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UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage

Croatia can really boast of its ten cultural and historic natural beauties inscribed in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage:

  1. Medieval tombstone graveyards
    a) Velika Crljivica and Mala Crljivica (Cista Velika)
    b) Dubravka/St. Barbara (Konavle)
  2. Venetian fortification system from the 16th and the 17th centuries
    a) The St. Nicholas Fortress
    b) The bastioned walls of Zadar
  3. Ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe
    a) National Park Paklenica
    b) Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi
    c) Northern Velebit National Park
UNESCO - Map of sights

Diocletians palace in Split

Diocletians palace in Split

The Roman Emperor Diocletian spent his declining years in an enormous palace that he had built near his birthplace, Aspalthos, in Dalmatia.

With the passing centuries the original architecture of the palace has been altered, but the people of the city, later called Spalato, and then Split, were able to use the structure of the palace, damaging it as little as possible, under Byzantine, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian rule. Thus, a harmonious city came into being within the Roman walls. The peristyle of the palace, Diocletians mausoleum, Jupiters temple, the colonnades along the streets, Early Croatian churches, Romanesque houses, the gates of Andrija Buvina and architectural works by Juraj Dalmatinac have remained in a good state.

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Basilica of Euphrasius in Poreč

Basilica of Euphrasius in Poreč

The most precious cultural monument in the city of Poreč, comprising a 6th-century complex of sacral buildings erected during the time of Bishop Euphrasius, lies in the northeast part of the urban-historical core of the city.

The Basilica, built on the foundations of a much earlier church, is dominated by a triple-naved apse, a narthex, the atrium, an octagonal baptistery, and the bishops palace.

The edifice was added to in the 13th and 15th centuries, and a bell-tower was erected in the 16th century. The apse is ornately decorated with figural mosaics, which, together with the mosaics in San Vitale in Ravenna, comprise one of the most remarkable examples of mosaic art in Europe.

From the floor mosaics and from preserved inscriptions we are able to follow all the phases of building, adaptations and renovations, that is to say, the dynamics of the life of the Christian community in Poreč.

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Plitvice lakes

Plitvice lakes

The River Korana creates a chain of about twenty limpid, emerald-green lakes and pools, arranged stepwise and punctuated by dolomite barriers formed by travertine sedimentation.

The water flows down from one lake to the next over waterfalls, creating a majestic architectural phenomenon of nature in motion.

The lakes are surrounded by luxuriant forests of beech, fir and spruce in which there are bears, wolves and rare birds, such as grouse and long-eared owl.

UNESCO...


Romanesque Town Trogir

Romanesque Town Trogir

Trogir was founded by Greek colonists from the Island of Vis in the 3rd century BC. On this Antique matrix lies the historical core of Trogir, which is the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex not only in the Adriatic but in all of Central Europe.

Trogirs medieval core, surrounded by walls, comprises a preserved castle and tower and a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Trogirs grandest building is the church of St. Lawrence, whose main west portal is a masterpiece by Radovan, and the most significant work of the Romanesque-Gothic style in the country.

UNESCO...


Old City Dubrovnik

Old City Dubrovnik

The walls of Dubrovnik girdle a perfectly preserved complex of public and private, sacral and secular buildings representing all periods of the citys history, beginning with its founding in the 7th century. Particular mention should be made of the citys main street, Stradun, the Princes Palace, the church of St Vlaho, the Cathedral, three large monasteries, the Customs Office and the City Hall.

The Republic of Dubrovnik was the centre of a separate political and territorial entity, and was proud of its culture, its achievements in commerce and especially of its freedom, preserved down so many tempestuous centuries.

UNESCO...


Cathedral in Šibenik

Cathedral in Šibenik

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.

UNESCO...


Starigrad Plain

Starigrad Plain

Starigrad Plain is the biggest and the most fertile field of Hvar and of the Adriatic islands in general. 6 km long, it extends from the Vrboska bay to the gulf of Starigrad in the east-west direction.

The specificity of Starigrad Plain is in its land division which derives from the times of the Greek colonization. After the colony foundation, the Greeks divided the terrain in the proximity of the town to approximately 73 equal rectangular plots, of 181 x 905 m cca. On this areas more than a 100 archaeological sites have been discovered in some minor properties from the Greek area (the Greeks had inhabited the island in the 4th century b.C.) and numerous roman properties, among which the most known is the villa rustica Kupinovik situated north from the road Jelsa-Stari Grad and the Greek tower Maslinovik north from the sport airport in the field.

Thanks to the dry-walls that mark their borders, the plots maintained their original form until today on an antique net despite its medieval aspect. This way of land division represents the best maintained original Greek division of the terrain on the entire Mediterranean.

In July 2008. UNESCO enlisted Starigrad Plain into its World Heritage List. The World Organization points out in its statement that on those locations the vineyards and olive groves remained "practically intact" since the first colonization performed by the ancient Greeks, which is to say the last 24 centuries, and that this is a unique witness of geometrical system of land division used in the Antiquity.

UNESCO...


Medieval tombstone graveyards

Medieval tombstone graveyards

Medieval tombstone graveyards (stećci) date from the second half of the 12th century to the 16th century, and most were erected during the 14th and the 15th centuries. Carved from a single piece of rock, they reflect the skills and knowledge of their makers. They were often decorated with inscriptions or simple images such as spirals, arches, stars and religious symbols, but also with more complex motifs such as animals and knights' tournaments. The most famous motif is a man with his right hand raised. There are about 4,000 tombstones in two necropolises on the Croatian territory: in Velika Crljivica and Mala Crljivica (Cista Velika), and in Dubravka/St. Barbara (Konavle). Except in Croatia, they can also be found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. Each of the countries is responsible for protecting, preserving and managing medieval tombstone graveyards located on its territory.

UNESCO...


Venetian fortification system from the 16th and the 17th centuries

Venetian fortification system from the 16th and the 17th centuries

Stretching from Lombardy in Italy to the eastern Adriatic coast area, covering more than 1,000 kilometres, Venetian fortifications represent a unique system designed for defence from land and sea attacks. Built by the Venetian Republic in the 16th and 17th centuries, land fortifications known as Stato da Terra protected the Republic from other European powers in the northwest, while those known as Stato da Mar protected its sea routes and ports. The St. Nicholas Fortress and the bastioned walls of Zadar make part of the Venetian fortifications on the Croatian territory. The St. Nicholas Fortress is located near the city of Šibenik, on an islet, and connected to the mainland by a narrow road on its southern part. It was constructed after the Ottoman Empire conquered the town of Skradin in 1522. It is best known for its unusual triangular shape, which was extremely rare in both Croatia and Europe at the time. Another interesting thing about the fortress is that it has not served its purpose in combat or defence. The bastioned walls of the city of Zadar separate its historical centre from the mainland, once connected only by a drawbridge. Several parts of the walls were reinforced by bastions. The Forte Fortress was the key defence point, overshadowing nearby defence structures due to its monumental splendour. Similarly to the St. Nicholas Fortress, Zadar's fortifications were built primarily to defend the city against the Ottoman Empire.

UNESCO...


Ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe

Ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe

The beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe are outstanding examples of pristine forest areas in a temperate climate zone. Covering the area from Mt Rakhiv and the Chernogor mountain range in Ukraine, across the Poloniny Mountain Ridge to the Bukovec and the Vihorlat Mountains in Slovakia, they were first listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007. The first extension was recorded in 2011, when five similar forest areas in Germany were added to the list. Together with the other nine countries (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine), the Republic of Croatia celebrated the second extension to the UNESCO World Heritage List on 7 July 2017.

UNESCO...

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