Croatia has more than 6000 km of coastline, more than 1200 islands, and it offers endless inspirations for traveling. But now that the sun goes down earlier than in the summertime and temperature is a single-digit number, it's the perfect time to explore the Roman side of Zadar. With fewer people, you will have more time and space to enjoy.
Three thousand years is long history of Zadar, that city that had the name Colonia Julia Jader during the Roman period in the 2nd century BC when the Romans for the first time came here. The history and archaeological sites indicate that Zadar was a big naval center on the Adriatic. It was an important connection with the Balkan peninsula and all the peoples that lived behind the mountains, yet unknown regions to the Romans. That's the time when Zadar got its Roman Forum, monuments, first church, thermae, sewage... What makes this place amazing is that the Romans made an aqueduct and water was entering the city all the way from Vransko Lake, that is 40 km away from Zadar.
The biggest monument of the Roman period is in the middle of the old city, just next to the Church of St Donatus. This forum, made during the reign of the emperor Augustus in the 3rd century, is definitely the landmark of Zadar. You can walk around the stones from the Roman period, the pillars and other parts of ancient temples. This Roman Forum can be perceived as a park since it's a green surface surrounded by trees and it covers the surface of 90x45 meters. During a long stroll, you can sit here, and still, you will hear the sound of the Sea organ, located less than 500 meters away. Each stone has its own story at this square, but what makes this place even more curious is the column of shame. This column, which is in its original position, wears the chains that are also original from the same period.
The Roman forum has great lighting, so my big recommendation is to visit it during the night too. This ancient piece of Zadar is inevitable when walking around the city. During the Advent days in Zadar, the Roman Forum has special lighting and decoration. It seems like wherever you go, you will end up next to the Forum and Church of St Donatus. Close to the Roman Forum, the Archaeological Museum is located. After visiting the Roman Forum, one should see this museum too, since it has amazing exhibitions from the prehistory to the classic period and my favorite department - Undersea archaeology.
Recently opened in the Cosmacendi Palace, the Museum of Ancient Glass is a special one. You will be able to see the ancient vases, jars, and goblets. If you ever asked yourself whether the Romans used the perfumes, here you will find out that the answer is yes. More than that, you will see the perfume bottles as a part of the permanent exhibition. Here, you can learn more about the glass production, and in the shop, one can buy the ancient glass replicas.
Zadar really is the summer destination but feel free to come in the autumn to explore the Roman side of Zadar. I will wrap this story up with a great night shot of the Roman Forum in Zadar, and you shouldn't forget to enjoy in the most romantic sunset.
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