The Artist's Guide
A Pilgrim’s Guide: Croatia’s Best Churches to Visit This Easter
Easter is a wonderful time to visit Croatia: The weather is warming up and the off-season means fewer crowds. Croatia being predominantly Catholic, you’ll also come across captivating traditions, such as the gorgeously painted Pisanica Eggs dating back to pagan times, Holy Week’s nightly processions, or the blessing of Easter food placed in wicker baskets. If you’re wondering where to go to soak up the Easter spirit, THE STELLA’s got you covered! Here are seven of Croatia’s best churches to help you build your itinerary!
Cathedral of St. Domnius, Split
A must-see for Roman history buffs. Located inside Diocletian’s Palace, Sveti Dujam (or Sveti Duje as it is known locally) was built in AD 305 as a Mausoleum for Emperor Diocletian and became a cathedral in the 7th century, making it the second oldest structure in the world to be used as a Christian cathedral.
Church of St. Blaise, Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik’s favorite! Dedicated to the city’s patron saint, this outstanding baroque church was built in 1715 by a Venetian architect. Check out the 15th-century gilded statue of St. Blaise, which was saved from the fire that destroyed the original church on the site. Also worth noticing: the unique stained-glass windows added in 1971.
Church of St. Mark, Zagreb
This is one of Zagreb’s oldest buildings and the most iconic due to its colorful tiled roof featuring the coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia, as well as the emblem of Zagreb. Marvel at its south portal — a Gothic masterpiece, and see works by Ivan Meštrović, Croatia’s famous sculptor, and painter Jozo Kljaković inside.
The Cathedral of St. James, Šibenik
Europe’s only cathedral entirely built from limestone and marble, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is also the most important Renaissance building in Croatia. Notice the braided olive branches brought for blessing on Palm Sunday, and don’t miss the Easter Monday brunch served to all in the town center: a giant frittata with a range of delicious local specialties. The St. James Cathedral also holds a special place in the hearts of Game of Thrones fans.
St. Euphemia Basilica, Rovinj
You can’t miss it! Dominating the small town from its hilltop location, St. Euphemia is the largest and one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Istria. It was built on the site of an earlier church to house the sarcophagus containing the remains of Rovinj’s patron saint, which, according to local legend, floated to Rovinj’s coast from Constantinople!
Church of St. Donatus, Zadar
This unusual Byzantine-style church is the most valuable pre-Romanesque edifice of the early Middle Ages, and the symbol of the city! Built atop the ancient Roman forum, it’ll also surprise you with its extraordinary acoustic features.
Cathedral of St. Lawrence, Trogir
Right in the heart of the UNESCO-protected Old Town of Trogir, this magnificent Venetian cathedral is sure to blow you away. Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, it is considered one of the finest architectural works in Croatia.