Šibenik – The City of Fortresses
Šibenik, the City of Fortresses, is an ancient Dalmatian town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to 11th century and was first mentioned by Croatian King Peter Krešimir IV. Unlike most towns in Dalmatia, Šibenik does not have any connections to ancient Greeks or Romans. This town was created to be a fortified coastal fortress protecting this region from enemy attacks on land and by sea.
There are actually four surviving fortresses in Šibenik that you can visit on one of our tours. These great architectural and historic monuments will take you hundreds of years back and will show some of the history that those walls witnessed over the time.
Šibenik is known for its UNESCO World Heritage Site – St. James Cathedral which is a “must-see”!
The amazing fortresses of Šibenik include:
Fortress of St. Michael (Tvrđava Sv. Mihovila) overlooking the city, with a view of the Šibenik archipelago and Old Town center. The oldest parts of the fortress date back to the 13th century, but most of the walls and structure date back to 15th and 16th century. They have been damaged over the centuries, but the fortress was renovated in 2014 and the four towers from the 15th and 16th century have been preserved. It now has an outdoor summer stage which is a place for concerts and live shows.
Fortress of St. Nicholas (Tvrđava Sv. Nikole) is located at the entrance to the St. Ante canal and was built in the mid-16th century to defend against attacks from the sea. On all sides, it is surrounded by the Adriatic sea, and only a very narrow path linked it with the mainland. It was based on the designs of Venetian builder, Michele Sanmicheli, and has been greatly preserved and is considered to be one of the most important naval monuments on the Adriatic coast.
Fortress of St. John (Tvrđava Sv. Ivana) is located on top of a high hill above the old town of Šibenik. Its star-shaped design, by Venetian builder Antonio Lenio, was helpful in defending the city against Turkish invaders in 17thcentury. The fortress was built in only 45 days with the help of the citizens of Šibenik because of the danger of the attacks. After the Turkish army suffered heavy losses during the battle on September 16th, 1647, they withdrew from Šibenik. In 2014, St. John’s fortress was used as a historical backdrop for scenes from the series Game of Thrones.
Fortress Barone (Tvrđava Barone) Šubićevac Fortress was built by the people of Šibenik in 1646, at the same time as St. John’s Fortress, and the two are connected. Built in less than 2 months, it was one more fortification to protect the city from the Turks and played an important role in the defense of the city against their invasion in 1647. The person in charge of the works was Baron von Degenfeld, commander of defense of Šibenik and for a long time, it was named after him. It has recently been renovated and it represents one of the best projects in the renovation of old fortifications. It has been open for visits since the beginning of 2016.
With its fabulous multimedia content available in the museum, you can learn a lot about the history of Šibenik. The fortress also has a cultural center where you can taste local foods and buy authentic souvenirs.
Many cultural, historic and music festivals take place in Šibenik and the area. The International Medieval Fair in Šibenik takes place every September at the Knin Fortress (in Knin). It was held for the first time in 2005 and the town of Šibenik brings it back every year in honor of St. Michael. Traditional games, food, and demonstrations all recreate the atmosphere of the ancient town. What a great way to learn and experience history in the ancient setting of fortresses!
Another prominent gastronomic event – The Taste of the Mediterranean – brings the best chefs, restaurateurs, industry professionals and thousands of foodies to Šibenik in May.
Let’s include this amazing town in your custom itinerary!