Top Historic Sights in Solin, Croatia

Explore the historic highlights of Solin

Salona Amphitheatre

At the northwest end of Salona’s town limits, subsequently fortified, there is an amphitheatre, which forms part of the town defence system. Its remains are comparatively well-preserved, showing the benefits of the well known reconstruction made by the Danish archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve.  Dyggve considers that the amphitheatre was designed by Roman architects who performed similar tasks elsewhere too, and that it was b ...
Founded: 2nd century AD | Location: Solin, Croatia

Salona

Salona was an ancient city and the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The first mention of the name Salon originates about 7th century BC as an Illyrian settlement. It is the largest archaeological park in Croatia, whose size is attested by the monumental ramparts with towers and gates, a forum with temples, an amphitheater and cemeteries with Salonian martyrs (Manastirine, Kapljuč, Marusinac). Salona was a town ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Solin, Croatia

Gradina

Among the remains of the Solin buildings, of particular interest is the complex known as Gradina (Hill-Fort), next to the very river and the Roman town’s eastern walls. A church of an unusual ground plan, built over the Roman époque remains, is today situated within a medieval fortress. This was built, according to some authors, by the Split archbishop Ugolino de Mala Branca (1349-1388) to protect the people of Split f ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Solin, Croatia

Hollow Church

Close by the Jadro, to the east of Salona, there are remains of churches on the site known for centuries by the local people by the true, descriptive name of Šuplja crkva (Hollow Church). The name originates from the time when here there were walls of an unattended church with a collapsed roof, recorded on the Camuci’s map of 1571. Remains of a three-aisled basilica, dedicated to Ss. Peter and Moses appear to have exis ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Solin, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).