The church is named after bishop St Donat who built it at the beginning of the ninth century. The church was originally named Holy Trinity bit it changed its name to St. Donatus in the 15th century. This church is the symbol of Zadar, and it is as well the most valuable monument of pre-Romanesque architecture of the early Middle Ages in Croatia. The church of St. Donatus is
located in the central part of the historic center of the city, on the ruins of the ancient forum.
The church is 27 meters high and 22 wide, and most of the architectural decorations, as well as monolithic columns in the church, mostly come from the destroyed Roman Forum. St. Donatus has also been a warehouse, a museum, and recently a concert hall. It is as well home to the annual International Festival of Medieval Renaissance Music.