Roman sites in Croatia

Pula Arena

The Pula Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. It is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World. A rare example among the 200 surviving Roman amphitheatres, it is also the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia. The Arena was built between 27 BC and 68 AD, as the city of Pula became a regional centre of ...
Founded: 27 BC - 68 AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Arch of the Sergii

Arch of the Sergii is an Ancient Roman triumphal arch located in Pula, Croatia. The arch commemorates three brothers of the Sergii family, specifically Lucius Sergius Lepidus, a tribune serving in the twenty-ninth legion that participated in the Battle of Actium and disbanded in 27 BC . This suggests an approximate date of construction to 29-27 BC. The arch stood behind the original naval gate of the early Roman colony. T ...
Founded: 29-27 BC | Location: Pula, Croatia

Pula Roman Theatre

The smaller Roman Theatre of Pula from the 1st century AD was erected on the slope underneath the Venetian fortress. The area was divided into the stage and the proscene where the acting took place, the orchestra and the viewing area or the cavea. The theatre lied on the hill slope, which was the characteristic of Greek theatres. Only the stage foundations and a part of the semi-circular viewing area of the Small Roman Th ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Temple of Augustus

The Temple of Augustus is a well-preserved Roman temple in the city of Pula. Dedicated to the first Roman emperor, Augustus, it was probably built during the emperor"s lifetime at some point between 27 BC and his death in AD 14. It was built on a podium with a tetrastyle prostyle porch of Corinthian columns and measures about 8 by 17.3 m, and 14 m high. The richly decorated frieze is similar to that of a somewhat lar ...
Founded: 27 BCE - 14 AD | Location: Pula, Croatia

Temple of Neptune

The Temple of Neptune was erected on the Poreč forum in the 1st century. It is thought to be the biggest in Istria, although only a portion of its walls and the foundations have been preserved. During the Antiquity, Poreč as well as all Roman towns, had a forum, the main town square known today as Marafor, and a Capitoline temple facing it. It was believed that the temple was dedicated to God Mars in light of interpret ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Poreč, Croatia

Hercules Gate

Hercules Gate is the oldest standing Roman monument in Pula, dating from the 1st century BC.
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Pula, Croatia

Veliki Brijun Roman Villa

On the western coast of Brijuni, along Verige Bay, stands a magnificent Roman villa rustica. Its construction began in the 1st century BC, and it achieved its greatest splendor in the 1st century AD. Certain parts of the villa were used until the 6th century. It consisted of several buildings for various purposes situated at carefully chosen sites in different parts of the bay. On the southern side of the bay stood a su ...
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Pula, Croatia

Vizula

Vižula is an archaeological site near Medulin, confirmed to be populated from the Neolithic to the Early Middle Ages. Remains of a Neolithic settlement were found including wicker cottages glued together by soil and mud, as well as parts of the ceramics and some dishes. However, the most significant is the Roman villa, which has undergone systematic research, dating back to the 1st and the 2nd centuries. It was found tha ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Medulin, Croatia

Brijuni Kastrum

The richest site by its strata on the Brijuni stretches on an area somewhat greater than 1 hectare. Finds from the period of the Roman Republic and Empire, Late Antiquity, Eastern Goths, Byzantium, Carolingian period and Venice testify to the long time settlement. The first villa in Dobrika Bay was built in the 1st century BC.  During Augustus" rule, partly on the site of the first villa, a new villa rustica was er ...
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Pula, Croatia

Aquae Iasae

Aquae Iasae was the Roman settlement and Roman bath in the area of present city Varaždinske Toplice. In the 3rd century BC, in this area lived the Illyrian tribe Jasi, whose name the Romans referred to later in calling this place Aquae Iasae, 'Waters of the Jasi'. The village Jasa, thanks to its springs of water, grew into a significant medical, ceremonial, cultural and economic center of Pannonia Superior. Bu ...
Founded: 0-300 AD | Location: Varaždinske Toplice, Croatia

Nesactium

Nesactium was an ancient fortified town and hill fort of the Histri tribe. In pre-Roman times, Nesactium, ruled by its legendary king Epulon, was the capital of the tribal population of the peninsula called Histri, who were also connected to the prehistoric Castellieri culture. Some theories state a later Celtic influence, but who they were and where they came from has never been discovered for certain. It is believed tha ...
Founded: 9th century BCE | Location: Ližnjan, Croatia

Lorun

Lorun is an Antiquity archaeological site located next to the planned built tourist resort of Červar Porta. The remains of a Roman country villa, an estate consisting of the ceramics workshop, an oil mill and a water cistern were found, while the oldest villa doors coincide with the year 46 BC, the time of the establishment of the Poreč colony under the Caesar. Sisenna Statilie Tauro, a Roman consul for as many as 16 ye ...
Founded: 46 BCE | Location: Červar-porat, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Reims Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims, where the kings of France were crowned. The cathedral replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, that was built on the site of the basilica where Clovis was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in AD 496. That original structure had itself been erected on the site of some Roman baths. A major tourism destination, the cathedral receives about one million visitors annually.

History

Excavations have shown that the present building occupies roughly the same site as the original cathedral, founded c. 400 under the episcopacy of St Nicaise. That church was rebuilt during the Carolingian period and further extended in the 12th century. On 19 May 1051, King Henry I of France and Anne of Kiev were married in the cathedral.

On May 6, 1210 the cathedral was damaged by fire and reconstruction started shortly after, beginning at the eastern end. Documentary records show the acquisition of land to the west of the site in 1218, suggesting the new cathedral was substantially larger than its predecessors, the lengthening of the nave presumably being an adaptation to afford room for the crowds that attended the coronations. In 1233 a long-running dispute between the cathedral chapter and the townsfolk (regarding issues of taxation and legal jurisdiction) boiled over into open revolt. Several clerics were killed or injured during the resulting violence and the entire cathedral chapter fled the city, leaving it under an interdict (effectively banning all public worship and sacraments). Work on the new cathedral was suspended for three years, only resuming in 1236 after the clergy returned to the city and the interdict was lifted following mediation by the King and the Pope. Construction then continued more slowly. The area from the crossing eastwards was in use by 1241 but the nave was not roofed until 1299 (when the French King lifted the tax on lead used for that purpose). Work on the west facade took place in several phases, which is reflected in the very different styles of some of the sculptures. The upper parts of the facade were completed in the 14th century, but apparently following 13th century designs, giving Reims an unusual unity of style.

Unusually the names of the cathedral's original architects are known. A labyrinth built into floor of the nave at the time of construction or shortly after (similar to examples at Chartres and Amiens) included the names of four master masons (Jean d'Orbais, Jean-Le-Loup, Gaucher de Reims and Bernard de Soissons) and the number of years they worked there, though art historians still disagree over who was responsible for which parts of the building. The labyrinth itself was destroyed in 1779 but its details and inscriptions are known from 18th century drawings. The clear association here between a labyrinth and master masons adds weight to the argument that such patterns were an allusion to the emerging status of the architect (through their association with the mythical artificer Daedalus, who built the Labyrinth of King Minos). The cathedral also contains further evidence of the rising status of the architect in the tomb of Hugues Libergier (d. 1268, architect of the now-destroyed Reims church of St-Nicaise). Not only is he given the honor of an engraved slab; he is shown holding a miniature model of his church (an honor formerly reserved for noble donors) and wearing the academic garb befitting an intellectual.

The towers, 81 m tall, were originally designed to rise 120m. The south tower holds just two great bells; one of them, named “Charlotte” by Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine in 1570, weighs more than 10,000 kg.

During the Hundred Years' War the cathedral was under siege by the English from 1359 to 1360. After it fell the English held Reims and the Cathedral until 1429 when it was liberated by Joan of Arc which allowed the Dauphin Charles to be crowned king on 17 July 1429.

In 1875 the French National Assembly voted £80,000 for repairs of the façade and balustrades. The façade is the finest portion of the building, and one of the great masterpieces of the Middle Ages.

German shellfire during the opening engagements of the First World War on 20 September 1914 burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the cathedral. Scaffolding around the north tower caught fire, spreading the blaze to all parts of the carpentry superstructure. The lead of the roofs melted and poured through the stone gargoyles, destroying in turn the bishop's palace. Images of the cathedral in ruins were used during the war as propaganda images by the French against the Germans and their deliberate destruction of buildings rich in national and cultural heritage. Restoration work began in 1919, under the direction of Henri Deneux, a native of Reims and chief architect of the Monuments Historiques; the cathedral was fully reopened in 1938, thanks in part to financial support from the Rockefellers, but work has been steadily going on since.

Exterior

The three portals are laden with statues and statuettes; among European cathedrals, only Chartres has more sculpted figures. The central portal, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is surmounted by a rose window framed in an arch itself decorated with statuary, in place of the usual sculptured tympanum. The 'gallery of the kings' above shows the baptism of Clovis in the centre flanked by statues of his successors.

The facades of the transepts are also decorated with sculptures. That on the North has statues of bishops of Reims, a representation of the Last Judgment and a figure of Jesus (le Beau Dieu), while that on the south side has a modern rose window with the prophets and apostles. Fire destroyed the roof and the spires in 1481: of the four towers that flanked the transepts, nothing remains above the height of the roof. Above the choir rises an elegant lead-covered timber bell tower that is 18 m tall, reconstructed in the 15th century and in the 1920s.

Interior

The interior comprises a nave with aisles, transepts with aisles, a choir with double aisles, and an apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels. It has interesting stained glass ranging from the 13th to the 20th century. The rose window over the main portal and the gallery beneath are of rare magnificence.

The cathedral possesses fine tapestries. Of these the most important series is that presented by Robert de Lenoncourt, archbishop under François I (1515-1547), representing the life of the Virgin. They are now to be seen in the former bishop's palace, the Palace of Tau. The north transept contains a fine organ in a flamboyant Gothic case. The choir clock is ornamented with curious mechanical figures. Marc Chagall designed the stained glass installed in 1974 in the axis of the apse.

The treasury, kept in the Palace of Tau, includes many precious objects, among which is the Sainte Ampoule, or holy flask, the successor of the ancient one that contained the oil with which French kings were anointed, which was broken during the French Revolution, a fragment of which the present Ampoule contains.

Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral, the former Abbey of Saint-Remi, and the Palace of Tau were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.