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Street and Squares

Within the former town walls there used to be narrow streets and small squares. Interesting examples of residential architecture with elements of various historical styles are still visible in the streets. Ulica Gradska vrata [Town gate street] leads from the town gate and has many old houses on it. On the plateau above Vrsar there is the Church of St. Martin and the old castle, which was the former summer residence of the Bishopric of Poreč and the oval settlement that the Histrians built.

Church of St. Fosca

The church of St. Fosca was built in the first half of the 17th century. The architects of this church were from the renaissance period but it has baroque features. On the main facade there is a renaissance portal with two windows with iron bars. Today, there is a sacral collection in the church with significant artefacts like a painting of the torture of St. Fosca, as well as a tombstone decorated with crests and Latin texts. In front of the main altar there is the tombstone of the Vrsar parish priest Luka Prodanić.

Main Town Gate

The main town gate to the medieval town of Vrsar is very near the church of St. Fosca. For a number of centuries it was the main entrance into the fortress town, which in the 19th century expanded outside the confines of the old walls. The gate is decorated with a simple half circular Roman crest with a shallow relief on which the lion of St. Mark is visible, the symbol of the Venetian Republic. On the interior side, there are stone and iron rings on which there were once attached wooden wings that helped to open and close the gate.

Parish Church of St. Martin

The town walls with the Romanesque gate once passed through the spot where the parish church now stands. The foundations were laid at the beginning of the 19th century and the church was totally completed on March 19th 1935. There is a flight of steps in front of the church, whilst the facade is completed by a triangle gable. The interior consists of three naves, with pillars that have the donators' names engraved on them, whilst the capitals are decorated with natural motifs.

Summer residence of the Poreč Bishopric (Kaštel)

Next to the parish church, there is a monumental palace that used to be the summer residence of the Poreč Bishopric. A number of different styles are visible here – from the romantic period to the baroque times, and considering that the palace was fortified by walls and a tower and is mentioned in the documents as a castrum – fortress, it can be considered to be a fortified castle. Some fragments of the palace’s defensive walls are totally preserved, as are the two Roman towers from the 13th century. On the south side of the palace there are two square shaped towers.

Old Romanesque gate

The old Roman gate, which is called the Small town gate, was built in the second half of the 12th century and beginning of the 13th century. The fairly simple gate frame is made out of thirteen stone blocks. Over the centuries, the gates were a component part of the town walls, and two gate wings made from hard Istrian oak are still preserved, as well as stone rings that hold the wings and the opening and closing mechanism.

The Church of St. Anthony

The Church of St. Anthony of Padova near the old gate dates from the second half of the 17th century and has Renaissance-Baroque features. On both sides of the rectangular portal there are two square windows with iron bars. There is a small round window over the portal and a semi circular one on the south wall. There is a simple belfry above the facade in the shape of an arcade. In front of the church there is a porch, and the stone pillars are finished off with arches and wooden roof frames.

The Church of St. George

On the small island of St. George there is a Romanesque church that bears the same name. It is rectangular shaped with a longer apse. Some historians have suggested that the Roman town of Ursaria (Vrsar) used to be on this island. They propose this on the basis of a copy of a Roman map from the 3rd or 4th century where the Roman town Ursaria was marked on an island. In the early Middle Ages an anonymous geographer from Ravenna also suggested that Ursaria was on an island.

Roman Store-house and Necropolis

In 1928, the foundations of a large building of about 70 metres long were excavated in the port. Considering Vrsar was an important trade centre in Roman times and according to archaeologists' these foundations were from Roman store-houses for merchandise. This is conclusion is confirmed by the Harbour equipment from the Roman period and the remains of the Roman embankment. On the southern side of the Montraker peninsula remains of a Roman necropolis (graveyard) have been discovered, together with a modest sepulchral inventory. A roman tombstone from the 2nd century was dug up in the port.

Old Christian Basilica

Near the Roman Basilica of St. Mary of the Sea, in the courtyard that is closed off with a stone wall there are the remains of an Old Christian Basilica from the 4th century. Today the remains of the basilica are covered with earth and are not open to the public. The basilica has a square layout and in the basilica there is a baptistery, whilst the entrance hall was on the western side. During the 6th century an apse was built, which is the last circular part of the church and the floor was covered with a mosaic.

The Roman Basilica of St. Mary of the Sea

The Romanesque Basilica of St Mary of the Sea is located in the port of Vrsar. The basilica is a very important memorial of Roman architecture in Istria. This pretty monumental basilica (24.5 x 12.5m) architecture reminds of old Christian churches. On the facade there is a round window (oculus) and on the eastern part of the church there is a bell in the shape of a Roman Monofor. The heavy Roman arcade with its monolithic pillars divides the church into three naves.

Abandoned Quarry

The ancient abandoned stone quarries should also included in the sights of Vrsar. Stone has been taken from the Vrsar quarries ever since Roman times. Within easy reach of the Basilica of St. Mary, there are remains of abandoned quarries (e.g. on the top of the island of St. George) on the nearby islands. To the east of Vrsar, on the peak “Gavanov Vrh” there is also an abandoned quarry, as well as one on a hill to the north-east of Vrsar. High-quality grey stone (Aurac) has been taken from here ever since Romanesque times.
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