Besides, Zadar has got some other monuments of the pre-romanesque art, which because of their inspired forms also show the first traces of the spiritual culture in Europe of Middle Ages. The robust forms of small, two-aisled Church of St. Lawrence from the 11th. century, with a series of pseudo-cross-shaped arches and semi-domes, suggestively speak the language of architecture, about the art in a period between Antiquity and Romanesque. The town of Zadar dedicated to this period the golden pages of its historical heritage.
It must have been exciting to walk through the Town on the occasion of celebration of the Pope Alexandar the Third's staying in Zadar. When he was travelling to Venice in 1177, there was a storm on the sea and he took a shelter in the still port of Zadar. Riding the white horse, he came to the cathedral, while people and priests were following him along the streets of Zadar, singing the canticles and lauds, laud songs. These songs could be heard all over in Slavic language, wrote the Cardinal Benzon, a member of the Pope's suite. And really, in Zadar's hinterland already in the 9th century, a Croatian principality was formed. The commune of Zadar held close cultural and economic relations with the Croatian principality. In the early Middle Ages already, the Croats were migrating to the Town and became more and more its population.
The Croatian King Petar Kresimir the Fourth, who reigned in the 11th century, endowed the Benedictine abbeys with land properties and special grants. At the baginning of the 12th century, the commune carne under the rule of Croato-Hungarian kingdom. Zadar became a Croatian town! But already than, a big interest to obtain Zadar and the whole Dalmatia arose in Venice. However, Venice couldn't succeed in occupying Zadar for a long time. Zadar resisted, becoming at the same time a more and more wealthy marketplace, developed commune and fortified town.
It would have been in vain to search for a more beautiful and richer town, one of the best fortified towns in the world, walled in by high walls and towers... So it was written by a chronicle of the Crusaders, De Villehardouin, who was a witness when Venice raised a siege of Zadar. Really, the Town must have appeared to be an amazingly beautifui and solid town emerging from the sea, so white, in the cold days of 1202, when Venice decided, even if by a malicious cheat, to rule over Zadar. Robust walls and towers enclosed the Town from all sides like a ring. Besides, there were two separate forts, one towards the sea and the other on the port entrance, and a chain in front of it. The citizens were hoisting this chain from the sea and lowering it into the sea, as well as the strong bolts on the Town Gates - in that way they kept the safety of their commune and its institutions: the Town Prince and Council, Archbishop and Chapter House, Town monasteries and brotherhoods.
The best expression of the spirit of late Romanesque art are the abbeys of Benedictine communities and the episcopal complex. Next to the nunnery of St. Mary's sisters a capitular hall and bell-tower were erected by Croato-Hungarian King Koloman's donation in 1005, as it is chiselled in an inscription in the campanille. The hall is covered with a round arch, strengthened by transversed arches which are leaning against the columns leant against the wall. Similar columns in the cella on the storey of the bell-tower support its ribs and cross-shaped arch. Other storeys of the bell-tower were restored in the 15th century, but in their original forms, as the nuns explicitely requested that in the contract, so that its original measure, extraordinary elegance and harmonious architecture have been preserved up to nowadays. This architecture is characterized by vertical lesenes on the outside level surfaces and series of biforas that separate the storeys. On top there is a wide quadriphore and an ending pyramid is above it.
The Church of St. Chrysogone is the only remnant of the wide and rich abbey of the Benedictine monks, the community which is exceptionally important for the history and culture of the town of Zadar. Here was the centre of its Middle Ages erudition and literacy, very ancient scriptorium and an archive of exceptional importance for the national history. The Abbot of the monastery was the most respected Town's authority, beside the Prince and Archbishop, and the title of his abbey: St. Chrysogone, a Town patron more important than the others because his figure on the horseback became a symbol on the flags and seals of the commune. The church has a lay-out like a basilica, with the columns and arches separating the room into three aisles. On the back part of the building there are three round apses. The middle one is broader than the lateral two apses. The series of blind arcades divide the wall stones. Beside them, there is a row of semi-circular niches on the facade, and on the back part of the building there is an outside gallery with small columns and cube-shaped capital under the eaves of the main apse. The church was consecrated in the year 1175 by the archbishop Lampridije.
Sv. Petar i Andrija Stari
This small Romanesque chapel is hidden in between the new houses built after the World War Two. As I have already mentioned before, the old core of the town of Zadar was completely destroyed in WW II. There were 94 air attaks and bombings by allies, due to the fact that Zadar was important strategic position of German army. This small chapel houses an Art Gallery nowadays
The cathedral in Zadar has the...
The cathedral in Zadar has the same stylish characteristics, but its spatial structure is more complex. Inside the church there are galleries above the lateral apses, and under the raised sanctuary there is a crypt dug in. Besides, in the 13th century the basilica was extended, so that it became the biggest church in Dalmatia. The rich architeclural plastic art on its facade and on the lateral side outlines proportionally the disposition of the interior space.
In distinction from the ornated facades of the Romanesque basilicas, those on the Gothic churches are modest in the simplicity of their form. They belong to the temples of the preaching monasteries of St. Dominic and St. Francis. The Cominican monastery has been destroyed and the church was redecorated later on. Yet, its original torm of a simple parallelograram-shaped space with a rectangular sanctuarium covered by a cross-ribbed arch, has been preserved. Its facade is divided by a broad rosette and other walls of the church by ornamented high pointed windows. The church was consecrated in 1280. A Franciscan monastery has been well-preserved. There is also a church here, dating from the same tirne, and of the similar form. On its facade there is an elegant bifora. This church is a real treasury of an art and cultural heritage, and this monastery, just like a Benedictinian one, was a centre of Enlightenment in Zadar. An important historical event also took place in this monastery. In a sacristy next to the church the Venetian emissaries signed the treaty of peace conceding all the claims on Zadar and Da!matia to the Croato-Hungarian King Lodowick of Anjou.
On his arrival there was a big celebration in Zadar. The walls were ornamented by King's insignias, the sovereign was met by members of municipal authorities and Archbishop, ships crowded with people and flags stood in Zadar's harbour, and even en old sarcophagus with remains of St. Simeon was brought out in front of the King. There couldn't be any higher honours than those.
Among the holy reliquiars in Zadar, the remains of St. Simeon is the most important one. According to the Bible he was an old man, a Jew, who took little Christ in his arms in the temple and recognized Messiah in him. In a medieval legend a Venetian merchant was mentioned, a merchant sailing from the Holy Land and carrying the Saint's remains in his ship. A storm forced him to look for a shelter in the quiet harbour of the town of Zadar. That's how the Saint got to Zadar, became its patron and one of the most honoured saints in this region. In honour to his cult and to her prays for the son, the Queen Elisabeth of Kotromanic, wife of King Lodowick of Anjou, had a magnificent sarcophagus of a gilt silver made. This already described reception of the King Lodowick in Zadar, the visit of the Royal couple and suite to the church, the Queen's gift to the Saint, many scenes of his miracles, lots of ornaments and the text telling about this order and the master - goldsmith Francis from Milan, who lived in Zadar - all these has been shown on this new, beautiful reliquiar dating from 1380.
Like many mediterranean towns, Zadar was also a place of many pilgrimages to Holy reliquiars. The cult of St. Simeon is in any respect the most important one. His remains put in the sarcophagus previously mentioned are exposed on the main alter of the church which is also dedicated to his name and which has been for centuries visited by numerous congregations and curious people.
But also the cult of St. Chrysogone was very important for the Town of Zadar. Reliquiars of his body parts tell us impressively about the prayers addressed to him. The treasuries of the Middle Ages in Zadar, containing the reliquiars of other well-known, but also of those less known saints, prove that the cult of reliquiars was very strong in this Town, while the simple fragment of a fresco on a lateral apse of the cathedral reminds of a saint almost forgotten with us: of a brilliant Englishman, Lord chancellor and the Bishop of Canterbury from 12th century, St. Thomas Becket - the martyr, whose cult is in Zadar brought in connection with the stay of the Pope Alexandar the Third, who proclaimed the martyrdome of St. Thomas as christian sanctity.
The human need for travelling is usually best revealed in itineraries, containing the descriptions of interesting events and vivid recollections of the travellers who had stopped, with or without intention, in some of the towns on their trip. And so, for a long time, many foreigners were visiting Zadar and they wrote down their impressions about this town. One of those remote tourists, a certain Konrad von Gruenemberg, was walking through the streets and squares of our Town in the year 1486. With great interest he was watching the wedding procession, while the bride and bridegroom were strown all over with corn, and a bearded priest married them according to the old Slavic habit, as it was written down by Konrad. Later on, in the year 1494, a galley full of pilgrims who set out from Venice to the Holy Land, arrived to the port of Zadar. It was like today's touristic charter arrangements. Pietro Casola from Milan arrived with them. As he said, he was curiously sightseeing the beautiful buildings, monasteries and churches, with great interest he was watching the choir stalls in the churches and the sarcophagus with the remains of St. Simeon. But it seemed that most of all he admired the Town itself as a whole. It is not big, but is clean, with high city walls and paved streets, wrote the curious Casola.
Investigating the citadel you can fins places like that, a forest into the city ..look like a bleak yard but it has its beauty and you can feel very confortamble and at the same time a cosy spot in the midst of touristic place like it is
Remains of the Military hospital
The town of Zadar has a very significant strategic position in the Adriatic sea and was a very important military centre throughout its long history.
What you see on this picture are the remains of a huge Military hospital from 19th century.
Nowadays it is a market where you can buy fake but not that cheap designed clothes and accessories made in Turky.