Top Coastal Heritage to Discover
The Cathedral of St. James
The Cathedral of St. James is an illustrious UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most valuable architectural monument built during the 15th and 16th century in Croatia. It is the only cathedral in the whole of Europe constructed entirely of stone, as no wooden architectural elements nor bonding plaster were used for its building. According to its beauty, construction techniques and style characteristics, it is not only the biggest and the most valuable object of the architectural heritage in the town of Šibenik but it is also the unique monument of European sacral architecture. According to its artistic value, it belongs to the most valuable European monumental cathedrals, and thanks to some of its features, it is unique not only among the cathedrals but among Christian churches in general!
St. Nicholas Fort
St. Nicholas Fort, one of the newest additions to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as an integral part of the 15th to 17th century Venetian Defence System, was constructed during the 16th century and located at the entrance to St. Anthony's Channel. Building of the fort was an important undertaking not only for the citizens of Šibenik but also for those who ruled it, as it was built in order to protect the town from Turkish attacks from the sea. The fort erected at the entrance to the narrow mile long channel became the important strategic defensive structure that contributed to the impregnability of Šibenik Port and the town of Šibenik itself. The only entrance into Šibenik Bay was through the channel, which made possible the effective defence and complete control of the entry of ships.
St. Michael's Fortress
The oldest of four Šibenik’s fortresses, St. Michaels Fortress is one of the most significant cultural and historical monuments in the town. First mentioned in 1066, medieval fortress is the place from which city emerged. Simply said, if there had been no St. Michael’s Fortress, there would have been no Šibenik. Built about sixty meters above the ground, on a steep rock looking over St. Anthony’s Channel, St. Michael’s Fortress dominates over the old town of Šibenik, bay and mouth of river Krka. It was named after the church from the 12th century which is located inside the walls. The imposing and strong tetragon shape, surrounded by defensive walls, made the fortress a protector of the area.
With its new added facility – a unique open air stage with 1077 seats, the revitalized fortress has opened its doors in 2014, and has since been an unavoidable cultural tourism destination offering numerous evening events and concerts to its visitors.
The Fortresses of St. John
St. John's Fortress is located on a hill 115 m above the old town centre of Šibenik. It was built in 1646 in the form of a star, according to the project of Venetian military engineer Antonio Leni, in order to protect the town from Turkish attacks from the mainland. It is interesting that the construction of the fortress lasted for only a month and a half, because Šibenik's citizens were so afraid of Turkish attacks that they helped building it too.
Barone Fortress was built in the summer of 1646, alongside the nearby St. John Fortress. They were built by the citizens of Šibenik in less than two months to strengthen their city's defense against the Ottomans. Baron von Degenfeld was the commander of the defense, which fought off the attacks. The enemy retreated with great losses and the grateful citizens name the fortress Barone, after its builder and their hero, Baron von Degenfeld.
Barone Fortress is a unique regional cultural attraction, a place where, with the help of augmented reality (AR) technology, one can look at Šibenik's past. The Gastro-cultural center with a special offer of selected delicacies and wines promotes the local gastronomic offer while lasting memories of time spent in Šibenik can be found at the Barone souvenir shop.
Šibenik Town Hall
The Town Hall of Šibenik is a very harmonious and open Renaissance building, erected between 1533 and 1546 and situated on the medieval central town square (plathea communis). The ground floor encompasses a cloister (with columns supporting semi-circular arches) from which there was an access to the offices of communal administration. The town hall was completely destroyed in December 1943 during the attack of the allied air forces. It was restored to its original form after the war, as well as organized and equipped in its interior according to the needs of its new function.
Šibenik Town Museum
The Town Museum of Šibenik was founded on December 20th 1925, on occasion of the thousandth anniversary celebration of the Croatian Kingdom, and it is nowadays located in the former Duke's Palace near St. James's Cathedral. The Duke's Palace took part in the coastal defence system built up in the 13th and 14th century and its adaptation was finished in 1975, making the modern functioning of the museum possible. The complete museum material is divided in three main collections: the archaeological department, the cultural-historical department and the department of recent history. The museum has achieved the most significant results in the field of scientific activities, exhibitions and publishing.
The Medieval Garden of St. Lawrence's Monastery
The medieval Mediterranean garden of St. Lawrence's Monastery was renovated and opened in 2007, after being forgotten for almost 100 years. The garden is a very rare sight, as it represents the only monastery garden in Croatia that follows the famous medieval scheme: cross paths with a little fountain in the middle and simple ground floor planning, enclosed by barberry and beautiful old-fashioned redolent roses. Medicinal and season herbs are planted in the four fields and a special place belongs to the artistic collection of thyme, with beautiful red, violet, grey, light green and dark green leaf colours. The capers planted in the wall holes are also an important sight of the garden, as a local legend says they were brought in Šibenik by famous constructor Juraj Dalmatinac.
The Church and Monastery of St. Francis
St. Francis Church was raised in the second half of the 14th century at the furthest south-east part of Šibenik's historic core. The church represents spacious single-vessel Gothic architecture without decorative elements. Within the architectural complex of Šibenik's Conventual Franciscans there is also a monastery dated back to the 14th century and Museum. Since cultural-historic works of art were collected in this monastery for many centuries, it represents a place where a great deal of the city's monumental heritage is kept. The library is accentuated with a collection of 140 incunabula, as well as a collection of hand-written codices. Also found here is the "Šibenik Prayer", one of the oldest works of Croatian literature, written in Latin script around 1375.
The Church of St. Barbara
The Church of St. Barbara is a monument of Gothic architecture located in Šibenik. It is a single-naved church whose building started at about 1400. Above the main entrance there is a Gothic niche with a sculpture of St. Nicholas, the work of Italian artist Bonino from Milan. The Gothic window with the votive sculpture at its bottom was ordered by Šibenik's doctor Marco in 1419 and was placed in the north wall. It is a unique example of a medieval relief, presenting the doctor's features on the side facing the Adriatic. Today the church also houses a little museum with some very important works from the period between the 14th and 17th century.
The Church of the Lady of Mount Carmel
Looking from the sea, the panorama of Vodice is dominated by Okit Hill with its Church of the Lady of Mount Carmel. The first church on this rise was built in the 17th century, probably on the foundations of an earlier chapel. In the early 20th century, the Way of the Cross Church was built from the foot to the top of the hill with fourteen chapels, each one marking one station of the Way of the Cross. The church was expanded with several additions, but it was destroyed twice, during World War II and the Homeland War. The present appearance of the exquisite contemporary church is a work of renowned Zadar architect Nikola Bašić.