When you arrive in Senj you immediately see the Nehaj Fortress on top of the hill. The sixteenth-century fortress is partly built from the material of old churches, monasteries and other buildings that were located outside of the Senj town walls.
Senj and its inhabitants resisted numerous attacks from the Turks and saved Europe from the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. The Uskoci (Croatian guerrilla warriors) who were fighting against the Turks are national hero’s and are honored each year at the Days of the Uskoks. During this event they recreate the 16th century and life in 16th century with the battles, knightly combats and attacks on fortress
Nehaj.Funny fact: The name Nehaj comes from the Croatian term “ne hajati” which means “don’t care”. This name was given to the fort in order to show the people of Senj that they did not have to worry about conquests. The name is actually meant as a kind of reassurance for the people of Senj.
Senj Town Museum
If you’re interested in the long and important history of Senj, you can visit the town museum. The museum is situated in the palace of the Vukasović family which was one of the most respectable and most influential families in Senj. The beautiful palace was built in Gothic and Renaissance style and is more than 600 years old. 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).
St. Mary’s Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary built in the Romanesque style, probably dates from the eleventh or twelfth century. They found cathedral paleo-Christian tombs, mosaics, and ceramics from this time around the Cathedral. St. Mary was severely damaged during the bombardment of Senj in 1943 and it was rebuilt after the World War II. The most ancient monument nowadays in the cathedral is the tomb of Ivan de Cardinalibus (1386-1392), the Bishop of Senj, built in 1392 by his successor Bishop Leonard de Cardinalibus (1392-1405) who is also buried there. In the treasury and library from the Cathedral 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, portraits of the Senj-Modruš bishops, and liturgical vessels displayed.
Since 1967 the entire city closes on the second weekend of August to celebrate the biggest event of the year, summer carnival! During this 4-day event there are carnival games, dance performances, pavement painting, footstalls and a lot of local music performance.
The biggest party is on Saturday when 3000 masked revelers in a great carnival parade are walking true the streets of the city. This parade includes music, dancing, fireworks and a lot of fun! The carnival groups are not only from Senj, carnival groups form the whole country are joining this event. There are even Italian, Slovakian, Slovenian and Hungarian groups. Every summer the carnival parade attracts around 15.000 visitors from all over the world, the event of the year!
Senj has everything you need for a perfect holiday but if that’s not enough you can always make it a jumping off point to see the island Krk, Plitvice Lakes or Velebit National Park.