Church of St Donat

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

Dating from the beginning of the 9th century, this church was named after Bishop Donat, who had it built following the style of early Byzantine architecture. The unusual circular ground plan is especially visible on the southern side, while the interior is wonderfully simple and unadorned, and is refreshingly cool on warm days. It’s no longer used for services.

The church was built over the Roman forum , which was constructed between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD. A few architectural fragments are preserved and two complete pillars are built into the church. The original floors have been removed, revealing slabs from the ancient forum. Notice the Latin inscriptions on the remains of the Roman sacrificial altars.

Outside the church on the northwestern side is a pillar from the Roman era that served in the Middle Ages as a shame post , where wrongdoers were chained and publicly humiliated. The western side of the church has more Roman remains , including pillars with reliefs of the mythical figures Jupiter Ammon and Medusa. Underneath, you can see the remains of the altars used in pagan blood sacrifices. It is believed that this area was a temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, and dates from the 1st century BC.