Church of the Holy Cross

Nin, Croatia

Church of the Holy Cross Crkva svetog Križa) is a Pre-Romanesque Catholic church originating from the 9th century in Nin.

According to a theory from an art historian Mladen Pejaković, the design has an intentionally unbalanced elliptical form designated to 'follow' the position of the Sun, retaining the functionality of a calendar and sundial. In its beginning, in the time of the Croatian principality, it was used as a royal chapel of the duke's courtyard nearby.

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Details

Founded: 9th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Croatia

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ivan Rinčić (4 months ago)
Great place for visit over summer!
Robert & Katie (Christophoros) (4 months ago)
Church of St. Križa, also known as the "smallest cathedral in the world", is located next to the parish church in the old Croatian royal town of Nin. It dates from IX. century, the shape is reminiscent of the Greek one-armed cross. The arms are vaulted with a cubic vault. The outer part is decorated with a series of blind niches, while the dome is irregularly elliptical in shape, tapering towards the top and decorated with blind niches on the outside. There are noticeable mistakes in the construction that were not caused by ignorance, but were deliberate because the shifts from the correct axis in the masonry are the result of following the sun, so this church served as a kind of clock and calendar, which is understandable given the liturgical hours to be observed. (clock). During the time of the Croatian national rulers, it served as a court chapel of the duke's court, which was located in the immediate vicinity. On the lintel at the bottom is the name of the prefect Godečaj (Godeslav), which is believed to be the oldest known inscription of Croatian times. In the immediate vicinity, about 170 medieval Old Croatian graves dating from VIII. to XV. st.
Lulitha Lekhapriya Wickramarachchi (5 months ago)
Nice place to walk around
pts pts (5 months ago)
Nicely preserved Church and site.
Edgar Ter Danielyan (5 months ago)
Amazing acoustics in this small ancient church dating from the ninth century.
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.