St. Donatus

History & Culture
/ Zadar ID: HR-TR-1744


St. Donatus

The Church of St. Donatus, one of the distinctive symbols of Zadar, certainly represents the city’s most valuable architectural monument from the Early Middle Ages. Its architectural shape and layout bear resemblance to the court churches from the early Byzantine and Carolingian periods, and due to its monumentality and double interior space, it absolutely leaves a striking impression on visitors. According to tradition, it was built by the Bishop of Zadar Donatus in the 9th century, and Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus mentioned it in the 10th century in his famous work "On the Governance of the Empire." Originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity, it was only in the 15th century that the church was called by today’s name Saint Donatus. The monolithic columns as well as most of the architectural decorations in the church are of ancient origin. They originate mainly from the ruins of the Roman Forum, on whose foundations the church was built. So, while visiting Zadar and the Church of St. Donatus, take a closer look at the scattered tambours of Roman columns there. The church has not been used for sacral purposes for a long time, it even housed Zadar’s Archaeological Museum until the mid-20th century. Due to the excellent acoustics within the church, it has been a venue for various musical events for decades now. A particularly famous one is the international festival of medieval and renaissance music called "Musical Evenings at St. Donatus", that- among the many others- fills Zadar’s summer nights with a special festive and unforgettable atmosphere.