5 historical sites you must see in Croatia

23 October 2019 09:03

Discover the rich history and architecture of Croatia

Discover the rich history and architecture of Croatia

Croatia: home to walled cities, churches built over hundreds of years and Roman amphitheatres. Get closer to King's Landing and the history of Croatia by visiting these enchanting attractions...

1. Diocletian's Palace

The famous palace is so large that it came to be known as its own town; Split. Initially built as a retirement home for the Roman emperor Diocletian in the early 300s, half of the World Heritage Site was used as a military garrison. Even today, visitors can feel as though they're visiting a fortress rather than a once grand residence. Keep an eye out for Egyptian sphinxes dating back 3,500 years, found in the main square of Peristil, a reminder of the venue's luxury-living past.

2. Trogir

Sandwiched between the mainland and the island of Ciovo, the historic town of Trogir is a World Heritage Site found on a small land mass. The town's Cathedral is a strong contender for the one church in Croatia you must see. Dating back to the early 1200s and taking over 400 years to build, it's difficult to miss, thanks to a 47m bell tower that dwarfs the rest of the island.

3. The Cathedral of St. James, Šibenik

North of Split lies the city of Šibenik and its distinctive Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint James the Greater. The building is made up of three naves, where architects masterminded the building of a stone dome without using brick or wood. Game of Thrones fans may recognise the cathedral as the Iron Bank, where Arya Stark eavesdropped on a conversation between Lord Tyrell and Tycho Nestoris. The 71 life-sized sculpted heads of soldiers, fishermen, peasants, teenagers and old men are sure to impress even the most discerning of tourists.

4. Old City, Dubrovnik

You may recognise Dubrovnik as King's Landing from Game of Thrones or from Star Wars Episode IX. If that wasn't enough the old town is also UNESCO listed, and it isn't difficult to see why. The pedestrian-only, walled city was once the epicentre of the Republic of Ragusa, a sea-faring republic that reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries. The city's famous terracotta rooftops have featured in the city even before a major earthquake in 1667 that killed 5000 people. Today 5-star hotels and sea food restaurants welcome thousands of visitors to the city overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

5. Pula Amphitheatre

The Pula amphitheatre is a piece of Roman architecture that's truly one of a kind. Built in the 1st century as a gladiator arena, the cauldron of drama stands at 32 metres high. If you look carefully you'll find original slabs that once secured a fabric canopy to protect spectators from the sun. Built from local limestone and overlooking the harbour northeast of the old town, today the venue and its underground chambers are open to tourists. Visit in the summer for Spectacvla Antiqva, a weekly evening of (much safer) gladiator fighting and Roman style clothing, food and drinks.

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