Croatia’s coastal Zadar is a beautiful and historic city with an edge. Located in the middle of the Dalmatian coast, Zadar has a history of being in the middle of conflict and war. Much of the city was destroyed and rebuilt after the Second World War and the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s. Here are some of those magnificent still-standing structures, along with some other modern-day additions to today’s thriving city of Zadar.
Deep, peaceful sounds play from the marble steps at the edge of the Adriatic Sea. Architect Nikola Bašić created the Sea Organ to generate tunes out of the incoming and outgoing waves. Depending on the rhythm of the waves, you can hear all different kinds of sounds throughout the day. It’s a calming place to spend time reading or getting some sun, sitting on the steps right above the large musical instrument.
Created by the same architect as a complement to the Sea Organ is this solar-paneled work of art. The Sun Salutation gathers solar energy all day, resulting in the flat glass panels in the ground coming alive at night with dancing colors. The site is flooded with tourists eager to behold the light show every evening as the sun goes down.
The Land Gate is the main entrance to the walled city portion of Zadar, or the ‘Old Town’. Built during the rule of the Venetians in the Middle Ages, it is adorned with the city’s coat of arms. This impressive structure that once defended the city from oncoming attackers now welcomes travelers from all over the world.
Church of St. Donatus
Climbing the stairs of this rotund church in the main square of Old Zadar gives visitors an insight into the past – all the way back to the early Middle Ages in fact. Built in the 9th century, this church is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia. Now, it’s the site of many musical evenings due to its amazing sound reverberations.
With years of Roman rule under its belt, Zadar has its share of columns that pop up throughout the city where you least expect them. The Roman Forum is where travelers can get an inside look at what public life was like in this medieval city. See the ruins of a temple dedicated to Jupiter, the towering ‘Pillar of Shame’ and more.
Five Wells Square
While Zadar was under Venetian rule, an underground water cistern was established with five wells above ground. While the cistern no longer functions, the wells still stand intact today. At the corner of the square is the Captain’s Tower, which was used by Venetians during ongoing Turkish attacks in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Watch the sunset
Visitors to Zadar are spoiled with gorgeous sunset views every night. The sun sets over the Adriatic Islands in the distance and the sky lights up with pink and purple. Crowds come to watch every evening – vino included. The view is best from the Sea Organ steps, as well from nearby boat docks filled with yachts. It may be that the loveliest inscription of Zadar´s exceptional sunset was written by the famous Alfred Hitchcock. On the occasion of his visit to Zadar, in May 1964, while observing the luxurious game played by the sun the Maestro said: »Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, in Florida, applauded at every evening.«
The gold and silver of Zadar
The Permanent Exhibition of Religious Art – The Gold and Silver of Zadar
Within the structure to the church of St. Mary, or more specfically her monastery, whose property was Heavily damaged during the Second World War a Representative exhibition was formed in 1972 – the Permanent Exhibition of Religious Art, one of the most worth-while exhibitions in Croatia, popularly called “The Gold and Silver of Zadar”.
Kalelarga, also known as the Wide Street, is the main and most famous street in the city of Zadar. Some people say it is even older than the city itself, spreading in the direction west – east from People´s Square to the city’s famous Forum.