Cathedral of St James – Civitas Sacra
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The Šibenik cathedral also distinguishes itself by being entirely built from one single material – stone from the quarries on the islands of Brač, Rab and Korčula. Giorgio da Sebenico was the first to use the method of prefabricated construction, which was revolutionary at the time: stone slabs were precisely carved to slide into the grooves of their neighbours, which allowed for the stone parts to be assembled like Lego blocks, without the need for mortar. The roof of the central nave of the Šibenik cathedral and the transverse aisle creates a barrel shaped semi-circular dome that is visible from both the outside and inside, while the gable of the western side of the cathedral – as completed by Nicolas of Florence – ends with a tripartite, trefoil shape as a faithful projection of the section of the internal barrel-shaped semi-circular dome of the central nave and the domes of the two side aisles that have the shape of a quarter-circle. The trefoil front of the Šibenik cathedral is, therefore, not a subsequently built backdrop for the triple-nave church, as it completely corresponds with the transverse section of the form of the interior. This made the Cathedral of St James the first and only church in Europe to feature a trefoil gable.

The construction of a new cathedral was the symbolic culmination of Šibenik’s centuries-long striving to separate from the Diocese of Trogir and to, with the help of its own church, attain communal autonomy. It was erected on the southern side of the old central town square, on the site of the Romanesque Church of St James.

The idea of constructing a large cathedral dates back to 1298, whish is when Šibenik got its own diocese and the title of city. The decision on the construction and commencement of preparatory works was issued in 1402. However, construction began only in 1431, and lasted until 1536 with interruptions. During the first decade, Venetian Gothic builders and the master stonemasons Andrija Budčić and Budiša Statčić from Šibenik worked on its construction. During this time, the southern and northern wall, the lower, Gothic part of the building front and both portals of the church were built. When the diocese was founded in 1298, the existing Church of St James on the main town square was promoted into a cathedral, but as it was too small and therefore not well-suited for such a role, on the same occasion it was decided that the bishop and the city would provide the funds for the construction of a new cathedral. In the late 14 th century, after the old Cathedral of St James had been damaged by a Venetian invasion, the decision was made for a new one to be built and, in 1402, a fund for its construction was established owing to the efforts of bishop Bogdan Pulšić. Due to unfavourable political conditions and various other misfortunes that happened to Šibenik (plagues and fires), the construction of the new cathedral began only three decades later, with the laying of a foundation stone in 1431. The cathedral was completed in 1536, and in 1555 it was visited by bishop Ivan Lucije Štafilić. After it was thoroughly restored in the 19 th century, it was consecrated once again in 1860.

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