The Nečven fortress belongs among the most important monuments of medieval fortification architecture in Dalmatia.
The Nečven fortress was built on the northwestern side of the Promina district village of Nečven, above the left bank of the Krka River, at the end of the 13th century or the beginning of the 14th century. It was erected at the spot where the route from southeastern Dalmatia crossed the Krka River towards the Bukovica and Ravni kotari regions. Merchants were charged a bridge toll to cross the river, which divided the estates of the Šubić and Nelipić families, which brought an abundance of income to both families.
Nečven was owned by the Nelipić family from their arrival in the Promina district. It was mentioned for the first time in historical sources on the 21st of September 1376, in a document in which “Prince Ivan, son of Nelipac of Cetina” ordered that all the tithes that belonged to him and his descendants from the serfs of the Promina estates, i.e. the villages that belonged to the princely fortifications of Kamičak and Nečven, in future be paid to the Bishop of Knin, eight solidi from each measure of grain and twelve solidi from each pail of wine, and this twice a year, on the feast day of St. Martin, and at Christmas.
Nečven is mentioned twice more in historical sources as property of the Nelipić family: in 1388, when the only son of Konstantin known by name, Nelipac, was noted as “the noble prince Nelipac of Nečven” (magnifici comitis Nelipcii de Neguen), and in 1421, when his wife Jelena was noted as the “widow of the late Nepilac, the son of Konstantin of Nečven” (relicta condam Nelepech filii Kozthadini de Nechven).
In the first half of the 16th century, around 1522, Nečven was captured by the Turks. At first it was the seat of a nahija, and then of a kadiluk. At the beginning of the Candian War, in 1647, Venetian Uskoks headed by Mon. Stjepan Sorić, demolished the bridge across the Krka below Nečven.
On the basis of an order by the governor general of Dalmatia, Leonardo Foscolo, in 1648 after the Turkish army abandoned Nečven after a short battle and surrendered to the Venetian Uskoks, forces from Šibenik, and forces from Trogir, Nečven was set on fire.
It was again under Turkish control from 1670, after the peace negotiated between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venetia. A year before the final expulsion of the Turks and the liberation of Knin in 1688, the fortress was already in the hands of forces from Skradin, who were guarding the border area.
The fortress has an irregular rectangular shape. The defensive walls on the southwestern side, which were up to eight to ten metres in height in places, followed the natural slope of the terrain. The entrance to the fortress, overseen by a polygonal tower, was located on the northern side. The interior contained a large courtyard, where an exterior staircase led to the central elevated plateau. The upper part of the fortress was dominated by a multi-story circular tower, preserved at a one-story height. The defensive walls of the fortress were built of carved stone placed in a lime mortar.
Archaeological excavations, accompanied by geodetic and architectural mapping, have been carried out systematically at the fortress since 2011. Parallel with the excavations, conservation is also being performed on the uncovered architecture. The investigations have brought to light numerous finds, including luxurious tableware: engraved pottery with a glaze and Italian maiolica alla porcelana. A particularly valuable find was an excellently preserved base of a cannon (mačkula).