Sipan, Fort Sv. Ilija
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Site of Historic Interest: Fortification
Around 100 metres before the summit of Sv. Ilija you will pass the wall of a fortification. Though this wall appears to be relatively low, particularly on its up hill side it is actually difficult to climb in (from experience) and there is glass on some of the top surfaces of the walls.
Enter this fortification from the east end through the open steel doors into a small courtyard with barrack and service buildings on either side. At the western end of the fort is a parapet that runs all the way around the walls and provides access to two gun platforms at the NW and SW corners of the structure.
Access to this parapet is through the northern barrack block and up a steel staircase - care should be taken. A sign above the door way to this barrack block announces ‘Hrvatska Ratna Mornarica 1991-1992’. This translates to Croatian Navy 1991-1992 and suggests that in its last phase of occupation at least this site was a naval outpost during the Croatian War of Independence in 1991 and 1992.
Certainly the later architecture on the site seems to come from this period including the flat roofed barrack blocks and the gun floors of the weapons platforms at the west end of the fort as well as elements of the entrance way (not least the heavy steel doors). However some of the construction of the outer walls and the entrance way also points to an earlier origin possibly from during the Napoleonic wars (between 1800-1815) with similar construction to other forts of that period such as the Fort Napoleon on Hvar and the George III Artillery Fort that overlooks the entrance to Vis harbour.
By foot from Sipanska Luka
Otok Sipan: Follow the instructions here to reach the summit of Sv. Ilija from the centre of Sipanska Luka. Turning onto the final footpath that climbs the upper slopes of the hill you will zig zag back and forth across the slope but eventually will reach a straight piece of path that runs west to the summit.
On your right you will pass the remains of a low roofless structure. To the left at the same point you will see a set of over grown steps leading up and away from the path. Follow these steps and you will come to the entrance work of the fort on your right. This takes the form of a narrow passage that cuts between two towering walls. At the end of this you should reach the open steel doors that lead into the interior courtyard of the fortress.
When you spot this pill box on your right take the steps to the left (below)