There is something special in the old forts. You may be an architect which melts when he sees how masterfully some old fort has been built. You may be a construction worker who will know how hard was to bring all the material. Maybe you use a camera to earn for living so you will see that fort from a completely unique perspective. A soldier will immediately see strong sides of the fort, but also it’s weak spots. A writer will hear stories whispered by stone walls and put them into a story. Forts amaze people around the world no matter who they are.
Šibenik has some amazing forts, but I’ll take this chance to tell you more about my favorite.
Saint Nicholas’ Fortress is special in many ways.
Unlike most buildings, this fortress didn’t conquer nature. This fortress was built in cooperation with nature. The living stones dictated building process and that is why half – bastions are so different. One on the western side of the fortress is geometrically perfect but the other one is clearly different. The shape of the island is responsible for that, but we really shouldn’t look down on builders decision to work with nature, not over it.
The fortress is built on the small island Ljuljevac and it covers most of its surface. Ljlujevac is connected with land just with a narrow path. It doesn’t matter where from you look at this fortress, it will amaze you. Just imagine how difficult it was to build that, and it wasn’t the first building on Ljuljevac. The Saint Nicholas’ Fortress replaced his church after Turks conquered Skradin.
To build this fortress they had to destroy not only a church but also a monastery. In the honor of old church new one has been built inside of the fortress, probably on the same spot as the old one. Building started in 1540 and it took 13 years to finish a fortress with a very rare triangular shape. Michele Sanmicheli and his nephew Giangirolamo, master builders, took everything in the equation. They knew fortress will be much stronger if they use stone as a foundation. For the walls, they used bricks because they provided the best protection against cannon balls. They wanted to build a fearsome fortress capable of securing Šibenik peace. At the time Šibenik was very important on that part of the Adriatic sea and they needed protection from the sea.
This arrow-shaped fortress has never been tested in a military way so we will never know how well built it is. On the other hand, you may say it has done its job pretty good. Nobody dared to attack it.
Luckily, the sea around Saint Nicholas’ Fortress hasn’t seen any blood for a long time. That is one of the reasons why this fortress is so well preserved. It has been neglected for quite a while, but the last couple a year’s changes occurred. Since 2017 this fortress that protected Šibenik in protected by UNESCO.
As well as other forts in Šibenik, Saint Nicholas’ Fortress got well-deserved attention.
Now you can walk through Šibenik and go back in time. You can go back and feel the souls of people who helped to build those amazing monuments. They were building forts to secure themselves peacefull present.
If only they knew that forts they see as protection will become Šibenik’s attractions.