Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Search Results

The Cathedral of St. James, Sibenik

Info Sections
The Cathedral of St. James, Sibenik

About the site

Corridor: Via Adriatica
Country: Croatia, Sibenik
Type: Christian religious centre
Epoch: Modern Times
World Heritage: Cultural Heritage
Modern TimesChristian religious centreCultural Heritage

The Cathedral of St James in Sibenik (1431-1535), on the Dalmatian coast, bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. The three architects who succeeded one another in the construction of the Cathedral - Francesco di Giacomo, Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus and Niccolo di Giovanni Fiorentino - developed a structure built entirely from stone and using unique construction techniques for the vaulting and the dome of the Cathedral. The form and the decorative elements of the Cathedral, such as a remarkable frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces of men, women, and children, also illustrate the successful fusion of Gothic and Renaissance art.


In the 15th century, a new Cathedral was built on the site of the old Cathedral of St. James. The basilica (measuring 38 by 14 metres and with a 38-metre high dome) is built entirely of stone and is an organic blend of architecture and sculpture. The builder of the cathedral, Juraj Matejev Dalmatinac, is the most impressive figure of Croatian art of the time. The assembly system used in the construction of the apses and the baptistery, the vaults and the cupola – a concept matching the exterior and interior building elements, one through which the interior is projected onto the exterior trefoil front of the basilica. The topography of the Cathedral’s interior, with its baptistery below the level of the floor, with the raised chancel, the sacristies, choir stalls, balconies and galleries, seems to echo the dramatic topography of the town springing from the slopes of a hill, which gives it a relief and sculpturally unmatched by any other town on the Adriatic coast. But the feature that makes Sibenik’s Cathedral different from all other Croatian Cathedral is the unique play of light in its interior: the interior of the Cathedral is as intimate as the town square – the town square outside the cathedral becomes as solemn as the interior of the basilica. On the south side is the bishop’s palace with a Late Gothic courtyard.

Expert network

Read more about The Cathedral of St. James, Sibenik at the Unesco World Heritage List.