For the past weeks, much like a diner on a progressive dinner savoring rich, multiple courses, I’ve been enjoying slowly absorbing the details of Trogir’s Cathedral of Saint Lawrence.
I first admired the twelfth-century structure from afar. When we attended the city’s rowdy Carnival parade a few weeks ago, its magnificent architecture somehow even managed to distract me from the rowdy parade participants assembled on the town square below. (That says a lot given that there were colorful horse-drawn carriages, children and adults dancing ‘Gangnam Style‘ in a frenetic manner, and a parade ‘jester‘ running through the crowd offering revelers a sip of an unidentified beverage from a Chianti bottle!)
Days after the parade madness, ready for a ‘second course,’ we stopped at the cathedral’s portal to soak up the early-morning sun. With the city’s residents on their morning commutes, criss-crossing the neighboring town square in a hurried fashion, we had the portal all to ourselves. (I can only imagine what it’s like in the summertime as a sea of shutterbugs elbow each other for snapping space!)
Not surprisingly, the cathedral is Trogir’s most prominent monument. Started in 1213, and finished in the seventeenth century, it incorporates Romanesque and Gothic architectural characteristics into its design.
One of the exterior’s highlights – its west portal – was completed by a local master named Radovan, along with some of his pupils and followers. The portal depicts religious motifs: scenes from the Gospels, saints, apostles and even exotic animals. Ashamed Adam and Eve stand atop two protruding lions.
When you’re there in person, it’s easy to get lost in the details, but it’s remarkable to consider that these sculptures are nearly 800 years old! With the exception of Eve’s missing nostril and the couple’s slightly-snipped fingertips, the artwork is intact. With today’s all-too-common practice of building shoddy, impermanent structures, I wonder what architectural legacy we’ll leave behind to future generations?
In a future post, I’ll share interior images from this magnificent cathedral, and if I muster up the courage, I’ll conquer the infamous bell tower climb. (One of my well-travelled readers alerted me that the St. Lawrence Tower ascent can be quite terrifying!) Until then, enjoy these images of Radovan’s masterpiece!
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.