Sveti Duje – The Europe’s oldest catherdral is in the heart of Dalmatia

All fans of beautiful art know that it is rich in sacral architecture from various historical periods which are all breathtaking. But something not many people know is the fact that in the heart of Dalmatia, its biggest city, Split is Europe’s oldest cathedral!

Initially, the cathedral served as a cript for Roman emperor Diocletian, who was, ironically, a persecutor of early Christians which serves as a reminder that no power is eternal.
The cript became a cathedral in 7thcentury when altars got relics of two martyrs who were executed in nearby Solin, named Salona at the time. The martyrs were St. Anastasius and St. Domnius, later becoming the unofficial saint patron of the cathedral and the official saint patron of Split as a city.


What also makes the cathedral unique is the collection of beautiful art that is the part of the building itself. For example, the front wooden gate made by master sculptor Andrija Buvina in 13thcentury is a perfect sacral artwork that depicts fragments of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ, from angel Gabriel’s visit to the Virgin Mary resurrection.

Split Cathedral, Croatia

Besides the sacral part itself,St. Domnius cathedral also hides archives with rare and ancient books, relics, and other sacral objects.

Other sacral art items that are crucial to Split’s identity are the baptistery from the cathedral and its belfry which is often shown as a symbol of the city, similar to the cathedral in Zagreb.

The Cathedral of St. Domnius holds the title of the top religious location in the Dalmatian area and contains a tremendous traditional procession on the national day of St. Domnius and therefore also the national day of the city of Split, May 7th.


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