Zadar is the fifth largest Croatian city situated in the central part of Adriatic Sea. It’s the centre of Zadar County with a population of 75,000 according to the 2011 census. The area of present day Zadar was settled in prehistoric times but its urban development begun in 1 century BC during Roman rule. Zadar’s later history was mainly determined by its geographic location, i.e. its favourable position on commercial and maritime route towards Eastern Mediterranean. Byzantine Empire, Venetian Republic, Ottoman Empire, French Empire, Austro-Hungary, Italy are some of the powers that influenced Zadar’s urban and economic development. Today, Zadar is an economic, educational and cultural centre of Northern Dalmatia as well as touristic destination due to richness of historical monuments and attractive natural landscapes of nearby coastline, islands and hinterland.
Zadar old town Tourist Board Map (fullsize) can be viewed and downloaded HERE
Forum is one of Zadar’s main city squares, located in front of the church of Saint Donat and the Archbishop’s Palace. It is a municipal square from the Roman era, built from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, 45 by 90 metres in size. The forum is the name given to all main squares in the cities of the ancient Roman Empire, where the public life of the city unfolded. There was initially an about 2 metre high capitol on its south-western section, in the midst of which a temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva rises, while a monumental pillar is preserved to its north-western side, used in the Middle Ages as a “Pillar of Shame”. In the period of late antiquity, the foundations of Christian buildings were laid. They later developed into an episcopal complex with the basilica and annexes, and were joined by the rotunda in the Early Middle Ages, eventually destroying the complex of earlier erected buildings.
St. Donatus Church is the symbol of the city of Zadar and the most famous monumental building in Croatia from the early Middle Ages (9th century). Round pre-Romanesque church which was called the Church of the Holy Trinity until the 15th century, and from that time on carries the name of Saint Donat, by the bishop who had it built. Today its space is used, due to its extraordinary acoustic features, for musical performances (“Musical Evenings in Saint Donat”).
St. Anastasia’s Cathedral is the biggest cathedral in Dalmatia. Its oldest parts are an early Christian basilica, but its present Romanesque appearance was shaped in the 12th century. During the crusaders´ siege and conquest of the city in 1202, the Cathedral was damaged, but later it was reconstructed and made longer. Its bell-tower was built in the 15th and 19th century mostly in a neo-Romanesque style.
Sea Organ is situated near the new cruiser port, as a part of Zadar’s Riva, and can be observed as a differently shaped part of the coast which consists of several stairs that descend into the sea. The stairs extend for about 70 meters along the coast, under them, at the lowest sea-tide level, 35 pipes of different lenght, diameter and tilts were built in vertically to the coast and they raise aslant until the paved part of the shore and end in a canal (a service corridor). On the pipes there are LABIUMS (whistles), which play 7 chords of 5 tones. Above the canal there are perforated stone stairs through which the sound comes out, the air pushed by the sea.
The Greeting to the Sun consists of three hundred multi-layered glass plates placed on the same level with the stone-paved waterfront in the shape of a 22-meter diameter circle. Under the glass conduction plates there are photo-voltage solar modules through which symbolic communication with nature is made, with the aim to communicate with light, just like the Sea Organs do with sound. Simultaneously with the sunset, the lighting elements installed in a circle turn on, and, following a particularly programmed scenario, they produce a impressive show of light in the rhythm of the waves and the sounds of the Sea organs.