As it was really sunny today we decided it would be the perfect day to visit Fortress Klis (Tvrđava Klis) in the mountains above Split. We decided rather than take the highway we’d follow the Jadro river for a while before heading up into the hills. The road across the top of the mountain was pretty small and we had to squeeze past two cars stopped in the middle of the road whilst their drivers chatted. Eventually we made it to the small village of Klis and parked the bike below the castle. The cobbled road up to the Fortress was pretty rough and it’s probably a good thing that I left the bike in the carpark.
When we reached the fortress entry we found it was deserted, ca-ching just saved 40 kuna each. Unfortunately there was no audioguide to tell us the story of the fortress so we had to rely on a guidebook. The fortress had excellent views, which would’ve been better if it wasn’t so smokey. Nevertheless it was perfect sitting in the sun gazing down across the valley to Split and the islands beyond.
In recent times Fortress Klis was the location for the filming of “Game of Thrones”. In one of the buildings there’s pictures taken of Fortress Klis during the film. We did a bit of exploring and found some of the fortress a little run down. However, there were workmen busy at work doing repairs to the exterior and interior of one of the buildings.
As the chapel was open we took a peek inside. The small domed chapel which dates from the 17th century, was a quite simple affair with an altar, and a medieval style painting of Mary with baby Jesus.
The fortress has a 2000 year history as it supposedly started off as a Illyrian stronghold in 300 BC. The Romans held it for a while, then later it was converted into a fortress by the Croatian Dukes. Due to its strategic location in a pass, high over Split, it controlled the road between the interior and the coast.
Down through the years the fortress has been attacked and occupied by many different empires including Ottomans, Venetians and Austrians. Even the Mongols tried to attack it unsuccessfully. These days only tourists and “Game of Throne” enthusiasts are the only masses swarming over it.
After lunch in Klis we headed over the mountain range towards the town of Sinj. It was amazing the contrast in the landscape crossing over those bare mountains. Sinj is situated in a fertile valley surrounded by high mountains with the Cetina River running through the centre.
The landscape is so opposite of the coastal zone with large scale farming, and rich fertile soils. As we were transiting through towards Lake Peruća we didn’t stop off at Sinj. However, a brief look was enough to convince us that we needed to return and investigate a little further.
We rode up along the western edge of the lake to Vrlika where we found an access road down onto the lakes edge. It looks like the use of the lake is fairly limited with an old wooden kiosk slowly being pulled apart to be used as firewood for lake parties.
Lake Peruća or (Jezero Peruča) is Croatia’s second largest man made lake. It was created in 1958 when the Cetina river was dammed to provide hydroelectric power. During the War of Independence it was mined with 30 kgs of explosives in an attempt to breach the dam by Serbian Yugoslav Army. Luckily the dam wasn’t breached and the people downstream survived. These days it’s a quiet place with only a few facilities and limited access areas onto the lake.
Next time we pass up this way we may check out the other side of the lake. As the day was getting on we decided to head back to Split.