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Martinis Marchi castle

In 1703, the three Marchi brothers got permission from the Venetian authorities to build a tower, a village and a church above the bay of Maslinica. At the time, pirate attacks were becoming frequent and, with considerable efforts of the colonists, two years later a castle was erected together with defence walls and a prominent tower as the last point of defence...

After the Morean War, at the end of the 17th century, brothers Ivan Petar, Juraj and Ivan Marchi submitted their plan for the colonisation and defense of the western bays of Šolta.to the Republic of Venice. They sent a request to Governor Alvis Mocenigo III to build a tower in the bay of Maslinica on Šolta, surrounded by a village with a church.

The Venetian authorities approval the colonisation of the remote bays because the new settlers farmed and cultivated the neglected land and, in case of pirate attacks, they defended the port and the inland areas of the island. By a decree issued on August 25 in 1703, Venice gave its permission for the construction of the tower, village and a church and allotted 200 acres of land. Not many inhabitants were capable of work because grown men were recruited to the army or worked as oarsmen on the galleys. Therefore, the rugged land was mostly cultivated by women, children and the elderly. The depopulation of Šolta, the exposure to pirate attacks and the vicinity of the Turkish border near Split have all contributed planned colonisation. The Marchi brothers brought people from the continental parts of the region like Dalmatinska Zagora, Zaostrog and Prugovo.

The beginning of the Marchi family constructions goes back to 1706 when they built the votive chapel above the bay of Maslinica in memory of their grandfather Nikola, dedicating it to St Nicholas, the protector of sailors. The chapel was built on a strategically prominent position which had always served for observation and control of the ships passing in the channel and in the nearby bays. A path from the church leads down to the castle in the bay. The castle was constructed two years after the chapel of St Nicholas. The castle was conceived as a military fort with a spacious inside yard and a prominent tower at the back, as its last point of defence. On the castle’s façade above the main entrance, there is a plaque with an inscription in Latin which commemorates the construction of the castle and presents the Marchi brothers as benefactors and founders of the first village in the port.