The Old Town of Senj

Stronghold of Northern Adriatic

“With its history, monuments and cultural traditions, no other town in Croatia, apart from Dubrovnik, has such significance for the history of the Croatian people as the town of Senj.” – Pavao Tijan

One of the oldest towns in North Adriatic, Senj is known for its exceptionally rich and turbulent history. The town area includes a 76 km coastal strip with several fishing villages, numerous coves and pristine stone beaches. The symbol of the town is the Fort Nehaj. Built in 1558, it was a rebel stronghold of the famous Uskoks of Senj who defended the town from the Turkish and Venetian invaders. Senj early became a centre of Glagolitic literacy and had its own printing house as early as 1494 when the first printed book in Senj was published – Missal under the Law of the Roman Court.

With its crystal clear sea, beautiful beaches, excellent restaurants and entertainment venues, present-day Senj is increasingly developing as a tourist destination.

Areal Views of Senj

Places to Visit

Town Museum of Senj is located in the palace of the Vukasovićs, formerly one of the most reputable and influential Senj families. Built in the 14th and 15th centuries in a Gothic-Renaissance style, the Vukasović Palace is one of the finest examples of secular architecture in the town of Senj. The Museum has an archaeological, marine archaeological, numismatic, and Glagolitic collection as well as a collection of arms and military equipment, a recent history collection, an ethnographic collection (Bunjevci ethnic group), and a natural history collection (the Velebit mountain). The Senj Town Museum also has a scientific library (Seniensia) with valuable old and more recent books, a small art collection, and a photography and postcard collection. Part of the museum is also the Regional Collection Lukovo which is located in the village of the same name south of Senj.

klenovica senj nehaj
Fort of Nehaj – Old Stronghold of Uskoci, rivals of the old Venice.

Fort Nehaj was built in 1558 under the supervision of Ivan Lenković, captain and general of the Croatian Military Border. The builders used the material of destroyed churches, monasteries and houses originally located outside the town walls. Fort Nehaj today houses the Uskoks of Senj and the Senj Port Authority collections as well as the permanent exhibitions Churches of Senj through History and Coats of Arms of the Senj Nobility.

Religious Heritage of Senj – this collection comprises selected exhibits from the Senj Cathedral repository, archive and the diocesan library. Among the displayed exhibits are the remains of church treasures from other Senj churches, the keys to the town gates of Klis, Empire style parlour furniture from the Bishop Ožegović era, portraits of the Senj-Modruš bishops, and liturgical vessels.

klenovica senj
View on the harbor the old town of Senj

The old town centre is enclosed by the remains of fortification walls and defence towers. The old town is characterized by a network of narrow streets and squares, the most famous street being the Uskočka Ulica – a beautiful example of medieval architecture.

 

St. Mary’s Cathedral – and other churches in town (remains of the St. Francis’ Church, St. Mary of Art ’s Church, St. Martin’s Chapel)

Big Gate (Velika Vrata) – Built at the entrance to the town, the Big Gate marked the end of construction of Joseph’s road called Jozefina which was built under the rule of Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II. The gate features engraved distances in German miles between Senj and other towns as well as a Habsburg crown.

Senj Writers’ Park – Senj was the birth place and place of residence of some of the most renowned Croatian writers and poets: Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević, Vjenceslav Novak, Milutin Cihlar Nehajev, Milan Ogrizović, Pavao Ritter Vitezović. The City of Senj dedicated a park in their honour featuring busts of each writer right above the old town beach.

Small mountain-foot fishing towns – Nestling by the sea at the foot of Mount Velebit are the towns of Sveti Juraj, Lukovo, Klada, Starigrad, Stinica, Jablanac, Zavratnica and Prizna, ideal spots for a quiet holiday.