fortress the Šubićs erected so as to overlook the road connecting Skradin and its hinterlands. It guarded their estate until 1512, when it was conquered by the Turks who used it as a dungeon.

Rog

Also known as Rogovo, it is another fortress-town, located in the area of the village Rupe, opposite the old Croatian town Kamičko and beneath the Roški waterfall. Its remains are almost invisible, but it is drawn in the map of Mateo Pagan from the 16th century as one of two opposite fortresses upstream of the tiny island of Visovac.

Čučevo (Trošenj)

It has not been explored archaeologically. There are no certain records on when it was built. Today, there are well-preserved remains of a round tower, high defence walls and some residential buildings. It was erected at the very bank of the Krka River. On the opposite side the fortress Nečven of the Nelipić family is located, with which it used to be connected via a hanging bridge, torn down in 1649. This locality also features findings from earlier eras (prehistoric, Bronze Age and Roman).

Skradin (Scardona)

The Ancient town which was originally erected in the 7th century was restored by the Croats as a new town called Skradin. Just like Bribir, Skradin was under the Bribir dukes (the Šubićs). It was the favourite seat of Banus Pavao and his family. After the defeat in 1322, it lost its political and economic power.
In the 13th century another powerful family, the Nelipićs (from the Svačić clan) appeared on the left bank of the Krka River, building their fortresses in the area of the Miljevac plate (across of the Šubićs) and on the right bank of the Čikola River. The Nelipić family owned forts on the Krka (Nečven, Bogočin, Kamičak), and the forts Ključica and Gradina (Drniš) on the right bank of Čikola.

Gradina (Drniš)

It was erected on the margin of an arable karst field during the Middle Ages, and beneath the fortress a medieval town developed, which tells us that Drniš existed as a town even before the Turkish Invasion in 1522.  Archaeological findings in this area date back to prehistory, the early Iron Age, Antiquity and the early middle ages.

Ključica

Also known as Ključ, was erected on the steep and uneven cliff of the Čikola River. It was a very well-fortified town, and erecting a fortress in this location was of strategic and political importance since the entire region could be controlled from here. It has not been sufficiently explored archaeologically, but it is known that the Nelipić family erected it in the 14th century. At the beginning of the 16th century, it was conquered by the Turks, who were chased off in 1648, and since then the fortress has not been in use. It is the most beautiful and best-preserved out of all these fortresses.

Kamičak (Ramica)

It is located on the Krka River bank in the area of Miljevci (Brištane). It can be accessed only from the south side and there is very little preserved material. It is known for being the birthplace of the last Croatian king Petar Svačić.

Bogočin (Vilin grad)

A fortress erected on a remote cliff overlooking an abyss (Bogatići-prominski). It was strategically important as it controlled the 'Constantinople creek' and a passage known by the local population as the Vilin-bridge. Only one way leads to it from the north-eastern side and it could be entered via a hanging bridge. There is very few historical data on the fortress. It is drawn in Pagan's map from the 16th century. There is an ancient graveyard nearby. At the beginning of the path leading to the fortress there is a heap with a large crucifix. This locality has not been explored archaeologically.

Nečven

Located 5 kilometres from the village Oklaj, this town's history is very complex. It was built by the Nelipić family, and after changing several rulers it was conquered by the Turks in 1522, who ruled over it until 1688. After the Turks left, Nečven was abandoned and torn down. In 1647, the Uskok leader Stjepan Sorić tore down the bridge over the Krka River connecting Nečven with the fortress Trešenj on the opposite side, belonging to the Šubić family.

Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board
www.sibenikregion.hr

Town of Skradin
www.skradin.hr

Town of Drniš
www.drnis.hr
 
 

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