The Euphrasian Basilica
(, ) is a basilica
. The episcopal complex, including, apart the basilica itself, a sacristy, a baptistery and the bell tower of the nearby archbishop's palace, is one of the best examples of early Byzantine architecture
in the Mediterranean region.
The Euphrasian basilica has for the most part retained its original shape, but accidents, fires and earthquakes have altered a few details. Since it is the third church to be built on the same site, it conceals previous buildings, for example the great floor mosaic of the previous basilica from the 5th century. Because of its exceptional value, it has been inscribed on the UNESCO
World Heritage List in 1997.
The earliest basilica was dedicated to Saint Maurus of Parentium
and dates back to the second half of the 4th century. The floor mosaic from its oratory
, originally part of a large Roman house, is still preserved in the church garden. This oratorium was already expanded in the same century into a church composed of a nave
and one aisle (basilicae geminae
). The fish (symbol of Christ) on the floor mosaic dates from this period. Coins with the portrayal of emperor Valens
(365–378), found in the same spot, confirm these dates.
The present basilica, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was built in the sixth century during the period of Bishop Euphrasius. It was built from 553 on the site of the older basilica that had become dilapidated. For the construction, parts of the former... Read More