Restoration of an over Five Centuries-Old Part of St. Michael's Fortress


Do you know where špirun is?

At the beginning of this week, recovery work on the buttress (Croatian: špirun) has started. It is a fortified site on St. Michael's Fortress, right by the double rampart. The restoration work worth 488.687,50 HRK will be done by the Neir d.o.o. company from Split, and financed by Fortress of Culture Šibenik together with the Ministry of Culture and Media from their program for Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage. The Ministry granted 180.000 HRK to Fortress of Culture for this project.

In fortification architecture, špirun (Italian sperone – buttress, protrusion) often signifies a smaller defense position protruding outside the long line of a rampart. The one on St. Michael's Fortress is of particular significance – it is the earliest known structure to have certainly been used for firearms, proven by the typical double openings for hand cannons. The buttress was constructed in the last decades of the 15th century in order to defend the Northern wall of the rampart, the then outermost line of Šibenik's defense. The dating is approximately confirmed by the archeological finds excavated during the three research surveys conducted between the end of 2017 and the end of 2019.

''All archeological research was integrated with the archival and historical ones into a single original scientific article with public access. Concurrently, a plan for the recovery project was also compiled, seen as the rampart is in a statically challenging condition. Our approach to the work on the buttress is a textbook example of fortification structure proceedings done correctly – research, public release of results, reconstruction work. We are currently considering the ways in which we could make this part of the fortress available for visitors, as well,'' said Josip Pavić from the Fortress of Culture's Department for Heritage Research and Interpretation.

The work includes breaking down and redoing the unstable parts of the rampart, while the reconstruction of the double openings will be done with the original stone. Further work includes the static fortification of the rampart, the injection, the reinforcements' filling with new lime mortar, and finally the removal of the extra clay embankment. The recovery work on the buttress will be conducted under the supervision of the Conservation Office in Šibenik, and all of it should be concluded by April 15th of 2022.


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