THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CATHEDRALS ON THE ADRIATIC COAST

The Adriatic coast and islands are dotted with sacral monuments. Many of them, due to their beauty and artistic value, are part of UNESCO's World Heritage List. Find out more about them. Sibenik Cathedral, Sv. Jakov Church
The construction of Sibenik cathedral, one of Croatia's most important Renaissance architectural monuments, began in 1431 and ended in 1536. The cathedral is completely built from lime-stone and marble from the island of Brac. Since it does not have a bell-tower, its function has been taken over by a tower in the city walls nearby. Its beauty is primarily the result of the work of two masters: Juraj Dalmatinac and Nikola Firentinac. Juraj Dalmatinac's masterwork -the baptistery - harmoniously fuses Gothic elements with Renaissance features. He also had 72 stone portraits placed on the church exterior. Nikola Firentinac, follower of Donatello's school of sculpture, designed its 38m high dome, nowadays regarded as an outstanding accomplishment of Renaissance architecture. Because of its great artistic value, Sibenik Cathedral was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001.

Split Cathedral, Sv. Duje Cathedral
This octagonal building, located inside the walls of Diocletian's Palace, served as emperor Diocletian's mausoleum. In the 8th century, the building, from which this emperor once sought to eradicate Christianity, became a Christian cathedral. There are columns decorated with cornices of filigreed refinement in its circular interior, under which there is a crypt, while the richly ornamented entrance door is a wonderful example of the Hellenistic style. The brick dome was originally adorned with mosaics, while the hexagonal 13th century pulpit has features of late Romanesque architecture. The monumental walnut doorway, the work of Andrija Buvina, dates back to 1214. It is divided into 28 parts, framed with plant motifs and depicts scenes from the life of Christ. Sv. Duje Cathedral, as well as other buildings of Diocletian's Palace, are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Trogir Cathedral, Sv. Ivan Cathedral
This triple-aisled basilica, set on the foundations of an early Christian church destroyed during an Arab invasion, was built mostly in the 13th century, during the Romanesque period. Its vaulted ceiling, however, dates from the 14th century, and has Gothic features. The 16th century bell-tower with its four statues was built in the Mannerist style. The greatest value of Trogir Cathedral lies in its renowned Romanesque portal (1240), the masterwork of one of Croatia's greatest sculptors, master Radovan. This two-piece portal depicts scenes from the Gospel and the birth of Christ. The doorway is filled with scenes of everyday life, pictures of saints and apostles, exotic animals, sirens and centaurs. On the outer edge of the doorway, there are two lions, one on each side, on which are seated Adam and Eve respectively. Trogir Cathedral, as well as the old part of Trogir, are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Sv. Donat Church in Zadar
This 9th century church, erected on an ancient forum, has all the features of pre-Romanesque architecture and is considered the archetypal monument of Croatian sacral architecture. Therefore, it is readily compared to the court chapel of Charles the Great in Aachen. The church, with its 27m high monumental dome, is enclosed and simply ornamented, yet very impressive and has become the symbol of Zadar. Because of its acoustics, the church is used as a concert hall for manifestations entitled "Musical Evenings in Sv. Donat" (Glazbene veceri u Sv. Donatu).

Basilica of Euphrasius in Porec
The erection of the Basilica of Euphrasius began in the 6th century. This representative example of early Christian architecture consists of an atrium, a baptistery, and a basilica with bishop's palace and chapel. Due to fires, earthquakes, and other reasons, the basilica has been restored many times. Therefore, it consists of several historical layers and includes the remains of earlier interventions, the most important being the original 5th century floor mosaics, and the mosaics in the central apse. The Basilica of Euphrasius is the earliest church consisting of three apsidal terminations in central Europe, and its mosaics are amongst the most important treasures of 6th century monumental painting. Thus, the Basilica is rightfully included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Sv. Kriz Church in Nin
This church, topped with an ellipsoidal dome, has a ground plan in the shape of a distorted Greek cross. It is one of the most beautiful examples of Croatian architecture from the period of "national rulers". Although nobody knows for certain, experts are convinced that it was most likely built some time between the 9th century and 11th century. The church has, since then, retained its original form. Due to the fact that bishops had their seat there and the church's size (only 36 paces long), this church is known as the "smallest cathedral in the world". Nevertheless, it does not lack in either beauty or monumentality. This church has also drawn the attention of experts because of its perfect proportions. It is not only a sacral building, but also a calendar and clock of proven precision. In other words, the dimensions of the walls, doors, and windows were obtained through calculations of sunlight.

Dubrovnik Cathedral
According to local legend, Richard the Lion Heart, on his return from a Crusade, was shipwrecked near Dubrovnik. In order to be spared his life, he vowed to give money for the building of a church. The church built with that money, later destroyed in a catastrophic earthquake, is the foundation of today's Cathedral. The erection of the domed Cathedral in the Baroque style began in the 17th century. Its interior is adorned with paintings by Italian masters belonging to the Raphael school, while Tizian's work Assumption is located on the main altar. Its treasury was one of the richest in Europe until a catastrophic earthquake. A reliquary in the shape of a hand and the works of Dubrovnik goldsmiths from the 11th and 12th centuries have survived to this day.
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