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!
Where in the World?
- The Church of Saint Lawrence, known locally as Katedrala Sv. Lovre, has limited visiting hours, which vary based upon the season. When we visited in 2013, there was an 18 kuna fee to climb the bell tower.
- For more information, visit the Tourist Board of Trogir.
- Are you looking for accommodation in the Split / Trogir area? Shawn and I have spent a total of three winters there, using it as a base to explore Croatia’s popular Dalmatia region:
- The first time, we rented a studio apartment at the Apartments Mirkec (affiliate link) in Trogir. We enjoyed our 7 weeks immensely! The apartment had good Wifi, and a kitchen with all the basics. It was also perfectly situated in the heart of Trogir’s gorgeous Old Town, just a minute’s walk from the seaside walkway (the Riva). Trogir’s bus station was about a 5-minute walk from the Apartments Mirkec, making day trips using mass transportation easy.
- We also spent two winters in holiday apartments in the nearby city of Split. These apartments were in prime locations and would have been in high demand if it was summertime. Our first 2.5 months in Split, we stayed at the lovely Kaleta Apartments (affiliate link), which are located within Diocletian’s Palace. Our elegant studio apartment (called the ‘Diocletian’s Suite’) had lots of character, including Roman brickwork embedded into the wall. We had overhead views of life on Split’s Old Town streets, and we enjoyed chatting with the friendly owners, Novica and Negri. Two years later, we returned to Split, but stayed in the Varoš neighborhood at the Guesthouse F (affiliate link). We especially enjoyed the studio apartments’ central location, plus our tiny terrace, and the kindness of our hosts, Anja and Miro. (One of Guesthouse F’s apartments was originally a horseshoe maker’s workshop, owned by Anja’s grandfather. Shawn and I dubbed it the ‘horseshoe cottage’.) Varoš is just a few minutes’ walk from Diocletian’s Palace. With its quirky narrow streets and stone homes decorated with hunter-green shutters and flower boxes, Varoš is charming.
- Visit my Croatia page for more trip tips, plus an index of all my posts about Croatia.
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.