This is where the mass of tourists end up and who can blame us! It is a wonder to behold.
Walking through a delightful little atrium (if you can get your timing right... between tours visiting), you enter the basilica. To the lkeft there is the octagonal baptistery and on your right is the basilica church. Built in AD 535 adn AD 550 by Bishop Euphrasius it was receted on the site of an earlier church which was dedicate to St. Maurus (3rd century martyr & 1st bishop of Porec). Preserved beneath the nave are some floor mosaics from the original church.
The apse is decorated with mosaics, adorned with gold leaf and mother of pearl which you are drawn towards as you walk down the nave with it's Greek columns and arches.
The basilica is free to go in and is open daily from 8am - 8pm in the summer and 10am - 7pm in the winter. It really is worth a look
There are lots of boat excursions to be had along the harbour and many a person to try to sell one to you.
The glass bottom boat makes a nice little trip for children. Something to do if you have a bit of time to kill or as a treat for the kids after you've dragged them around the mosaics in The Euphrasian Basilica!
Children go 1/2 price but it's all very relaxed and ours went free in many places when they weren't supposed to; discretion of the operator - so give your best smiles!!!
Funny how I am not this religious but when I am travelling, I am curious at how other cultures and countries live and this includes visiting their churches. I am interested at ancient art and at the peaceful atmosphere I can find in these churches. Unfortunately I was denied entrance in this one for unsuitable dress. I was wearing bike shorts.
The first photo shows a mosaic that is hidden and not well lit. This is why it is dull. However, I felt I had to show it.
The second photo shows another mosaic, on which is written: "Dedunis disce eclisie Innocentius diaconus pro votu suo fecet PDXI"
As far as I understand it (I will check with dictionaries), I feel that it says that "Innocentius, provost deacon of the Church, did (this mosaic ?) in year 511 (what is the P before DX standing for ?) as he had vowed" [Thank you to Michele, VT Mikebond, who edited my decipheration].
The fresco on the last photo is not in very good condition and I must check what it represents before commenting.
Ce n'est pas "Provotus vo" mais "pro votu suo", c-?-d. "comme il avait promis" ou qqch. comme ?a. J'essaierai de te donner une meilleure traduction.
The second photo shows the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in Eufrazijeva bazilika, which has been inscribed by the UNESCO in 1997 on the world heritage list with the following comment :
''The group of religious monuments in Poreč, where Christianity was established as early as the 4th century, constitutes the most complete surviving complex of its type. The basilica, atrium, baptistery and episcopal palace are outstanding examples of religious architecture, while the basilica itself combines classical and Byzantine elements in an exceptional manner.''
The third photo shows the mosaic on top of the entrance. It represents an enthroned Christ. The golden background will be found in most of the mosaics of the Euphrasian basilica complex. Together with the famous fish, this mosaic is a kind of identification mark of Poreč.
The fourth photo shows the entrance from the inside. It is not as impressive as it was from the outside : the purpose was to get citizens INTO the basilica, while this is what you will see when leaving the complex, then why to decorate it ! However, there is much more to discover inside.
The first photo shows a coat of arm with a lion walking backwards with its tail up, inside a frame of intricately woven stems and leaves and with one rose on each corner. It is dated from 1476 (MCCCCLXXVI) and bears two initials : P I.
The second photo shows another coat of arm, with a crowned eagle on top and in the bottom, three unidentified figures, the whole topped by a bishop's hat. These three figures look like the mast that was used for the training of knights for horse fight, but it is unlikely to be.
The last photo shows a bishop's coat of arm. It represents a sea-gull topped by the bishop's hat and ribbons. No date is given but I O A P A. Note that seagulls are not often represented in coats of arm.
Outside the mosaic museum, the base of the walls of the Pre-Euphrasian basilica, can be seen (first photo) together with, on a lower layer, mosaics from the Saint Maur oratory that have been preserved.
You can view and photograph all this from above but are not allowed to walk in the area (second photo).
The largest soil mosaic of Saint Maur oratory has been preserved almost entirely (third photo). It shows various geometrical designs. This mosaic is partly hidden by the wall that was been built later (on the right) for the Pre-Euphrasian basilica.
The fourth photo represents a wonderfully preserved mosaic. It shows two rosebushes planted in the same pot. Their branches cross on another and are arranged in stylistic ornaments. Every small branch bears a flower.
Also at the first level, a collection of wood carved saints (first photo), mostly from the Middle Ages is on display. They were not all found in Poreč but several come from various churches in the archbishopric of Aquilea to which belonged Poreč.
The second photo shows a close up on a woodenhead of a saint (name not given). The carving is very realistic and the impression of movement is very well given as well as the curls of the beard, the wrinkles of the face and the folds of the cloth.
A three quarter of natural size Virgin with child stands in the middle of the third photo, together with four more saints, two on each side. On the far left of the picture, a light brown colored earthenware stove can be half seen (better on next page).
The famous mosaic of a fish is represented in Poreč on many items and is on some account the symbol of the city. Geometric figures make a frame around the fish. Inside the frame, together with the fish, a geometrical drawing must have a special meaning, otherwise, it would not have been INSIDE the frame. I have not found any information on its meaning.
The fish is so well represented that if you enlarge the second photo, it is possible to identify it as a sea-perch (brancin). The fish is often represented in early Christian churches as the symbol of the Christ and by extension, of Christianity. The origin is that in ancient Greek, the name of Christos, the Christ and of Ichtios, the fish, are almost the same, which lead the early Christians, when, under the Roman empire, Christianism was outlaw, to use the fish as a secret sign of recognition.
The campanile has three bells. Luckily, they did not ring while we were visiting ! As it is forbidden to touch (and ring them by hand !) them, I do not know how they sound. As I have never heard them ring, I suppose they do not ring the hours but are ringed only for religious events.
The two photos show recumbent statues. The first one is obviously a bishop, wearing it's hat and with its crook on its right. Words are carved around the coffin but are not easy to decipher.
The second one has less signs of identification. It is not a bishop (no hat), not a warrior (no sword), nothing is written. Is it a wealthy man of the city ? I have no clue yet but will try to get some information.
The bas-relief on the first photo is more enigmatic. It represents two stars (or flowers) in a double circle and is surrounded by several spirals, which are were already present in the first human engraving and considered as stylized representation of the sun and of life.
The second photo shows a broken bas-relief with doves and peacocks on both sides of a cross. While, for evident reasons, representations of a dove are often found in churches, peacocks are seldom found and I have not found any explanation for its presence here.
The third photo (sorry, not of good quality, I will take a new shot) shows also a dove, looking leftwards, on top of a peacock, looking rightwards. Strange again ! Too bad I have not found any explanation !
The bas-relief on the fourth photo represents on the left an amazing flower. Long lines are coming out of the flower, which could be for the long stigma of a saffron flower. In the center, another flower (a rose ?) is represented, framed on three sides by spirals as already seen on another bas-relief.
The first photo shows a bas-relief that represents five saints under a lamb and a cross. The central part is in bad condition and hardly understandable.
The bas-relief on the second photo is not in very good condition and the animals are not very cleverly represented. On the right, it seems to be a horse. On the left, it might be a goat, as a horn can be seen. Strange !
On the last photo, the classical lamb looking backwards and holding a cross, so often carved in Middle-Age churches everywhere in Europe, is represented in a round cartouche surrounded by a plane like frise.
The first photo shows a room that has been kept as close as possible of how it was looking like at the end of the nineteenth century. The style is typical of that period, with pastel green blue paints of the walls and pale garlands of flowers.
In the bishop's apartments, a beautiful earthenware plated stove is on display (second photo) but has not been connected any more to a chimney for the exhaust of the smoke. On display only, do not use !
The walls of two rooms are loaded with various representations of crucified Christs of various styles.
The one on the first photo is a small one and has been carved in a very dark wood in a much crude style. There is hardly any detail represented.
The second photo shows a slim, medium size Christ, made in carved wood. The loincloth has been painted in a dark color with a white strip. A wooden saint, which seems to be of an older style, is on display on the left.
The last photo shows a tall, almost human size Christ. The wood has been delicately painted, with a large frisbee on top.