The Reason Behind the Slow Revitalization of Šibenik Old Town

Total Croatia News

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Photo: Dusko Jaramaz/PIXSELL
Photo: Dusko Jaramaz/PIXSELL

”Don’t talk about it in the press, because of my function and Dubrovnik origin, but my impression is that Šibenik’s old town is the most beautiful on the Croatian Adriatic coast. And I think that Krešimir’s city will experience a real tourist boom when the right way to value that part of Šibenik begins. I am especially fascinated by the combination of Gorica and Doc at the foot of the fortress of St. Michael.”, told the then director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Mr. Niko Bulić to Slobodna Dalmacija ten years ago in a pleasant walk through the streets, squares and thighs of Šibenik.

At that time, Šibenik already had great momentum in the reconstruction of its four fascinating fortresses, which have always defended the city from the sea and land, for which, according to objective observers, the Society for the Preservation of Šibenik Heritage “Juraj Dalmatinac” is especially responsible, reports Slobdona Dalmacija. Hence the interesting explanation of the director of the hotel complex Amadriapark for a high donation (90 thousand kuna) to the company:

”No, I don’t think the donation is too high because we don’t need to invest so much in the promotion of our hotels anymore. Our best advertisement is the decorated Šibenik Old Town, for which the company “Juraj Dalmatinac” is especially responsible.”, Goran Zrilić, director of Amadriapark, told SD three years ago.

The enthusiasm of ”Jurjevci”

Frequent praises did not diminish the enthusiasm of the “Jurjevci”, as they are colloquially called in Šibenik. On the contrary, it seems that the restoration of some valuable details in the historical core of Šibenik has gained new momentum.

”In the last ten months, we have restored five details of the Šibenik Old Town architecture, and the sixth is in progress. We are talking about staircases, reliefs, vaults… Finally, we use our funds to -arrange the space for our activities, which were given to us by the city “government” as a sign of gratitude for our activity.”, said Nikola Grubić, president of “Juraj Dalmatinac”.

The transfer of space to the mentioned society is only a part of the efforts that the city government is investing in the renovation of houses, or rather roofs and facades in the old town.

In the last tender for subsidizing the arrangement of (private) houses in the old town, the City of Šibenik offered more than 750 thousand grants. And not only that.

Unofficially, the people of Šibenik are at the forefront of the European consortium, which consists of six European cities, called the Kairos project, which facilitates the lives of residents in the old town.

”We are convinced that our project has a positive effect. Of course, with the help of other city factors.”, in unison are the head Petar Mišura and Ines Sarić, who in the Office of Economy directly take care of the project.

However, some residents of private buildings made sure that the considerable momentum in Šibenik did not go as smoothly as planned, who, just like passers-by in the city center, witnessed the collapse of their buildings, but did nothing. These are old buildings, which are beginning to pose a danger to walkers, and where external “interventions” are not enough to solve the problem.

They returned the facilities…

”It has become an extremely current city topic. At the same time, I am especially angry with those owners, to whom we returned the long-nationalized buildings, and who, obviously, do not move a finger about their renovation, let alone move in potential tenants. There are also buildings that have already turned into typical ruins. Without roofs, windows, or hung shutters, and whose owners “disappeared” as if those buildings had fallen into the ground”, Mayor Dr. Željko Burić told SD in an informal conversation.

The problem is not only in the negligence of the owners of old buildings. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that Croatia, unlike some other Western European countries, does not have a law that, in such cases, would allow automatic urban “intervention”. Therefore, only (private) lawsuits remain, which, as it were, have been dragging on in our courts for years.

Perhaps the most glaring examples are two particular neglected buildings on the city’s busiest tourist route, across the stairs of St. Luca to the fortress of St. Michael. At the top of the stairs are two shamefully neglected buildings. For a tourist amazed by Šibenik Old Town, it is enough to look at their long-torn roofs, to turn his head to the other side, with disbelief that this is possible in a city which, as one of the last consultations said, “should be a model on how to value the city’s heritage in parallel with tourism development”.

For more, check out our politics section.


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