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Senj – the town of Uskoks
Senj is a town older than 3,000 years and is very significant for the history and culture of the Croatian people.

It is in Senj that one of the first presses in South-eastern Europe was located. In its long history, Senj has many conquerors, monarchies, empires and their rulers. Each one of them has left their trace in the history of the town. Senj is a town of famous warriors and literary authors and, throughout its tumultuous past, it has fought every force with force, but has also cherished artistic creation. Numerous cultural and historical monuments and archaeological remains are testimony to the turbulent history of this town. One of them is the fortress Nehaj, a unique monument of Croatian medieval fortification and defence architecture, the symbol of the town and its centennial fight for honour and freedom, on land and or sea – against the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire.

The fortress still dominates the town and seeing as it is perfectly preserved it is one of its major tourist attractions. It was built in 1558 under the guidance of captain and general of the Croatian region Vojna krajina Ivan Lenković. It was erected on the site of an old church of the town's patron saint, the knight St George, the remains of which are still visible today in the fort's foundations and at the site of an older fort mentioned along with this church in some records from the 18th century under the name of Castelluz.

The fortress represents a unique and exceptional example of fortification architecture from the transition from the middle ages to the Renaissance. Partly built from the material of torn-down Senj churches, monasteries and other buildings that were located outside of the Senj town walls, the fortress represents, as an important strategic building for the defence against the Turks, a part of not only Croatian, but of European heritage, and it marks the time and spirit that and saved Europe and its identity from the invasion of the Turks – the Ottoman Empire.

Fortress Nehaj is square in shape and oriented according to the sides of the world. It is 18 metres high and 23.5 metres wide. It has been estimated that over 3,400 metres of material and almost 7,500 tons of stone, sand and lime were built into it. It consists of a ground and two floors and a lookout point. On the first floor, the premises for the officers and commander were located. On the second floor 11 cannons were kept, only two of which are there today. The top of the fortress was used as a lookout point from where guards were watching whether someone is approaching from sea or land and receiving smoke and light signals from their associates on land and sea. The top of the fortress offers an excellent view of the littoral region, the islands Rab, Goli, Prvić, Cres, Krk, and the mountains Gorski kotar, Učka and Velebit.

The fortress was restored by experts on several occasions, but has not lost any of its authenticity. It is meticulously maintained and is visited by numerous tourists who cannot resist its dominating appearance. With its architecture and monumentality, but also thanks to the care of the local community, it has withstood the test of time and fate of history.

Today, the fortress is exclusively used for cultural and tourism purposes. Apart from harbouring a permanent exhibition, it is often host to various events.

Closely connected to Nehaj is the history of the Uskoks ('Uskoci' – Croatian guerrilla warriors against the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century), to whom in recent years the event «Days of the Uskoks» is devoted, with which the events from the 16th century and life in 16th century Senj is recreated, the battles, knightly combats and attacks on fortress Nehaj. During the event, a procession of Uskok and knight groups, an archery competition and a fencing tournament are organized. Performances by jugglers, artists and renaissance music ensembles additionally enrich this cultural and tourist event.

Lika-Senj County Tourist Board
www.lickosenjska.com

Town of Senj Tourist Board
www.tz-senj.hr

Town of Senj
www.senj.hr
 
 

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