DON`T MISS THEM: 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia


The crossroads between East and West, Central European and the southern spirit of the Mediterranean, Croatia has developed a wide artistic, literary and musical tradition over the years.

A rich cultural heritage that lives beyond museums, churches and cathedrals, and places tourist love to visit.

Today in Croatia we have 10 World Heritage Sites – from romantic Dubrovnik to the magnificent Plitvice Lakes.

Here is the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia you shouldn`t miss this summer!

Diocletian Palace and Medieval Split (1979.)

The Emperor’s Palace is an important site of late-ancient architecture, when you take in consideration the preservation degree of original parts and the whole. The palace also has elements that forsee the new early-Christian, Byzantine and early-medieval art. The cathedral was built during the Middle Ages. Roman churches from the 12th and 13th centuries are situated within the old Roman walls, along with medieval forts and Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style palaces.

Dubrovnik Old Town (1979.)

The late-medieval city and state in the south of Croatian coast with its famous historical core has managed to preserve its urban whole throughout the centuries. Recognizable by its massive city walls looking over the sea, it represents a relevant example in the history of city planning. Though it was devastated by the 1667 earthquake, Dubrovnik succeeded to keep its historical treasure safe – its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries and fountains.


Early-Christian Euphrasius Basilica Complex in Poreč (1997.)

This cathedral complex was named after Bishop Euphrasius who renovated the cathedral in mid-6th century and decorated it with its recognizable mosaics. Before, in the same site there were at least two phases of early-Christian buildings. The basilica, the atrium, the baptistery and the Episcopal palace give us a sample of how religious architecture looked like, while the basilica itself has elements of classicism and Byzantine Empire. The apse is probably the most famous part, decorated with figurative mosaics, one of the most significant ones of that kind in Europe in general.

Historical Core of Trogir (1997.)

Trogir is a perfect example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street plan of this island-settled city originates from the Hellenic era. Many rulers continued to contribute to city`s architectural richness by building public and residential buildings, but also forts. Its Roman churches are supplemented with remarkable pieces of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The most famoust part of the historical core is the Trogir Cathedral and its west portal, a masterpiece of master Radovan, that represents the most significant example of Roman and Gothic blend in Croatia.

Plitvice Lakes National Park(1979.)

The indisputable natural beauty is a magnet for many tourists throughout the year. This phenomenon is a result of gypsum and gypsum-depositing plants. Creation of gypsum and with the rearrangement of the river bed, a string of 16 lakes was created. These lakes are surrounded by forests with its natural inhabitants – bears, wolves and many other animal and plant species.

St. James Cathedral in Šibenik (2000.)

This cathedral was built between 1431 and 1535 and is a result of mutual work of three architects – Francesco di Giacomo, George of Dalmatia and Nicholas of Florence. They used a unique technique to build the cathedral’s dome and the structure of the building itself, made completely out of stone. With many remarkable parts of this site, it also has one of the biggest mysteries of the 15th century´s architecture – 71 sculpted heads on the outer part of apse.

Stari Grad Plain (2008.)

This site holds vineyards and olive groves preserved in almost original state, dating back to the colonization of ancient Greeks. They are also an example of geometric land division that was used in the ancient times and the best preserved ancient Greek landscape in the Mediterranean. By using groma, a simple surveying instrument, the plain was surveyed and divided into parcels of 1 x 5 stadia, which is approximately 180 x 900 meters. They also carved boundary stones bearing the names of the parcel owners. Some Roman era buildings can be found on the site – so far, around sixty of them.

Stećci – Mediaeval Tombstones (2016.)

The monumental mediaeval tombstones, usually carved out of limestone and in a rectangular shape, with a flat or gable-top surface. Stećci often have inscriptions or some sort of rudimentary images, like arcades or other symbols, but also more complex motifs can be found – animals, chivalric tournaments and, the most famous among all of the motifs – the image of a man with his right hand raised. The decoration on it depended partly on artist who created the stećci, but also on the deceased, since the tombstones were created in accordance with their wishes. Some suggest that the first stećci were built in the second half of the 12th century and reached their peak in the 14th and 15th century. There are 4,400 stećci spread over two necropolises in Croatia – Velika and Mala Crljivica, Cista Velika and Dubravka/St Barbara, Konavle.

The Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries (2017.)

The defence system of Zadar and the Šibenik fortress of St Nicholas represent two of the six components of the transnational series of the cultural asset of the Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries that are listed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage. The Venetian Works of Defence from this period is an exquisite architectural ode to the “alla moderna” system, that covers many territories of the ex-Venetian Republic, and was an adequate response to the introduction of new firearms technology in military operations. The defence system of Zadar is the largest and most powerful fortress in the Adriatic. Its most valuable parts have been preserved – city walls with many magnificent bastions, the monumental Land Gate and the outer Forte fortress. In the mid-16th century the fortress of St Nicholas was built in Šibenik as a defence mean from the Ottomans. The fortress has a form of a triangle, on three levels, built in the previous mentioned “alla moderna” system.

The Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

With three areas, in the Northern Velebit and Paklenica national parks, Croatia joined the extension of this serial nomination, becoming a part of group consisted of nine countries (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine) that have done the same. Croatia`s three areas contributed to this extension with 1,289.11 hectares of beech forests in the Northern Velebit National Park (area of the strict reserves of Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi) and 2,031.87 hectares of forest in Suva Draga – Klimenta and Oglavinovac – Javornik in the Paklenica National Park. The inclusion on the list can be owed to specific geographical position, age, etc. of these forests.

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