Marking anniversary of Petar Kružić's death

On March 12 every year, Historical Unit "Kliški uskoci" marks anniversary of Petar Kružić's death, Captain and Knez (medieval title used in Croatia, equivalent of duke, count or prince) of Klis, by parading from the centre of Rijeka to Trsat where Kružić was buried.

Petar Kružić was a worshipper of Our Lady of Trsat, and in 1531, as a vow to the Blessed Mother, he provided building of stairs from Rijeka to the church of Our Lady of Trsat, one of the oldest Croatian Marian shrines. In that time, 128 stairs were built on the steepest part of the path. Other stairs were built later, so today there are 561 stairs from the foot of Sušak to the church.

At the top of the Trsat stairs there is the chapel of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, that was also built by Kružić. As the land roads to Klis were dangerous due to the Ottomans' assaults, Kružić used the sea route and prayed to Our Lady and St. Nicholas to provide safe journey.

Kružić also provided building of the chapel of St. Peter, which eventually became his last resting place. Namely, the body of the fearless defender is buried there, where his head was also placed after his sister had redeemed it from the Ottomans. On the tombstone under the altar of St. Peter, in the church of Our Lady of Trsat stands a Latin inscription that in translation means:

This marble stone covers the bones of Petar Kružić, whom, oh, Turks killed. While he was alive, Senj and Klis have never feared Turks. Death has taken his body, heaven has taken his soul, and his heroic deeds are spread around the world by eternal glory.

Along with the Trsat stairs, the chapel of St. Nicholas and the chapel of St. Peter, a large hallowed candle devoted to the Virgin Mary as eternal token for the heroic victory of Kružić's friend and comrade, uskok Miloš Parižević in the duel against (until then) invincible Ottoman Bakota the Mighty, has been preserved till today. The hallowed candle, among many other artworks, is located right next to the hero's grave in interior of the Trsat church.

Historical reasons for Kružić's devotion to Our Lady and the sanctuary on Trsat are primarily a reflection of overall state of affairs and historical facts that took place during the three decades of ferocious defence of Klis from persistent Ottoman attacks. From the whole Europe, which they have defended with selfless sacrifice, the greatest and only support in either food, money, army or armament came from the pope, with whom the captain and knez of Klis maintained intensive contacts. Each of the countless battles won by Klis defenders was regularly celebrated by tolling bells of the Vatican's cathedral.

His modern followers and admirers Kliški uskoci, proud of their ancestors, mark every anniversary of Petar Kružić's death by festive line up and parade from the streets of Rijeka's city core, through Korzo, and finally to the Trsat church climbing along the Kružić's stairs. That way they honour and commemorate the heroic deeds of the great Croatian commander, Captain and Knez of Klis, Petar Kružić.


Historical Unit Kliški uskoci

Trg Mejdan 7, 21231 Klis, Splitsko-dalmatinska, Croatia
+385 98 1771836   +385 21 240223
Damir Žura, president of the association