ARCHITECT, Byzantine
(active about 540 in Poreč)

Exterior view

c. 540
Euphrasian Basilica, Poreč

The most renowned building in Poreč is the 6th-century cathedral, known as the Basilica of Bishop Euphrasius. Excavations undertaken in the 1930s helped to unravel its complicated history and revealed portions of earlier structures. The earliest building was probably a primitive shrine designed to contain the body of St Maurus, a 3rd-century bishop who suffered martyrdom. After the Edict of Milan (313), a small basilica was built and then enlarged about a century later. About 540 Bishop Euphrasius erected the present church using earlier walling, together with an octagonal baptistery and, to the west of the church, a bishop's palace equipped with a large audience hall.

Euphrasius's cathedral invites comparison with the churches of Sant'Apollinare in Classe and Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. It is preceded by an atrium, the reused marble columns of which are surmounted by Byzantine basket-shaped capitals. Originally the west façade of the basilica was completely covered in mosaic, but only the lower part now remains. The lintel above the central doors bears the monogram of Ephrasius.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.