Euphrasian Basilica

Considered one of the very finest examples of early Byzantine art and architecture in the Mediterranean area, the Euphrasian Basilica is a hugely popular attraction in the sleepy town of Porec, Croatia. Art, culture, architecture, and history combine to wondrous effects here, and as a result, enthusiasts flock from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the beautiful basilica in Porec. It’s of little surprise, then, that the Porec Euphrasian Basilica has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, placing it up with Diocletian's Palace in Split as one of Croatia’s most revered attractions.

The Euphrasian Basilica was initially built in the second half of the fourth century, though it’s believed the structure did not take on its present appearance until a little later—probably sometime during the sixth century, when a certain Bishop Euphrasius commissioned its renovation. Today the structure is affixed with a bell tower, which was built in the sixteenth century.

While the Porec Euphrasian Basilica is impressive to look at from the outside, it’s even more memorable within. Grandiose and pleasingly symmetrical, yet nonetheless delicately decorated, there is a wealth of things to see inside, not least the basilica’s famous mosaics, which depict Jesus, his twelve apostles, and other important biblical figures. Look closely at these mosaics and you’ll likely spot Bishop Euphrasius himself, who is seen holding a small model of the Euphrasian Basilica.

Next door to the Basilica in Porec you’ll find the Bishop's Palace, which is a museum housing even more mosaics. There’s an important fish mosaic here that’s worth seeking out: It’s believed to date back to the fourth century, making it one of the oldest mosaics to be seen in the Porec Euphrasian Basilica complex.

Aside from the Euphrasian Basilica, Porec is an important historical town, and it’s certainly worth visiting if you are traveling to Croatia. There are several attractions here, and while they may not rival the basilica in Porec in terms of sheer magnificence, they’re nonetheless worthwhile places to visit. Porec Old Town, for example, is a perfectly charming place, all stonewalls and red-bricked roofs, which makes for great leisurely exploration. The two temples on Marafor Square are also worth seeking out.

Having exhausted the delights of Porec town and its Euphrasian Basilica, many vacationers choose to extend their stay here just to enjoy the nearby beaches, which are largely within walking distances of the Porec hotels. Pebble, rock, and even the odd sand beach can be found here; all are appealing places, offering great swimming, fishing, and general sunbathing opportunities.

Porec is located on the Istrian Peninsula. The nearest transportation hub is Pula, from where you can catch coaches to any other major Croatian city such as Zagreb, Split, or even Dubrovnik, though the latter is quite a journey away. Ferries also ply routes that run from Pula to Italy, if you'd like to add more than one country to your itinerary.

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