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Die Küste von Sibenik, Bild: xbrchx / shutterstock

Sibenik in Croatia

If you look at aerial photos of Sibenik, you might think you have a map section of Norway in front of you. Like the well-known archipelago islands, the rocks rise out of the Adriatic Sea. The city itself is located on a bay that is only connected to the Adriatic Sea by a strait. A fjord, that’s how the strait can be associated. And yet, Sibenik is located in Croatia in the Dalmatia region.

Location of Sibenik

Sibenik is located between the major cities of Zadar in the north and Split in the south. The town nestles against a bay that also forms the mouth of the Krka River. The Sveti Ante canal connects the bay with the Adriatic Sea. There are numerous inhabited and uninhabited islands just off the coast, foothills of the so-called Kornati Islands, a national park.

History

First mentioned in a document in 1066, Sibenik looks back on an eventful history. The Croatian King Petar Kresimir IV stayed in the fortress of St. Michael at that time. Today the castle bears the name of Saint Anne.

For a long time, Sibenik was under Venetian, later Austro-Hungarian rule. From 1918 to 1991, it belonged first to the Kingdom and later to the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. After a momentous war, however, Croatia became an independent state again with the capital Zagreb. Today, Sibenik belongs to Croatia again. Since the end of the 1990s, the Adriatic coast of Croatia has become increasingly popular with tourists, which is due to both the beaches and the medieval towns.

Sights in Sibenik

The Cathedral of St. James
The Cathedral of St. James, Image: xbrchx / shutterstock

It is worth spending a lot of time walking through the old town. It is noticeable that Sibenik is a hilly city. Countless stairs connect the old town alleys with each other. The house facades in the medieval streets give an idea of how medieval life took place here. Again and again, views of the bay and the Adriatic Sea behind it open up.

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But the numerous architectural monuments are also worth a targeted visit. A fortification with four forts surrounds the town: St Michael (St. Anna), St. John, St. Nicholas and the Baron Fortress. While St. Michael is already mentioned under the Croatian King Petar Kresimir IV, the other fortifications date from the time of Venetian rule (15th to 18th century). The ensemble of the four fortresses is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The late Gothic Cathedral of St. James is also a World Heritage Site. It was built in over 100 years in the 15th century. The dome was severely damaged in the Croatian war, but it has since been restored.

In addition to numerous other churches – the Franciscan monastery with monument to Petar Kresimir IV is also worth seeing, for example – a visit to the Old Town Hall is worthwhile. The Town Hall Square is surrounded by arcades that give it an unmistakable appearance. The Renaissance building was built in the 16th century.

The Sibenik Bridge crosses the Krka River. The arch bridge offers a unique view of the city, the Krka Valley and the Adriatic Sea.

Excursion destinations in the area

Krka National Park
The Winnetou films were filmed in the Krka National Park, Image: Seumas Christie-Johnston / shutterstock

Sibenik is located in the immediate vicinity of two national parks. The Krka National Park leads into the Krka Valley with several gorges and waterfalls. The biodiversity of plants and animals led to the establishment of the protected area in 1985, which is now also developed for tourism.

The Kornati National Park was established as early as 1980. The archipelago, consisting of 89 rocky islands, is located north of Sibenik. Boat trips are offered, so the protected area can be explored. The islands are mostly made up of limestone cliffs. There is hardly any vegetation. However, the Kornati Islands are known for their species-rich bird population.

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Lake Prukljan is located off the coast of the city of Sibenik and is fed by the Krka River, among others. It is the fourth largest lake in Croatia.

The Dalmatia region also includes neighboring cities such as Split and Zadar, which are worth visiting.

Tips

If you spend your holiday in Sibenik and keep thinking that some places look familiar to you, you probably used to watch the Winnetou films with Pierre Brice. Kornati Islands, Krka National Park, the karst mountains in the surrounding area are filming locations for the film adaptations of the Karl May classics. In the cities of Dalmatia, numerous tours are offered that are informative and nostalgic at the same time. Maybe the upcoming vacation in Sibenik is an occasion to watch “The Treasure in Silver Lake” again.

If you need a break after the strenuous sightseeing, you can fall back on several beaches in Sibenik.

In Sibenik, there are some open-air performances and festivals in the summer. Among other things, a children’s and youth festival will take place in August, which is particularly aimed at young people. It is worth taking a look at the tourist information office’s calendar of events