Architecture in Zadar … with a Twist
Sea, sand and sun - that may be the combo that invites you to come to the Croatian seaside. Zadar is certainly one of the most attractive tourist spots with ever-growing number of visitors each year. Apart from the 3-S mix, great number of events and happenings attract visitors curious to experience the exciting ambience particularly during the peak season. Yes, Zadar truly is a city with plenty of must-dos, especially during summer, but it also has many interesting, both historical and modern, must-sees that are there the whole year round. When you decide to visit Zadar, you might be looking just for fun, adventure, well basically partay! However, as you do that, you will be passing by historical monuments. Give those buildings a moment of your time - they are a testimony to Zadar’s turbulent past.
As you’re passing the stalls to buy a souvenir, knick-knacks or hand-made items representing local traditions and crafts, take a moment and look around. You are at a site where generations and generations have trodden in the past millennium and more. The remains of Zadar’s Forum remind us of the time the Romans ruled the Mediterranean and the strategic relevance the city had. Its initial size is not easily discerned as various buildings, such as St Donatus’ Church, were built over its remains. Next to this 9th century impressive round church, which is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia, you’ll find St Anastasia’s Cathedral. Its origins date back to the 4th-5th century, but what you can admire nowadays was built in Romanesque style in the 12th-13th century. Climb its tower, built in the 15th and 19th centuries, and use the opportunity to enjoy Zadar’s skyline. If you want to find out why Zadar is sometimes referred to as the ‘city of gold’, visit Gold and Silver of Zadar exhibition at St Mary’s Church situated opposite the tower and St Donatus’ Church.
Movin’ on …
If the Forum is the heart, then Široka ulica, popularly referred to as Kalelarga (its historical name), is the main vessel which will lead you from the Forum to one of the most popular places in Zadar, Narodni trg (People’s Square). It’s a place where everything happens - all the major celebrations involving the general public happen on Narodni trg and Kalelarga. When you finish admiring the 16th century City Guard and City Loggia on Narodni trg, continue along Kalelarga and you’ll reach Trg pet bunara (Five Wells Square), built in the 16th century. Stop there, enjoy the curious sight of the five wells, or climb the medieval Captain’s tower for another view of the city, or sit and rest in the cool shade of the adjacent park, the first public park in Croatia, the 19th century Queen Jelena Madije’s Park. If your stay in Zadar happens to coincide with a concert to be held on Trg pet bunara, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the square from a different angle. Another place where many events occur is Arsenal, the 18th century navy storage. It’s situated on the other end of Kalelarga and close to the Forum, which brings us back to the beginning.
But that’s NOT all folks
Truth be told, this list of historical monuments doesn’t really do justice to Zadar’s architecture as a whole, because there’s so much more to see. However, the mentioned sights you simply can’t miss when in Zadar and knowing more about the buildings you pass by, does give you a more complete experience about the place you’re visiting. But, if you’re more into partying and the sea-sand-sun mix than architecture, well then, the list can serve you as a cheat sheet, when your mum and people back home ask you about your trip and Zadar, where the past and the present continually meet and produce great ambience.
Image sources: www.wikipedia.org