Bet You Didn’t Know About Zadar
Are you planning your first-time trip to Zadar? Have you visited it so many times already you consider yourself an expert on the vibrant city? Either way, you must be curious to find out less known facts about it and its attractions for a new or renewed perspective:
Where is exactly Kalelarga?
Walk down Zadar’s principal street to feel its pulse! Said to be older than the city itself, Kalelarga has always been its landmark and even has a song dedicated to it. Yet you won’t find it on the map. Its official name is, in fact, Široka ulica, which is basically a translation from its original name Calle Larga.
More than a light show and music
Stand in awe before the Greeting to the Sun and the Sea Organ! Zadar’s most famous modern attractions celebrate nature in the best possible way - by interacting with it. At the same time, the multi-layered glass circles of the Greeting to the Sun not only form a mini solar power plant used for waterfront lighting, but also represent the planets of the solar system and pay tribute to the patron saints of the city.
4 patron saints
It’s been a bumpy ride, full of ups and downs, for Zadar throughout history! No wonder the city and its citizens need as many as four patron saints, St Simeon, St Chrysogonus, St Anastasia and St Zoilo, to keep them safe.
View from the top of the bell tower of the church of St Anastasia
The city’s firsts
Take a moment to chill at Queen Jelena Madije Park! As you admire the sight of the Land Gate on the one side and Five Wells Square on the other, bear in mind that it was the first public park in Croatia, opened almost 200 years ago. The Archaeological Museum, which offers you a valuable insight into the history of the city and region, is just as old and among the most long-established ones in this part of Europe.
On the promenade not far from the Land Gate and Foša port, there is the monumental building of Zadar University originally dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. But did you know that Zadar was the first city with a university in Croatia, which happened to be also among the oldest ones in Europe? It opened in 1396 and was active until the 19th century and then resumed its activities towards the end of the 20th century.
Having fun … in a warehouse
Enjoy and explore the whole arsenal of Arsenal! The building which offers you an info centre about the city and the region in addition to hosting concerts, exhibitions and various other events used to have an entirely different purpose. Built in the 18th century, it was once a military warehouse.
Crossing over to the mainland
Walk over a bridge or go by boat from peninsula to the mainland! Doesn’t sound special at all, does it? Unless you’re taken by a barkajoli (‘boatman’). The service of taking the citizens of Zadar and the guests from the peninsula towards the breakwater has been available since the 14th century.
"Barkajoli" - the boatmen of Zadar • Image Source: Zadar Region
Or you simply cross over the bridge. The pedestrian bridge was built more than half a century ago as the third one in a hundred years. Before that there had been a moveable bridge demolished during World War II, replaced by a floating barrel bridge. It’s an excellent spot to admire both the historical peninsula and the part of the city on the mainland and it represents an important element of urban life.
Make a love wish on the mainland
No riddles, just granting of love wishes! Having reached the mainland by a barkajoli ride or over the bridge, continue northwards along the shore to Brodarica district and enjoy the walk. You get to see villas from the Belle Epoque with lovely gardens, one of which is guarded by a sphinx built a hundred years ago as a memorial to the deceased wife. According to the legend, it grants love wishes.
A different experience of Zadar
Don’t just see Zadar’s most popular attractions, add some magic to your sightseeing. Put on the ‘facts’ glasses and you’ll see the city in a different, more exciting, light. After all, it is possible to love Zadar even more!