Klis Fortress - History and Facts | History Hit

Klis Fortress

Klis, Opcina Klis, Croatia

Starting life as a small stronghold, Klis Fortress has sat high above the village of the same name for over two millennia defending Dalmatia from various invading armies. It’s also a key Games of Thrones filming location, doubling as the city of Meeren in series four.

Peta Stamper

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Klis Fortress

Straddling the Mosor and Kozjuk mountains high above the city of Split and the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, Klis Fortress started life as a small stronghold built by the Dalmatae, one of the Illyrian tribes in the 2nd century BC.

Klis Fortress history

Over the next 2,000 years, it has been the seat of many of Croatia’s kings and a key crossroad between the Mediterranean and the Balkans as well as a vitally important strategic defender of the area, most famously rebuffing the Ottoman advances in the Middle Ages.

Inaccessible from three sides, Klis Fortress has changed dramatically over the years to the point where the original appearance has been lost to history. Many of the buildings you see today are Venetian and from the 17th and 19th centuries.

Over the years, dozens of battles have reigned down upon the fortress which changed hands many times between, amongst others, the Hungaro-Croatians, Turks, Romans (who knew it as ‘Clausura’, the origin of the later name ‘Clissa’ and today’s name, ‘Klis’), the Knights Templar, Venetians, Austrians, French and Yugoslavs.

Klis Fortress today

13 kilometres north of Split, Klis Fortress is one of Croatia’s most significant and strategically important fortifications as well as one of the most valuable surviving examples of defensive architecture. On the Game of Thrones map, it was the setting for the outdoor scenes of Meereen, the mercantile city-state and northernmost of the three great city-states of Slaver’s Bay.

Today, Klis Fortress is a popular tourist site in Croatia where visitors can walk through the ancient halls and ramparts as well as visiting the museum full of arms, armour and traditional uniforms.

Getting to Klis Fortress

Klis fortress is located 15 kilometres away from Split, near the entrance to the A1 highway. It’s easy to approach by car and there is free parking near the fortress. There are also a few bus lines from Split to Klis, which run every day multiple times during the summer season.

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