Meet Zora from Nehaj, the Girl Who Inspired Pippi Longstocking

Meet Zora from Nehaj, the Girl Who Inspired Pippi Longstocking

Atop the Nehaj hill, among the slopes of Kapela and Velebit mountains, where the strong bora wind shapes the local lifestyle, sits the fortress of the same name. One of the iconic symbols of the town of Senj looks over the town, resembling a lioness protecting her cubs. Its walls, battered by winds and salt sprays over the centuries, tell numerous stories of the brave Uskoks, who sowed fear in the Ottoman and Venetian ranks, while its top floor offers spectacular views.

Goran Sekula

The 360-degree view from Nehaj provides an overview of the beautiful lines of the islands of Rab, Goli Otok, Prvić, Cres and Krk, of the mountains in the Gorski Kotar region, of Učka and Velebit. The fortress remained unconquered throughout its history, as a few hundred soldiers could hold off a much larger army thanks to a secret passageway that supposedly led to the cathedral in the centre of Senj.

Discover a Secret Passage in the Impregnable Fortress of Nehaj

According to legend, the passage was used to supply the defenders of the town with food and to transfer the wounded, and it also served as inspiration for the legend of “Red Zora” (Zora Riđokosa), a little girl who led a band of orphans that would hide in the secret tunnel, surviving by stealing from the rich. Zora gained fame as a hero thanks to the novel “Crvenokosa Zora i njezina družina” (Red Zora and Her Gang) by Kurt Kläber, who wrote it under the pen name of Kurt Held after visiting Senj.

Ivo Pervan

If you enjoyed the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, you’ll love the story of the wondrous adventures of the little girl from Senj. Some sources claim that Red Zora served as an inspiration for the character of Pippi Longstocking, created by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.