The cathedral located in Šibenik, the Cathedral of Saint Jakov, is a three-aisled basilica with three apses and a cupola (interior height 32 m). Construction of the cathedral was begun in the Venetian Gothic style, but was completed in the Toscana Renaissance style.
More than 15 decades ensued from the time the decision was made to commence construction, from 1402 up to its final consecration in 1555. Construction began in 1431 on the site of an earlier, smaller cathedral that had been destroyed, and material from that smaller edifice was used in the construction of the cathedral. Stone for its building was brought from the islands of Korčula, Susak, Brač, Rab and Krk.
During the first phase, construction works were uted by the Italian masters Francesco di Giacomo, Lorenzzo Pincino, and Pier Paolo Bussato, together with domestic master stonemasons Andrija Budčić and Grubiša Slavčić (side walls and both portals) In 1444 construction works were led by Juraj (Matejev) Dalmatinac. Under his guidance the church was built to the height of side aisles, as well as a shrine, apses containing a frieze of 74 heads (thought to be portraits of eminent residents of Šibenik) and a sacristy with an open area at ground level. Nikola Firentinac was the next person to continue the work (completion of side aisles, cupolas, and roof project - a stone-tiled vault). After the death of Nikola Firentinac in 1505, construction of the cathedral was finally completed by Bartolomeo and Gicomo da Mestre.
This unique sacral monument is an extremely interesting example, in that it is the only building in Europe constructed before the 19th century which contains no masonry elements, with its walls, vaults and cupolas having been constructed through the unique method of assembling previously precisely chiselled stone sections (a method introduced by Juraj Dalmatinac), and usually used in carpentry. Because of the unity of building in stone and the method of assembly, the magnificent and unique nature of the interior and exterior resulted in a building whose exterior volume corresponds exactly to the form of the interior. A direct consequence of that is the fact that the gable of the main facade (triple leaf-shaped) is the oldest in Europe and the only one that appears as a projection of a three-aisled church area, in congruence with the shape and size of the vaults. All other triple leaf-gables are stuck to church facades, having differently shaped vaults, or ceilings and roofs as scenery facades.
Within the cathedral, in the aisles, are several altars, while above the aisles there are two rows of galleries. The cross on the altar of Sv. Križ is a masterpiece by Juraj Petrović, dating from 1455. On the altar of Sv. Tri kralja there are two marble reliefs depicting angels, the work of Nikola Firentinac and the painter Bernardin Ricci. The statue of a prophet is a masterpiece by Pavle Gospodnetić, dating from 1594; the carved pulpit is a masterpiece by Jerolim Mondel (1624).
On the altar of Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian there is a picture of Filip Zaninbertia. The main altar of The Mother of Tears dates from 1638. When strolling among the tombstones one may notice the epitaph of Juraj Šižgorić, a work by Andrija Alesija (1454) according to a drawing of Juraj Dalmatinac; a monument to Bishop Spignaroli (A. Nogulović) and the sarcophagus of Ivan Štafilić. Šibenik Cathedral was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2000.