Gripe Fortress



Gripe Fortress is a modern fortification and defense complex built in the 17th century to defend Split from the Turks. Today, it houses the Croatian Maritime Museum and the State Archives. The fortress is located east of the city center on the hill Gripe, which is now part of the city district Lučac - Manuš.



In the early Middle Ages, the city of Split was defended by the walls of Diocletian's Palace, within which it was located. With the expansion of the city center, there was a need to build additional medieval fortifications.

With the penetration of the Turks into the Balkans and the introduction of a new way of warfare with the help of cannons, Split's defensive walls were no longer suitable for defense against cannons. During the Candian War (1645-1669) between the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire, war operations were conducted on the territory of Dalmatia.

In 1648, the Venetians conquered Klis with the help of Split detachments, but this did not help Split much, which was still exposed to Turkish attacks (the city was first attacked in 1645). The constant danger to the city was the rise of the Gripa, from which, if captured, the Turks could beat the city with cannons. Therefore, the people of Split asked the Venetian authorities to build a fortress on that position that would defend Split from attack.

In the end, Venice decided to meet the demands of the people of Split and ordered the construction of new city fortifications with a system of earth-filled bastions (terrapents) connected by strong walls (cortines). Likewise, the construction of the Gripe Fortress, also a system of therapists, was ordered. Alessandro Magli, a military engineer, was in charge of fortifying the city and building the fortress.

While the fortress was still under construction, the Turkish army invaded Split in 1657 and conquered the still unfinished fortress. In response to the Turkish occupation of the fortress, the people of Split counterattacked and recaptured the Gripe. The next day, the Turks marched on the city itself, but the smaller citizens of Split managed to defeat them, forcing the attackers to retreat.


On June 18, 1657, the Turks tried again to capture the fortress of Gripe, but the people of Split were helped by the people of Trogir, Brač and Hvar, so the Turkish attack was again repulsed. The next day, the Turks attacked the fortress with their army and on the side where the unfinished bastion was located. They managed to capture the fortress, but the people of Split, with the help of the Venetian army and allies, managed to repel them. The attacks continued until June 21, when the Venetian fleet from Kotor came to Split's aid. A barracks was later built within the fortress for the needs of the Austrian army.

Interesting facts
Today, inside the Gripe Fortress, there is the Croatian Maritime Museum, the Croatian State Archives, and concerts are held in the complex.