This Mediterranean city has a history of 3000 years, many parts of it are still visible in the historic part of the town. This history, combined with beautiful clean sea, Mediterranean way of life and popular modern installations like Greeting to the Sun makes this city irresistible to thousands of tourists every summer. We say summer because, unfortunately, out of the season this is a pretty peaceful town.
Zadar is truly lucky to have such a rich heritage and it is a miracle that such a big part of it is preserved since it has been completely destroyed three times in its history (in 1202nd by crusades, at the end of World War II it was bombed by the Allied forces and than again in 1991st during Serbian aggression on Croatian territory).
Today the historic part of this beautiful Mediterranean city is adorned with Roman forum and its Capitolium and the temple dating from Roman times (1st century BC), uniquely shaped St. Donatus church from the 9th century (this is also the symbol of the town), Romanesque cathedral of St. Anastasia from 12th century and the Land gate built by Venetians in 1543th. Maybe the most valuable artwork in Zadar is St. Simons silver-goldplated coffin (in St. Simons church) which was ordered by Croatian and Hungarian queen Elisabeth in 1377th and made by goldsmith Franjo from Milan. The queens crown is exposed in the Permanent exhibition of religious art, also known as “Gold and silver of Zadar”. This exhibition is preserved by Benedictine nuns in Benedictine convent of St. Mary. Next to the convent is also St. Mary’s Church which is very important because of its bell tower which was a gift of a Croatian king Coloman in the 11th century.
During you vacation in Zadar you can visit Archaeological museum with pre-historic, ancient, medieval and submarine exhibits, National museum ,Zadar City museum which was integrated with the first one and Museum of Ancient Glass with the greatest collection of ancient glass in this part of the Europe. On the last floor of the museum visitors can find a workshop for souvenirs and a presentation on the art of glassblowing.
When talking about Zadar’s main attraction we have to mention two unique and innovative architectural creations:
- Sea organs – an experimental instrument that is played by the sea. This music combined with a romantic sunset which Alfred Hitchcock described as the most beautiful one in the world will surely be an unforgettable experience.
- The Greeting to the Sun – an installation of glass plates that absorb solar Energy during the day and display it as an amazing dance of light during the night.
There is an abundance of cultural events in Zadar during the summer:
- “Night of the Full Moon” – celebrates the happy cohabitation of the coastal and island cultures and offers a lot of good Mediterranean food and drinks from the Zadar county;
- “Musical Evenings in St. Donatus “ – this festival has been maintained for 54 years and it is one of the oldest festivals in Croatia;
- “Zadar Theatre Summer” – this manifestation thrills lovers of theatre for over twenty years.
Don’t forget to relax, spend some lazy hours on the beach and enjoy the sun. The two most famous beaches in Zadar are:
- Kolovare – a beautiful beach located near the main bus station
- Borik – where they charge you for entrance because it is part of the Falkensteiner Hotel & Residences.
There are a few more beaches, but we recommend going out of the town, for example by a 15-minute ferry ride to island of Ošljak. Of course, not all beach hours have to be lazy, beach Borik and some other beaches in nearby small towns and villages offer a lot of beach activities like beach volleyball, jet skiing, kite surfing etc.
As the sun goes down young people begin to seek for some good night life. Young people in Zadar usually begin their night out in the part of the old town called “Varoš” where is a lot of bars with terraces and “happy hour” prices. Since there is a ban on playing music after 1 a.m. in the historic part of the town ( except during some festivals when it is prolonged to 3 a.m.) after that hour everyone goes to some of the clubs. At the moment the most popular ones are Maraschino (just across the pedestrian bridge from the historic part of the town) and Hitch (located on beach Kolovare).
We have to mention the rich gastronomic offer, especially in the historic part of the town (or peninsula) where is a lot of restaurants and places called “konoba” which usually serve some good Dalmatian cheese and prosciutto or some fish and seafood specialties like baked octopus or cooked shrimps and mussels.
The last and final piece to this Mediterranean mosaic would be Maraschino. It is a world wide known liqueur made of distilled cherry Maraška which is specific for Zadar county. The recipe dates from 16th century and it was created by monks in Dominican monastery in Zadar. Since then it has been served on many European courts, among them on the court of the English queen Victoria and the king George V.. Do not miss a chance to enjoy this delicious liqueur, just like Napoleon Bonaparte and some wealthy people from Titanic did.
To truly experience Zadar sit at some bar by the sea just before the sunset, order a glass of Maraschino and listen some beautiful local music performed by group of musicians called “klapa”…
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