The Best Preserved Early Christian Complex in the World – Porec’s Euphrasian Basilica

The Best Preserved Early Christian Complex in the World – Porec’s Euphrasian Basilica

I had never heard of the Euphrasian Basilica, much less did I know that Porec had a UNESCO World Heritage Site (one of seven UNESCO sites in Croatia).

Porec is a small seaside town, similar to both Rovinj and Novigrad in size and geography (all are located on spits of land sticking out into the sea). It’s a pretty place with white limestone pavement and is a popular base for tourists who want a holiday of rest and relaxation on the Istrian coast. It’s a laid back town. What makes it spectacular is the Euphrasian Basilica.

Below: Street entrance to to the Basilica complex

exterior entrance to the Euphrasian Basilica, Porec

I would usually write a bit about the history of the site. In this case, being a UNESCO site, they’ve done a great job with placards and signs. This placard describes well how today’s present-day Basilica came to be.

Euphrasian Basilica sign, Porec, Croatia

Below: inner courtyard of the complex.

Euphrasian Basilica, Porec, Croatia

The complex, besides the actual Basilica, includes a sacristy, a baptistry, and a bell tower. What makes the Euphrasian Basilica complex so spectacular is its use of mosaics. Floor mosaics covered the original church built in the 4th century (you’ll see them in remnants of them indoors). In the church ‘garden’, you’ll see the mosaic floor of what used to be a Roman house. But the most spectacular use of mosaics is in the apse (the ‘bowl’ above the alter) in the Basilica itself. The apse is not painted as in most churches, it is entirely covered in mosaics of rich tones that sparkle in the light (as you’ll see in photos below). It actually made our jaws drop, something that doesn’t happen often.

Below: fragments of floor mosaics dating back to the 4th century

Euphrasian Basilica mosaic tablets, Porec

Euphrasian Basilica mosaics

Euphrasian Basilica mosaics, Porec

Below: Floor mosaic in the garden, remains of a Roman house.

Euphrasian Basilica mosaic floor, Porec

Below: Incredible mosaics in the apse of the Basilica.

Euphrasian Basilica interior, Porec

Euphrasian Basilica interior, Porec, Croatia

Below: remaining mosaic in a side chapel to the Basilica.

Euphrasian Basilica, Porec, Croatia (2)

The Basilica’s bell tower is worth the small climb for views over Porec
. Spanky doesn’t do tower climbs but did it here after being assured that it was an easy and safe climb. It was.

Below: bell tower from the courtyard.

Euphrasian Basilica bell tower, Porec

Below: Views from the top of the belltower

Euphrasian Basilica views from bell tower, Porec, Croatia

Euphrasian Basilica bell tower, Porec, Croatia

Euphrasian Basilica views from tower, Porec


Below: Very short video showing off the the views from the bell tower


Below: The Basilica’s location right next to the sea

Euphrasian Basilica exterior, Porec, Croatia



More of Porec


As mentioned above, Porec is a pretty and laid back town that can easily be be explored within an hour or two. A few photos:

Porec main street

Above: main street cutting through the old town.

Porec street views

 Above: Venetian style windows

Porec views of Euphrasian Basilica bell tower

Above: views of the Basilica’s bell tower through an old gate

Porec street views (2)

Below: large square and church at the entrance to the old town.  

porec square

Porec church


Would we recommend a visit to Porec? Definitely. There are two main historical sites in Istria that are a MUST: the Amphitheatre in Pula and the Euphrasian Basilica in Porec.


Have you been to Porec? If so, what did you think of it?



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  1. I want to go back to Croatia so bad after looking at these photo’s. Glad to hear you made the trek up the tower BBQBoy otherwise we wouldn’t get to see how great the view is from up there! Bravo!
    Nancy Pitman recently posted…Best of BelgiumMy Profile

  2. OMG, we went to Porec and didn’t go to the Basilica. We were tagging along with our relatives and just enjoying the day together. I didn’t research beforehand. Don’ t you just hate that. I knew the Basilica was there but not of it’s importance…
    budget jan recently posted…Hvar Town on Croatias Glamour IslandMy Profile

  3. It’s incredible, isn’t it? The intelligence and ingenuity of those who conceived and built these structures that have stood the test of time. It think it’s a big part of why I find churches, cathedrals, chapels and similar structures so interesting to explore. Whenever I go into an historic building I try to take a couple of moments to just stand or sit and take it in, picturing what it must have been like to walk in the path of those who came before. I love the garden mosaic tiles and it’s amazing they’re still there.

    I’m with Spanky, I don’t do tower climbs. Wicked fear of heights. For my birthday – while in Paris – I was determined to climb the tower at Notre Dame. I managed the climb alright, but froze in panic when I stepped out into the open air. Couldn’t move. I hugged the wall while Abi took in the views but then an angel came out of another tower (she worked there) and asked if she could lead me across to the other stairway so I could go down. I’ll never forget her. She was my angel who wreaked of cigarettes. 🙂
    Patti recently posted…Crossing the Border: Toronto, Canada ~My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      I totally agree with your Patti about religious buildings. I’m in no way religious (I actually have quite strong feelings against it), but religious buildings are the best remaining vestiges of architecture in much of the world.

      Nice story about the Eiffel tower. Spanky doesn’t have a fear of heights, she just a) doesn’t care so much for the views and can’t be bothered with the effort of getting up there b) hates the tight spiral staircases you get in most towers. She gets very claustrophobic.
      Frank (bbqboy) recently posted…The Best Preserved Early Christian Complex in the World – Porec’s Euphrasian BasilicaMy Profile

  4. Fabulous Basilica, the mosaics are beautiful. I love getting to a higher place to get a birds eye view of a place, even if it is hard to get to the top, the views are usually so rewarding. You have found some great gems to explore in Croatia.
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…Curieuse Island Boat Tour – SeychellesMy Profile

  5. The basilica is absolutely freaking stunning! Worth the trip just to see that. The tiles are so well preserved too. I had never heard of Porec .. l love getting history lessons from you, not to mention geography! Love it :-). I am beginning to realize that Croatia can’t be a weekend getaway of sorts..methinks a little more time will be needed. Hopefully we’ll get there next year properly.
    Kemkem recently posted…Six Impressive Miami Florida HighlightsMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      You’re right – it’s a big, long country and there’s lots to see. You could explore region by region (like Istria in this case) but you would still really need 10 days minimum. Lots of beauty and history!

  6. Like Patti, I’m in awe of these structures and those who built them. Simply amazing! Porec is an incredible find Frank, falls under the radar for most I imagine. Not mine now thanks to you guys 😉 I’m enjoying your time in Croatia. Cannot wait to see where you take us next.
    Paula recently posted…The Penthouse Suite – Video, Vancouver – CanadaMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Paula! Croatia has a bit of everything. Istria for us is more about hidden gems – it is not as spectacular as parts of Dalmatia – but overall just a great area to relax and enjoy. I think we’ll always come through this area when doing our back and forth between Croatia and the Schengen (as long as that exists!).

  7. All those places you spectacularly show in your posts are inviting us to visit someday, lucky you that can see all that beauty, that is the kind of job I would like to do. Thank you for sharing such wonderful photographs and stories.

  8. looks like a really charming spot Frank!
    Andrew recently posted…Wadi Rum – Desert of DreamsMy Profile

  9. Really looks like a place worth visiting! Croatia, Montenegro and Albania are quite high on our list of travel destinations. Well, well, we will see. Maybe next year? Thanks for the beautiful pictures.
    Natascha recently posted…The Cold War surveillance station at the Teufelsberg in BerlinMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Natasha! I love Croatia but also want to go back to Montenegro. Kotor is a place I really enjoy. We’ve also wanted to see Albania – maybe sometime in the future 🙂

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