St. Nicholas Fortress

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St. Nicholas Fortress
Tvrđava Sv. Nikole
Šibenik Sibenik coat of arms.jpg Dalmatia
St. Nicholas Fortress 0048.jpg
St. Nicholas FortressTvrđava Sv. Nikole is located in Croatia
St. Nicholas FortressTvrđava Sv. Nikole
St. Nicholas Fortress
Tvrđava Sv. Nikole
Coordinates 43°43′19″N 15°51′14″E / 43.722°N 15.854°E / 43.722; 15.854
Type Fortress Castlesymbol.svg
Site information
Owner Šibenik, Croatia
Controlled by Republic of Venice
Open to
the public
Condition Preserved
Site history
Built 1540.-1547.
Built by Hyeronimus di San Michaela
Materials Limestone

St. Nicholas Fortress (Croatian: Tvrđava Sv. Nikole) is a fortress located in the town of Šibenik, one of the oldest native Croatian towns on the eastern shores of the Adriatic, in central Dalmatia, Croatia.


In the town of Šibenik there are four fortresses:

  • St. Nicholas Fortress (Tvrđava Sv. Nikole)
  • St. Michael Fortress (Tvrđava Sv. Mihovila)
  • St. John Fortress (Tvrđava Sv. Ivana)
  • Šubićevac Fortress

Only St. Nicholas Fortress is at sea, at the entrance of Šibenik port, and the other three are on land.

St. Nicholas Fortress was built on the left side at the entrance of the St. Anthony (Sv. Ante) channel, on the island called Ljuljevac. The island is at the entrance of Šibenik channel across from the Jadrija beach lighthouse. St. Nicholas Fortress got its name from the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas, which was on the island, but due to construction of the fortress had to be demolished. At the request of domestic Croat population of Šibenik, the Venetian captain Alojzije de Canal decided to build a fort on an island of Ljuljevac on 30 April 1525. Fortress was designed and built by the famous Venetian architect and builder Hyeronimus di San Michaela. It was built by in the 16th century to prevent Turkish boats from reaching the port. St. Nicholas Fortress was armed with 32 cannon. However, its imposing appearance and size were a bigger threat to the enemy than canons.


St. Nicholas Fortress is at the entrance of the St. Anthony channel on this map from 16th century.

The fortress is one of the most valuable and best preserved examples of defense architecture in Dalmatia. The fortress is made of brick because this material was considered to be most resistant to cannonballs, while the foundations are made of stone. Although defense capabilities of the fortress have never been tested in military operations, the structure still proved successful in protecting the city from sea-bound enemy attacks. During the centuries of use, the structure served to various armies and has undergone a number of renovations, some of them made necessary because of the development of arms. It was completely abandoned by the military in 1979 and has been in renovation ever since.


In the Mediterranean, there are two similar forts: one on the island of Malta, and the other is in Venice; its name is Saint Nicholas.

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