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St. Mary Church and St. Donatus Church

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St. Mary Church and St. Donatus Church
St. Mary Church and St. Donatus Church
St. Mary Church and St. Donatus Church


What: Catholic Church
Where: Croatia, Zadar
When: High Middle Ages

In the ninth century Bishop Donatus built a monumental church in pre-Romanesque style. The church was mentioned in15 centu ry and described by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus in the 11th century. Whole pieces of the ruins of older Roman structures were used in building the church (some of them were even built into the foundations). The church has excellent acoustics and houses concerts during the famous International Festival of Medieval Renaissance Music (‘Musical Evenings in St. Donatus’), held for more than thirty years now.
The Church of St. Mary belongs to a Benedictine convent founded in 1066 by Cika, an eminent noblewoman from Zadar. She came from the Zadar noble family of the Medicis and is believed to have been a half-sister of the Croatian King Petar Kresimir IV. The walls of this Early Christian church were decorated with frescoes. A monumental bell tower was built in 1105. The church was fortified and reconstructed in the mid-16th century. A permanent exhibition of ecclesiastical art, called ‘The Gold and Silver of Zadar’, is on display in a building near the church.


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