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Fortress commonly known as 'Fortica' (from the Italian, fortezza=fortification), also called 'Španjola', was a central fortification of city Hvar in the past centuries. Its beginnings date back to the time of the Illyrians and the Byzantine Empire. Construction of the present-day fortification began in 1278, when Hvar came under the Venetian rule. It was built slowly, over many years, undergoing many adaptations. It is recorded that Spanish military engineers took part in building works during 14th century, which perhaps explains why the fortress was also referred to as 'Španjola'. By the middle of 16th century, the fortress was largely completed. On August 19th 1571, the fortification saved the lives of nearly all the local people, who managed to find shelter iside its walls, when the Turks attacked the town, plundered it and burned it to the ground. Unfortunately, several years later, on 1st October 1579 at 3.30 am, a thunderbolt struck gunpowder store, causing devastating explosion and major damage to the fortress and the parts of the town below it. In the following centuries the fortress underwent repairs and adaptations. In second half of the 19th century, when city of Hvar lost its strategic importance, fortification was abandoned. In 1971 fortress was restored and adapted into an tourist facility.