Night in Vodice downtown

Vodice - Eventful history

Vodice was mentioned for the first time in 1402 when the construction of St. Cross Church commenced near the present Hotel Punta. Records made in Šibenik during that year named Vodice for the first time. The document stipulated that farmers and labourers from Vodice have to put aside part of their earnings for the construction of Šibenik Cathedral. At the time, the coast was very sparsely populated, with only a few houses built. The ships were anchored there and a fair would be held. Domestic farming and craft products were traded for those that arrived with ships. However, Vodice was a phenomenon in one aspect: they exported drinking water until the end of the 19th century. After all, Vodice developed in this very place because of wells with brackish water. Two of these wells have been preserved on the central town square, as a memory of tradition and old customs. A well was not merely a place where people came to get drinking water and wash their laundry: all social events took place there, new loves were born and marriages agreed on, circle chain dances were danced and songs were sung, people met and parted there, they laughed and cried there.

Vodice middle of the last centuryThe current area of Vodice was inhabited in the ancient times and it was known as Arausa. Our roots and history are hidden on both sides of the road leading into the town. Rakitnica, Mrdakovica, Pišća, Kamena and Okit are nowadays names of a fertile estates owned by our hard working labourers, and they used to be residences and villages where people lived and worked. Numerous material evidence testify of continuous life in these fields ever since the Iron Age.

In 1412,Vodice came under the Venetian administration. Settlement expansion and population growth took place in the early 16th century due to the wars between Venetians and Turks, when the nearby inland population, which was in danger, fled towards the coast. Agricultural lands and plenty of drinking water, along with the importance of Vodice’s position contributed to the efforts to protect the place from the Turkish conquest. Therefore, already in the 16th century, Vodice was surrounded with high walls and towers.

After the collapse of the Venetian government in 1797, Vodice, as well as the rest of the Šibenik area, came under Austrian rule and during the period between 1806 and 1813 under the French administration. At the end of 1813, the Austrian rule was re-established and maintained until 1918. The fields of Vodice, which are rich in water and fertile soil, are an ideal place for growing olives, grapevine and Marasca cherries. Nowadays, there are still remains of residences that once accommodated people, wells and puddles where livestock drank water have been well preserved.

Sunny day on the waterfront in VodiceIn the midst of green cultivated fields there are „gromače“, big dry stone walls, which were used to separate one land owner from the other and testify about the firm Dalmatian spirit, will, strength and rebelliousness. „Bunje“, old traditional buildings once used as lodging for shepherds as a shelter from bad weather or simply a tool storage, have also stood the test of time.

After the final departure of the Turks, the village began to prosper. More and more houses were built outside the town walls. The population began to grow, so the little St. Cross Church became too small to accommodate its whole congregation. It was decided that a new parish church in the centre of the town would be built. The construction began in 1746 and lasted until 1749. The construction master was the famous baroque architect, Ivan Skoko. In 1891, Vodice became an independent municipality. The place advanced and grew stronger as an economic and administrative centre.

Today, Vodice is a popular tourist centre with 50 years of tradition.


Recommended links:

Tourist board Vodice

City of Vodice (official site)