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Šibenik: The town of the Croatian Leonardo da Vinci!


Šibenik  –  the town of the Croatian Leonardo da Vinci!

During the Venatian rule the town of Šibenik was one of the most important humanistic and Renaissance centers and many progressive individuals worked there, the most outstanding of them being Faust  Vrančić (1551- 1617), a true univerasal Renaissance man, one of the greatest Croatian minds of the time, called “Croatian Leonardo da Vinci”. He wrote “The Dictionary of Five Noblest Languages in Europe”, which is at the same time the first Croatian and Hungarian dictionary ever printed. This versatile person showed special interest in physics and published the results of his researches in the work “New Machines”. In it he described in five languages 56 different devices, apparatuses and designs , among which the best known are a suspension bridge and a parachute. On the basis of Leonardo’s sketch Vrančić made a detailed design of a parachute known as Homo Volans , and he also constructed the first known version of a parachute successfully testing it out in practice himself.

Šibenik  –  the town of Dražen Petrović, basketball Mozart !

One of the best basketball players ever, Dražen Petrović was called  basketball Mozart due to his virtuoso performance and a great ease at scoring points. He is considered to be a fore-runner of the whole wave of European basketball players to start playing in the NBA, and the first European one to play an important part in his American club. He  was playing for the New Jersey Nets and was the best shooter in the team. In 1992, playing for the Croatian National Team at the Olympic Games in Barcelona he won the silver medal. Then the Croatian team played in the final against the legendary Dream Team with the best players in the history of this sport: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley… In 2002, posthumously,he became a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,joining another legendary Croatian basketball player Krešimir Ćosić.

St. Jacob’s Cathedral  –  unique in the world !

Due to its beauty, construction solutions and style St.Jacob’s Cathedralm is a unique monument of the world sacral architecture. It is unique in the world because it is the only sacral structure built in mounting technique, without using any connective mortar or wooden construction elements. Besides, it is the first mounting building in Europe, built on the principle of the groove panels as well as the only one whose inner form corresponds to its outer form. It was being built quite long, for over 100 years (15th and 16th cent.), and the most important contribution to it was the one by the supreme builder of the time, Juraj Dalmatinac. He built the foundations and the baptistery, constructed the dome but the mastery he showed on the apsidae-frieze consisting of 71 carved characterized human heads represents the marvel of Renaissance art. The Cathedral was built of the world-famous Brač stone and represents a mixture of Gothic and Renaisssance styles.Šibenik town center with the Cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.

Children’s Festival

The Šibenik Children’s Festival is a very special feature of Šibenik’s culture, a  unique cultural manifestation in the world. It was first held in 1958. In festival days Šibenik is a meeting-place of children and poets, an open-air cinema,a workshop of sculpture, strip, film and video shooting, of poetry, painting, music, puppetry…with artists and programmes to uplift our spirits. In the town streets and squares the representatives of different cultures from all the continents meet in numerous artistic forms, tending to build a nobler and better world, and the packed audience show their appreciation in the wholehearted manner. The Festival guests have been even the world famous dignitaries: Peter Ustinov, Sophia Loren, Orson Welles…

Electric current first began to flow in Šibenik !

In 1895 at the Skradin Falls Ante Šupuk (1838-1904), the Mayor of Šibenik, in o-operation with the engineer Vjekoslav Meichner built the first system  of producing, transmission and distribution of alternating current , so leaving behind the American Forbes for a whole year!  It is true that Forbes’s hydro-powerplant on the Niagara Falls in the USA ( built on the basis of the inventions of the Croatian world-famous scientist Nikola Tesla ) was the first of that kind in the world, which started working on 26th August 1895 (it means two days before Šupuk’s at the Krka Falls), but the town of Buffalo got electric energy from it almost a year later, after the power-transmission line and lower-voltage net were built. Thus, Šibenik had public electric lighting and alternating current in the private houses before any other metropolis in the world.

The only town in Dalmatia founded by the Croats

Differently from other Dalmatian towns ( Split, Zadar, Trogir, Dubrovnik ) founded in the ancient times by the Romans, Šibenik is the only Dalmatian town founded by the Croats (9th cent.). It is often called Krešimir’s town after the Croatian king Petar Krešimir IV,  because the town was first mentioned in his donation document. The town has experienced stormy history, many countries fought for its possession (Byzant, Venice, Austria, Hungary). The most significant historic monuments of today’s Šibenik are from the period of the Venetian rule,the most outstanding among them is the symbol of the town – st.Jacob’s Cathedral. However,despite numerous conquerors through history Šibenik has always succeeded in keeping its original Croatian spirit.

Generally about the town

Šibenik is a small finely built town of only 35000 inhabitants, situated at the middle of the Adriatic coast, in a very picturesque bay, which is at the same time the mouth of the river Krka, one of the most attractive Croatian rivers.In the local waters of Šibenik there are more than 300 islands and numberless coves and rocks of inexpressible beauty. What is especially fascinating is reaching the town from the sea side as a ship passes all the islands and islets following one another, preparing a visitor for the magnificent sight in front him – a marvellous view of the town of Šibenik.

What to visit?

  • St.Jacob’s Cathedral –  mostly the work of the greatest builder and sculptor of the time – Juraj Dalmatinac
  • Duke’s Palace – in the vicinity of the Cathedral, a part of the defensive system of the town in the 13th and 14th cent. The part preserved is the one in which the Duke stayed. On the Palace wall there is St.Michael’s coat of arms as the saint is the patron of the town. The Palace houses three museums: Archeological, Ethnographic and Historical.
  • The Town Hall –  one of the most beautiful town halls in Croatia, a frequent motif on the picture postcards of the town. It represents a very interesting piece of the Renaissance architecture.
  • Bunari ( The Wells) – are in close vicinity to the Cathedral.They were dug in the 15th cent. to supply the town with drinkable water. It was the work of the famous builder Juraj Dalmatinac, the creator of all the important buildings in Šibenik. Today  this historical locality has been turned into a stage, on which various cultural manifestations take place every year.
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