Top Historic Sights in Šibenik, Croatia

Explore the historic highlights of Šibenik

Sibenik Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik is a triple-nave basilica with three apses and a dome. It is the most important architectural monument of the Renaissance in the entire country. Since 2000, the cathedral has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The building of the church was initiated in 1402, though plans on its construction had already begun in 1298, when Šibenik became a municipality. The actual work to tran ...
Founded: 1402 | Location: Šibenik, Croatia

St. Michael's Fortress

St. Michael's Fortress is a medieval fort situated on a steep hill above the old historic center of Šibenik. The location was more or less continuously occupied since the Iron Age, as is witnessed by numerous archaeological findings from the era. St. Michael's Fortress was named after the oldest church in Šibenik, St. Michael's church, which was located inside its walls. One theory suggests that the church was built du ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Šibenik, Croatia

Barone Fortress

The Barone Fortress in Šibenik is an early modern fortress constructed in 1646 on Vidakuša hill above the city. Together with the remaining three city fortresses, it is a part of the Šibenik fortification system. It played a significant role in city"s defense from the Ottomans during the Cretan War. Since at least the mid-16th century, the city rectors and envoys had been stressing the need for the construction o ...
Founded: 1646 | Location: Šibenik, Croatia

St. Nicholas Fortress

St. Nicholas' Fortress was built on the left side at the entrance to St. Anthony Channel, on the island called Ljuljevac. The island is situated at the entrance to the Šibenik channel across the Jadrija beach lighthouse. St. Nicholas' Fortress got its name from the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas, which was originally on the island, but due to the construction of the fortress, it had to be demolished. At the reques ...
Founded: 1525 | Location: Šibenik, Croatia

St. John's Fortress

St. John"s Fortress is an early modern fortress in Šibenik, situated atop a hill north of the city"s historical center. Named after a medieval church dedicated to St. John the Baptist that had stood there from at least 1444, the fortress, together with the adjacent Barone Fortress, was built during the Cretan War and successfully repelled consecutive Ottoman attacks in 1646 and 1647. A local name for the fortre ...
Founded: 1646 | Location: Šibenik, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.