Croatia has a really rich culture and history, which means that it is full of historic monuments you should visit when you’re in this country. These historic gems are hidden all around the country, so we’re going to give you a ‘top 10’ list so you could find them a bit easier, but I really recommend some extra research because these are only some of the really beautiful things you should see when you visit Croatia.
1. Pula Arena
The Pula Arena, as its name already reveals it, is located in Pula. It’s an amphitheater. This is the only amphitheater from the Roman times which still has all four side towers and is still really well preserved. It can be also listed as the best-preserved ancient monument in this country. It was built when Pula became a center of the region, between 27 BC and 68 AD. Today it is one of the best-known monuments of Croatia and people are delighted when they visit it. Make sure to visit it too so you could see this beautiful piece of history for yourself.
2. Onofrio’s Fountains in Dubrovnik
In the beginning, the citizens of Dubrovnik had to gather rainwater so they would have fresh water. Around 1436 they decided that they need a more efficient way of supplying water to the city, so they hired two builders to build an aqueduct system to bring water from a nearby place, Šumet. When the aqueduct was finished, one of the builders, Onforio, built two fountains, a small and a big one. The big one served as an ending point for the aqueduct system. It’s is interesting because it has 16 sides, and all the sides have a “maskeron” design on them, which is a mask carved out of stone.
3. Manastirine Necropolis in Solin
Necropolises are really interesting because they are always mysterious and so ancient. This one in Solin is an old burial site, it’s said to be from the 4th century. It is known as the final resting place of SaintDomnius, Solin’s Bishop. The Christians of Solin and of the nearby villages used this place to bury their heroes who died in battle and later it became a place where they prayed to and for their dead. Two centuries later they built a basilica on this burial site. Today the Necropolis serves as a gathering point for Christians, they gather here on All Souls Day.
4. Roman Arch in Rijeka
The Roman arch, also known as the Old Gateway was once known as a Roman triumphal arch, but later on, they realized that it was, in fact, the main entrance of a command compound in the old Roman city Tarsatica on whose ruins Rijeka was built later on. This arch was a part of something that was really important once. It was the entrance to the supply center, the main headquarters and it was part of the defensive walls too. Today it is one of the best-known tourist attractions in Rijeka. Unfortunately, you can’t see it in its formal glory anymore since its parts fell off due to different events through history, but it’s still amazing.
5. Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč
The Euphrasian Basilica is located in Poreč and can be found on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, it should already give you a hint about the importance of this historic monument. It is a well-preserved example of the early Byzantine architecture on these parts. The building itself has mixed elements since it was built on the same site as two other churches. That means that it contains a floor mosaic from the 5th century and also an octagonal baptistery which was built before the Basilica. The Euphrasian Basilica itself was built in the 6th century but it got many extensions throughout history. It also contains beautiful art pieces, so if you’re a history buff and you also like art, you should definitely visit it.
6. Trakošćan Castle
This castle has a big cultural and historic relevance. It dates back to the 13th century. There is a legend that it was named after the knights of Drachenstein. These knights were in charge of the region the castle was built in around the Middle Ages. Throughout history, it had many owners, but the interesting part is that the first owners are still unknown. Around the 18th century, it became abandoned and it stayed so until the family Drašković decided to take it under their wings and turned it into their manor in the 19th century. Today it is known as a perfect place for excursions. Thanks to its location it’s also good for relaxing outside, in the heart of nature.
7. Radovanov Portal Trogir
This portal is an amazing historic monument, and it is really well preserved. It is the main portal of St. Lovro’s Cathedral in Trogir and one of the most important ones from the Middle Ages in the eastern Adriatic region. It got its name after its creator, Maestro Radovan who carved it in 1240. Even though the carving of it started in the 13th century, they finished it in the 14th. It was built in the style of Romanticism and Gothicism and it depicts many biblical scenes. It is a true masterpiece and you should definitely check it out if you’re in Trogir.
8. Castle Tikveš
Castle Tikveš is located in Baranja, inside a small forest. The castle dates back to the 19th century and it was built in the style of Romantic Historicism. The location of it is really amazing because it is right in the middle of a forest which is full of wild animals like deer, foxes and wild boars. You can take long walks in its park, sit down on a bench, and just take in all the beauty which is around you. The castle is best known for being one of the presidential residences of Josip Broz Tito himself. He was a hunter so he loved going there, it was one of his favorite places in the whole world.
9. The Citadel in Osijek
The Citadel, or as the locals call it Tvrđa is the best-preserved part of the Old Town. It is located in Osijek and it is full of beautiful Baroque-style buildings. It was once known as the most advanced Habsburg fortress in this area since it was on the border with the Ottoman Empire. The military importance of the Citadel decreased around the 19th century. As the city started to expand and develop, they had to knock down a good part of the walls around it. Today it is best known as one of the tourist gems in Osijek. The Museum of Slavonia and the Shell museum are both located there, as well as the Archives of the Museum of Slavonia. If you’re ever in Osijek, please visit the Citadel. You won’t regret it!
10. Eltz Manor in Vukovar
The Eltz Manor is located in a small but historically relevant town called Vukovar. The building was built in the 18th century and it’s known for its Baroque style. It was built by the descendants of Phillip Karl von Eltz-Kempenich who was the Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. After World War II ended, the Yugoslavian communist administration confiscated the manor from the Eltz family and they had to leave Vukovar. The manor was ruined in the first year of the Croatian War of Independence, but they managed to rebuild it around 2011. Today it houses the Vukovar City Museum. You should visit it because it offers you historical knowledge and also a lot of beauty.