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—  Town  —
View over Knin
Knin is located in Croatia
Location of Knin within Croatia
Coordinates: 44°02′N 16°11′E / 44.033°N 16.183°E / 44.033; 16.183
Country Croatia
County Šibenik-Knin County
 - Mayor Josipa Rimac (HDZ)
 - Total 355 km2 (137.1 sq mi)
Elevation 214 m (702 ft)
Population (2001)
 - Total 15,190
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 22300
Area code(s) 022

Knin (Croatian: Knin, Latin and medieval Hungarian: Tinin, Italian: Tenin, Serbian: Книн) is a historical town in the Šibenik-Knin county of Croatia, located near the source of the river Krka at 44°02′18″N 16°11′59″E / 44.03833°N 16.19972°E / 44.03833; 16.19972, in the Dalmatian hinterland, on the railroad ZagrebSplit. Knin rose to prominence twice in history, as a one-time capital of both the Kingdom of Croatia and briefly of the unrecognized, and now defunct Republic of Serbian Krajina. The city is of extreme importance for infrastructural reasons, as the railroads from Zadar, Split and Šibenik pass through Knin, going north to towards Zagreb.



View of the Knin fortress from the city center

In the vicinity of today's Knin was once a town called Burnum, which served as an Illyrian and Roman military camp in the 1st century BC.

Knin is mentioned in the 10th century in the history of Constantine Porphyrogenitus as the centre of a parish. A Croatian diocese of Knin was founded 1040 and its jurisdiction extended to the Drava river, with the "Croatian bishop" at its head.

Knin was also the capital of the Kingdom of Croatia around 1080 during the rule of King Dmitar Zvonimir. This heritage has led to Knin being known as the "City of Croatian Kings" or "Zvonimir's City" (Zvonimirov grad).[1] Between the 10th and the 13th century, Knin was a notable military fort. The huge 10th century medieval Knin Fortress on Mt. Spas dominates the centre of town, and its present aspect dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. It is one of the largest fortification buildings in Dalmatia and is divided into the upper, medium and lower town, connected by drawbridges.

Its strategic position played an important role in many wars and power changes — beginning with the Croatian rulers in Kingdom of Croatia, then the Kingdom of Hungary, the Venetians, the Turks, to the Austrians and the French.

On May 29, 1522, the fort of Knin fell to the Ottoman Empire, and Croatian folk massively left the town. The town was populated with Serb refugees by the Ottomans. Century and a half later, on September 11, 1688, it was captured by the Venetian Republic. Subsequently, the Croatian population partially returned and the Franciscans built a monastery and a church there in 1708.

Knin passed on to the Habsburgs together with Dalmatia in 1797 according to the Treaty of Campo Formio. After the Peace of Pressburg in 1805, the French Empire gained the city and incorporated it into the Illyrian Provinces in 1809. By 1813, the Austrians regained the control over the town. By the end of the 19th century, as a part of the Habsburg domain of Dalmatia, Knin grew steadily becoming an important commercial as well as the road and railway center. In 1867, Knin became a part of Dalmatia - a territorial entity within Cisleithania. After the First World War Knin became a part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs in 1918, which subsequently became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia since 1929).

Knin in the Croatian War for Independence

From October 1990[2], eight months before Croatia declared independence (June 25, 1991) from Yugoslavia, Knin became the main stronghold for the Serbs in the Knin region, eventually becoming the capital city of the internationally unrecognised Republic of Serbian Krajina in 1991.[3] The leaders of Krajina were Knin locals: Milan Martić, a former police inspector later sentenced to 35 year of inprisonment by the ICTY for war crimes, and Milan Babić, a dentist who after pleading guilty to war crimes at the ICTY committed suicide.[4] Serbs held the town until Croatian forces invaded it during Operation Storm on August 5, 1995[5] (the date is today marked as a Victory Day in Croatia).

The majority of the population had already fled by the time the Croatian Army took control of Knin.[6][7][8] There were, however, Serbian civilian deaths caused by the shelling of Knin by the Croatian Army during Operation Storm. Croatian army officers involved in Operation Storm Ivan Čermak, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač have been indicted for alleged war crimes conducted under their commands during Operation Storm and are currently on trial at the ICTY.

Both leaders of the self-styled Republic of Serbian Krajina were also indicted. Martić in 1995, several days before the operation, and Babić in 2004. Babić struck a plea bargain and pled guilty to numerous war crimes.[9][10]

At the end of the war, Knin's demographic composition changed greatly with the influx of Croat refugees from Bosnia and former Croat militia members. They replaced, to a great extent, those Serbs who fled during Operation Storm.[11]


View of the Dinara mountain

University of Zadar's Geography department published the following data for the population of the town Knin. [12]

Year Total Serbs Croats Others
1880 n.a. 82.3% 15.1% 2.6%
1890 n.a. 84.5% 14.5% 1.0%
1900 n.a. 83.5% 14.3% 2.2%
1910 n.a. 84.2% 14.4% 1.5%
1948 2,242 84.7% 14.6% 0.7%
1953 3,543 84.1% 14.5% 1.5%
1961 5,116 82.1% 15.3% 2.6%
1971 7,300 80.7% 15.2% 4.1%
1981 10,933 72.8% 11.3% 15.9%
1991 12,331 85.5% 10.3% 4.2%
2001 11,128 20.8% 76.5% 2.7%

note: n.a. signifies data not available.

Before the Croatian War of Independence 87% of the population of the municipality and 79% of the city were Serbs.[13] During the war most of the non-Serb population left Knin, while in the last days of the war the Serbs fled the city before it was taken by the Croatian forces.[6][7][14]

In the 2001 census, the population of Knin was 11,128 in the city and 15,190 in the municipality, and the majority of its citizens were Croats with 76.45% and Serbs with 20.8%.[15]

Knin's population is in more flux than that of other Croatian cities given that it has a major refugee problem: both with a large number of Croats who immigrated there and Serbs from Knin who are still refugees. By average resident age, Knin is the youngest city in Croatia. Immigrant Croats form the majority in the city with only a scattered Serbs presence in villages around.[16] [17]


The recently discovered Roman town Burnum is 18 km far from Knin in direction of Kistanje. There are the remainings of the biggest amphitheater in Dalmatia built in 77 BC, during the rule of Vespasian which could host 8000 people.[18]

The nearby villages Biskupija and Kapitul are extremely interesting archeological sites from 10th century where many remains of medieval Croatian culture are found including churches, graves, decorations, and epigraphs.[19]


The main football club in Knin is NK Dinara, formed in 1913. NK Dinara's colours were black and white until 2005 when the club changed its colours to red, white and blue. NK Dinara plays in the 4th division in Croatia (1. Županijska liga Šibensko-kninska). The logo of NK Dinara is red, white, and blue (in that order) with the letter "D" in the middle of the logo.

Knin has a sports association which was formed in 1998. Basketball is also popular in Knin. The Croatian National basketball team has played a match in Knin. They played against Israel in 1999 where Croatia won the match 78:68. Other sports played in Knin are rugby, handball, volleyball, kickboxing, karate, tennis and taekwondo.


The most important intercity roadway in Knin is the Croatian state route D1. The route makes for easy access of Knin from the major coastal city of Split. The section of D1 from Knin to A1 highway will be upgraded to the expressway level in following years (with B1 expressway).

Towns and villages in the municipality

Notable people from Knin


External links


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