The Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes was a monastery of Augustinian Canons situated in the south western hills of Soissons. Only ruins remain, of which the west front is still one of the most spectacular pieces of architecture in the town.
The abbey was founded on St. John's hill in 1076 by Hughes Le Blanc. Initially built in Romanesque style, the first buildings were replaced at the end of the 12th century by those visible today. The west front was begun in the 12th century, although not finished until the 16th. The refectory and cellar date from the 13th century, parts of the cloisters from the end of the 13th century, while other parts are from the 16th century, as is the abbot's lodging.
When the abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution the premises were put to use for military purposes, and an arsenal was added.
The site was acquired by the town of Soissons in the 1970s and the remaining buildings are now occupied by educational and heritage-related bodies.References:
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 and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.