Church of Saint Anastasia (Zadar)


Description of Cathedral of Saint Anastasia

The Cathedral of St. Anastasia of Zadar is the cathedral church of the city of Zadar and the largest of the Dalmatian region in Croatia. It was built between the XII and XIV centuries with late Romanesque and Gothic style. It stands on a site of much older basilica that stood here since the 4th century AD. Cathedral of Saint Anastasia is also a seat of Archdiocese of Zadar. The present building replaced in the 12th century an Early Christian basilica with three naves. The extraordinary facade is with total security the most outstanding element of the set. It was erected in the 13th century and is reminiscent of the church of San Crisogen in the same city and with the same Tuscan influence. Zadar Cathedral decorated with typically Romanesque motifs, while the tympanum is from 1324. Two rose windows decorate the portal of the facade. Inside, the width of the ship is impressive. The choir stalls are profusely decorated in flamboyant Gothic style typical of the early fifteenth century. It also highlights the cimborrio and the first Christian mosaic in the sacristy.


The first bishop of Zadar known by name was Felix, who took part in the work of two councils, in Aquileia in 381 and in Milan in 390. According to tradition, the basilica was dedicated to St. Peter, the apostle, and when the bishop of Zadar Donat at the beginning of the 9th century received from the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus (Nicephorus) power, ashes, the Srijem martyr Stošija, the basilica was named after her. The sarcophagus in which the earthly remains of St. Stošije, was made by the Bishop of Zadar, Donat, and is kept in the cathedral on the altar in the northern apse, ie in its left nave. In November 1202, after the siege, the city of Zadar was conquered and destroyed by the Venetians with the help of the Knights IV. crusades when the cathedral itself was badly damaged. The restoration of the cathedral lasted throughout the 13th century, and when its restoration was completed, it was consecrated again, on May 27, 1285, by Archbishop Lovro Periandar. The façade with late Romanesque portals, which has arcades with columns in the upper part, was completed in 1324.

Zadar patron saint Sv. Two popes also bowed to Stošija. Pope Alexander III During his visit to Zadar in 1177, he visited the Cathedral of St. Anastasia and her tomb, while Pope John Paul II. for the pastoral visit to Zadar on June 9, 2003, donated in front of the front door of the cathedral.

The interior of the cathedral is monumental. The central nave is three times wider than the side ones, and is separated by stone pillars and pylons, which are alternately arranged. The presbytery is elevated, and below it is a crypt from the 12th century. In the presbytery there are choir seats made in the style of floral Gothic (made by Matej Morozan, 1418-1450), above the main altar is an early Gothic ciborium from 1322, and behind him a stone throne - a cathedral - for the archbishop. On the north wall is the marble altar of St. Dominica with a picture of a saint, transferred from the church of the same name; the further altar is dedicated to the souls of purgatory, built by the Venetian stonemason Pietro Onega in 1805; the altarpiece is by James Palm the Younger; at the end of the nave a marble altar with a marble cladding of the image of the Heart of Jesus; in the apse is a marble sarcophagus relic of St. Stošija from the 9th century with the inscription of Bishop Donat, and there are also the remains of frescoes.

In the south nave is a marble altar for relics; followed by the altar of St. Of the Sacrament, the work of the sculptor A. Viviani from 1718, very richly decorated with pillars and statues, above the sanctuary of the Virgin with the dead Christ in her lap, on the sides of Moses and Elijah, on the wings larger statues of the four evangelists the south nave ends with an apse on which there are also remains of frescoes. Above the side aisles is a matron.

The six-leafed baptistery, which leans on the south side of the cathedral, was demolished to its foundations in the Allied bombings on 16 December 1943. It dates from the 6th century. It was facsimile renewed in 1989.

The sacristy was also called the chapel of St. Barbara. Its walls and apse belong to the oldest parts of the cathedral, as does the floor mosaic depicting two deer, dating from the first half of the 5th century.

The facade of the cathedral shows the perfect harmony of horizontal and vertical lines. At the edges of the façade are embedded on the left a lion, and on the right a bull, symbols of the Evangelists Mark and Luke. The main portal has a Gothic relief of the Virgin and Child in the lunette, to the right is St. St. Anastasia, and to the left St. Krševan. Along with the richly made portal, figures of four apostles made in rough relief are built in. The left portal in the lunette has a mystical lamb, and on the consoles next to the arches the figures of the Annunciation: an angel and Mary, which are older than the portal. There is only a mystical lamb in the lunette of the right portal.

The bell tower of the Zadar Cathedral was built on two occasions. The ground floor and first floor of the cathedral bell tower were built in 1452 (during the time of Archbishop Vallaress), while the upper floors were built from 1890 to 1894 according to the type of bell tower in Rab by the English architect and art historian Thomas Graham Jackson. The three newer upper floors of the bell tower are dissolved on all four sides by double bifores. The flat wall surface is enlivened by stylized plant mosaic ornaments, and the cornices that divide the floors are slightly accentuated by mesh decoration. At the top of the bell tower rises a tall final octagonal pyramid with a brass statue of an angel.


Only five years after the completion of the bell tower was finally completed in 1894, damage occurred at the junction of the old and the new part. Architect and conservator Ćiril Iveković determined that it was a consequence of the vibration of strong and heavy bells, so in 1900 he replaced their iron holders with wooden ones.