Nin ... yes those Romans yet again left there mark! It's an interesting place to visit with lovely swimming beaches and takes just thirty minutes on the bus from Zadar. You can hire bikes here which is a good way of seeing a little more of the surrounding countryside.
Well, I read about the sea organ prior to our trip, but couldn't quite envisage this.
On our first evening in Zadar we walked along the Riva, the waterside promenade, towards the small harbour and city walls, realising that many people were heading in the opposite direction in a purposeful way.
We soon realised that these people were heading to view the sunset at the Sea Organ, so we retraced our steps, passing couples sitting on the waterside with a bottle of wine or bottles with local ' fire water'
We arrived at the Sea Organ after the sun set, but we returned a few times during our stay and joined the crowd witnessing the sun setting.
At the end of The Riva, on the peninsular that meets the Ferry Port, steps descend into the water for a length of about 70 metres.
These steps hide a 'Natural Orchestra Pit'!
Below sea level are sited 35 pipes of varying lengths and diameters, set at different tilted angles.Each pipe has a 'whistle'. When the sea water hits these pipes, air is pushed into them which emerges as a tune through 'air holes' in the steps. The force of the waves alters the 'tune' as do passing boats.
The Sea Organ is the work of Croatian architect Nikola Bašić, who also created the nearby Greeting to The Sun.The project was a collaboration between experts from different fields - Sea hydraulics expert Professor Vladimir Androcec from Zagreb University's Department of Civil Engineering, Organ expert Goran Jezina from Murter made the pipes, while Professor Ivica Stomac tuned the pipes, which Heferer also from Zagreb, had created the individual 'whistles'
On our first evening in Zadar, after visiting the Sea Organ, we came across The Greeting To The Sun nearby. Again, I had read about this prior to our visit, but couldn't quite envisage it.
This is the work of the internationally renowned, Nikola Bašić, who was also responsible for the aforementioned Sea Organ!
Well, this was something worth seeing!
Ever changing patterns of lit squares, with people posing in different ways for photo's was certainly worth a few visits during our stay in Zadar.
The 22 metre diameter circle is fairly attractive during the day time, and there is a feature that may be missed at night time - surrounding the circle is a metal ring, with names and numbers. (pic 4) These are part of the St Grisogonus Calendar, which was founded in Zadar around 1292/1293! This is considered to be amongst the oldest documents of its type, and is possibly the first to have astronomical data recorded in Arabic numbers.
Names of Saints ( Anastasiae, Donati, Simeonis, Ivsti,, Chrysogoni ,Zoili, Hieronymi, Lucae, Platonis and Eliae) and the dates of their feast days, along with the altitude of the sun, and length of sun on that particular day are featured in the ring, along with the names of churches that were once in the area. as well as co-ordinates of astronomical features.
This part of the project was the work of Professor Maksim Klarin from Zadar's Maritime School
During day time, sunlight passes through the 300 multi layered glass panels,where it is absorbed by the 'photo-voltage' solar modules below. The sun's energy is then transformed into electrical energy, which powers the night time lighting of The Greeting To The Sun, as well as the lighting along the waterfront!The colourful lights appear in different patterns, which are 'programmed'
There has been a market here in Zadar since the Middle Ages, and this is considered to be one of the 'Biggest and Best' on the Dalmatian coast!
The present day location of this market dates back to WW2, following the demolition of many buildings.
The daily outside market is well worth visiting - whether for its photogenic opps or to purchase locally produced fruit, veg, cheeses, oils etc. Also cheap clothes/ shoes etc
It is open from early morning to around lunch time.
I homed into one of the cheese stalls, where a lady was selling Pag cheese amongst others. She offered us a sliver of a soft goats cheese ( yummy) and the harder Pag ( quite nice)
We preferred the soft cheese, but it was quite a big hunk - we tried to haggle for a smaller piece, but she said that she would only sell it whole, whereas she was prepared to sell us a smaller piece of the Pag cheese. This was near to the end of our holiday, so we weren't sure that we would eat it before leaving Zadar. In the end, we bought the Pag cheese and we got it home with no problem, despite not being vacuum packed!
You'll find many stalls, where local elderly ladies (bakice) sell their home produced oils, cheeses, herbs etc.
The market was only a few minutes walk from our appartment, so we visited here a couple of times for supplies.
Surrounding the outdoor market are indoor meat and fish markets, as well as the large Konzum supermarket. Also, small cafes and bakeries.
Well, Alfred Hitchcock was certainly impressed by the sunsets here and was quoted as saying so!
During our 7 night stay we saw the sunset each evening.
Most people - locals and visitors alike, head to the steps of the Sea Organ, some armed with a bottle of wine, beer or local firewater, and just sit quietly chatting with friends or meditating etc as the sun sets - There's no applause etc as the sun sets ( which I witnessed in Kovalam, Kerala- when folks gathered on the rocks and applauded/ cheered as the sun set)
We enjoyed the sun set one evening from this spot, other evenings from a waterside bar or one of our best experiences - from the top of the Cathedral Bell Tower, which we timed deliberately to co- incide with the sunset
Yes, we enjoyed the sunsets here, but I have seen more spectacular sunsets - Ullapool on the NW coast of Scotland is one that I'll always remember from the early 1970's.
Pics and more info to follow
The bell tower has 180+ steps to climb, before you reach the top with views over Zadar.
We decided to time our assent to co- incide with the sun set. You can climb the tower between 0900 - 22-00 hours.
So, we paid our money at the desk - 20 Kunas, and headed up the tower.
The first bit isn't too difficult, and at each stage you can stop for a breather/ take photos etc - there is even a bench to take a seat/ breather , but nearer the top it gets a bit more difficult with the bell tower - lucky we were a few minutes away from the bells ringing! The last bit is up a metal spiral staircase.
Outside, it is a narrow pathway around the tower- luckily there weren't too many people up there!
We got to enjoy the sunset views and descended just before the bells started chiming out!
So don't forget your camera and binoculars might add to your experience.
..... more info to follow soon!
Not so impressive as in Trogir, Korcula or Sibenik, the approach by sea is also very interesting, without strongholds protecting the town, but with a very harmonious line of vegetation and buildings, showing that people deal well with the sea in Croatia.
We arrived late at Zadar, and even with a very quick visit, most monuments were seen at dusk or even at night. It's a pity!
For instance, this place, with st Lawrence church, City Hall and the municipal guard headquarters, should have been visited with daylight.
Still facing the Roman Forum, this church from the 11th century, but enlarged in the 16th, has a long and interesting story, having been used as a discreet but efficient place to hide religious treasurers, during convulsive times.
We had no time to enter it.
All tourists (and locals too) must go to the seaside and sit. Why? Because a local architect (Nicola Basic) constructed a set of large marble steps with holes, where the action of the waves produce musical sounds. The approach of a boat increases the sound level, that, though absolutely randomized are... interesting
Now that we have video, I promise I will browse my videos to post the captured sounds of it.
One of the most remarkable examples of the combination of different monuments in one.
The church was built upon the ruins of an older one, and rebuilt after being bombed in WW2, in combination with a destroyed benedictine convent in its back.
There are two interesting ruins situated at the City Market square. The first one on the east side was once St. Rok's Chapel built in 1508. The next to it stands white facade decorated by pillars and it's remains of the new church that people from Zadar have started constructing in 1600, to prise St. Simeon one of the patron saints of the town. It was intendend to be very spacious church with a delightful facade, but was never finished. The patron saint was permanently transferred to the church that was then known as the Church of St. Stephen.
The remains of the unfinished church were heavilly damaged in the bombing during WW II, and wasn't renovated until 2004.
The Forte Fortress is situated adjacent to the Land gate (or Lion's Gate), it is military purpose structure built in 1567 by the Venetian military commander Sforza Pallavicino. This fortress was separated from the city and from land by defensive moats. It served to defend the city from the land attacks.
Nowadays the city park Vladimir Nazor is situated inside the structure of the former fortress.
Palace Ghirardini is an example of 15th century Venetian styled palace, very simple in the forms, which is situated just a foot from the Main Square. it is notable for its Romanesque/Ghotic styled balcony. You need to know that the town of Zadar have suffered of major aliens air attacks (there was over 90 attacks) during the WW II, and not much of the old core was left.
Nowadys this palace houses Matica Hrvatska, an association which preserve Croatian language and traditions.
The Renaissance municipal Town Guard, or "Straza" as it is called by the local citizens, have robust forms of rustic mannerism. It is situated on Narodni trg, the Main Square of the town. In the medieval times, Straža was the seat of the city guard. Nowadays Straza houses am modern art gallery.