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Zadar, Croatia: Mediterranean city with a soul!

Updated on June 24, 2013

Zadar has always been a city, from the ancient times of the Romans, Byzantines and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, to the present Republic of Croatia. Traces of settlement on the Zadar Peninsula go back to the 9th and 10th century B.C. and it is the place which has the greatest number of islands on the Eastern Adriatic.

St. Anastasia Cathedral, Zadar.
St. Anastasia Cathedral, Zadar.
Church in the Zadar city centre.
Church in the Zadar city centre.
Street leading to the Marina in Zadar.
Street leading to the Marina in Zadar.
White concrete steps of the Sea Organ in Zadar.
White concrete steps of the Sea Organ in Zadar.
The Sea Organ as the sun in setting down.
The Sea Organ as the sun in setting down.
Zadar coat of arms
Zadar coat of arms

The sea extends in front of this walled peninsula town with three strings of islands nearby, while in the background one can see Mediterranean plains, with the magnificent Velebit massive in the distance. Surrounding the city are six national and nature parks, real gifts of nature. There is also the Zrmanja River Canyon, subterranean karst caves and many island and islets with picturesque spots.

The steep cliffs of the Paklenica Canyon (up to 400 mts high) always attract those eager for adventure. For those wanting recreation, without excitement, there are also cycling and trekking trails of various lengths and difficulty in the island of Ugljan.

The islands, the most attractive part of the Mediterranean and symbol of Croatia, are especially attractive, as there are 300 of them in total!

Zadar can be found in the oldest European travel books and the itineraries of the great pilgrimages from Venice, across Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus to Palestine. Nowadays it is an indispensable port of call for big cruisers.

It was from these islands that naturally preserved white fish was delivered to the city of Romeand later, salt anchovies to the Vatican. On the sites of ancient Roman vivariums, tuna is today bred for export to Japan.

Zadar has always been considered a city of culture, art and creative vitality. Their collection of antique glass is considered among the richest in Europe.

The church of Saint Donat is a unique Zadar monument, the symbol of the city and its visual identity and myth. Saint Grisogone is the main and oldest heavenly patron of Zadar and his image is the one riding a horse in the city’s historical coat of arms. Saint Simon, the third patron, is the most popular among the people of the city.

The people of Zadar, like those from the Mediterranean, like to be outside in the open, with company, ready to sing and have fun! A guest in Zadar can be an active participant in the general Mediterranean swarming and rustle of the city. They can sip morning coffee in a small shop in one of the narrow city streets, while warm summer evenings are also an ideal time for visiting the new quay, the typical promenade of many generations. Or if they prefer, they can go to one of the various concerts that supplement the people’s love for theatre.

Zadar is a city of universities, basketball, puppetry, photography, musical evenings,young people and beautiful girls. Mediterranean liveliness vibrates through the narrow, winding streets in its historical centre. The city might have an easy-going and relaxed atmosphere, but it is also professional and creative. Its identity is made of sports, art and tourism, but also transport, seafaring and fishery.

The western coast of the Adriatic can be reached with a three-hour ride in hydrofoil from Zadar and the city of Zagreb can also be reached in the same amount of time by motorway.

The Musical Sea Organ is the latest tourist attraction in Zadar. It was created by expert Dalmatian stone carvers and architect Nikola Basic, who received the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006 for that work.

The Sea Organ is located on the shores of Zadar, and it is the first of musical pipe organ that is played by the sea. Simple and elegant steps were carved in white stone and they seem to dissolve into the sea to form the quayside. Underneath there are 35 musically tuned tubes with whistle openings on the sidewalk. The movement of the sea pushes air through and depending on the size and velocity of the waves, musical chords are played, creating random harmonic sounds.

It is a masterpiece of accoustics and architecture and many tourists come to listen to it and to enjoy what famous director Alfred Hitchcock considered to be the most beautiful sunset in the world!

The sea and wind produce musical sounds that are heard by passers by, thus achieving acommunication with nature. As the sea and wind are unpredictable, this organ offers a never-ending concert in which the performer is nature itself. Walking on the beach at sunset while listening to the sweet serenade of the wave-powered organ is the ultimate serenade, like a soothing lullaby.

Do view the videos below, so you can listen to the soothing sounds of the Zadar Sea Organ!

Map of Zadar, Croatia


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    • sylvia13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Gadea de Beer 

      8 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

      You are lucky, as Germany is not far from Croatia, so it is easy to go and visit your beautiful country! We have gone to Croatia many times already and every time we find that it has good food (like seafood) and places to visit, like Zadar!

    • vox vocis profile image


      8 years ago

      I was born in this city...I live in Germany now and I miss it very much. Beautiful hub!

    • sylvia13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sylvia Gadea de Beer 

      9 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia

      Yes, Croatia is very nice! From your hubs I can see that we have some things in common: a love for gardening and Australia!

    • Nemingha profile image


      9 years ago

      Looks and sounds like a gorgeous place to visit! Thanks for the write up.


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