The cathedral of Sv. Stjepan(St. Stephen) stands on the eastern side of the square and thus greatly enhances its visual impact. The building of the cathedral was begun on the remains of the late-Gothic cathedral of the 15th century, which was built where the former church of St. Maria di Lesna and the medieval Benedictine abbey stood. The bishopric of Hvar was founded in 1147, with its centre in Stari Grad, but in the middle of the 13th century it was moved to Hvar. The first bishop resident in Hvar was mentioned in 1249. This fact not only determined the building of the cathedral and the bishopric, but also the building of the town itself.
The cathedral was built in stages during the 16th and 17th centuries, while the interior was not wholly completed until the 18th century. It has the characteristics of a Renaissance-baroque style, a monumental facade with a three-cornered gable and a Renaissance bell tower which has a Romanesque style in its ascending stages. The bell tower was built by Nikola Karlic and Marko Milic Pavlovic in the 16th century. The cathedral has three aisles and the shape of a basilica. The sanctuary of the nave is, in fact, the nave of the former Gothic church: the two pulpits, the stone polyptich with "The altar of the Apostles", and relieves "The Scourging of Christ" and the "Annunciation", from the workshop of Juraj Dalmatinac in the 15th century. There are eleven baroque altars, the opposite ones being identical, made by Venetian artists. These baroque altars blend gracefully with the subtle Renaissance interior of the church.