Sibenik – the best of Dalmatia
Recently, at the invitation of Anita Žuvela, with a group of journalists/bloggers/photographers/influencers… (people who do nothing as the people say), I visited Sibenik, aka the oldest autochthonous Croatian city on the Adriatic, which was created as a fortress at the foot of the fortress of St. Michaelmas. The first mention of him supposedly dates from the 11th century, but only Queen Elisabeth remembers that. Sibenik has as many as 24 churches, and I can boast that I haven’t entered a single one 🙂
Sibenik also has 6 monasteries, 2851 steps in the old city center and is the hometown of numerous talents and greats: Petar Kresimir IV, Juraj Dalmatinac, Faust Vrancic, Europian basketball and NBA star Drazen Petrovic, Balkan Elvis Presley aka Miso Kovac…, but all of them fell into the shadows with my arrival in the city. From now on, Sibenik will be known for Dear Leader Joe, aka Vin Diesel for the poor – corresponding member of the magazine “If they don’t have money for bread, let them eat shrimps”, friend of the rich, a tycoon and Gastro Snob, but above all a humble human.
Where to stay?
We stayed in the Armerun Hotel, a beautiful stone building in the heart of the city. Located under the city ramparts with a view of the blue Sibenik canal and wonderful sunsets where the Krka River flows into the Adriatic Sea. Armerun embraced us with a welcome, starting with the view of the sea and ending with perhaps the best breakfast on the Dalmatian coast. This gay description is an official PR release. I don’t use that kind of vocabulary 🙂
Armerun is the counterpart of a treasure chest (the literal meaning of the word armerun is a deep cupboard for goods with two doors). For me, Armerun is the main reason why I no longer have plates on my stomach but SIX FAT 🙂 After breakfast, one of the local craft beers is the best choice, which now reminds me of a beautiful woman from Sibenik of the same name who, due to a combination of unfortunate circumstances, was out of her homeland at that very moment. With craft beer Cvita, I toast to Gastro Lady Snob, beautiful Cvita 🙂
Where to have lunch?
If you want to have lunch the way our elders used to eat, unpretentiously and without having to wait especially long, go to Marenda. There are Marenda 1 and 2, and we visited the 1. We ate everything. From buncek to sardines and potato salad. One day I had to experience how ordinary people live.
Lunch without dessert is like a Jesus without Judas. We visited the temple of sweet delicacies, Yum confectionery. Yum is a combination of French chic and Dalmatian traditional ingenuity. When ordering, we looked up to Pavarotti: “Give us everything on the menu!”
The Cathedral, Sibenik’s botun and the cake made from the following ingredients got the most points out of all the participants:
Caramelized white chocolate, mousse Homemade caramel with vanilla, Homemade hazelnut paste, Chocolate brownie, Crispy biscuits, hazelnuts and milk chocolate
After the sugar massacre, we walked through the city, which totally won us over with its heritage, lively scenery full of picturesque medieval houses and palaces. I was actually most captivated by the story about brothels that were once popular in Sibenik. I suggested that they revive the old customs and to offer some content to the male guests while their wives and children sunbathe on the beach.
City cultural attractions:
Tina Bilus, aka the tourist guide took us on a tour of Sibenik, and one of the more interesting locations was a visit to the academic painter Zvonimir Vila. Zvonimir Vila (1966), an academic painter and graphic artist from Zagreb-Sibenik provenance, is the author of a unique work, the bronze sculpture “Sibenik rock”, commissioned by the Sibenik Tourist Board. The people of Sibenik see Vila as a legend of the city. In addition to graphics, he works in sculpture and painting, and his most common motifs are historical and religious, but he is also attracted to the supernatural. Today, he is certainly one of the few etchers who have remained faithful to the medieval graphic tradition in its original form.
Zvonimir asked me to make a monument in my honor that will be displayed on the Sibenik waterfront. I told him that he could, but that I wanted to look refined, not like the Balkan King of Porn. I want the suffering people of Sibenik to accept me as a historical figure, and not just as an object of lustful housewives’ desires. I also attached a picture of what my statue should look like.
St. Michael’s Fortress under angelic protection
Sibenik is not only a tourist pearl, but it is the oldest autochthonous Croatian city on the Adriatic, which was created as a fortress at the foot of the fortress of St. Michaelmas. But it is not just any fortress, in it the young guides tell you the history of Sibenik with their slogans ”Let s rock”, printed on their t-shirts. We look at them and see the best future of the city.
I wanted to take a picture alone, in peace, but then an army of fans came from all over the world. Who am I to refuse a monetary fee for taking photos at the fortress? I mentioned them all in the description of the photo. PS: Lana Mindoljević from ”Jutarnji List” newspapers is not in the picture because she couldn’t believe her journalistic eyes how popular I am. This is not how people threw themselves at Elvis Presley even in his best days. She immediately called the newsroom and said: “I have a cover story!”
If you are looking for the best concert location, where you can enjoy great music and a beautiful view at seventy meters above sea level, but also enjoy an interactive story about the history of the city, visit this fortress. Located in a position below which she could follow the development of medieval Sibenik, on a steep rock. It owes its name to the church dedicated to Archangel Michael. Due to its interesting appearance and attractive location, today it is recognized as one of the most prestigious stages in the region. Namely, a few years ago, a summer stage with over 1,000 seats was built on the fortress, where numerous events such as concerts, musicals, theater festivals, plays and film screenings are held. But the best offer of the fortress today are its guides. The Songkillers entertained us at the fortress, so we enjoyed good music and a phenomenal atmosphere. Name of the concert: “Songkillers for the Dear Leader Joe and the poor people”
The guardian of history – the lighthouse of the future, the Fortress of St. Nicholas
Be sure to plan your visit to Sibenik through a visit to this defensive beauty. To get there, you need to drive along the only natural sea route to Sibenik – the channel of St. Anthony, named after the holy abbot Anthony, about 2,500 meters long. You can tour the fortress in an hour, learn many details about the construction of this complex military defense complex, the canal and the church of St. Anthony, the sea tunnel ‘Hitler’s eyes’, and the former barracks that became a set for the filming of the famous Croatian movie ‘How the war on my island began’ .
The construction of the fortress was very expensive, it cost around 40,000 ducats. For comparison, the Hungarian king Ladislav of Naples sold the whole of Dalmatia to Venice for 100,000 ducats. Thanks to its impressive and terrifying appearance, Sibenik was never attacked from the sea. The crews of enemy ships would retreat as soon as they saw her. Therefore, no significant naval battles have been recorded in history at this locality. In 2017, as part of the nomination “Defensive systems of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to the 17th century”, the Fortress of St. Nicholas is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with fortifications from Zadar, Kotor, Bergamo, Peschiera del Garda and Palmanova.
Its history is impressive, but its present is even more impressive. The young students of the primary and secondary music school brought tears to their eyes with their delicate souls playing the violin and cello. The beautiful concert fit into the magnificent ambience of the fortress and reminded us that the human spirit is the one that builds bridges and destroys all obstacles, so it was not a problem for him to build a fortress like this and protect its heritage throughout the centuries. I said that I would publish their recording if they played me “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy, but they flatly refused me. No musical desire, no recording.
We had lunch the next day at the Pjat restaurant, also in the center, where modern meets old, according to the owner’s motto; from the field to the table, considering that most of the food is from our own cultivation, with an emphasis on our own vegetables. Barbara from Vodice made sure that the lunch did not pass peacefully. She made me an ambush in front of the restaurant: “Fuck you Joe! You came to Sibenik, and you didn’t even call me!” Before lunch, we had a drink, and afterwards her angry father called her: “What are you doing with that guy? He is not normal. He calls himself Dear Leader and he writes against the government. You will bring trouble to our house. Get away from him or I’ll erase you from my last will!”
Let’s go back to the Pjat restaurant. A young and well-coordinated team, friendly guys who tried really hard to make us feel as good as possible, brought us for an appetizer what you can normally order for 2 people. Prosciutto, pancetta selection of cheeses and olives. Then carpaccio, smoked tuna, smoked swordfish, marinated anchovies, fish pate, capers. There is no end to the fun. For the main course we had breaded smoked pork, tuna with vegetables, sea bass with carrot puree and the best Swiss chard ever, with seared mole and vegetables.
Jumping on Banj beach – a few words about the beach
The beach was renovated in 2012 and is fully equipped with many facilities for children and adults, and it also has a comfortable lounge cafe. In the evening, it is perfect to sit with a cocktail by the sea, with a view of Sibenik at night. From the beach there is an attractive view of the old city center, St. Jacob’s Cathedral, St. Michael’s Fortress and St. Anthony’s Canal. Banj beach won the award for the best beach in Croatia in 2016. Not that I’m bragging, but Dear Leader was the only one who mustered the courage to jump into the icy sea. The waves were at least ten meters high, if not more. Let my hair grown again if I’m lying. VIDEO
Baraka Winery – sugar for the end
Baraka Winery is a family boutique winery located on the Srima peninsula, between Sibenik and Vodice, and the owners are completely focused on top quality and wine production from the heart of Dalmatia. Wine production in limited quantities and a slow, manual approach in almost all production steps with continuous testing and quality improvement is a good description of what they do and what they strive for.
Their white wine DEBIT is an autochthonous variety of the Sibenik region, light and refreshing with more discreet aromas, ideal for summer days, and the red wine Prisbus Riserva is a signature wine made from grapes that come from an estate in the heart of the Srima peninsula. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in new oak barrels and usually released after longer maturation.
As an experienced sommelier, I suggested that they think about using plastic canisters for wine and added that there is never enough sulfur in the wine. You can’t overdo it. The winemaker Filip was smiling and absorbing my every expert word.
For everyone from Zagreb, Sibenik is a great weekend destination. Less than 3 hours drive to the city that offers a little more than sun and sea. A city of magnificent cultural heritage, superb gastronomy and … Now someone has to pay for me to continue with my eulogies. I am definitely thinking of buying a property in Sibenik. If you are not from the poor family and you have land on the first row to the sea in Sibenik, feel free to contact me. A villa by the sea in Sibenik for Dear Leader Joe because this city deserve this 🙂 For more photos from Sibenik, take a look at the link on Dear Leader Joe’s Facebook page.
Author: Josip Novosel aka Dear Leader Joe aka Vin Diesel for the poor, self-confessed spell caster from Zagreb, correspondent member of the magazine “With wealth against poor people”, friend of rich and famous, first of all a humble man, and only then a tycoon and the Gastro Snob.