Šibenik – St. Michael’s Fortress


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It’s Sunday night and I’m sitting on a set of stairs in the underbelly of a thousand-year-old fortress listening to a woman sing in French, her voice rising above the sound of chatter (in a handful of languages) and chinking glasses, just…piercing me. With a glass of wine in one hand and the hand of my love in another, I start to silently cry, partly because I am so overwhelmed with the beauty of the scene I’m surrounded by, partly because I’m so happy to be living it (and probably partly because it was my third glass of wine).

St. Michael’s fortress will now forever be this place to me, a place where I had one of those transcendent travel moments that’s impossible to articulate. These are the kind of Sunday nights happening all over the world in places you’ve never been, and these are the kind of nights that should make you want to go someplace new. The brochure for the concerts at St. Michael’s said, “It is not only the music that gives us chills,” which couldn’t be more accurate.

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the coolest things about Šibenik is the fact that it’s surrounded by four fortresses, and I really can’t emphasize that enough. You’re in a little fishing town on the edge of the Adriatic sea, and from almost anywhere (including the sea), giant castle-like structures dominate the red-roofed houses and everything else around them.

This is St. Michael’s, which sits atop a huge hill and towers over the rest of the town. When you get to the top, it opens up to the most breathtaking views of the sea and the city. It’s never crowded, so you might get the chance to stand up there on your own and take it all in.

The fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt a handful of times, and in the most recent renovations, the city built a theater on the inside, which has a smaller theater underneath (where we saw the French concert), complete with modern-looking bars and sitting areas. As with any renovation of a historic structure, there was some controversy about building the theater, but I think it was an amazing idea. The stage draws some of the top performers in Croatia, and a concert there is just unforgettable.

We don’t have any pictures of the French concert night, but I hope these ones do the place a little justice.

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