10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia
If you go to Wikipedia, as I before writing this article, you will see that Croatia is one of the countries with a substantial number of protected goods. Of course, Italy with 51, Spain with 45, Germany with its 42, United Kingdom 31, and Russian Federation with 26 protected goods are far ahead of Croatia, but you will admit, Croatia, a country with only a little over of 4 million people has 10 protected cultural monuments; this is quite promising for all travelers and visitors who intend to travel to Croatia.
I am convinced that the number of cultural goods under the protection of UNESCO will increase in time and until that time a brief overview of the UNESCO World Heritage in Croatia.
Dubrovnik?! Is there someone that has not heard of Dubrovnik? And did you know that Dubrovnik is in Croatia? Did you know that the world-famous “Game of Thrones” series was filmed in Dubrovnik? And did you know that the whole old town of the city of Dubrovnik has been under UNESCO protection since 1979?
Even in the Middle Ages Dubrovnik as The Republic of Dubrovnik was the only city/state on the east coast of the Adriatic. Along with all its wealth and diplomacy, the city developed very rapidly, especially during the 15th and 16th centuries. It is an extraordinary value of Dubrovnik for the development of Croatian language and literature because in Dubrovnik were lived and created many significant poets, dramatists and other scholars of the time.
There is indeed a great list of all the monuments of culture, city walls and fortresses, churches and monasteries, palaces, summer houses and other famous buildings in Dubrovnik. Therefore, if in doubt to visit Dubrovnik or not do not forget that despite the fact that you will enjoy the Mediterranean climate, eat Mediterranean food, swim in the Adriatic Sea (of course, if you are in Dubrovnik in the period from May to October), have the opportunity to meet, see and touch the legacy so valuable that it was recognized by UNESCO and included on its list.
2. Historical Part of Split and Diocletian’s Palace
No matter how often I come in Split or Dubrovnik, there is never enough and I always admire again to its beauty. You will also admire the ancient palace of Emperor Diocletian when you see it. You will admire the Church of St. Domnius next to the palace, Peristyle, chapels besides the palace and the sphinx that is one of the 11 that the Diocletian acquired during the Battle of Egypt. This is a very valuable sculpture that is assumed to have been made at the time of Tuthmosis I or Tuthmosis III. These rulers ruled in the 16th and 15th centuries BC (yes, so old).
I suppose you are now clear about what an old and valuable monument is Sphinx and the Diocletian’s Palace, and all the old core of Split.
Emperor Diocletian built his palace after the withdrawal from the throne in 305. The remains of this beautiful palace and its surroundings are part of the historic core of Split, which was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979. I can only say, DO NOT MISS!
3. Plitvice Lakes National Park
What to say about the Plitvice Lakes and that you have not read it in any of the famous Travel Magazines and have not seen the truly “magnificent” recommendations of all the travelers who visited this unique natural pearl.
This natural phenomenon has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List from 1979 and since then has been visited by millions of visitors.
Regardless of the season, Plitvice Lakes provide unique natural picture books were every, but every visitor stays breathless.
Summer, regardless of the maximum fares to enter the park, regardless of the crowd and regardless of the heat is the most visited period of Plitvice Lakes. In the winter you will enjoy the beautiful pictures of icebergs from the waterfalls, autumn brings a spell of color. Everything is lush in spring, vegetation and waterfalls are then perhaps in its most beautiful edition.
As I said, Plitvice Lakes are beautifully natural picture book and every page of that picture book is special.
4. Bishop’s Building of Euphrasian Basilica In The Old Part of Porec
Porec, already, in the first century after Christ becomes the city with self-administration of the ancient municipal. And later, Porec was closely associated with Byzantium, as evidenced by the Euphrasian basilica from the 6th century.
The construction of the basilica in honor of the Virgin Mary began in 573 years, and with it is built narthex, atrium, and the Bishop’s Palace. Head of construction was bishop of Porec, Euphrasius, and hence the name “Euphrasian Basilica”.
This basilica is decorated with many mosaics with as many as 73 humans’ characters. To create mosaics were used small cubes of stone, marble, and enamel of various colors, and cubes of crystal with roasted leaves of gold. On the highest place depicted the mosaic of the Virgin Mary sitting on a wide cushion and holding on his knees the child Jesus.
About the Basilica would be a lot to write, and I hope that all of you who visit Porec will visit this magnificent building dating from the 6th century which was placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1997.
5. Old Part of Trogir
Trogir is a small town of great history and the only one in Dalmatia without any stairs (the old part of town). Trogir is often referred as the “City Museum”, the whole old historical core of Trogir is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1997. There are few places or cities where the entire core is placed on the List of World Heritage, and Trogir, together with Dubrovnik, share this honor with a small society in the world. Isn’t that fact enough to visit Trogir?
Year after year there are more and more tourists in Trogir, even in the winter months, who tirelessly photograph all the beauties of Trogir, wanting to show a small piece of this stone beauty to their friends.
The rich history of the city of Trogir emerges already under the influence of old Greeks, Romans, and Venus.
One of the most famous monuments, of course, is the Cathedral of St. Lawrence with Radovan’s portal at the entrance to the Cathedral. Given that the Cathedral is situated in a central square, right next to it you can see the City Hall, Loggia, and famous Trogir’s clock.
If you are wandering dense narrow cobbled streets you will come to the waterfront and promenade, where you will, besides the numerous small and large ships you’ll see the Kamerlengo fortress from the 15th century.
The story of Trogir lasts for centuries, and my overview of Trogir isn’t enough to show all its values and beauties. I’m confident that you, like many others, will visit Croatia and find some time to visit Trogir, also.
6. Cathedral of St. James in Sibenik
Sibenik has two spots on the UNESCO World Heritage List, about the other one a little bit later.
Cathedral of St. James is fascinating same the exterior and its interior. What fascinated me the most was the fact that the Cathedral was all built with only a single material, i.e. stone. At the exterior part of Cathedral are 71 ornaments of human heads and this very successfully illustrates the mix of Gothic and Renaissance art. Along with the fascinating human faces, you will easily notice and admire to other forms of decorating of that period.
The Sibenik Cathedral has joined Croatian predecessors on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. Cathedral is placed along the Sea and can be seen from the three of Sibenik fortress. Arriving in Sibenik you will not be disappointed because Sibenik just like other Dalmatian cities offers a handful of other interesting places.
7. Stari Grad Plain on Hvar
This is the largest fertile plain on the Adriatic islands. Stari Grad Plain is rich in archaeological sites and already registered 120 of archaeological sites. The archeological sites show that in the period of late antiquity field was intensely populated.
In any case, next to the archaeological sites in the Stari Grad Plain area will see stone walls, old chapels and Roman paths which will lead you into a different time.
8. Stecci or Medieval Tombstones
The common heritage of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia are stecci, or medieval tombstones and was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016. In Croatia, stecak can be found in Crljavica near Imotski (municipality of Cista Provo) and Dubravka – the Church of St. Barbara in Konavle near Dubrovnik, which is also the best-preserved place for medieval tombstones in Croatia.
This type of tombstone is less known in the world and to the public, so, for example, it is not known that the Notre-Dame in Paris, the masterpiece of Gothic architecture, was created in in same time with the stecak.
The stecak – medieval monument appears at the beginning of the 13th century and this phenomenon lasts until the beginning of the 16th century. Interestingly, amongst thousands of stecaks you will not find the same, everyone is decorated in a different way. There is nothing similar in the world, and according to UNESCO’s report the possible parallel in the value of this cultural monument is such as KHACHAKAR in Armenia or CELTIC CROSS in Ireland.
9. Venetian Fortress
Even 15 of Venetian fortress is inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2017. Two of them are in Croatia.
These fortresses closely describe the fortifications built by the Republic of Venice in the period from the 15th to the 17th century. The Venetian forts were indispensable and served as a support to the territorial expansion and jurisdiction of the Venetian Republic.
Zadar’s Land Gate „Fosa“
In the famous port of Zadar, in 1543, the Land Gate was built, and that was the main entrance to the city and an amazing masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. This is one of the most beautiful monuments of Venetian culture in Dalmatia.
Fort of St. Nicholas in Sibenik
At the entrance to the channel of St. Anthony is also home to the beautiful fortress of St. Nicholas built at the beginning of the 16th century with the intent to protect the city from the Turks attack from the seaside. This is one of the strongest naval fortress and a true architectural gem on the Adriatic coast. It is made of white stone in the lower part and in the upper part is brick-walled.
10. The Rainforests of Beech in the Carpathian Mountains and Other Areas of Europe
These rainforests are a very valuable source of genetic material of beech and an outstanding example of colonization after the ice age. Also, these beech forests are the most comprehensive and most complete example of ecological patterns and processes of European beech in the different natural environment.
In Croatia, in 2017, three such forests were found in the well-known company of other beech forests on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The reason for this is certainly exceptionality of beech forests which are based on their origin, geographic location, age, and size.
If you’re a fan of untouched nature be sure to visit Northern Velebit National Park, Nature Reserve Hajducki and Rozanski Kukovi, as well as National Park Paklenica and see the beauty that is recognized by UNESCO.