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Zadar and its 3000 years of history

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To be honest, Zadar is my favorite Dalmatian city. Besides all those magical islands in front of it and beautiful nature and national parks behind, Zadar's walls tell the 3000-year-old history. It's lovely to see how the city merged all those Roman stones, Venetian walls, churches from various centuries together with the modern bridges and squares. Follow my steps and discover the city from an another perspective.

Iadera, Zadra, Zadъrъ, Jadra, Jadera, Jatara, Zara, Giara, Diadora, Jadres, Jādhara (جاذَرة) and Jādara (جادَرة), Iadora, Jazara, Jara, Sarra... Zadar. All these names are showing how the history of Zadar is not so simple. These names can show us who ruled the city and who left its traces in it. Let's see the list: Liburnia (9th century BC – 59 BC), Roman Empire (59 BC – 476), Byzantine Empire (476–800), Carolingian Empire (800–812), Byzantine Empire (812 – 10th century), Kingdom of Croatia (10th century – 1202), Republic of Venice (1202–1358), Kingdom of Croatia (1358–1409). This list represents only one half of the history of this great city. Many layers exist here and most of them you can visit the outside. It's like an open-air museum.

After eating some good Dalmatian food and after you tried some Dalmatian wines, because nothing is complete without a glass of wine, start your historical stroll in front of the St. Donatus Church, the landmark of Zadar. This Pre-Romanesque church from the 9th century has very specific spherical form that makes it unique. Maybe that is the reason why this church is the most photographed building in Zadar. One curious thing: every year a festival dedicated to the medieval and renaissance music is organized here (Musical Evenings in St. Donatus), since the church is very acoustic and therefore a perfect venue for such an event.

Church of St Donatus in Zadar
Church of St Donatus in Zadar
Trg Rimskog Foruma, 23000, Zadar, Croatie
Musical Evenings in St. Donatus, Zadar
Musical Evenings in St. Donatus, Zadar
23000, Zadar, Croatia

Very close to the St. Donatus Church, you can visit the Cathedral of St. Anastasia or just the Zadar cathedral. The combination of the Romanesque and Gothic styles, this building is the biggest cathedral church in Dalmatia. Its beautiful facade was an inspiration for many artists and might be one of the most photographed monuments in Zadar.

Zadar Cathedral
Zadar Cathedral
Trg Svete Stošije, 23000, Zadar, Croatie

Now, we are going dozens of centuries forward. It's the time for a Renaissance. The Door of Terraferma, located nearby the Five Well Square, is a beautiful example of the 16th-century Venetian architecture.

Gate of Terraferma, Zadar
Gate of Terraferma, Zadar
Five Wells Square 1, 23000, Zadar, Croatia

It's probably late afternoon by now. You saw many things, and your phone is full of great photos. After making 3000 photos of Zadar, one per each year of 3000-year-long history of the city, don't forget to enjoy the most romantic part of the day, the Alfred Hitchcock´s favorite sunset.


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The author

Marko Radojević

Marko Radojević

I am Marko, 28 years old, from Croatia. Travel, languages and nature enthusiast, lover and explorer. I share about my beautiful country.

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