Culture & Art

Cathedral of Krk

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Krk

Kathedraal van Krk, Kroatie

The Krk Cathedral is located in the town of Krk on the northern Adriatic island of Krk near Rijeka. The church was built in the 5th or 6th century but archaeological evidence suggests that the site was used by Christians even as early as 4th century – the first documented mention of the church dates from 1186.
The three-nave early Christian basilica – which is part of a larger complex – along with the Romanesque Church of Saint Quirinus from the 12th century , a 16th century bell tower, the Chapel of Saint Barbara, an early Christian baptistery and an apse. The church is oriented from east to west, with its façade facing a street which goes through the town of Krk in the north/south direction.

During several archaeological excavations between 1956 and 1963 led by Andro Mohorovičić the ruins of an ancient Roman thermae dating from 1st century were discovered. Remains of a hypocaust – an ancient Roman heating system, comprising a hollow space under the floor of a building, into which hot air was directed, and a tepidarium – a warm room in an ancient Roman bath, with a preserved mosaic floor tiling were uncovered.

The cathedral’s present-day Romanesque design was created in the 11th and 12th century. Above the fourth interior capital (when counting from the south side entrance) there is an inscription dedicating the church to Virgin Mary, as it marks the place where the early Christian basilica used to end.

The Church interior shows two rows of columns of which the seven columns closer to the altar were originally within the old basilica. These columns were built out of stone and are not connected to capitals. Out of the total 14 columns, 12 of them feature Corinthian capitals, one is Classical and the one in the northern row closest to the altar features relief depictions of early Christian Eucharist symbols.

In addition to the cathedral the complex contains the Church of St. Quirinus, the only early Christian two-story church in Croatia. The Romanesque-style church was built in front of the cathedral, out of locally mined white stone. Because of lack of space its apses face southwards and it features three semicircular apses with Romanesque arcades on top. There is also the Church of St. Margaret, dedicated to Margaret of Antioch, and a bell tower. As early Christian churches did not have bell towers, a wooden tower was added behind the sacristy at a later date. Since there was very little building space left by then, it was constructed right in front of the Church of Saint Quirinus in 1515. In 1765 it underwent a thorough restoration, and the upper part was redesigned. As part of the restoration a sculpture of an angel made in Venice was installed on top. Since then the bell tower was renovated several times, last time in 1973 when the present-day plastic angel replaced the original copper-coated wooden sculpture.

Ulica Antuna Mahnića, Krk, Croatia

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