Cathedral Saint Lawrence
The Cathedral of St. Lawrence (of St. John of Trogir) takes the main place among the Trogir churches. The church area, in which believers gathered from the Middle Ages, is a building where slogans from Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque mingle and which houses valuable works of art. While in antiquity the cemetery was in the part of the city that is on land, in the Middle Ages burials took place in the Cathedral and in the majority of the churches in the city and its surroundings. The construction of the Cathedral started about 1200 and was completed at the beginning of the 17th century. The example of the bell tower shows the protraction of the construction. The first floor, work of Matija Gojković, was made in the Gothic slogan; the second floor has the features of Venetian floral Gothic of the 15th century, while the third Renaissance floor of the bell tower, made by the stonemason Tripun Bokanić, was completed at the end of the 16th century. The bell tower has a pyramidal ending framed by four sculptures of the mannerist Venetian sculptor Alessandro Vittoria; on the top, there is a metal sphere.
In the vestibule to the left, there is the baptistery from the 15th century, which is partly the creation of the Albanian Andrea Alessi, whose relief, Christ’s Baptism, is above the entrance, and inside there is the relief of St. Jerome’s cave. The baptistery is of the rectangular ground plan, with cassette vaulting, below that there are angels bearing a wreath, obviously made under the influence of Niccolò Fiorentino. In the center of the space, there is the stone baptistery which is in the upper part covered in wood.
According to the inscription beneath the lunette, in 1240, the Western portal, called Radovan’s portal, was completed, besides the year of construction, also the author’s name. The very lunette presents the birth of Christ and events following it, while the scenes from Christ’s life are presented on the arches above. The portal is on the left and on the right framed by figures of lions, as guardians; on them, there are the figures of our first parents, Adam and Eve. The first row of the posts to the left and right presents apostles, the second presents the months with the presentations of work related to the seasons, the third row of round posts presents views from the everyday life and fantastic creatures. At the base, figures wearing costumes of the peoples of the Mediterranean have the role of portal bearers. At the top, there is the sculpture of St. Lawrence with a grill, to whom the church is dedicated, even though among the people the church is better known as St. John, after one of the first recorded bishops of Trogir (he died in 1111). In 2006, a long-lasting process of renovation and restoration of the portal was completed that, after precise laser cleaning, got back its original color, showing that it was made in Trogir stone and in black Egyptian granite.
Inside the three-nave church, one notices narrow Romanesque windows and three semi-circular apses in the east. In the central nave, there is the main altar with ciborium and sculptures of the Mother of God and angel Gabriel, of master Mavro (14th century), in front of which there are carved wooden choir seats, work of Ivan Budislavić from the 15th century. During Baroque, the main altar got a new marble tabernacle and statues of Blessed John and St. Lawrence. Above the eight-angled pulpit with Romanesque, partly gilded capitals, a crucifix painted by Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin (15th century) stands out. The Church is decorated with paintings with views from the lives of saints and side altars. In the middle, there is a large wooden candelabrum in the form of a Greek cross of the 16th century, once using oil, while nowadays electrified. The people of Trogir ordered it following the model of the same one in the Church of St. Mark in Venice. The first organ, a work of fra Urbino, was created at the end of the 15th century, while, in the Baroque, Gaetano Callido created a new one. In the mid-20th century, Milan Majdak used the old pipes for the new organ.
The most beautiful part of the Church is the Blessed John’s Chapel, built in the 15th century according to the draft of Niccolò Fiorentino, with contributions of Andrea Alessi and Ivan Duknović. Following the antique role models, there are the relief and sculptural presentations of the life in the underworld in the form of winged boys coming out from the underworld with torches. Life on earth is witnessed by the apostles led by Christ, while round windows are symbols of the Sun, the cassette symbolize the vault of the heavens and in the central medallion, there is God. The Blessed John’s Chapel got its marble angels around the altar created in the Baroque style from Jerolim Diogene, on which there is a sarcophagus with the remains of the Blessed John. For the excellent renovation of the Chapel, the conservators and the Cathedral got the ‘Europa Nostra’ award in 2002.
In the sacristy of the Cathedral, the treasury, built in the mid-15th century, exhibited are golden and silver objects, church vestments, precious written materials, partly in carved wardrobes of Grgur Vidov from the 15th century. On the wall above, there are the coats of arms of the bishops of Trogir. The diocese was abolished in 1828 and was attached to the Split-Makarska Archdiocese. On the floor of the neo-Gothic subsequently built space, there is a rich capital library.