The Central Mediterranean, a fortified town by the sea, the library of the historical sites and culture, protected by the limestone rocks and mountain hinterland, blessed with more than 300 islands, islets, cliffs and reefs in its waters, a rich vineyard treasury united in a unique poetry of the urban centre.
Imagine yourself living in the 15th century and looking at the outstanding construction made of white stone blocks in the clouds without any supporting part made of wood or any other connecting material – surely it would seem to you as a dream. Today exactly this construction is the most significant one in the area of Šibenik, built up in precisely 105 years in a unique Gothic and Renaissance style with a frieze of 71 human heads in the exterior, and sculptures and mosaics in the interior – the Cathedral of St. Jacob was enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000.
Gods had mercy as they drew this area; from the National park of the river Krka, its rocky surroundings, waterfalls and the islet Visovac, on which the Franciscans monastery found its setting, to the canyon of the river Krka, where the oldest orthodox monastery is situated; from the picturesque vineyards of Primošten to the National park Kornati looking like the white tears spread on the blue sea.
The fortified town of Šibenik was founded by Croats around the 9th century. Due to the development of the medieval Croatian state the town Šibenik made a progress and it was mentioned for the first time in the 11th century in a document written by the king Petar Krešimir IV. Shortly afterwards there were many different nations fighting for this town – from the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy over Byzantium to Venice, but the town was still making progress, spreading and developing its culture, art, navigation, trade and economy in general. Šibenik was under the Venetian rule for long 400 years, but from that period we have the most significant historical and cultural sites of Šibenik today. Among them is also the main symbol of the Town today – the Cathedral of St. Jacob.
The olive growing and viticulture had a leading role in the whole area of Šibenik for centuries, as well as in the surrounding settlements such as Vodice and the island of Murter. On the other hand, Primošten has, since its beginning, the most picturesque and the richest vineyards in the whole area, speaking about the human diligence and struggle with the poor soil. In 2009 the vineyards were presented as the UNESCO candidate for the register of the World cultural heritage, and a picture featuring Primošten’s vineyards is permanently exhibited in the main building of the UN in New York representing the hard human work through the centuries and struggle with the Dalmatian stone. Places as Jurlinovi dvori or Pakovo selo cherish their autochthony, tradition and the original way of life.
The settlement of Betina on the island of Murter is known for the building of wooden ships, the settlement of Murter for the fishing tradition, the islet of Krapanj – the lowest Croatian island and the smallest inhabited island on the Adriatic coast is known for the sponge fishing tradition, the island of Zlarin next to it for the coral fishing tradition, and the island of Prvić making a line with Zlarin and Krapanj is known as the island of innovations thanks to Faust Vrančić – inventor of the first usable parachute in the human history, who spent his childhood on the island, and was buried here as well according to his wish. The construction of the Memorial park dedicated to this great Croat is in the progress. Only a few meters away from the grave of Faust it is possible to visit the exhibition of the handmade models of inventions of Faust Vrančić described and represented in his book “Macchinae novae”.
The islets of Zlarin, Krapanj, Murter, Žirje and Kaprije are the closest to the coast of Šibenik representing places of rich history and culture. They abound in agriculture-friendly soil, vineyards and fishing boats. The traditions of navigation and fishing are preserved until today, and besides farming they were the only source of life. Beautiful and aromatic beaches of these islands, the crack of wood warmed under the sun and variegated fruits are what adorn these beautiful romantic islands.