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Zadar – City of History
Zadar is a city with an exceptional 3,000 year-old history and an exceptionally valuable cultural heritage, a city that always manages to offer something new and original. Located at the very heart of the Adriatic, Zadar is the urban centre of Northern Dalmatia, the administrative, economical, cultural and political centre of an area of 92,000 people.

With its position at the meeting point of geographically different regions, and surrounded by historical towns such as Nin, Pag, Biograd, Obrovac, Benkovac and many others, it is an easily accessible and attractive tourist destination for visitors from the entire world that can be reached by air, land or sea. It has an excellent transport infrastructure, with which it is directly connected to other major cities of Croatia and exceptional marina capacities and service.

The developed coast, islands and untouched nature lure numerous yachtsmen.
Thanks to its geographical position, Zadar has a mild Mediterranean climate (warm and dry summers and mild and rainy winters), reflected in the beautiful Mediterranean vegetation and a few subtropical specimen in the Zadar city parks. The city itself, in a combination of the beautiful past and all contemporary amenities, offers numerous tourist attractions – ideal accommodation, indigenous culinary delicacies, cultural monuments, contemporary sports facilities and various excursion programs.

Zadar is one of the most popular Croatian tourist destinations, which the London Times has proclaimed the «centre of fun in the Adriatic», and the Guardian «the new Croatian capital of cool». The many visitors are won over by the special atmosphere and rich social life – be it day or night. In the summer, Zadar is host to the Musical evenings in St Donat, the Zadar Summer Theatre Festival, the Festival of the Sea Organ – Mitra Zonata, the KalelargArt – street art festival, and the urban festival ‘Zadar snova’ (Zadar of our dreams). Other great opportunities for entertainment are: The Garden Festival, Night of the Full Moon or one of the concerts of world famous musical artists.

This special city is irresistible to lovers of historical monuments and cultural heritage, artists, tourists and its local population. Zadar is a city in which a lot of room has been left to pedestrians; a walk along the stone streets of the city will become a walk down history as well as an experience of contemporary life. As a city-monument surrounded by historical city-walls, Zadar is a true treasury of archaeological and monumental wealth from the Ancient, medieval and renaissance era, as well as contemporary architectural wonders such as the very first sea organ in the world and the ‘Hail to the Sun’.

The century old tumultuous history, destruction and creation have left their scars and many records, and today's heritage of monuments. From all the historical eras, numerous churches and monuments remain, displaying the architecture of all styles. Around 70 of them are located in the very city centre, while the wider Zadar area harbours over 6000 immobile cultural monuments. In Zadar, the remains from Ancient times, the early Christian era and early middle ages can be found.

The must-see monuments of world-importance can still be seen on every step: the Roman forum from the 1st century, the St Donat Church from the 9th century – the best known medieval basilica, the cities trademark, the renovated Romanic churches of St Krševan from the 12th century and the bell-tower of St Mary from 1105, the cathedral of St Anastasia from the 13th century, the People's square (Narodni trg) with the City lodge and guard from the 16th century and the powerful city walls with the representative harbour and inland city gates from the 16th century, the Square of the three wells, the Square of the five wells and numerous palaces, villas and other monuments.

The Ancient Zadar is of a typical regular rectangular shape, conditioned by the cardo and the decumanus – the main streets of all Ancient cities going from north to south and west to east, deriving from the Roman military camp, the castrum.

The permanent exhibition of church art, 'The Gold and Silver of Zadar', in the St Mary Church convent, is one of the most valuable exhibitions in Croatia. On over 1,200 square metres, in 8 contemporary halls, the Zadar gold is exhibited, along with the reconstructed interior of the tiny church St. Nediljica from the 11th century, manuscripts, sculptures, embroidery, tapestry, reliefs and other evidence of Zadar's rich history between the 8th and 18th century.

Zadar was a particularly important cultural centre in the middle ages. Into the shrines and chalices, sculptures, paintings and embroidery, all the joy, hopes, patience, suffering and faith of the tumultuous past of this region is inwrought. The priceless treasure has been preserved over the centuries by Benedictine nuns, and some exhibits (lace, red textile embroidered with golden thread) are the work of their own hands.

The Zadar Museum of Ancient Glass is a unique cultural institution, not only in Croatia but in the entire world. It exhibits a unique collection of around 2,000 various glass objects from the Antique found in localities in Zadar, Nin, Starigrad beneath Velebit and Asseria near Benkovac, dated between the 1st century B.C. and the 5th century A.D. The museum harbours another 2,000 glass objects. Spread over 2,575 square metres, the museum also features a specialized library, conference hall, glass-blowing workshop and souvenir shop.

The Archaeological Museum was found in 1832 and is the second oldest in Croatia and one of the oldest in this part of Europe. It exhibits objects from the Roman era and prehistoric archaeological material from the Palaeolithic, as well as archaeological remains from between the 7th and 12th century, most of which concerns the Croatian material and spiritual heritage. The museum has a permanent exhibition, a restoration and preparation workshop and a library. The museum of Nin Antiquities and the Benkovac Regional Museum also operate under it.

On of the must-see attractions of Zadar is the sea organ – a place where man's idea and skills meet the energy of the sea, waves and the tides. It is a place for relaxation, contemplation and conversation, with the constant concert of the mystical tones of nature's orchestra. In close proximity to the new port for cruisers, the organ is part of the Zadar waterfront and is recognizable for its cascade profile. Immediately after it was built, the sea organ has become the metaphorical site of the city, attracting enthused Zadar locals everyday. It has also become an unavoidable spot in all tourist itineraries of Zadar and the region.

Another urban installation has become a must-see site in all tourist itineraries. It is the installation 'Hail to the Sun', by the same architect, Nikola Barišić. It consists of three hundred glass plates installed at the same level as the tessellation of the waterfront in the form of a circle, 22 metres in diameter. Photo tensional modules beneath the glass plates create a symbolic communication with nature, with the goal of, just as with the sea organ, to enable communication, in the organ with sound, and in this installation with light.

After the «most beautiful sunset in the world» the lighting in the circle turns on according to a specially programmed program, creating a beautiful, exceptionally impressive game of light, in the rhythm of the waves and the sound of the sea organ. The names and numbers engraved along the ring that goes around the installation are part of the calendar of St Krševan, which was created in Zadar and discovered in 1964 in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Dating from 1292 or 1293, it is one of the oldest documents of its kind and possibly the first to have astronomical data written in Arabic digits.

Along with the calendar and holidays with the names of the saints, it also has an astronomical section indicating the ephemeris of the sun, the coordinates of celestial bodies, their angular distances from certain immobile planes, courses and points.  Anyone who visits Zadar will take a walk along the city's «jugular vein», the popular street Kalelarga, Zadar's main street since the ancient times. Though today its official name is Široka Ulica (Wide Street), in everyday speech its name always has and always will be Kalelarga.

It is best to start a walk down the Kalelarga at the Petar Zoranić Square next to the remains of the Roman city gates and the Roman column, transported to where it is today in the 18th century from the Forum. Nearby are the St Šime church and the Duke's palace, along the Street of Elizabeta Kotromanić – in which in the 15th century a knight tournament on horses took place. It leads to the People's Square, where in the middle ages the new centre of the city administration was formed, with today's City Lodge (13th century – 1565), City Guard (1562) and City Hall (1934).

To Zadar locals, Kalelarga is more than the name of the city's main street. It is a cult place and one of the symbols of the city that stirs memories of beautiful moments and events, the place of socialisation, entertainment and recreation, processions and folk ceremonies and first loves. It is said that it is precisely on Kalelarga that the loves of many generations of Zadar locals have begun and ended.  A special treat is visiting Zadar's market, a pleasure for all senses. The Zadar market is one of the most picturesque and most colourful markets in the region.

Zadar offers a truly rich selection of accommodation facilities. From hotels, hostels, private accommodation to camps – everyone can find the accommodation that most suits them. The city offers three greatly equipped marinas. Zadar is one of the biggest Croatian nautical centres, because of its beauty and extremely developed coast. Its archipelago counts more than 24 larger and around 300 smaller islands.

Lovers of lakes and rivers, mountain air and heights can choose one of the excursions in the surrounding area, with three nearby nature parks – Telašćica, Northern Velebit and the Vransko Lake as well as five national parks – Paklenica, Plitvice, Kornati, Krka and Velebit. The choice is truly great – from walking in forests, hiking, mountaineering, rafting or sailing.

City of Zadar Tourist Board
www.tzzadar.hr
www.visitzadar.net
 
 

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