Round Table on Stojan Janković and his Legacy

Just the other day, my friend Marko Meštrov, a prominent local archaeologist asked me to join him for a round table on Stojan Janković in tiny Zelengrad in Bukovica region. I had no idea what to expect but it was quite cool to see some folks in traditional outfits and some in replicas of historic uniforms of Croatian warriors of 17th century.

Uskoci Stojana Jakovića
Uskoci Stojana Jankovića

Who Was Stojan Janković

Stojan Mitrović, also known as Stojan Janković, was a significant Croatian Uskok from the Mitrović family. Born in 1636 in Žegar, Obrovac, he passed away on 23rd August 1687 in Duvno. Despite being widely recognized by the surname “Janković,” his actual last name was “Mitrović.” In most Venetian documents, his surname is noted as Mitrović, attributed to his father’s lineage.

Painting of Stojan Janković
Painting of Stojan Janković

Janković, as a staunch defender of Christians and friars in Rama, commanded the Croatian-Venetian army, safeguarding them from the atrocities of Ottoman authorities. Notably, his bravery led him on numerous military expeditions into Bosnia. Furthermore, he gained acclaim for his role in the Cretan War. However, in 1666, he fell into enemy hands and was taken to Constantinople, where he remained captive for 14 months. Despite the legend suggesting 9 years and 7 months, he managed a daring escape. Throughout the wars against the Ottomans, he particularly distinguished himself in battles led by the so-called “Holy League” against the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, in various confrontations, he emerged victorious against Ottoman troops, occasionally defeating prominent Ottoman commanders like Ali-beg Durakbegović and Redžep-aga Filipović.

Traditional outfits
Traditional outfits

Achievements of Stojan Janković

Stojan Janković, a hero from Ravni Kotari, features prominently in a Serbian folk song. The song portrays him as a leader of the Kotar Uskoks during the 18th century, commanding the Morlaks, leading Kotar, and serving as a knight of St. Mark while captaining Ostrovica Fortress. His remarkable leadership in the fight against the Ottoman Empire for the Dalmatian Serbs earned him recognition. In 1670, the Venetian Republic acknowledged his military valor by awarding him a gold medal of St. Mark, valued at 100 ducats. Additionally, he was appointed as a knight of St. Mark and granted estates in newly conquered territories. Stojan Janković’s accomplishments were not confined to the Dalmatian region alone. He demonstrated his martial skills in Herzegovina as well. In 1686, he played a pivotal role in liberating the city of Sinj and the region of Lika.

Croatian uniform of the 17th ct
Croatian uniform of the 17th ct

Round Table on Stojan Janković

The purpose of this round table was to start a dialogue on who Stojan actually was. To learn about him and his heritage without national or religious bias. After all, there were no nations at that time and all Christians were fighting Muslims so it was irrelevant if you were a Catholic or an Orthodox.

There were quite a few people at the round table that have been studying both life and the times of Stojan Janković. Prof. dr. sc. Tea Perinčić Mayhew of Rijeka Museum and author of Dalmatia between Ottoman and Venetian Rule Contado di Zara 1645-1718 (still just an e-book). Mr. Magaš who was the lead role, Rade Bobanović of Polača, Ivan Mitrović – author of several books on Bukovica region…

In general, quite an interesting day that ended with traditional songs and traditional meal at the table!

One of the ideas was the idea to start making a movie on life of Stojan Janković and let’s see if that happens!


  1. Anna says:

    Once again Alan you have provided me with a great little piece of history to read! Thanks as always.

  2. you are welcome 😉

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