top of page

Venetian Bulwarks (Bastions)



The period of the 16th century was marked by the serious threat of Turkish invasion, so majority of the cities along the coast were forced to build an efficient defensive system. When the Klis fortress was conquered in 1537, the city of Split was directly exposed to the threat. First step was taken to reconstruct the city walls and to strengthen the city defensive system, which was completely transformed later, in the 17th century, at the time of the War of Candia (1645-1669). The system of fortifications was star-shaped one, comprising five bastions made of stone walls, filled with earth, constructed and designed by Venetian engineer A. Magna from Hvar. They were imposing fortifications - bulwarks - with numerous trenches, artillery posts, sentry posts and defensive passages, having been in a fit state for immediate defense action. This model of a defensive system had been invented by the French marshal Sebastien Vauban (1633-1707), and was particularly used by the military strategists of the Venetian Republic, both in the eastern Mediterranean and along the Adriatic coast. The city was also fortified with two other bastions, one on the hill Gripe, to the east of the city, and another one to protect the entrance to the city harbor. These heavy and costly investments had used up all the financial resources of the city budget, which were in the 17th and 18th century mainly used for the construction of modest churches, mansions and for the construction and maintenance of the Lazarettos, the quarantine for both the merchants and the goods passing through Split harbor. There have been some other rural settlements beyond these new fortifications, some of them located on the slopes of the Marjan hill, such as Veli Varoš, partly demolished while the bastions were being erected, and then Lučac, located to the east, and Manuš, located to the north of the city nucleus. 

bottom of page