I visited Zadar at the end of February. It was the second Croatian city I visited, the first being Split where I’m living. It’s located in the northern part of the Dalmatian region and you can reach the city by car, boat and plane. Zadar’s airport is located 9km from the city center.
The city of Zadar was elected Best European Destinations of 2016 by the European Best Destinations – an organization based in Brussels that promotes culture and tourism in Europe. [This year the award goes to Porto, shout-out to Portugal!]. Therefore, I was excited to make this trip and see all that Zadar has to offer!
It was a 1-day trip with a group of Erasmus students – traveling with a group makes the trip more fun, right? I ended up meeting two Portuguese guys that were studying in Split for the semester. And of course, I got to know them better over a cup of coffee – true Croatian style.
Roman Forum & St. Donatus Church
I went on a guided tour with the group and this was the first stop. The Roman Forum is a municipal square that dates back to the 3rd century. Built in the Roman era, this square has a length of 45×90 meters. Nowadays the original pavement is still preserved and it’s possible to see the ruins of the temples and colonnades.
Located in front of the Roman Forum, the St. Donatus Church is a symbol of the city. Originally from the 9th century, the church’s first name was actually Church of the Holy Trinity. Then, in the 15th century, it was renamed after Zadar’s bishop “Donat”, who started building it. The church has an exceptional cylindrical shape, a dome at the top and a height of 27 meters. It is open to the public from the month of April until the end of October. A normal ticket price costs 20kn but there are discounts for groups, students and senior citizens.
Queen Jelena Madije Park
I really liked this park – green in the middle of a city always makes me happy. The Zadar Queen Jelena Madije Park opened in 1829 and it actually was the first public park in Croatia. The park was founded by an Austrian commander, the military governor Baron Ludwig Freiherr von Welden. From the park, there is a great view over the Adriatic and the port of Foša. Also, you’ll find nearby the Five Wells Square that dates back to the 16th century.
Port of Foša
Located near the Land Gate, the port of Foša is a small but charming place. I took this picture from the park and it was lovely. If you look at the Land Gate on the right, which was built in 1546, you can see how majestic it is, with the Roman arch and the engraved lion.
Located at the end of Zadar’s Riva, the Sea Organ is one of the highlights of the city. At first, what you’ll see is just stone steps. But as you get closer, you’ll notice that the steps actually have holes through which the water and the air flows. These are then passed the resonant chambers located under the stairs. Finally, the water and the air are pushed out of the channels in the upper stairs, creating a unique sound. The stairs have a total length of 70 meters along Zadar’s coats.
Greeting to the sun
Right by the Sea Organ, there’s a circle with 22 meters installed at the same level of the stone pavement… A series of multi-layered glass panels that shines at the same rhythm of the waves. Just like the Sea Organ produces a unique sound, the Greeting to the Sun produces a unique show of lights. In fact, the Greeting of the Sun was created by the same architect that projected the Sea Organ, Nikola Bašić.
The city of Zadar is full of historical treasures and at the same time modern architect. This contrast makes Zadar a unique vibrant city. However, it still manages to feel relaxing and peaceful – just listen to the Sea Organ or walk through the city’s waterfront.
Alfred Hitchcock said that Zadar had the most beautiful sunset in the world. I saw it and I took this picture (no filter). What do you think?
Visit Zadar Tourist Board for some additional info.