It’s funny how the mind accepts a routine. Despite knowing full well that we’re not due home for another 6 weeks, as the day count nears 90 (our usual end point), I have a daily moment’s panic that we’ve run out of time to get back to England. I’ll need to work on that!
We continue our coastal journey northwest, travelling to the ancient town of Sibenik. It too has had a checkered history. Since its first mention in history in 1066, it’s been ruled by Hungary, the Venetians and even breifly, the French. The city suffered extensive war damage in 20th century wars, but has painstakingly been restored. Given its military history, it’s not surprising perhaps then, that it has not one, not two, but four forts to its name. We’re a bit forted out though, and chose gentler pursuits.
Our first stop is Sibenik’s most famous landmark, the UNESCO protected Cathedral of St James.
Built between 1432 and 1555 it’s the combined artistry of Dalmatians, Italians and Venetians. Sadly, it was shelled extensively in the war of the 1990s, taking many international experts several years to restore. Their careful work can be seen on the exterior where stones have been replaced or inlaid to repair damage.
The exterior of the cathedral is highly decorated, from the 71 sculptured human faces,
to the stunning Lion Gate portal
and the intricate main portal showcasing the work of the first mason, with statutes of Christ and the 12 apostles.
Inside, restoration works still continue, restoring the white stone to its original gleam. The Cathedral is filled with artistic treasures,
but for me the highlight is the beautifully carved baptistery ceiling – absolutely stunning.
Outside, the Cathedral is Sibenik’s main square featuring the Old Loggia, formerly the seat of the town council. Built in 1532 – 1543 it too suffered damage, but in WWII.
Elsewhere, many of the buildings are marked as former palaces with helpful plaques on their side detailing the history.
Given that Sibenik is such a small town there are surprising number of churches within a short distance of each other – we log a further 3 in a short walk.
I manage to get a shot of one of the forts without having to hike up to it (yay)
and meet this exceedingly relaxed kitty on the way.
We are on a bit of a mission to gain distance so continue our journey up the coast, stopping in the late afternoon for a bit of beachcombing. I’m missing being on the sea side part of the road and welcome the opportunity to not only stretch my legs but take a few photos in a delightfully deserted stretch of coast.
Incredibly, my first find is an enormous oyster washed on to the shore (back he goes),
followed a pretty crab shell
and an interesting insight into the porous light rocks that dot the shore – a broken one reveals its honeycomb interior. Fascinating!
We debate stopping but instead push through to our next stop, Zadar, before evening falls, a beautifully pink sunset overlooking the drive.