The Balkan nation of Croatia boasts uniqueness and wonder in every corner. Nestled in a land that divides Central and Southeast Europe, Croatia holds historic value in a multitude of ways. The nation was once divided under Roman Imperial rule into two sections, Pannonia and Dalmatia. After the demise of the Roman Empire near the end of the 5th-century, the land which we know today as modern Croatia changed hands over to the Ostrogoths for a short period of time before being overruled by the great Byzantine Empire. After Croatia had declared itself independent thereby establishing the Kingdom of Croatia, the land still struggled between the hands of the Southern Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg rulers in the North. This nation makes most travelers’ bucket list when thinking of their next European vacation. The geographic location of Croatia and its everlasting historical value combines destinations that are centuries old in the beautiful setting of the Adriatic Sea. Coastal cities like Croatia’s Dubrovnik make you never want to leave (fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones, this is the city for you!). One trip to Croatia and you’ll already be planning your next visit. Here is Tripio App’s Top 10 Historic Sites in Croatia.
During ancient Rome’s rule over what we know today as Croatia, a series of structures were built in honor and dedication to the empire’s leaders. Diocletian was a Roman ruler from 248-305 CE. At the turn of the 4th-century, the Palace of Diocletian was built in Split. Today, the palace makes up almost half of Split’s Old Town. Diocletian’s Palace is listed at 97 on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This destination is full of art, traditional Roman architecture and historic value. A walk through Diocletian’s Palace allows visitors to see the past and rediscover the imperial life of the great Roman Empire. It is no wonder that this Croatian landmark made to the #1 spot on Tripio’s list of historic treasures.
Along the Adriatic coastline in Dubrovnik lies the famous Lovrijenac Fortress. Otherwise known as the fortress of Saint Lawrence or simply Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar. This is the second GoT (Game of Thrones) filming location to make your itinerary. The fortress was built on the top of a rock nearly 40 meters above the Adriatic Sea. In its heyday, the fortress served the purpose to defend the city of Dubrovnik from any threats coming from the sea. This is the first attraction on Tripio’s list that was featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones. When you visit the Saint Lawrence Fortress, you will instantly travel to the time of the 11th-century. Due to its construction on top of a rock formation, when you tour the Lovrijenac Fortress, there are breathtaking views of old Dubrovnik as well as the popping blue color of the Adriatic sea. Tripio just had to put this destination on our Top 10 List. For an everlasting memory, be sure to visit the Lovrijenac Fortress in Dubrovnik.
The Zagreb Cathedral is one of the most visited historical sites in Croatia. The cathedral was originally established in the 13th-century, though due to natural disasters it has undergone several reconstructions. What travelers see today was a reconstruction period done at the turn of the 20th-century. Zagreb’s cathedral remains the second tallest building in the country and the most important structure of its kind, South of the Alps. The cathedral was established in dedication to the Assumption of Mary as well as Croatian kings, Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus. As you travel to Zagreb and get the chance to tour this historical landmark, be sure to pay close attention to the cathedral’s enormous and beautifully designed church organ!
The oldest historic landmark on Tripio App’s Top 10 is the Klis Fortress. This destination has more than 2,000 years of history within its stone walls. The fortress was originally established by the Illyrian tribe of Dalamatae. Then after, the Roman Empire seized the fortress and used it primarily as military defense and residence for higher status Romans. When the Kingdom of Croatia was established, the Klis Fortress was proposed to seat several kings of the land. Travelers rave about this historic landmark because of its vast history and extensive views of the city and Adriatic Sea. Klis is conveniently located just a short drive from the neighboring city of Split. For first time visitors to Croatia, be sure to add the Klis Fortress to your travel itinerary.
The coastal city of Dubrovnik was once a heavily guarded military force. All around the city tourists will find relics that are centuries old that were once used as a defense mechanism to protect the city from any outsiders. Speaking of defense systems around the city, Dubrovnik literally has a series of stone walls that border around it. The fortress walls are accessible by foot and allow visitors to reach unimaginable views of the sea. Dubrovnik’s Fortress Walls make our third Game of Thrones film location featured on Tripio’s Top 10 list. A stroll alongside the Fortress Walls paints an intimate picture for you and your travel companions.
6. Pula Arena
The stadium known as Pula Arena is the little sister to the world-famous Roman Colosseum in Rome. You may be thinking to yourself “That’s not supposed to be there!” but in fact, during the Roman conquerization of modern Croatia, the empire established a number of landmarks similar to that of Rome and other sections of Southern Europe. The colosseum of Pula was constructed in the 1st-century CE and served as a center for entertainment and performing arts. Today, the Pula Arena is perhaps the most visited destination in Southern Croatia. It’s not often that you get to visit a Roman colosseum, and it’s even more rare to visit one outside of Rome! A travel itinerary of Croatia is not complete without a trip down to the Pula Arena.
The Church of Saint Donatus, originally named the Zadar Cathedral is a 9th-century house of worship that makes a prominent statement in the city of Zadar. The church was later named after Donatus of Zadar. This holy construct consists of a giant oculus dome style architecture, similar to that of the Roman Pantheon. The original construction of the Donatus Cathedral began in the early 9th-century and continued on for centuries after that. The Crvka sv. Donatus is a symbol of worship and history that Tripio simply needed to have on our list of landmarks in Croatia.
There is no better fairytale setting in Croatia than at the Trakoscan Castle. This 13th-century castle sits high up on a hilltop overlooking Trakoscan lake. The castle was recently converted into a museum displaying the life of high status society during the Middle Ages. At this scenic activity, travelers get the chance to see historic value within the walls of Trakoscan Castle. Historic furniture, art, and weaponry all displayed in a fashion that transports you back a few centuries. It is an absolute adventure to visit the Trakoscan Castle. Whether you are there for the breathtaking views or to enjoy the rich history of the castle, the Trakoscan Castle does it all.
-Matthew Knotek, Tripio Guru