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utorak, 22. ožujka 2011.


View of the Knin Fortress from the city center

Knin is a historical town in the Šibenik-Knin county of Croatia, located near the source of the river Krka, in the Dalmatian hinterland, on the railroad Zagreb–Split. Knin rose to prominence twice in history, as a one-time capital of both the Kingdom of Croatia and briefly of the unrecognized, and selfproclamed now defunct Republic of Serbian Krajina. The city is of extreme importance for infrastructural reasons, as the railroads from the rest of Dalmatia and its cities of Zadar, Split and Šibenik pass through Knin, going north to the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb.

In the vicinity of today's Knin was once a town called Burnum, which served as an Illyrian and Roman military camp in the 1st century BC.

Knin is mentioned in the 10th century in the history of Constantine Porphyrogenitus as the centre of a parish. A Croatian diocese of Knin was founded 1040 and its jurisdiction extended to the Drava river, with the "Croatian bishop" at its head.

Knin was also the capital of the Kingdom of Croatia around 1080 during the rule of King Dmitar Zvonimir. At the entrance of Knin, the town sign has an inscription stating "Welcome to Knin, town of King Dmitar Zvonimir". This heritage has led to Knin being known as the "City of Croatian Kings" or "Zvonimir's City" (Zvonimirov grad). Between the 10th and the 13th century, Knin was a notable military fort. The huge 10th century medieval Knin Fortress on Mt. Spas dominates the centre of town, and its present aspect dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. It is one of the largest fortification buildings in Dalmatia and is divided into the upper, medium and lower town, connected by drawbridges.

Its strategic position played an important role in many wars and power changes — beginning with the Croatian rulers in Kingdom of Croatia, then the Kingdom of Hungary, the Venetians, the Turks, to the Austrians and the French.

On May 29, 1522, the fort of Knin fell to the Ottoman Empire, and Croatian folk massively left the town. The town was populated with Serb refugees by the Ottomans. Century and a half later, on September 11, 1688, it was captured by the Venetian Republic. Subsequently, the Croatian population partially returned and the Franciscans built a monastery and a church there in 1708.

Knin passed on to the Habsburgs together with Dalmatia in 1797 according to the Treaty of Campo Formio. After the Peace of Pressburg in 1805, the French Empire gained the city and incorporated it into the Illyrian Provinces in 1809. By 1813, the Austrians regained the control over the town. By the end of the 19th century, as a part of the Habsburg domain of Dalmatia, Knin grew steadily becoming an important commercial as well as the road and railway center. In 1867, Knin became a part of Dalmatia - a territorial entity within Cisleithania. After the First World War Knin became a part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs in 1918, which subsequently became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia since 1929).

From October 1990, eight months before Croatia declared independence (June 25, 1991) from Yugoslavia, Knin became the main stronghold for the Serbs in the Knin region, eventually becoming the capital city of the internationally unrecognised Republic of Serbian Krajina in 1991. Serbs held the town until Croatian forces freed it during Operation Storm on August 5, 1995 (the date is today marked as a Victory Day in Croatia).

At the end of the war, Knin's demographic composition changed greatly with the influx of Croat refugees from Bosnia and former Croat militia members. They replaced, to a great extent, those Serbs who fled during Operation Storm.

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