Zadar’s Church of St. Donatus is a sight to behold, its towering circular walls rising out of a plaza scattered with Roman ruins. Commissioned by Donatus of Zadar (the church’s namesake come the 13th century), the Pre-Romanesque building dates back to the 9th century, and now stands as a classic representation of Byzantine Dalmatia architecture.
With a captivating and grand exterior, the interior might seem relatively austere. But there’s more here than just a humble church: given that it is built atop the Roman forum, you can still pick out ancient remnants from those times, including two preserved columns, and even a sacrificial altar. Moreover, St. Donatus is especially loved for its impressive tower-top views — that stretch across the city to the sea and islands beyond — and as a concert hall, for which it is used given its phenomenal acoustics.
If you don’t feel like paying to enter, consider contemplating the church from outside while sitting at a café terrace, or even among the Roman forum ruins. Meanwhile, if you wish to go up to the tower top, note that you’ll need to scale quite a few steps.