Spanish or Turkish? Whose fortress is in Herceg Novi?

In the beautiful Herceg Novi in Montenegro, just a few kilometers drive up the Bayer hill from the city center, a mysterious fortress overlooks the whole bay. With a long history and multiple invasions, this, although known as a Spanish fortress, isn’t so Spanish after all.

So whose is it?



View from the hill, Spanish fortress, Photo: Adria.Fun


According to sources, the first “structure” on Bayer was built during the Spanish invasion from 1538 to 1539, but it wasn’t the fortress we know today. Although its shape, 4 circular bastions at the corners, resembles Spanish architectural touches, it is believed that in such a short period, they wouldn’t have been able to build a big fort. Probably it would have been a simple wooden tower/fort that was then demolished by the Turks who arrived right them.


Spanish fortress, Photo: Adria.Fun


Different sources claim that the fort itself was finished around 1548. at the time of the Turkish invasion, which was later proven with the found plaque above the entrance which indicated that Turks were indeed the builders. The plaque now is nowhere to be found.

Located on a hill 170 meters above sea level, its sole purpose was to defend both the city and the entire Bay of Kotor from further invasions.


Spanish fortress, Photo: Adria.Fun


Right after the Turks, the Spanish fortress was taken over by the Venetians in 1687. which thankfully didn’t destroy the fort but only added a barrack, ammunition, and tool storage.

And when you think that would have been the end of the invasion, Austrians came to take over the Kotor bay before Napoleon did.

They added their modifications to this fort as well, which included food storage, a command room within already existing walls,  and a water tank and Austro-Hungarian battery on the outside.


Spanish fortress, Photo: Adria.Fun


The Spanish fortress, for many years, was used as a military fort. At the beginning of the 20th century and during World War II it was a prison as well.

Until today, this incredible fortress has been standing strong continually proving how well she was made.



Even though the Spanish fortress, also known as Španjola or Upper Old Town,  is not visited by many, and has been completely abandoned for many years, there is one mighty keeper who will surely show you the way around.  We aren’t sure of her name, but she was indeed the best guide!


Friendly guide, Spanish fortress, Photo: Adria.Fun


If you are passing by, or find yourself in Herceg Novi, make sure to tell her hi! 🙂



Once I saw that there was a bigger world out there, so I made myself be a part of it.

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