Sibenik Things to Do

  • crkva sv. Barbare
    crkva sv. Barbare
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  • Things to Do
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  • the bells of St. Barbara
    the bells of St. Barbara
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Best Rated Things to Do in Sibenik

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov

    by JLBG Updated Oct 1, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, left side
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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov (San Giacomo, St James) is the masterpiece of Šibenik. It was added to Unesco World Heritage List in 2000. Parts of the tips on the subject have been partly burrowed to the description of the cathedral in the World Heritage List.

    It is most likely that the first view of the cathedral that you will get will be by its side, as on the first photo. Of particular interest are the side entrance (see next tip) and a medallion appearing on the far left, with a close-up on the second photo.

    A bearded saint seems to go out of a cave (there is a second one on the left) and is kneeling in front of a lion. In the background, the countryside looks mountainous and bears several olive trees and the cross with Jesus. Thanks to Leyle (VT TheWanderingCamel) that identified him as Saint Jerome, often represented with a lion and very popular in Croatia.

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, left side

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, side entrance
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    The cathedral was built on a place where there was already a Romanesque church. A few elements of the previous church were reused such as the carving on each side of the side entrance.

    The first photo shows the side entrance, which is typically Renaissance. It is framed by two lions looking one another at the foot of a carved column (enlargement on the second photo).

    The left column holds Adam, the right one Eve (enlargement on the second photo). They both hide their private parts with the left hand but amazingly, while Adam hides his breast with his right hand, Eve hides her stomach and shows her breast ! The lions, columns, Adam and Eve were sculpted by Bonino.

    At first, I had not noticed the strange small carving on top of the entrance (fourth photo). It shows two (Episcopal) mules, one with a blank coat of arm, the other with a diagonal stripped coat of arm. On the right a human (?) figure looks almost like a scorpion but holds a sun on a spear in its right hand ! Strange, isn't it ?

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the Dome

    by JLBG Updated Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the Dome
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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov is a fascinating example of the considerable interchanges between the three culturally different regions of Northern Italy, Dalmatia, and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. These interchanges created the conditions for unique and outstanding solutions to the technical and structural problems of constructing the cathedral vaulting and dome. It is a unique testimony to the transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance period in church architecture. Both forms have been successfully blended to achieve and outstanding landmark.

    It was begun to build in 1431 but consecrated only in 1555. On such a long period, three architects were involved, one after the other :
    Francesco di Giacomo,
    Juraj Matejev, the main architect until his death in 1473,
    Niccolù di Giovanni Fiorentino from 1477 to 1505.
    Besides the architects, other artists were involved, such as Ivan Pribislavlijċ, Andrija Budičiċ, Martin Budičiċ, Adrija Alesi.

    At first, the Venetian rulers of the city wanted a single nave church, but once the front was built, they were deceived. They then hired the best architect available, Juraj Matejev, known as Giorgio Orsini in Italy and nicknamed Juraj Matejev Dalmatinaċ (Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus or George the Dalmate). He added side transepts and a dome. Moreover, he invented a new process for building the dome. The stones were adjusted without any jointing. As the cathedral was severely damaged during WWII, when it was repaired, modern builders were unable to find out how it had been done and they had to add an (invisible) coat of concrete to hold the stones !

    Around the dome, four figures have been carved. The last photo shows one of them that figures an angel bringing down a demon with a blue spear.

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    Cathedral Sveti Jacov, detail of the main entrance

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, main entrance ventails
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    The door of the main entrance, made of dark hard wood, is not seen clearly on the previous photo. Each of the ventails is composed of four carved panels, which makes altogether eight panels, shown two by two on the following photos. They represent scenes of the life of Christ and make a kind of Renaissance strip cartoon ! On the left ventail, the lowest panel is its birth (first photo) while on the right ventail, the upper panel is the crucifixion (last photo).

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the front

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the front
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    The front of the cathedral shows a large central nave with two small aisles. Over the central entrance stand one large rosace topped by a smaller one. Unfortunately, when we visited the cathedral (11:30), it was not lit by the sun.

    The second photo shows that the main entrance is framed by several rows of carvings. Cabled columns on the outer row, then the twelve apostles topped by Jesus, then another row of cabled columns and the inner row is a wealth of delicately carved leaves wit somewhere near the top (left) a praying angel.

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, frieze and parchment

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, frieze and parchment
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    Among other peculiarities, Cathedral of Sveti Jacov is well known for a remarkable frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces. Just over the frieze, two angels hold a parchment celebrating the glory of the bishop that initiated the cathedral. However on the edge of the pedestal that holds the angels, Juraj Dalmatinac reminds that he was the one who conceived this cathedral.

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the baptistery

    by JLBG Updated Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral Sveti Jacov, entrance in the baptistery
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    On the right to the nave, a carved wooden door leads to the baptistery, as can be seen on the first photo. The baptistery was carved by Juraj Matejev Dalmatinaċ, Niccol? di Giovanni Fiorentino and Adrija Aleši (1452).

    The second photo shows the baptistery itself, a marble basin hold up by two chubby-cheeked baby angels ("puttis") that were carved by Juraj Dalmatinaċ himself. It stands in the middle of a small room with a marble soil and a ceiling entirely carved (third photo). As the room is very small, it was not possible to take a photo of the whole ceiling and I have tried to give the best of it.

    The fourth photo is a close-up that shows how delicately carved the whole ceiling is !

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, medallions

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, medallion
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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov is densely carved as it seems that Juraj Matejev Dalmatinac wanted to leave as little as possible bare space !

    The first photo shows a medallion with a crowned eagle on top of several coats of arms laying on the soil, on torn branches and leaves. It seems to be laughing or at list has an unpleasant giggle.

    The medallion on the second photo is strange. It shows two servants holding a sheet that half covers an empty helmet topped by a dove (sorry, I cut it's head !). In the middle of the sheet (and of the photo), a strong and big nail. I do not know what does that mean. I suppose this is not the classic music hall trick of a "magician" that makes a dove disappear under a sheet and appear somewhere else ! Any clue ?

    The medallion on the third photo is more classical. It shows in the middle a large virgin with child on her knees with a very small saint praying on his knees on the left. On the right, a coat of arm with a standing lion. The back of the medallions is carved with writings I have not been able to decipher.

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the frieze

    by JLBG Updated Jan 20, 2008

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the frieze
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    The frieze is decorated with 71 sculptured faces of men, women, and children that represent ordinary people living in Sibenik at the time of Juraj Matejev Dalmatinac. They are precious documents that show how ordinary people, not often represented, looked like. Each of them is different and has a very lively look ! You will find here some of them. Enlarge and enjoy !

    Note that as the frieze is of course, on a single line, i have pasted three different part of it, one under the other, on the first photo.

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the central nave

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Cathedral of Sveti Jacov, the central nave

    The central nave and the two side aisles are separated by columns crowned by beautifully carved capitals. The master Altar was built in the 17th. On the left, a 15th century crucifix but the jewel of the cathedral is the baptistery (next tip).

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    Statue of Juraj Dalmatina&#267

    by JLBG Updated Jan 23, 2006

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    Statue of Juraj Dalmatinaċ
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    The statue of Juraj Matejev Dalmatinaċ, the main architect of the cathedral stands in front of the entrance, on Trg Republike Hrvatske. It was sculpted by Ivan Mestroviċ, the famous Croatian contemporary sculptor. He has represented Juraj Dalmatinaċ with the tools of a stone sculptor : hammer in the right hand and chisel in the left hand.

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    The Town Hall

    by croisbeauty Updated May 27, 2005

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    the City Hall
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    The Town Hall is situated on the northern side of Trg Republike Hrtvatske. It is a very harmoniuos and transparent Renaissance building erected between 1533 and 1546. The ground-floor ecompasses the cloister from which there was an access to the offices of communal administration. The facade of the floor is divided by columns and decorated in the down part by a balustrade and a balcony. The staircase on the left side leads to the entrance above which there is a small bell tower on distaff.
    In December 1943 the town hall was completely destroyed during the attack of the ally air forces, and it was restored in its original form after the war.

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    The wells

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    The wells
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    Two wells, now fitted with a grid, stand in the middle of the square. They actually allowed to pick up water from a cistern that had been built to improve the possibility of the city to resist a seat. They are carved with various motifs.

    The second photo shows a roughly carved human figure holding a cross.

    The third photo shows a coat of arm with a crenellated stripe across the shield.

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    Crkva sv. Barbare, Djecezanski muzej

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Crkva sv. Barbare, Djecezanski muzej
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    Former Crkva sv. Barbare (Church of Saint Barbara) is a Gothic single nave church built in the 15th. It is now a very interesting religious museum, Djecezanski muzej. The polyptych of the Virgin with the Saints (early 16th) by Nikola Vladanov and the polyptych of the Virgin with child (15th) from Blaz Jurjev Trogiranin (from Trogir) are the most outstanding artifacts on display.

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    Tvrdava Sv. Ana

    by JLBG Written Jan 23, 2006

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    Tvrdava Sv. Ana

    Tvrdava Sv. Ana, the fortress of St. Ana stands on the site of a previous Illyrian stronghold, later fortified by the Croats. The fortress was built and destroyed several times. The Venetians built it in the 15th in its present form. As it is 70 m above sea level, it offers a superb view on the old city of Sibenik.

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Sibenik Things to Do

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