CHURCH OF THE HOLY MARY (FORMER CATHEDRAL) is a three-nave basilica with semicircular apses. The building presents a rare example of a monumental Romanesque architecture from the 12th c., whose fronts can be included among the prettiest of whole Dalmatia. At that time Rab was a significant town and a centre of the diocese, so that the church was consecrated by Pope Alexander III in 1177 on his returning from Zadar to Rome, at the request of the contemporary bishop.
An Early Christian building dating from the 5th c. was situated on the spot of today's cathedral. The bottom part of the Romanesque front of the church, adorned with bichrome stone and a line of arcades belongs to that period, while the upper part is dating from 1438, what testifies the inscription on the rosette. "Piety" is placed in the lunette above the portal, a work of Petar from Trogir, dating from 1514.
The interior of the cathedral has all the
characteristics of a three-nave pre-Romanesque basilica. Above
the main altar there is a unique example of a stone ciborium
from the 9th c. (rebuilt by the end of the 15th c.) with capitals
from the 6th c. Sculptor Andrija Aleši from Drač was working in
the cathedral by mid-15th c. Only fragments are left of his opus
(enclosure in front of the altar of the northern apse, pilasters
with angels). A polyptich by Paolo Veneziano is situated in the
church, and the treasury keeps gilt copper plates with 11 enameled
figures of the Apostles (Byzantine work).
THE ISLAND OF RAB: Position,
© Ineco, 1995./2005.