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Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica - World Heritage Sites of Croatia


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Croatia World Heritage Site - Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica

Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica (1997)
A basilica in Poreč, Croatia. The episcopal complex, including, apart the basilica itself, a sacristy, a baptistery and the bell tower of the nearby archbishop's palace, is one of the best examples of early Byzantine art in the region. Because of its exceptional value, it has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

Euphrasian Basilica is part of a complex with a 6th-century octagonal baptistery, an adjacent 16th-century bell tower, a colonnaded atrium with tombstone slabs and archaeological medieval finds, an episcopal 6th-century residence and a votive chapel.

The two aisles are separated from the nave by 18 elegant Greek marble colonnades with richly sculpted Byzantine and Romanesque capitals, decorated with depictions of animals. They all carry the monogram of Saint Euphrasius. The arches between the capitals are decorated with stucco work.

The church houses also precious holy objects and other artworks from the Palaeo-Christian, Byzantine and Middle Ages periods. A votive chapel, next to the sacristy, holds the relics of Saint Maurus and Saint Eleutherius.

History of Euphrasian Basilica

The earliest basilica 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 church garden. This oratorium was already expanded in the same century into a church composed of a nave and one aisle (basilicae geminae). The fish (symbol of Christ) on the floor mosaic dates from this period. Coins with the portrayal of emperor Valens (365–378), found in the same spot, confirm these dates.

The present basilica, entitled to the Virgin Mary, was built in the 6th century during the period of Bishop Euphrasius. It was built from 553 on the site of the older basilica that had become dilapidated. 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.


Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia

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