10 July 2009

Šibenik


Šibenik, unlike most of the major points of interest on the coast, cannot claim its origins as Roman, Ragusan, or Venetian. It is probably unfair to infer that this is the reason it does not rank higher on the destination list, but despite our our Zagreb colleagues strongly urging us to skip it altogether, we wanted to see for ourselves. And we are glad we did. The Cathedral of Sveti Jakov (St. James), designed by local son Juraj Dalmatinac, is architecturally unique (check the building techniques - particularly the interior ceiling and the outer roof), serving as the anchor to one of the least developed (read: most authentic) Croatian old towns on the coast. Since Pelegrini opened just across from the cathedral there is actually somewhere to be recommended on the gastronomic side. The brilliantly located Viječnica, sitting in the historic reconstruction of the main square's loggia vecchia, is good for coffee overlooking the cathdral, but unfortunately does not have a very inspiring menu and an interior space somewhat on the frightening side - the same seafood in that same overdone interpretation of luxe that is unfortunately seen far too often in the former Yugoslavia. If its open, check out the random art gallery just up the stairs to the right of Viječnica (as your back is to the cathedral) on the first "landing" above the square. Eclectic, funky, folk art? We fell in love with what could only be a wooden sculpture of a British tourist - sunburned beyond belief, but smile intact.

The final judgement? A good stop on your way to or from the Kornati, Zadar, or Skradin and Krka National Park. One suggestion would be to use Skradin as a base from which to explore Krka, adding an afternoon in Šibenik to check out Sv. Jakov, grab a bite at Pelegrini, maybe a coffee at Vječnica, and then heading north to Zadar or the Kornati or south towards Primosten.

Pelegrini Vinoteka & Konoba
Jurja Dalmatinca 1
+385 (22) 213 701
Situated in the Villa Pelegrini-Tambaca, and with a view of the St. James Cathedral. Serving breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, this cafe/restaurant/wine bar is the best place in town for an elegant meal, or just to enjoy a glass of wine from the local Bibich vineyard (ok, the wine list is significantly more extensive than that, but when in Rome.... and anyhow, Bibich makes some pretty good wines with the Syrah grapes he uses). With seating for 45 inside and 60 outside, worth coming to even if you can't get one of the few tables out front with the primo view looking directly at the cathedral. Open every day, 08-24. CC's accepted.

Tourist Board
Fausta Vrančića 18
+385 (22) 212 075
+385 (22) 219 073

Tourist Center
Obala Dr. F. Tuđmana 5
22 000 Šibenik
+385 (22) 214 411
Conveniently located on the waterfront.


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