The beautiful seaside town Poreč is located on the west coast of the Croatian peninsula Istria. Its long history begins in ancient times, when the ancient Romans established the colony of Parentium. Many of the buildings are still being admired by visitors and locals today, although most of it are now ruins. The 6th-century Euphrasis Basilica in the heart of the old town is the most important monument of Poreč. With its fascinating history and stunning architecture, it is a must-see. The high cultural value of the basilica is also underlined by the protection of the UNESCO as World Heritage.
Christianity came to Poreč shortly after Christ and by the end of the second century there was already a secret Christian community. The Christians secretly gathered in the house of Bishop Maurus and laid a fish mosaic in the dining room of the house – as a decoration and as a sign of Christianity. The valuable mosaic can still be seen today in the Lapidary of the Euphrasian Basilica. Many Christians in Poreč suffered martyrdom before Emperor Constantine equated Christianity with Roman polytheism in the fourth century. As a result, the bishop’s former house was rebuilt and the first public church in Poreč was opened. A short time later the first basilica was built on this site and only a century later another one was built next door, the so-called Pre-Euphrasian Basilica. The foundations are still visible.
In the middle of the sixth century, bishop Euphrasius had the basilica pulled down to the ground and built a new, larger and magnificent basilica on it. We still admire this well-preserved basilica today. The great influence of Constantinople, the center of early Byzantine culture, can be seen particularly in the architecture and decorations. As in many other buildings of the time, such as the Hagia Sophia, the magnificent columns were made from a quarry in the Sea of Marble near Constantinople. However, it is the central apse of the basilica that draws the attention of all visitors with its rich and colorful mosaics.
The basilica is known for its unique architecture and rich decorations. The most significant part of the Euphrasius Basilica is the dome, which is considered one of the few examples of Christian domed buildings in Istria and an important testimony of early Christian architecture. Another highlight of the Euphrasius Basilica is the numerous mosaics, which are considered masterpieces of early Christian art. They are part of the church’s pompous decor and were made in the 6th century AD. The interior of the Euphrasius Basilica is completed by a unique play of colors of light and shadow created by the many windows. Besides the dome and the mosaics, the large altar is another masterpiece of the church. The Euphrasius Basilica is therefore a place that gives every visitor a unique experience, where both the history and the art of early Christian construction can be appreciated.
Euphrasius Basilica is an architectural masterpiece of cultural history. The structure was built with an abundance of ancient and medieval materials, including stone, marble, ceramics, and various metals. The basilica is also decorated with a variety of paintings, mosaics, and sculptures. Some of the most admired works of art are the frescoes on the interior wall of the basilica, painted between the 12th and 14th centuries. The entire building is surrounded by an impressive church wall, which served as a defensive structure against attacks. There are four towers in the wall, which give the complex a medieval atmosphere. Euphrasius Basilica is one of the most important examples of Croatian spiritual and cultural significance. It is a place full of history and is still visited by many visitors who want to explore its history.
It is worth taking a look at the Euphrasius Basilica not only for its rich history but also for its unique architecture. With more than 1400 years of history, Euphrasius Basilica is a true jewel of Roman-Croatian culture. It is proof of the continuity of culture in this region and an important architectural testimony representing the diversity and richness of the region. Euphrasius Basilica is a place where you can go on a journey into the past and a valuable heritage of culture that should be preserved.