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Sibenik – Where You Can Still Feel the Urban Life Style of Dalmatia

While the tourists rush into Split and Zadar, Sibenik – is the perfect choice for guests who like their holidays less crowded.

Being a Croatian, to plan a summer holiday in Croatia is not at all an easy task. It mostly comes down to finding a place tourists haven’t discovered yet. So, in search of the famous take-it-easy urban life-style Dalmatia is known for, we choose – Sibenik.

Cities like Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar are going through the renaissance of their touristic fame. But…

Sailing Paradise
Sailing Paradise

The real renaissance is going on in the oldest autochthonous city in Croatia – the city of Sibenik.
The best way to enter the city is definitely from the sea. You will sail through a narrow channel of St. Anthony to reach the deep bay at the bottom of which Sibenik is located.

St. Anthony’s channel is a picturesque sea passage where people of Sibenik can find solitude and go fishing in with their traditional wooden-built boats called Gajetas.

In the midst of this natural oasis, you can enjoy the first-in-a-row masterpiece of city architecture.

St. Nicholas’ Fortress is an island fortress built to protect the city from enemy coming from an open sea.
It can be reached with a boat and stands as a true phenomenon of a defense-complex architecture.

Strangely enough, it has never seen a real battle, because it has never been used on a military purpose after it was built.

So, no battle stories there.
But, it wasn’t built without reason. And you can see it as you continue sailing to the city port:

Masterpiece of Architecture
Masterpiece of Architecture

Three more fortresses above the city, one more impressive than another.

Together, all four of them, make the city defense system, be it Ottoman or Venice who is attacking at the moment.

Rest of the fortresses are St. Michael’s Fortress, Baron Fortress, and St. Nicholas’ Fortress – now restored into tourist facilities with breath-taking views.

All these – the channel, the fortress, the panoramic sight of the city with fortresses above it – makes the sea entrance into the city a remarkable experience.

And it takes you straight into the old town where you are momentarily lost inside a maze of narrow cobblestone lanes lined with medieval stone houses and Venetian-style palazzi open into picturesque squares and courtyards.

No industrial zones, no traffic-lights-crossroads, no shopping malls along the highway. No waiting. You can start discovering the city straight away. What an entrance, huh?

Sibenik is touristically underrated among Dalmatian cities. Since there is obviously no reason for that, it’s good news for travelers in search of a holiday at a slower pace, with fewer tourists and more historical authenticity.

Sibenik is just as beautiful and unique as any other city on Dalmatian coast.

Šibenik Fortress
Šibenik Fortress

Long strolls down its tiny lanes will definitely take you on a journey.

Sibenik is re-inventing its urban face right now.

The city has given a new lease of life to many of its historical landmarks. Some have been converted into heritage hotels and restaurants, others stage open-air cultural events and concerts of such musical greats as Roisin Murphy and Brian Ferry.

The 15th century St. James Cathedral certainly stands out.

It’s a UNESCO world heritage site since 2000 and is the most important renaissance monument in the country. Its construction lasted for no less than a hundred years. It might seem like a long time if you don’t consider the fact that St. James Cathedral is the only cathedral in Europe built in stone completely.

No mortar in its walls!

On a comparison – the Baron Fortress was built in just two months! But, the circumstances were quite different. The Ottoman army was knocking on doors and there was no time to work on esthetic.

From the outside, St. James Cathedral may appear a little creepy because the frieze of 71 human faces has been carved into the cathedral’s façade. But it caught the attention of Game of Thrones producers who made it home to an Iron Bank of Bravoos.

Sunset in Šibenik
Sunset in Šibenik

Sibenik is surrounded by farms and local producers. They provide the majority of food ingredients for restaurants, while fish, shell and other Frutti de mare come directly from the town’s fishermen.
It’s all fresh, fresh, fresh. And tasty.

Not to discriminate others, let’s just mention that Sibenik’s Pelegrini restaurant is one of the three restaurants awarded a Michelin star in Croatia.

There are not many things in life one can be certain of, but we are quite certain you will not be happy to leave a restaurant until the late evening. Until you discover all the miracles hidden in its menu.

And then, eventually, in a lofty bed of your accommodation, you will fall into sleep hazily and rest. And rest you will because the four city fortresses are securing your dreams – the dreams of the cozy Mediterranean urban lifestyle coming to life.

Your CTC Team, S.J.

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