Culture and History

On the peninsula where Poreč lies, the rich and changeable History is at the heart of events. It is not just a matter of the past and the changes of government or name (Parentium, Parenzo), it is a living spirit witnessing the ageless beauty…

The beauty of architecture, stone paved streets, painted church walls, mosaics and frescoes, the beauty of the antiquity and time. Every lover of History and Beauty will easily find inspiration in this thousands of years old town inhabited by the Histris, Romans, Huns, Ostrogoths, Lagobards, Franks, Italians, Croatians and many others. The heart of the town was once surrounded by walls and is still protected by the sea. Today the historical centre hosts numerous historical attractions witnessing past events and the presence of the spirit. These attractions date back into the times of the Romans who first constructed a military outpost and than a whole town. In the first century Poreč became part of the colony Parentium and was given the status of a city. Over the coming centuries the Christian Church was organised in the area. The town preserved the memories of the Romans and we can today walk down the streets which retained their original names Cardo Maximus and Decumanus. These two streets take people to the main square of the Marafor Forum still embellished by the ruins of Neptun's Temple. The best preserved monument of times and faith, the Euphrasian Basilica, was built in the 6th century on the site of a previous cathedral dedicated to the Poreč martyr and patron saint of the town – the first Bishop of Poreč Saint Maurus. The Euphrasian Basilica was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. Its interior is decorated with original mosaics representing biblical motifs and paintings dating back to the early Christian period, around the 3rd century.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the town was the target of many rulers pretentions, such as the Ostrogoths and the Byzantine Empire. The 7th century saw the arrival of the Slavic people – the Croats. The longest period of government (13th to 18th century) was that of the Venetian Republic, which affected the aspect of the town by constructing not only marvellous palaces but also the preserved towers and walls which are still visible. Poreč was briefly ruled by Napoleon in the 18th century and was then conquered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire during whose rule it became the capital of Istria. In the 20th century the town was briefly dominated by Italy and after the 2nd World War it became part of Croatia. This turbulent historical events confirm the extraordinary position of Poreč which has always been attractive to reside in and to conduct business. Poreč, with its open position protruding into the sea and open to the elements, has always written its own destiny of a town desired by all. This feeling can still be felt today on the stone paved streets overflowing with tourists.