The Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries

The defence system of Zadar and the Šibenik fortress of St Nicholas are listed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage as two of the six components of the transnational series of the cultural asset of the Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries.

The Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries is an exceptional historical, architectural and technological testimony to the “alla moderna” system, developed over the territory of the ex-Venetian Republic as a response to the introduction of new firearms technology in military operations.

The defence system of Zadar, which during that time was the military and administrative centre of Dalmatia, is the largest and most powerful fortress in the Adriatic and a key point of defence on the maritime route between Venice and Corfu as well as a point of threats by the Ottoman Empire from the land. Zadar has preserved the most important fortification elements of the “alla moderna” system of defence: the city walls with a series of powerful bastions of which Ponton was the first “alla moderna” bastion and the largest bastion in the Adriatic, the monumental Land Gate, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture from the 16th century and the outer Forte fortress.

In the mid-16th century as defence for Šibenik from the Ottoman fleet on a rocky crag at the very entrance to the Šibenik channel of St Anthony the mighty fortress of St Nicholas was built. The fortress was constructed according to the drawings of Gian Girolamo Sanmicheli in the form of a triangle, on three levels, and it represents an extraordinary example of an isolated bastion fortress built according to the principles of the fortified “alla moderna” system of defence.