#171 Nehaj Fortress [Tvrdava Nehaj]
This is NOT an official Lego site
|The history of the
fortress above Senj is really the history of the Uskoks of Croatia and
on the Adriatic Sea. The origin of this group of guerrilla fighters
began around the ancient fortress of Klis, atop a mountain about 10
miles from Split, Croatia, and about 130 miles south of Senj as the crow
flies. Around 1525 the Ottoman Turks had recently conquered both
Bosnia and Serbia, and refugees from those countries were streaming into
Croatia to escape. Groups of Christian men, gathered and led
by Petar Kružić
centered a strong defense there against the Muslim Turks, to the
happiness of Archduke Ferdinand I, newly elected King of of Bohemia and
Hungary  and Croatia . Since payments for frontier
protection were often missed, and since the Uskoks were largely a law
unto themselves, they took up piracy to make ends meet, to the chagrin
of both the Ottoman Turks and the Venetians. Klis
Fortress surrendered in March 1537, when they ran out of water and
died. His Uskoks fled up the coast to Senj to be regrouped by
capable Croatian army leader, Ivan Lenković [right]. Peace was established
between Venice and the Ottomans in 1539, and for the next eight years
the Uskoks raided inland Bosnia [under the Turks] and Dalmatia [under
the Venetians]. In 1547 when the Habsburgs and Ottoman Turks
signed a peace treaty, the Uskoks returned to piracy on the high seas.
This led to 3 unsuccessful attempts by the Turks to capture the walled
town of Senj, but outlaying homes and churches were burned and otherwise
damaged. Ivan dismantled these remains, and used the stone to construct
his fortress atop Trbusnjak Hill.
Tvrdava Nehaj was
completed in 1558. The many trees on the hill made both cannon and siege
machines practically useless. The Venetians appealed to Ferdinand
I, now Holy Roman Emperor, but the plunder flowing into Vienna and Graz
from the Uskoks caused their pleas to fall on relatively deaf ears.
Lenković died in 1569, but his Uskok
legacy continued with his fortress and town untamed for decades to come.
In 1592 the commander-in-chief of Bosnian Muslim forces led
an army to capture
Senj and Nehaj, but despite early successes his army was routed and
dispersed. In 1600 Austria sent Count Joseph de Rabatta to
brutalize the Uskoks, but his favoritism toward Venice led to his loss
of all military support, and he was ousted then killed by the Uskoks.
Uskoks attacks on Venetian shipping increased so that by 1613 Venice
sent a squadron of ships to attack the Uskok, only to be answered in
kind. Finally in 1615 war broke out between Austria and Venice.
The peace treaty signed two years later arranged for the Uskok to be
disbanded, and most migrated into the hinterlands of Croatia.
The fortress itself
is a tower of 75 feet square, and 59 feet tall. The walls are 6.8
to 10 feet thick. The ground floor is arranged like a tic-tac-toe
puzzle with eight nearly identical rooms surrounding a small courtyard.
A well in the center is above the cistern. The ground floor housed
kitchen, dining and social quarters, with gun ports in every room.
The second floor is a quadrangle featuring 11 cannon ports with the
other position being the summit of the staircase and the box
machicolation which is the base of the fifth turret, guarding the
entrance. The top floor is soldiers' quarters with sloping garret
above. Each corner features an identical turret with small rooms
on the second floor and at battlement level. The roof access is by
mural stair between the northwest tower and the entrance tower on the
north side. A solitary garderobe projects from the battlements on
the opposite side. The roof drains rain water into pipes running
down two corners of the courtyard into the cistern. Very clever. For many years the tower sat neglected and
inaccessible, but between 1964-74 the castle was restored and features a
unique museum of Senj and Uskok artifacts.
|The courtyard with cistern||Cannon on the first floor||Roof and battlements including stair||Solitary garderobe|
of the Lego Model
under construction January, 2019
plan was to just construct my usual shell for this project, but as I
looked at the base on January 17, I thought "How boring.
layout is quickly done
on January 17...
the same afternoon. It
at this point that "boring"
I decided to
east side open, so the
mural staircases could
This is now
the "east view"
which will a much better angle
for all the construction pictures
On day 2 the
level really begins to
furniture added to
improve livability. There is, of
course, a wall between the dining
room and tiny courtyard.
on Saturday morning, January
19, that it was too dark inside.
on both the ground
and first floors are quite small
|The dim interior was going to impress no one!||
So LED Liteup
Blocks (actually 1 x 4 plates) were
added in each of the five visible rooms on the
On day 4 the
is in place...
the first floor, with
its eight cannon bays.
January 21 saw
walls rising on the first
east view: Note the
pair of Uskok soldiers looking
at their wall map of Senj.
sees the first floor
with ceiling in place.
beginning to look somewhat
homey inside -- for a castle...
floor in place, and first floor
The next day
work begins in
earnest on the interesting
windows of the second story...
for the Uskoks soldiers to
On January 25
story walls are readied.
LET THE ROOFING BEGIN!
of the huge "wooden" beams
which will support the roof.
Here is a
view with the roof
about one half complete.
the completion of the
the beginning of con-
struction of the wall walk
and turrets. SEE BELOW.
of the Lego Model
completed January, 2019
The castle was actually
finished a couple days into February, as I was awaiting a Bricklink order to
Here is the
view of the
completed cast from
northwest view gives
an excellent perspective of
symmetry of the fortress.
The west view
exactly like the east view!
And the south
as well, except for the
garderobe inserted into
brings us to the viewing
side of the tower.
here's a nice
aerial view from the
...and a closeup of
the entrance stair
close-up of the stair
to the battlements, and
course, the rather
public toilet. 😲
bird's eye view of the tiny
courtyard, now roofed.
we're back to
the east side...where
it's time to...
the lights! I'm
going to proceed floor by
floor, from lower right to
I imagine the
Hall for rifles and other
weapons, and for social-
izing with your fellows.
closer view of the far
end of the Hall.
Hall is to the
left [Note: I removed the
far wall to show off the
In the next
room an Uskoci
soldier discusses menus
with the staff. Looks like
fresh fish from the Adriatic.
On the first
floor I imagine the
heavier cannon, since the floor
is atop stone arches. Plenty
of powder and cannon balls!
current maps of the
Ottoman conquests, and the Senj
The far left
room on the
1st floor highlights both
cannon and the door to
the Captain's quarters.
On the top
floor are the cots
for the rank and file Uskoci.
There are also lighter cannon.
The cots all
Croatian colors, and are
issued to each man.
a bit, one can
appreciate the rack of back-
packs with soldiers personal
It looks like
confrontation would be a
Other Nehaj Fortress pages:
(Note the 4th link has several nice videos)
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Page designed & maintained by Robert Carney