Friday, 8 February 2019

Klis Fortress near Split to be Illuminated at Night

Starting later this year, during the upcoming tourist season, the Klis fortress (best known around the world as the place where Khaleesi kept her dragons in the HBO's mega-hit show Game of Thrones) will be illuminated during the night!

The fortress of Klis has been an amazing place to visit not only for the Game of Thrones fans in the past several years but also for all those in love with the medieval archaeology, fortresses, historical armed forces and the tourists who expect to get more out of the vacation experience. Recently, a contract was signed in Klis which guarantees that the fortress will become even more interesting in the future when it becomes illuminated during the night. The former Croatian capital is a part of the project financed by the European Union, IPA Interreg ‘Fortress ReInvented’ project submitted by Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The whole project is about the reconstruction of the historical fortresses in the area, and it was submitted by Šibenik Museum for their St. Michael's fortress reconstruction. The Klis fortress portion of the project is worth 2.4 million kuna (350 thousand euros), and almost of all those fund will go towards the illumination of the fortress during the night.

Slavica Vuković writes for Večernji list about the plans, and the municipal prefect of Klis Jakov Vetma explains that the plans for the night-time illumination have been around for a while. All the documentation for the project has been done several years ago, he says, and now the project will be finalized. The illumination will make the fortress even more attractive, and more visitors will come. In 2018, there were 70.000 visitors at the fortress (an increase of over 50% compared to 2017, which also held a record!), and the prefect is sure that the fortress will be able to attract even more people, once it's illuminated. The deadline for the works to be completed is 90 days, so even in Croatia, that means that everything should be finished right in time for the high tourist season.

Klis fortress is considered to be an archaeological paradise as well, with renewed interest by the experts since a new, yet unknown site was found near St. Vid Church. The wealth of the archaeological findings at the area is the only real danger to the setup of the illumination on the fortress, as the process itself might be slowed down if something yet unknown is discovered while digging for the lighting.

Prefect Vetma also explains that there aren't many places in Croatia that have such a wealthy history like Klis, and he thinks that it shouldn't be a municipality, but it should be named a town. Municipal council and the Council of Split-Dalmatia County agree, and have supported that petition. Although the current number of inhabitants wouldn't support that decision, Vetma says that it's the people in tha past and the present that make a town, not buildings. He hopes that it would be easier to get European funding for the projects if Klis was a town, which will improve visibility, development and a better standard for the inhabitants.

Monday, 14 July 2014

How to Visit Game of Thrones Klis Fortress by Bus from Split

The entrance to inland Dalmatia could not be more magnificent from Split, with the majestic Klis Fortress holding the keys, looking imperiously down on the Dalmatian capital and islands beyond.

The fortress was of course, the setting for Game of Thrones filming for season 4, and there has been an increase in tourism as a direct result. One of the best organised tours is that offered by Vetus Itinera, which you can learn about here.  

Tourists often think it might be too difficult to get to and so rarely bother, which is a shame, as it is only 20 minutes away by bus, and there is the added advantage of trying the infamous Klis lamb to make the visit complete. 

Information on how to get there is not that easy to find online, so here is how to do it by bus:

Bus 22: 7:00, 8:50, 10:20, 11:45, 13:00, 14:30, 15:50, 17:20, 18:50, 20:20, 21:50 from HNK (the Croatian National Theatre, at the top of Marmontova) to Klis Megdan.

BUT! On Saturdays and Sundays it is bus line number 16, which only leaves at 20:20 and 21:50. 

Bus 34: 5:00, 6:30, 10:15, 14:30 from local bus station by the police station. Or from the same place, there are 2 buses that go up to the fortress or you can also take buses 35 or 36 that go to Dugopolje or Koprivno and get off at bus station by the Caffe Bar Oprah on the road and walk about 10-15 min up to fortress...

Entrance to the fortress is 20 kuna for adults, 10 kuna for kids. And DON'T visit Klis without stopping for its famous lamb at one of the restaurants close to the fortress. Unless you are vegetarian of course... 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Game of Thrones Through the Eyes of an Extra

I’ll admit that before signing on as an extra for HBO’s Game of Thrones I had never actually seen the show despite it’s popularity. I heard rumors they would return to film the 4th season in Croatia only this time at the historic fortress nearby my house in Klis so it seemed silly not to answer the open casting call for extras. I figured it would be a fun and exciting experience and since the film set was minutes from my house I could walk to work for the first time in my life. At the time I had no idea that I would actually have to drive 20 minutes to a warehouse at the crack of dawn each morning in order to get into costume and my hair and make-up done. I would arrive 3 hours before being put back on a bus to make the drive up to Klis. After sometimes 10 hours on set, I took the bus back to the warehouse to return my costume and then drove myself home to Klis and straight to bed. So much for my short walk to work!  



After being chosen I actually refrained from watching the hit show as I figured it would make the process even more interesting if I knew nothing about the show and the characters. Of course I knew about Khaleesi and she was impossible to miss with her bright white wig, but I was pretty oblivious to the other actors I was working alongside.  After filming wrapped, winter was coming, which gave me plenty of time to catch up on the previous 3 seasons in order to be premiere ready in spring. While I recognized the scenes we filmed, they still flew by way too fast to find myself in the crowds and so much time had passed that it was impossible to remember where I might have been positioned. Fortunately, a friend of mine and big fan of the show managed to take a screenshot of a split second scene she was fairly certain she saw me in. We examined it together and although my arm was covering my face we were both 99.9% sure that that pointy elbow belonged to me. 



Not exactly the debut I imagined, but luckily my chance at 15 minutes of fame was not up as the series returned yet again to Croatia and Klis to film Season 5 and I was called back for my role as Khaleesi’s slave. Only this time I was prepared and made sure to strategically position myself so it’d be easier to spot myself amongst my fellow slaves. My preparation and positioning technique paid off when after episode 2 I received a message from a fellow slave saying that she thought she saw me, which was soon after confirmed by my brother and sister-in-law. They said they spotted me immediately and sent me the screenshots where indeed there I was begging and hissing away, but when I watched it later I barely recognized myself. If you blink you'll certainly still miss me and even with the still shot it's not blatantly obvious, but so far this is the best I can do for those asking me which episodes I’m in.



After my faint taste of fame and being recognized onscreen by family back home, I tuned into last nights 3rd episode hungry for more of me and also slightly worried I may be turning into a fame monster. Understandably I was not only disappointed, but terribly bored when the entire episode passed without any scenes of my beloved Khaleesi and my kingdom of Klis. However, any concerns of being a fame monster quickly faded away when I recognized another much more frightening certainty; I am now a Game of Thrones snob of the worst kind. If I’m not in the scenes, wasn’t there when they were filmed or didn’t see the actors that were in them they lack excitement and I lose interest in watching. Maybe this is what happens when you don’t get hooked on the show before getting hired on it and although I’m most likely ruined for the remainder of the season, I'm still starving to see what next week’s episode holds…Stay tuned!