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article imageZvonimir Days in Europe's 2nd biggest fortress in Knin, Croatia

By Paul Bradbury     Jun 7, 2014 in Travel
Knin - As Game of Thrones highlights the fortress heritage of Croatia, Days of Zvonimir opens in Europe's second largest fortress.
Croatia's attempts to diversify from its sea and sun stereotype have been intensified in recent years, and the opening of the 6th Days of Zvonimir in Europe's second largest fortress in Europe in Knin on June 6, 2014 was yet one more example of a local initiative to promote the traditions and heritage of a less fashionable destination.
The theme of the festival is the celebration of Knin's rich heritage, which arguably reached its pinnacle in the 11th century, when the capital of the Kingdom of Croatia under King Zvonomir was Knin. The two-day festival includes traditional music, dance and sword fights, all in traditional dress,
Knin Fortress  the second largest in Europe
Knin Fortress, the second largest in Europe
The age of modern swordsmen is getting younger...
The age of modern swordsmen is getting younger...
The festival takes place in the impressive Knin Fortress, whose rich history has played a key role in the region. Officially the second largest fortress in Europe, the fortress dominates the local skyline, and the panoramic views from the top are an indication of the historical importance of Knin, as well as an indication as to why Knin has become known as 'The Key to Croatia, the Door to Dalmatia.'
Children can learn the art of sword wielding
Children can learn the art of sword wielding
King Zvonimir oversees all  with his wife Queen Jelena
King Zvonimir oversees all, with his wife Queen Jelena
Below the fortress lies an expansive rail network, which in former times was the fifth busiest station in all Yugoslavia. While the rail connections may be much reduced, there is no doubting the eternal majesty of the fortress, which has the potential to become an outstanding event location.
Some 40 costumed participants took place in the morning parade prior to the main event
Some 40 costumed participants took place in the morning parade prior to the main event
The opening night featured a welcome from King Zvonimir and his wife Queen Helena, followed by traditional dancing, knights in sword combat, and an excellent children's production portraying the kidnapping of a maiden and her subsequent rescue after a sword fight.
Some photographers had a better view of the morning parade
Some photographers had a better view of the morning parade
The main event of Days of Zvonimir, now in its sixth year, is part of a growing trend in Croatian tourism to develop its heritage in combination with tourism. As recently reported on Digital Journal, Game of Thrones fever is hitting the Dalmatian coast following filming in locations in top destinations such as Split and Dubrovnik, which have highlighted the tourism potential of fortresses such as Klis, with the city of Pula's unique approach of blending modern tourism with ancient with ancient heritage is earning it the reputation as Croatia's most progressive tourism city.
Tonight s showcase will include a fiery assault on the fortress
Tonight's showcase will include a fiery assault on the fortress
The culmination of Days of Zvonimir will take place this evening at the Knin Fortress, and it will include catapulted fireballs and fiery arrows, as part of an assault on the fortress. Knin's moment as the capital of Croatia may be 1,000 years old, but the festival allows local residents and visiting tourists to relive former glories for one weekend each year.
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