Unlike most Dalmatian towns, Sibenik sprang to life around the 9th century and was not an outgrowth of an earlier coastal settlement. It began as a fortification on a hill west of town, and below it the settlement grew. The Croatian-Hungarian kings took control of the town in 1102 and it became an autonomous city commune in 1292 when a bishopric was formed.
Sibenik's overlords changed frequently from the 12th to the 15th centuries. It was a merry-go-round of Hungarian, Croatian, Byzantine, Venetian, Bosnian and Hercegovinan rulers until Venice bought it outright in 1409. It still took another three years before Venice could pacify the stubborn town.
Turks attacked the town a number of times in the 16th and 17th centuries but never took it mainly because of its strengthened fortresses above the town and two new ones erected on nearby hills. Even under the harshness of Venetian rule, the town maintained its trade links, minted its own money and allowed a cultural life to flourish. When Venice fell is 1797, the town passed to the Austrians.
After some stagnation, it's worthwhile to note that Sibenik was among the first Dalmatian towns to have electricity (from the Krka waterfalls). Sibenik was occupied by Italian troops at the end of WWI but then became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
©CroatiaTraveller 2005-2017 All rights reserved