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Preliminary communication

The Venetian Fortress “Kaštel” in Zadar

Emil Hilje ; Department of History of Art, University of Zadar

Fulltext: croatian, pdf (576 KB) pages 109-116 downloads: 1.387* cite
APA 6th Edition
Hilje, E. (2011). Mletački kaštel u Zadru. Ars Adriatica, (1), 109-116. Retrieved from
MLA 8th Edition
Hilje, Emil. "Mletački kaštel u Zadru." Ars Adriatica, vol. , no. 1, 2011, pp. 109-116. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Hilje, Emil. "Mletački kaštel u Zadru." Ars Adriatica , no. 1 (2011): 109-116.
Hilje, E. (2011). 'Mletački kaštel u Zadru', Ars Adriatica, (1), pp. 109-116. Available at: (Accessed 03 August 2020)
Hilje E. Mletački kaštel u Zadru. Ars Adriatica [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2020 August 03];(1):109-116. Available from:
E. Hilje, "Mletački kaštel u Zadru", Ars Adriatica, vol., no. 1, pp. 109-116, 2011. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 03 August 2020]

The medieval fortifications of Zadar were developed and enriched during the centuries as a consequence of changes in the entire defensive system of the town but also due to the political circumstances. Two main forts stood on opposite parts of the town, one facing away from the sea, next to the entrance from the moat (Foša) in the south corner, and the other at the entrance to the harbour in the north corner of the town.
The information about the original fort next to the harbour entrance, which defended the chain barring enemy ships from entering the harbour, is scarce. However, after the famous Venetian siege and fall of Zadar in 1346, this fort was completely rebuilt and even given a new role. In 1437, the Venetian government decided to pierce the town walls and excavate a moat around the fortification, which would be filled with sea water, in order to create an open space around the fortification facing the town for defensive reasons. In other words, the nearby houses were torn down. In such a way the fortification, rather than being a fort which protects the town from external attacks,
became a fort in which the Venetian crew could, in case of a new rebellion, fight off the attacks from the town itself, receive supplies from the sea, and enable its fleet to enter the town harbour. In this way the Venetian fortification at Zadar became a variant of sorts of ancient citadels which represented the last line of defence in the cases when the enemies reach the town itself, and, at the same time, served as a stronghold of the ruling governments against the town.
The relief of the winged lion, symbol of the Venetian Republic, incorporated in the façade of the ‘Little Armory’, is one of the best reliefs of that type at Zadar, and it can be dated to mid-fifteenth century and brought into connection with a group of artists from the circle of Juraj Dalmatinac.

Zadar; Venetian Republic; fortifications; middle ages

Hrčak ID: 93359



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