The Vrsar castle is a former palace and residence of the bishop of Poreč who ruled Vrsar from the 6th century until 1778. Today’s castle is basically a medieval building that was extended and altered in Baroque style in the 17th century. With the establishment of the Venetian reign in 1778, the castle was taken away from the Church and laicised. In the 19th century, it came under the ownership of the Vergottini family. The castle was renovated in 2001, and today it serves as a privately owned residential property in the country. The building dominates the townscape of Vrsar, and is clearly visible from the east entrance into the town, from the open sea and from the island of Sveti Juraj. It is the tallest and largest historical building in Vrsar.

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Kamenolomska 13, Vrsar, Croatia
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Founded: 17th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Croatia

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Antiquarium

Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.

These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.

There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.

The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).