Situated in the middle of the Adriatic sea and surrounded by five Croatian national parks lies the town of Zadar.
Zadar - Town that greets the SunNalynn Dolan Caine ▼ Wednesday July 16, 2008 2:00AM ET
This humble town with 300 years old history became very popular in the last few years because of two of the world's unique sights of the modern art. One is Sea organ in the form of few rows of stairs that go down to the sea. Below, there are 35 pipes with whistles that play 7 accords of 5 tones. High tide and low tide during the day create unique music and unique experience that attracts lots of people.
Bonded with Sea organ is installation Greeting to the Sun. 300 glass panels form that installation that creates beautiful lights effects in the rhythm of the waves and sounds of Sea organ when the Sun goes down. And this is just a small part of what you must see when you visit Zadar, that modest town in which people worked very hard to spread its name far away from the borders of Croatia.
The town has changed its name few times during the ages and in the beginning of 7th centaury it became the main city of Dalmatian region and the governing centre of the Byzant empire. During the ages, through the town walked Venetian, little but fervent Napoleon, Croatian and Hungarian kings, Austria and Italy. Everyone of them left something of its own culture to the town and made Zadar unique.
Napoleon did not just march through the city with the head up. He was enjoying in Zadar's authentic drink liquor Maraschino made from sour Marasca cherry, world famous lover Casanova fall on his knees before Maraschino, Hitchcock drank it slowly and with passion, Honore de Balzac wrote about it, people on Titanic drank it on their first and the last voyage.
And as we just welcomed you with sweet Maraschino it is polite to offer you something more concrete for the stomach. Since you are in the centre of Dalmatia region, choose a restaurant on the left or on the right side of a street, depending on which attracts you more with a scent from the kitchen.
The savour of grilled fish will certainly be a good choice, but it will also be the choice of someone that only plays safe. Try Dalmatian fish specialties including seashells and mollusc. For side dish you can expect fresh boiled vegetables spiced with tasty virgin olive oil. For appetizer order the Dalmatian smoked ham and famous Pag sheep cheese. Pag is the island near Zadar known by salt production, sheep, cheese and the lace. Because of its specific climate condition different herbs, salt and wind "bura" (usually very dangerous wind for inexperienced yachtsmen), Pag has very taste lamb and cheese. Try it cooked for a change, it is very delicious.
Most of Dalmatian cities have their guardians, and so have Zadar. The story begins in third century when emperor Diocletian offered to Roman knight Grisogono high position if he relinquish Christian religion. Grisogono rejected the offer and Diocletian order to solder to cut his head and throw away his body into the sea. Grisogono showed himself to priest Zoila in dreams and pointed where his body is.
When Zoila pulled him out of the sea, by some miracle Grisogono's head conjoined with the body and people returned him back to Zadar. From that time Zadar experienced many miracles and people respect St. Grisogono as its guardian until today. Roman basilica St. Grisogono carry his name. Now, when you know the legend about St. Grisogono it will be even more interesting to visit it.
However, the trademark of Zadar are small boats with oars that connect two sides of the city harbour in all weather conditions for more than 800 years. Probably the first thing that you will see in Zadar is the main square Forum that is one of the biggest on the Adriatic sea. There you will see St. Donate church and Archbishop's palace. Visit Square of Five Wells raised during Turkey sieges. If you visit St. Maria church you will see one of the most precious exhibition in Croatia. St. Maria church guards lot of church values from a textile with golden stitches, to gold and silver, manuscripts, sculptures, reliefs and many more exhibits.
If you decide to stay in Zadar to feel the heart of the town, settle yourself in four stars all inclusive hotel Falkensteiner Club Funimation Borik that lies three kilometres from Zadar. Walk through vivid stone Zadar streets and enjoy in many colourful small shops and boutiques. Visit a concert of instrumental music in St. Donate church or be a part of "The night of the whole moon" that takes place every July.
Drive to one of the national parks or to an island across Zadar and if your night life stretches to early morning hours visit Zadar's market and buy figs to bring back your strength, and a half of a kilogram of sardines to fry them for the breakfast. It will be a very good start of a new day in Zadar. ■