Zadar is an ancient city, built in the centre of the Croatian Adriatic, full of historical and cultural monuments. It is three thousand years old, a city of tumultuous and dynamic history, often destroyed, looted, devastated, every time emerging from the ruins stronger, richer and more beautiful.
Here are five attractions well worth visiting:
The Greeting to the Sun
On Istarska obala, at the very end of the Zadar peninsula, next to the famous Sea Organ, shines the Greeting made by the architect Nikola Bašic.
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-metre 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 “most beautiful sunset in the world” the lighting elements installed in a circle turn on, and, following a particularly programmed scenario, they produce a marvellous, exceptionally impressive show of light in the rhythm of the waves and the sounds of the Sea organs.
Sea Organ is situated on the western end 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 metres along the coast, under them, at the lowest sea-tide level, 35 pipes of different length, diameter and tilts were built vertically to the coast. 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.
Included in the top ten Croatian landmarks by Trip advisor Travellers Choice in 2015, this incredible creation keeps astounding each and every visitor.
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. It represents a very developed example of the forum complex, and is one of the most important among the Adriatic’s ancient cities. The inscription with the name of Augustus´ proconsul for Illyricum, Tamfil Vaale, carved on the well of the Forum, testifies that the complex construction was started as early as the second decade of the 1st century BC.
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 rose, while a monumental pillar is preserved to its north-western side, used in the Middle Ages as a “Pillar of Shame”.
Narodni trg (People’s Square)
Narodni trg is the centre of public life in Zadar from the Renaissance until today. On the site of the Large Square, platea magna, the foundations of municipal institutions were laid in the early Middle Ages.
Afterwards, the City Lodge and the Church of St. Peter the New were erected here. They were destroyed by the authorities during the Venetian reign in the 15th century. The 16th century saw the building of City Guard (Gradska straža) with the city clock tower, while a new City Loggia was erected on the site of the old one.
Five Wells Square
The Square is located on a site between the medieval City Walls with a cornice and the Renaissance bastion Grimani, where the oldest park in Croatia is located, named after Queen Jelena Madije. The Square features exactly what its name suggests – five wells lined up in a row. In the Middle Ages there was a defensive ditch below the old city walls. During the 16th century, the Venetians helped the city withstand Turkish sieges by building a large water cistern with five ornamental wellheads, giving the square its name.
The pentagonal Captain´s tower leaning against the City Walls with the cornice is the only one left from ten similar towers located on the margins of the medieval city. The Captain´s Tower is named after the nearby residence of the city captain and it was built by the Venetians to strengthen the city against Turkish attacks. Today, the Tower houses the exhibition premises and a belvedere providing a beautiful view over the city.
While the wells are no longer in use, the Square has become a popular place for concerts and events, but it is also one of the best places to start long romantic walks in Zadar.