Croatia's Contribution to World Heritage

Croatia's Contribution to World Heritage

Diocletian's Palace Split CroatiaCroatia can be proud of it`s six cultural, historical and natural sights registered in the UNESCO's registry of world monument heritage. These are: Basilica of Euphrasius in Porec, Diocletian's Palace in Split, the old town square in Trogir, the Sibenik cathedral, the beautiful old town of Dubrovnik and the National Park Plitvice Lakes.

The construction of the basilica began in the 6th century but a lot of changes occurred later. Thus, the Gothic church stands on the original building from the Early Christian period. Although the building itself was damaged by earthquakes, wars and fires, the authentic floor mosaics from the 5th century have been preserved and they are a representative example of the Early Christian painting. The figures of Christ and martyrs, as well as the fascinating composition of Our Lady on the throne, are marvellous examples of filigree work. The oldest fragments of the mosaic date from the 3rd century.

The construction of this luxurious palace started in 295 and lasted until 305. Emperor Diocletian spent his last years there. The palace has a quadrangular ground-plan with the 215 x 180 m dimensions and occupies the surface of 38 500 m2. This best preserved antique building in Croatia was built of the stone from the island of Brač. It displays the elements of an ancient villa and a fortified castle and comprises the nucleus of today's Split. During the 5th and 6th centuries the Palace became a dwelling object, while more than 2600 people lived there at the end of the 19th century. Today, its cellars have been transformed into exhibition areas, and the open square of the monumental Palace have become attractive summer stages for cultural events.

The old town nucleus from the 13th century is registered in the UNESCO's registry of world heritage as the culmination of stone-mason's art. The town consists of two parts: eastern and western ones, and common city walls with towers encompass them. Each house has its own coat of arms and inscription. The town square and the cathedral erected on the place on an ancient temple, and its preserved portal from the 13th century - the works of the master Radovan depicting scenes from the Gospel - are only a part of virtuoso-chiselled sculptures and reliefs which transform the streets of this town into the monument of human mastership.

The Sibenik cathedral is the most significant architectonic monument of the Renaissance in Croatia. The construction of this church of lime stone and marble from the island of Brač began in 1431 and lasted until 1536. The last phase of building was supervised by masters Juraj Dalmatinac and later Nikola Firentinac who gave the cathedral its monumental appearance. The outside border of the church is decorated with 72 Renaissance portraits of the outstanding individuals of that period. The first-rate art of Dalmatian masters has been recognised by registering the Sibenik cathedral into the registry of the world monument heritage of the UNESCO.

The national park the Plitvice Lakes is situated in wooded hills between the mountains of Kapela and Pljesivica. The UNESCO has introduced it into the world natural heritage. This complex consists of 16 terrace-like lakes in dolomite and lime stone connected with falls and cascades. Upper and lower lakes together are 8 km long. The unique phenomenon of these green beauties is an exceptional transparency of water which is, on the biggest lake Kozjak, even 8,2 m.

The world has recognised Dubrovnik as the town of exceptional cultural and historical monuments, so that UNESCO has declared the whole old town nucleus as the protected world heritage. The town was founded in the 7th century and it is encompassed with 2 km long walls considered to be among the most massif defence fortifications in Europe. The city walls are 25 m high and 6 m thick and include 36 forts, towers and fortresses. They are encircled with beautiful streets consisting of houses and palaces from all periods of the famous Dubrovnik Republic. To walk through Dubrovnik, to drink coffee on the Stradun (Plaza), to walk on the old town walls is like a visit to a live gallery of styles and periods.

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