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Architecture of Croatia

Croatian Architecture - Dubrovnik
Venetian-styled Dubrovnik

Croatia's oldest still standing architecture is from the Roman times. The two best examples from this time are the Pula Arena in Pula and Diocletian's Palace in Split. The arena was built in about year 0, while the palace was built about 300 years later. The palace however has mostly been destroyed, however many walls and buildings still remain. Over time new buildings have been put up in the space, including structures in Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.

Through the next millennium most of the architecture introduced in Croatia was church architecture or fortifications, primarily consisting of stone and Romanesque structures. The Euphrasian Basilica in Porec is a great example of early Christian (300s) church architecture as are many of the churches and buildings in Trogir.

The crown jewel of Croatia is the city of Dubrovnik and its beginnings as a sea power date to the 1200s when Gothic architecture was common in Croatia. Much of the city's architecture is from this time period (although it has been reconstructed since the Balkan Wars), however today many of the buildings have Renaissance or Baroque facades along with a couple churches in each of these styles.

Croatian Architecture - Church in Sibenik
Church in Sibenik

Dubrovnik remained a power through the next couple hundred years so as the next influential movement in Croatia arrived in the 1400s via Venice, the Renaissance, Dubrovnik continued building, but now in this new style. Venice ruled over much of Croatia's Dalmatian Coast through this time period so brought this new style to numerous cities and buildings in the region. The most well-known and important of these Renaissance buildings, however is not in Dubrovnik, but rather is St. James Cathedral in Sibenik (1400-1500s).

Along with Dubrovnik, Zagreb is also a great place to see both historic and modern Croatian architecture. Zagreb has been the beneficiary of most of the country's modern architectural movements as the expanding capital city of a now independent country. Zagreb also has the country's best examples of Austria-Hungarian architecture from the 1700 to early 1900s, particularly found in the city's lower town.

This page was last updated: March, 2013