Located in an indented bay where the Krka River enters the Adriatic, Sibenik is the oldest native Croatian city on the coast. The city has rich cultural history, and was one of the busiest centers of the Croatian Renaissance with a flourishing architectural scene.
The must-see crowning jewel in this architectural scene is Sibenik’s Saint James Cathedral.
It took 100 years for stone masons to create this World Heritage listed site, apparently the world’s largest church entirely built of stone, without any brick or wooden supports.
While a large number of Croatian masons and artisans were used in the cathedral’s construction, the principal designer was Juraj Dalmatinac, who was commissioned by the town of Sibenik in 1441 to take over the job.
Around the cathedral you’ll find the renaissance town hall and the Prince’s Palace which currently houses the Sibenik City Museum.
One of Sibenik’s innovative sights is St. Michael’s Fortress.
Located 70 metres above sea level and behind the Old Town, St. Michael’s is the place to go for breathtaking views of the city, the Sibenski Channel and the Adriatic islands.
It’s also home to probably the most beautiful concert stage on the Adriatic.
There are two entrances to the fortress – one is located in the wall towards the old cemetery and the other on the north side.
From St Michael’s you can wander the former walls and other fortresses of Sibenik, which were built to keep the Turks from invading. From here the two best preserved sections of the walls are:
– The double city wall which slopes from St. Michael’s towards the shore (Kvartir) and ends at the Gothic Gate.
– The western wall (Dolac) with a city gate, which slopes from the fortress to the sea.
Other fortresses around the city include:
St. Nicholas’ Fortress – located at the entrance to the St. Anthony Channel and built in the middle of the 16th century, according to the designs of the Venetian military builder, Michele Sammichella.
St. John’s Fortress – located on a hill on the northern side of the city. It was erected in 1646 according to a project by Venetian military engineer, Antonio Leni.
The Subicevac Fortress – located southeast of the St. John’s fortress.