If you’re a coinesseur of the historic monuments and beautiful churches of Croatia, you’ll enjoy the Unesco World Heritage site of the Basilica of Euphrasius that we visited this summer while staying near Poreč in the province of Istria in Croatia.
You’ll find the Basilica set in the pedestrianised narrow streets of the old town, which is not so large that you’ll have any difficulty finding it. The old town of Poreč is surrounded on three sides by water and is a great place to wander around for a few hours, soaking up the atmosphers, taking a seat in any small squares or bars you come across and stocking up on gelato and souvenirs.
The main claim to fame of the Basilica of Euphrasius in Poreč, Croatia is the beautifully decorated dome at the back of the church, covered with golden mosaics of Christ surrounded by his apostles and saints as well as Bishop Euphrasius who built the church in the 6th century (well if you went to all that trouble, you’d want to make sure you were remembered, wouldn’t you?) As well as the mosaics, I loved the beautifully carved stone arches, running down each side of the church, each with a slightly different motif. There are classical concerts held at the Basilica on summer evenings and while we were visiting in the afternoon, we were lucky enough to hear a concert pianist rehearsing for the evening performance. You can hear the music on my Podcast about our visit to Istria.
There are other courtyards to visit within the Basilica complex and a bell-tower to climb, although I wasn’t able to stay long enough to see them, as my kids were more interested in an ice cream and getting back to the hotel pool than checking out an old church. But I did take a look at the remains of the original mosaic floor close to the entrance. Although the walls of the Basilica of Euphrsius are now quite plain, I believe they must have originally been covered by frescos, of which you can see fragments here and there.
When you’ve looked around the Basilica, take a stroll around the perimeter of the old town of Poreč and the back streets and lanes. As is typical on much of the coast of Croatia, one minute you’ll find a rocky place with locals swimming, the next you’ll be staring at a swish hotel and glossy, expensive yachts in the marina. There are plenty of places selling boat trips from the harbour, including the clear water of the Limski Kanal, an inlet that’s famous for farming oysters where we had a great seafood meal. On Sundays there’s a flea market under the trees by the bus station as well as lots of souvenir stands around the harbour. We loved our few days in Istria, there seems to be something for everything, whether you like a bit of history like me, or you’d rather be eating gelato and swimming like my kids!
Other Posts to enjoy from Istria in Croatia