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Get to know Sibenik - the 3rd largest city in Dalmatia with rich history

Get to know Sibenik - the 3rd largest city in Dalmatia with rich history

The town you should stop overlooking

Sibenik is the third largest city in Dalmatia, a historic town with a mediterranean climate. It is located in Central Dalmatia where the river Krka flows into the Adriatic Sea. Sibenik was first mentioned (under its present name) in 1066, in a document issued by the Croatian king Petar Kresimir IV. For that reason, the city is also called “Kresimirov grad” (Kresimir’s town).
There is no accepted interpretation of the term “Sibenik” . One version, explained in one of the poems by the Croatian poet Juraj Sizgoric, is that the city carries that name, because it is surrounded by a palisade made of sticks (“sibe” in Croatian). Apparently, the word “sibenik” means „a mischievous boy in Ukrainian“ :) Today Sibenik is a political, industrial, educational and tourist centre of the Sibenik-Knin County. It is often overlooked by tourists who instead head for better known cities like Dubrovnik or Split, but the “city of festivals and fortresses” has much to offer.

Sibenik is the only city in Croatia with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Cathedral of St. James and the St. Nicholas Fortress. St. James Cathedral was constructed over a period of a century by several architects, in Gothic and Renaissance style. It is the only church in Europe built entirely of stone, without any binding materials. It is also unique for the series of 71 realist sculptural portraits around the apses.

Cathedral of St James in Sibenik-successful fusion of Gothic and Renaissance art

St. Nicholas Fortress is a fortress located on the island of Ljuljevac, at the entrance of Sibenik port. The fortress got its´ name from the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas, which was originally on the island, and it is the only fortress in Sibenik at sea (the three remaining ones, St. Michael’s, St. John’s and Barone Fortress are on land). St. Nicholas´ Fortress was built in the 16th century to prevent Turkish ships from reaching the port. Today it is one of the most valuable and best preserved examples of defence architecture in Dalmatia and a part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 2017. The reason for its great preservation is the fact that it was actually never used in battle or in defence. The imposing appearance and size of the fortress was enough to scare off any enemy.

Only 50 meters from St. James Cathedral is a plateau with an old water supply facility referred to as the 4 Wells. This public city reservoir was built in the 15th century, since then rebuilt and is today a stage suitable for a variety of events.

Another interesting & unique spot in Sibenik is the Medieval Mediterranean Garden of St. Lawrence Monastery. The garden follows an established medieval design, the pathway is designed as a cross with a small fountain in the middle. The four sections around the cross are filled with herbs and plants. This type of garden is rare: it is the only one of its kind in Croatia, and there are only a few of them in this part of Europe.

There are numerous events you can visit while staying in Sibenik. The most distinctive trait of the cultural scene in Sibenik is the International Children’s Festival. This multimedial cultural event is a review of the best works of art for children and by children.
Also popular are the Sibenik Evenings, “Klapa” Songs and the Dalmatian Chanson Evenings. Klapa music is a traditional form of ´a capella´ singing in Dalmatia and was added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Evenings are being held every Thursday during July and August. Dalmatian Chanson Evenings is a festival of authentic Dalmatian songs.

Newly opened fortress St. Nicholas is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sport enthusiasts should not miss the “Sibenik Cruiser Regatta”, a regatta which takes place in the waters of Sibenik Port, with over 50 cruisers participating. The regatta can be watched from the waterfront and from one of the fortresses.

7 km away from Sibenik is the Dubrava Falconry Centre, the only center in Croatia for birdwatching of all kinds of birds of prey. The center offers a special program during which visitors can come face to face with these sky hunters.

Do not miss the opportunity to visit the seventh National park in Croatia, Krka, located 12 km from Sibenik. The river Krka and the magnificent waterfalls will leave you speechless. In many of its parts, the river Krka’s flow is calm, and its cascades are announced by “silver necklaces” – increasingly thick ripplings of water, whose colour turns silver, resembling countless necklaces scattered on the river.

A lot of historic figures are from Sibenik, maybe the most notable Faust Vrancic, a true Renaissance man, writer, scientist and inventor, who constructed the earliest known version of the parachute. He tested his invention himself. Maybe Mr. Vrancic can inspire you to try bungee jumping from the Sibenik bridge. Even if you are not ready to jump off a 40 m high bridge, we still recommend to visit Sibenik, enjoy this charming town and relax in one of our beautiful villas with pool in the area.

PS: If you watched the medical drama ER in early 2000s, you probably remember the cute doctor with the Slavic accent. The actor, Goran Visnjic, is from Sibenik ;)

Sanja Varovic

+385 1 222 70 50