Northern Dalmatia Travel Guide

Northern Dalmatia Sights

Crkva Sv. Donata (St. Donatus Church)

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 05/20/2009

Fodor's Review

Zadar's star attraction, this huge cylindrical structure is the most monumental early Byzantine church in Croatia. Originally called Church of the Holy Trinity, it was probably inspired by plans set forth in a book by the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenet, On Ruling the Empire. Centuries later it was rededicated to St. Donatus, the bishop here from 801 to 814. Legend has it that Donatus, an Irishman, was the one who had it built, using stone from the adjacent Forum. The stark, round interior features a circular center surrounded by an annular passageway; a sanctuary consisting of three apses attached to the lofty mantle of the church walls, set off from the center by two columns; and a gallery reached by a circular stairway. Although the church no longer holds services, its fine acoustics make it a regular concert venue. During the off-season (November to March), when the church is closed, someone at the Archaeological Museum next door may have a key to let you in.

Sight Information


Šimuna Kožičića Benje, Zadar, Zadarska, 23000, Croatia




Sight Details:

  • 20 Kn
  • Closed Nov.–Mar.; by appointment only

Published 05/20/2009


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