If you were to ask me why is Zadar on our itinerary, I would answer that it’s because of its proximity to Plitvice, as well as the cheaper flights flying out of its airport run by Ryan Air. However, the real reason why I decided to make this relatively less popular city our last stop is Croatia was because of the photos I saw on Pinterest.
Zadar Sea Organ & Sun Salutation
If you hadn’t seen photos of the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation at the end of the gorgeously long stretch limestone promenade, then you need to open a new tab and search for them right away.
The origin story of these two awesome designs goes all the way back to the Second World War, which destroyed that part of town. The Sea Organ and Sun Salutations were introduced in 2005, designed by Nikola Bašić, a Croatian architect. The sea organ, in reality, is part of the promenade with stone steps leading down to the sea. Beneath it, however, is an intricate instrument that plays music as the waves crush into it. A true song of nature, locals, and tourists alike flock its steps during the evening hours.
The Sun Salutation dominates the end of the promenade, a huge circle consisting of photovoltaic cells that absorb solar energy and burst into colours at night. The ever-changing multicolour hue brings a sense of magic to the sea front. Even during the day the crisp blueness of the solar panels is beautiful in its own way. (and yes, that’s me pretending to meditate)
Zadar Roman Forum
Despite the modern installations being what lured me to the city, the unassuming beauty of Zadar’s Roman Ruins wormed its way to my heart as well. The old town is located on the small island on the sea front, connected to the mainland by two bridges.
Becoming a Roman province around 33 BC, Zadar was one of the biggest centers on the eastern Adriatic coast. The Roman Forum can still be seen today with the remains of the columns not too far from the Riva promenade. It stands in front of the Church of St. Donatus, and the two make an excellent photo.
Church of St. Donatus
The backdrop to the Roman Forum, this Byzantine Church was originally called The Church of the Holy Trinity, but was renamed in the 15th century. With a distinctive circular shape, it has a 27m high dome with a simplistic design.
St. Anastasia’s Cathedral
The seat of the Arcdiocese of Zadar, this Roman Catholic church is completed with a campanile is of Romanesque style due to renovation in the 12th century. You can visit the Cathedral for free, but make sure your shoulder and knees are covered.
Not far along the street from Zadar’s Cathedral, the People’s Square is a gleaming limestone square from the Renaissance. Called Platea Magna, which meant large square, it was extensively damaged in WWII and had to be restored extensively. The beautiful town hall stood to the back, its pinkish tint blending in the beige of limestone. The square is full of restaurants and bars perfect for people watching.