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Zadar – Galiots of the 21st century
One of the characteristics of Zadar, a town of exceptional three thousand year old history with a rich cultural heritage and numerous sights, are definitely the barkajoli (lat.barcatores), who have been, since the 14th century, connecting the two ends of the city port in all weather conditions, thus saving the time of their loyal passengers.

This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages when the Commune of Zadar gave certain citizens the right to charge a fee for transport in their small boats around the port. Today, in their red boats, which have recently become a souvenir of the city, they connect the two ends of the city port, standing up while paddling, much like Venetian gondoliers.

Even though this is a short journey (71 meters) and takes a minute an a half, a ride in these unique paddling boats with the galiots of the 21st century is an unavoidable tourist attraction for most visitors of Zadar.

There are only a few remaining today, while in the past there were many more – during the time of the First World War there were 21, to be precise.

In those days, even two women paddled these boats while their husbands were in the war. This kind of boat paddling is usually a family tradition carried on from generation to generation in a few families and it has sustained itself despite all of the challenges of the modern times.

Apart from tourists, their services are often used by school children, delivery men, merchants and anyone who needs to reach the centre of the city a few times a day.

Taking this boat ride you can save up to 15 minutes by not going around and across the bridge that connects the Zadar peninsula to the rest of the city.

To show their appreciation and respect, the city authorities have for over thirty years entertained these modern galiots on New Year`s Eve and since eight years ago they have been given grants.

Two years ago a documentary was filmed about them in Croatia, under the title ‘Zadarski barkajoli’ (The boat paddlers of Zadar), by screen writer and director Tanja Kanceljak.

The Tourist Board of the Zadar County

The Tourist Board of Zadar

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