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Poreč (Porec), Croatia


Poreč (Porec) highlights

basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Poreč is almost 2,000 years old town on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula. Its major landmark is the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The coast of Poreč has been one of the most visited tourist destination in Croatia.


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Poreč (Porec), Croatia
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Last reviewed: 6 January 2021

Poreč (Porec) description

Poreč is a popular summer resort on the coast of the Istrian Peninsula in western Croatia. In the historic old town, the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica complex is famous for its gem-studded Byzantine mosaics. The coastline north and south of town draws visitors with camping areas, marinas and beaches with water sports. Some 6 km inland, the Baredine Cave is notable for its stalactite formations.

During the 2nd century BC, a Roman castrum (in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, the Latin word castrum mean a building or plot of land used as a fortified military camp) was built on a tiny peninsula with approximate dimensions of 400m × 200m where the town centre is now. During the reign of Emperor Augustus in the 1st century BC, it officially became a city and was part of the Roman colony of Colonia Iulia Parentium.

In the 3rd century the settlement had an organised Christian community with an early-Christian complex of sacral buildings. The earliest basilica contained the remains of and was dedicated to Saint Maurus of Parentium and dates back to the second half of the 4th century. The floor mosaic from its oratory, originally part of a large Roman house, is still preserved in the garden of the Euphrasian Basilica.

For the construction, parts of the former church were used and the marble blocks were imported from the coast of the Sea of Marmara. The wall mosaics were executed by Byzantian masters and the floor mosaics by local experts. The construction took about ten years. Euphrasius, holding the church in his arms, is represented on one of the mosaics on the apse, next to St. Maurus.

The Euphrasian basilica is also known as the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Mary. The episcopal complex, which comprises the basilica itself, a sacristy, a baptistery and the bell tower of the nearby archbishop's palace, is an excellent example of early Byzantine architecture in the Mediterranean region.

The Euphrasian basilica has for the most part retained its original shape, but accidents, fires and earthquakes have altered a few details. Since it is the third church to be built on the same site, it conceals previous buildings, for example the great floor mosaic of the previous basilica from the 5th century. Because of its exceptional value, it has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997. The Basilica is also the Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Poreč-Pula.

The Baredine Cave, the only open geological monument in Istria, is in the vicinity of Poreč. Stalagmites in the cave are known for their curious shapes. One is said to resemble the Virgin Mary, another the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Lim Bay is a 12-km long estuary with the aspect of a narrow canal, created by the river Pazinčica by eroding the ground on its way to the Adriatic Sea. Quartz boulders are occasionally found here, exposed by the sea.

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