Croatia // Split and the south Dalmatian coast //

The fortress

The fortress (tvrđava) is a remarkably complete structure, with three long, rectangular defensive lines surrounding a central strongpoint, the Položaj maggiore (Grand Position, a mixed Croatian–Italian term dating from the time when Leonardo Foscolo captured the fortress for the Venetians in 1648), at its eastern end. There’s no real museum display and very little labelling, but the fortress interior is immediately impressive, with cobbled walkways zigzagging their way up through a succession of towered gateways. You can peek inside several dusty storehouses, barrack blocks and – near the fortress’s highest point – an ancient stone chapel that briefly served as a mosque during the Ottoman occupation. The views from the walls are truly breathtaking, with the marching tower blocks and busy arterial roads of suburban Split sprawling across the plain below, and the islands of Šolta and Brač in the distance.

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