Scenic coastal trail revives former closed military zone in Šibenik

Jul 13, 2013

St. Anthony's Channel / UNDP design and blueprints helped secure EUR 1.4 million in EU funding

Several thousand Šibenik residents on 13 July 2013 celebrated the opening of a new 4.4-kilometer walking and biking trail along the left bank of St. Anthony's Channel, a narrow waterway that links the mouth of the Krka River with the Adriatic Sea. The trail runs across a former military zone that for decades had been surrounded by barbed wire and remained completely off-limits for visitors. The concept, blueprints and other technical documentation for the trail were developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2010. This preparatory work, costing some EUR 60,000, was crucial in securing EUR 1.43 million, or more than 20 times that amount, in pre-accession funding from the European Union, in order to complete the actual construction work on the trail.


UNDP's contribution to the project was through its COAST program. COAST works in the four counties of Dalmatia to promote a “green“ model of development, which aims to stimulate growth by cultivating the natural environment and local traditions, rather than by neglecting them. “We see this project as an excellent example of how this model can be put into practice,“ said Louisa Vinton, UNDP Resident Representative in Croatia, at the opening of the trail. “UNDP is proud to have helped in the very beginning to get this project started.“


The new coastal trail combines natural, historical, cultural and sporting attractions, including spectacular scenic views of Šibenik from two mountainous outcroppings, numerous coves for swimming, caves, a free-climbing wall, a historic chapel, a maritime tunnel chiseled out of the rock face by the Yugoslav National Army, and – at the very end of the trail – a 16th-century Venetian fortress. The area is also part of Natura2000 network as well as protected in the Important Landscape category. The completed trail is expected to enhance tourism by linking the area’s natural attractions with the city center of Šibenik and its hallmark 15th-century cathedral.


Šibenik-Knin County Prefect Goran Pauk emphasized that the new trail is as much an attraction for Šibenik natives as it is for the thousands of tourists it is expected to lure to the area. The new trail, said Pauk, will be “a sort of living room for all of us who gazed across the channel at the cliffs and bays but until now were never able to set foot there.” The opening was also attended by Šibenik Mayor Željko Burić and Anita Babačić Ajduk, Director of the Public Institution for Managing Protected Natural Values of Sibenik-Knin County, who expressed appreciation not only for UNDP’s financial support but also for the advice and encouragement provided by the COAST expert team headed by Gojko Berlengi.


The opening celebrations concluded with a concert in Šibenik's historic center by singer Oliver Dragojević, who serves as UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador for the Dalmatian Coast. The concert was open to the public and attracted several thousand enthusiastic participants.


For more information about the trail, see: