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News 15 Jun 17

UNESCO Adds Two More Croatian Sites to Heritage List

UNESCO is about to include two more Croatian sites on its World Heritage list - the old walls of the town of Zadar and the St Nicholas Fortress in the town of Sibenik.

Sven Milekic
St. Nicholas Fortress. Photo: Flicr/R3li3nt

Two more Croatian sites join UNESCO’s World Heritage list in July, one from the Adriatic coastal town of Zadar and the other from the coastal town of Sibenik.

One is the defensive walls surrounding Zadar. These were built between the 15th and 17th century by Venice, which governed the area from the 13th century onwards, after it sacked and virtually destroyed the town with the help of French Crusaders.

Nowadays the old walls still stand on the landward side of Zadar’s Old Town – located on a small peninsula – and by the harbour.

UNESCO has also included the 16th-century defensive fortress of St Nicholas, located on the isle of Ljuljevac, on the mouth of a narrow sea channel leading towards Sibenik.

The fortress, which almost completely covers the isle, has a specific triangular shape, making it an attractive feature for aerial photos. The fortress was also built by Venice, to protect Sibenik and nearby Skradin from raids by Ottoman Turks.

Both Zadar and Sibenik have become popular tourist hubs on the Croatian Adriatic coast – with over 438,000 tourists visiting Zadar and over 290,000 in Sibenik in 2016.

Town walls in Zadar harbour. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Janos Tamas

Sibenik is already home to another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cathedral of St James, built in the 15th and 16th century by Italian and Croatian architects and sculptors.

Zadar is meanwhile famous for its Roman Forum, a square built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus and for a rare 9th-century church, the pre-Romanesque Church of St Donatus located on the square.

The country of 4.2 million inhabitants and 56,000 square kilometres now has ten sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

The list mainly includes other localities on the coast, such as the medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik, the palace of the 5th century Roman Emperor Diocletian in the coastal city of Split, the Renaissance-era coastal town of Trogir, a Byzantine 6th-century basilica in the northern coastal town of Porec and Stari Grad Plain – on the southern island of Hvar – an agricultural landscape built by Greek colonists in the 4th century BC.

The only two UNESCO sites in Croatia not located on the coast are the Plitvice lakes, with its waterfalls and caves, and the medieval necropolis straddling the inland municipalities of Cista Provo and Konavle. Twenty more of these burial sites are located in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, while three are in Montenegro and Serbia.

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