Top Historic Sights in Zadar, Croatia

Explore the historic highlights of Zadar

Roman Forum

Roman Forum of Zadar is the largest on the eastern side of the Adriatic sea, founded by the first Roman Emperor Augustus, as shown by two stone inscriptions about its completion dating from the 3rd century.  Ancient Zadar (or Iadera as the Romans would say) was a Roman colony from 48BC until the disintegration of the Roman empire in the 5th century. After a violent earthquake in the 6th century, the buildings surroundin ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Church of St Donatus

The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia. The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Zadar Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Anastasia is the largest church in all of Dalmatia. The church"s origins date back to a Christian basilica built in the 4th and 5th centuries, while much of the currently standing three-nave building was constructed in the Romanesque style during the 12th and 13th centuries. The site has been submitted to UNESCO"s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. History The first known bishop in Za ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Zadar, Croatia

St. Mary's Church

Church of St. Mary is a benedictine monastery church founded in 1066 on the eastern side of the old Roman forum.  The benedictine monastery was founded beside an existing church in 1066 by the Zadar noblewoman Čika. The monastery subsequently received royal protection and grants by king Petar Krešimir IV. After becoming a nun later in life, Čika endowed the monastery with two hymnariums and a prayer book, along with ...
Founded: 1066 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

St. Chrysogonus Church

The Church of St. Chrysogonus isnamed after Saint Chrysogonus, the patron saint of the Zadar. The Romanesque church was consecrated by Lampridius, Archbishop of Zadar, in 1175. Built at the site of a Roman emporium, it replaced the Church of Saint Anthony the Hermit and is the only remaining part of a large medieval Benedictine abbey. In 1387, Elizabeth of Bosnia, the murdered queen dowager of Hungary and Dalm ...
Founded: 1175 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Monastery of St. Francis Assisi

The Monastery of St. Francis Assisi in Zadar, along with a church of the same name, was built around 1221. It was consecrated on October 12, 1282 by bishop Lovro Periandar. Throughout the centuries of its history the monastery was the focal point of religious life in the city of Zadar. It was also home to the Franciscan school, precursor to today"s University of Zadar. It had rich picture gallery as well as a coll ...
Founded: 1221 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

St. Dominic Church

The gothic Church of St Dominic used to stand west of the Land gate. The first Croatian university mentioned in 1396 was a part of the monastery. This former church building has had an interesting past. Consecrated in 1280, it belonged to a Dominican monastery who founded the first university in Croatia there (1396). When Napoleon took Zadar in 1805, he abolished the Dominican order, turned the church into a barracks, an ...
Founded: 1280 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

St. Simeon's Church

First built in the 5th century, St. Simeon"s Church has undergone alterations until as recently as 1980, and some find the terracotta and white exterior disappointing in comparison with the other churches. This 17th-century church is best known as the home of the mummified body of St. Simeon, one of Zadar’s patron saints. The Chest of Saint Simeon is a rectangular cedarwood sarcophagus in the shape of a chass ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Land Gate

Once the largest city-fortress in the entire Republic of Venice, Zadar’s walls allowed it to retain more of its independence than most of its neighbouring cities, and meant that it was never captured by the Turks. The most impressive gate of the walls was Land Gate - then the main entrance into the city - in the little Foša harbour, built by a Venetian architect Michele Sanmicheli in 1543. It is considered one of the ...
Founded: 1543 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Venetian Fortress

Forte Fortress is situated east of the monumental Land gate, built in 1567 by the Venetian military commander Sforza Pallavicino. The fortress was separated from the city and from land by defensive moats. Today the Vladimir Nazor Park is situated there. Following the shoreline next to the Forte fortress one reaches the area of Kolovare, where a convex well with head was built in 1546 next to the sea and was used to supply ...
Founded: 1567 | Location: Zadar, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cochem Castle

The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.

In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.

In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.