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Dalmatia's capital in excess of 1,000 years, Zadar is too frequently ignored by vacationers on the way to Split or Dubrovnik. The things they lose out on is really a city in excess of 73,000 that's remarkably lovely and lively despite-and, in certain measure, due to-its tumultuous history. That Old Town, separated in the relaxation from the city on the peninsula some 4 km (2½ mi) lengthy and merely 1,640 ft wide, is busy and delightful: the marble pedestrian roads are replete with Roman ruins, medieval places of worship, palaces, museums, archives, and libraries. Zadar was for hundreds of years an Italian-speaking city, and Italian continues to be spoken broadly, especially by seniors. Today Zadar is a contemporary town, featuring several recreation options, relaxing spots, and a fairly cool vibe.
Where You are Docked
The cruise-ship tie-up is among the loveliest you will see -- a whitened concrete pier close to Old Town, near the amazing ocean, which, with respect to the wind and waves, frequency higher the moment you receive from the ship. Many Men and women visit to Croatia, including Zadar and nearby Pag Island, because of its beaches and night life.
There's a nice walk from the sea organ along the Western Quay, which has benches facing the water, used by locals as a picnic lunch spot. You'll find souvenir shopping opportunities, restaurants with beer and food, money exchange capabilities and Internet connectivity (wired and wireless) in the center of the Old Town, about a 15-minute walk from the dock. The Tourist Office is at Mihe Klaica 5, in the center of town (tel: 023-316 166).
Walking is the only way to move around the compact Old Town, where there are few cars on village streets. Most cruise passengers will confine their stay to the Old Town unless they are on a ship tour or their ships are in port for eight hours or more.
For tours outside of town, ask for planning assistance at the tourist office in the Old Town, which also has bus schedules from Zadar to other towns in Croatia. The main bus station is a short walk outside the Old Town. It's a busy place, as nearly every bus traveling up and down the Croatian coast stops at Zadar, but destinations may be out of reach for cruise passengers on short visits.
There is also a ferry port on the eastern edge of the Old Town. Ferry schedules to nearby islands vary by day and season; check Web site for schedules.
Thins to See & Do
People's Square
The People's Square (Narodni Trg) has been the center of public life in Zadar since the 16th Century. The City Guardhouse (Gradska Straza), built in the mid 1500s, is hard to miss on the west side of the square due to the large 18th century clock tower. It now houses a small ethnographic museum. Across from the tower stands the Renaissance City Loggia (Gradska Loza), built in 1565. It was traditionally used as a place to make public announcements but today it functions as a gallery for exhibitions. Also on Narodni Trg is the City Hall, from the 1930s.
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum in Zadar was constructed between the 1st Century BC and 3rd Century AD. It measured 90m / 295ft in length and 45m / 147ft in width. In the Zeleni trg square can be seen the remains of the Roman Forum which consists of the foundations of several public buildings, paving, and a Corinthian column. The pole of shame, as it was known, was used from the Middle ages to the 19th Century to chain up criminals for all the town's people to see. During the Roman times this area was a central market and public area. In modern Zadar, the forum is lit up at night.
Sea Gate
Zadar's famous Sea Gate (Morska Vrata), also known as the Gate of St Chrysogonus (Vrata Sv Krsevana), was designed by Michele Sanmichele in 1560. Sanmichele used an existing Roman arch as his base, which he recreated into the gate that stands today. On the sea side of the gate is a relief of the emblem of Venice, the Lion of St Mark's, and a memorial to sailors who fought and perished in the Battle of Lepanto. On the opposite side, the land side, is a commemorative plaque paying tribute to Pope Alexander III's visit to Zadar.
Historical Museum
Founded in 1832, Zadar's historical museum is among the earliest museums within this a part of Europe. It occupies an ordinary but enjoyable modern building near the convent complex of Crkva sv. Marije. It's the place to find numerous items from Zadar's past, from prehistoric occasions towards the first Croatian pay outs. The 3rd floor concentrates on ceramics, weaponry, along with other products the seafaring Liburnians introduced home from Greece and Italia, whereas the 2nd floor covers the classical period, together with a type of the Forum square because it might have looked in those days a more compact exhibit addresses the introduction of Christianity in Northern Dalmatia and consists of rare items in the invasion from the Goths. Around the bottom floor you will find an exhibit in the early Dark Ages, taking you to definitely the twelfth century.
Crkva sv. Donata (St. Donat's Chapel)
Croatia's most monumental early Byzantine chapel is Zadar's star attraction. Initially known as Chapel from the Holy Trinity, it had been later rededicated to St. Donat, who had been bishop here from 801 to 814. Legend has it that Donat, an Irishman, was the one that been with them built, using stone in the adjacent Forum. Even though the chapel no more hosts services, its fine acoustics turn it into a regular concert venue. Throughout the off-season (November to March), once the chapel is closed, someone in the Historical Museum nearby could have a key to help you to in.
Crkva sv. Marije (St. Mary's Chapel)
Legend has it that the local noblewoman founded a Benedictine convent on this website in 1066, and also the adjoining St. Mary's Chapel in 1091 it had been reconstructed within the 16th century. Most significant for contemporary-day site visitors, however, may be the adjoining convent complex, two wings which house certainly one of Zadar's most treasured museums. The Permanent Exhibition of spiritual Art, whose highlight is generally known as "The Silver and gold of Zadar," is really a amazing assortment of work from centuries past by local gold- and craftsmen.
Crkva sv. Šimuna (St. Simeon's Chapel)
St. Simeon's Chapel, built-in the fifth century, is better noted for housing the gilded silver sarcophagus of Zadar's most widely used patron saint. The chest area, which represents delicately detailed moments from St. Simeon's existence and also the city's history, was commissioned in 1381 by Elizabeth, wife of Croat-Hungarian King Ludwig I of Anjou, making by Francesco P Sesto of Milan, certainly one of Zadar's best craftsmen. For St. Simeon, legend has it that his body ended up here while being moved in the Holy Land to Venice with a merchant who got caught inside a storm, required refuge here, fell ill, and died-although not before drawing focus on the saintliness from the body he'd introduced with him.
Established within the first century BC through the first emperor Augustus, the Roman Forum is, greater than 2,000 years later, virtually a large empty space with a few scattered ruins. However, because it was discovered within the nineteen thirties and restored to the present symptom in the sixties, the Forum continues to be certainly one of Zadar's most significant public spaces. A elevated area around the western flank signifies the website of the onetime temple devoted to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and when you appear carefully you will find what remains of their altars that offered as venues for bloodstream sacrifices. The only real making it through column was utilized within the Dark Ages like a "Pillar of Shame," that wayward people were chained. Fragments of the second column were taken off the Forum in 1729 and set together again close to the Square of 5 Wells, in which the column still stands today.
Franjevaèki samostan Crkva sv. Franje Asiškog (St. Francis Chapel & Franciscan Monastery)
Dalmatia's earliest Medieval chapel, consecrated in 1280, is really a stellar illustration of a so-known as Medieval monastic chapel, indicated with a single nave having a elevated shrine. Even though the chapel went through extensive renovation within the 1700s, behind the primary altar is really a shrine dating to 1672 within the shrine you can observe choir stalls within the floral Medieval style that date to 1394. You are able to walk round the atmospheric inner courtyard free of charge, however, you be forced to pay a charge to go in the chapel itself. From mid-October through March or April, the chapel may keep irregular hrs.
Katedrala sv. Stošije (St. Anastasia's Cathedral)
Dalmatia's biggest basilica was formed into its magnificent Romanesque form within the twelfth and thirteenth centuries from an early on chapel although it was broken seriously throughout The Second World War, it had been later reconstructed. The inside includes not just a high, spacious nave but additionally a Medieval, stone ciborium from 1332 since the ninth-century altar delicately created 15th-century choir stalls through the Venetian artist Matej Morozon and, within the sacristy, an earlier Christian variety. St. Anastasia is hidden within the altar's left apse based on legend, she was the wife of the patrician in Rome but was eventually burned in the stake. Bishop Donat of Zadar acquired the remains in 804 from Byzantine Emperor Niceforos. The late-19th-century belfry, which is outside of the primary chapel building, provides a sweeping view to individuals who climb to the peak for a small fee, but the 20 steps to the ticket desk gives you a good look at the square below.
Kopneva Vrata (The Land Gate)
A stroll round the walls of Zadar's Old Town is really a walk around that which was, once, the biggest city-fortress within the Venetian Republic. Among the finest Venetian-era monuments in Dalmatia, the Land Gate was built-in 1543 through the small Foša harbor because the primary entrance towards the city. It's decorated with reliefs of St. Chrysogonus (Zadar's primary patron saint) on his equine, and also the shield of St. Mark (the coat of arms from the Venetian Republic).
Museum of Ancient Glass
Taking up the 19th-century Cosmacendi Structure, around the fringe of that old Town, this museum shows among the world's finest collections of Roman glasses outdoors Italia, having a huge variety of ancient pieces discovered from historical sites across Dalmatia. Highlights range from the delicate ships utilized by Roman ladies to have their fragrances, skin creams, and essential oils, in addition to sacred goblets accustomed to celebrate mass. The museum shop provides a fine selection of replicas of Roman glasses.
If you are interested in archiology or Roman culture then the museum of ancient glass is worth a visit. Located on a spot overlooking the Jade harbour you can see some amazing pieces, ranging from perfume bottles to funeral urns. Some of them look like they could have been made today. The gift shop sells replicas, which is where I bought my mothers last birthday present! The entry fee to the museum is 30kn.
Narodni trg (Individuals Square)
Among the Old Town's two primary public spaces, this ever busy square's the place to find the Gradska Straža (City Sentinel), that was created by a Venetian architect at the end of-Renaissance style having a large, central clock tower. The sentinel's stone barrier and railing, filled with cannon holes, were added later.
Ocean Organ
Composed of 35 pipes underneath the quay stretching along a 230-feet stretch from the Riva promenade, the Ocean Organ yields a wonderful never-ending (and ever free) concert. Created by architect Nikola Bašiæ with the aid of other experts, the organ's seem resembles a whale song, but it's actually the ocean itself.
Square of 5 Wells. The square may be the site of a big cistern built through the Venetians within the 1570s to assist Zadar endure sieges through the Turks. The cistern itself has five wells that also look quite serviceable, despite the fact that they've lengthy been sealed shut. Later, in 1829, Baron Franz Ludwig von Welden, a separate botanist, established a park above an adjacent pentagonal bastion which was also created to keep your Turks away.
Paklenica National Park
Paklenica National Park (Nacionalni Park Paklenica) is located in the Velebit Massif offering a wealth of outdoor opportunities for hikers, climbers, and other sporting pursuits. Velebit is a UNESCO biological reserve, which protects plant species and bird colonies as well as the mountains themselves. The exposed chalky white rock on the seemingly barren mountain tops contrasts sharply with the green forests lower down. The Mala Paklenica (Small Paklenica) and the Velika Paklenica (Great Paklenica) Gorges, cut through the mountain range, producing high cliff walls. The park is home to a number of different bird species and apparently some wildlife like bears and wolves, but these are only rarely seen. The Paklenica National Park is at its best in the spring and fall. Summer is usually too hot for many activities and the park is particularly green and lush in the spring.
The park office is at Starigrad (StariGrad-Paklenica) and the entrance to the park is at Marasovici, just north of Starigrad.  It is on the outskirts of Starigrad-Paklenica 20km or so ourtside Zadar (Not to be confused with Stari Grad on the island of Hvar!) It is very popular with hikers and rock climbers due to the huge lime stones gorges. The park is a true wilderness so doesn't have much in the way of maintained footpaths so be sure you bring good boots and a good map! For more information visit www.Paklenica.hr.  Address: Dr. F. Tudmana 14a, Starigrad-Paklenica, Dalmatia 23244, Croatia
Petrcane 12km north of Zadar is the village of Petrcane. It has a great pebbly beach but also hosts the dance event the Garden Festival. Check out the link for more info www.thegardenfestival.eu.
The Zrmanja River & Gorge
About 25km east of Zadar is the entrance to the Zrmanja Gorge. The Gorge is truely epic and looks like something nore at home in lord of the rings. The gorge sides are 200m high and the hole thing is best seen by boat. Excursions can be arranged easily in nearby Starigrad-Paklenica or in Novigrod (a nearby small town.) If your more of an adventurer than sight see-er then you can go white water rafting further up the Zrmanja River, again this can be booked in the nearby towns.
The islands
One of the main Zadar Attractions are the islands, referred to as the Zadar archipelago, they are much less visited than the southern islands. As a result they are far less developed and offer an intrepid traveller an unspoilt and beautiful destination. The island of Ugljan is the most populated of the islands, mostly due to its proximity to Zadar, however it is still a quiet place to visit. The island of Dugi otok is probably the most stunning of the islands.
Cathedral of St. Anastasia
Dating back to the 12th century Zadar's cathedral could easily be imagined to be sitting in an Italian town. Its worth climbing the bell tower which is over 50m high (its at a cost of 10kn).
Bablja Kula & the square of five wells
Situated in the South of the Zadar pennisular is the square of five wells and the tower of Bablja Kula. This square is a great place to stop off and have some food and take some good photos.
City Sentinel (Gradska straza)
Also on the main Zadar pennisular is the city sentinel, this impressive building is home to a museum worth seeing for its collection of local items such as textiles, national costumes, jewellery and agricultural. The sentinel is open 09:00 - 22:00, Sun 09:00 - 13:00, admission costs between 5 and 10kn.
Maslenica Bridge Bungee Jumping
If you are a bit of an adrenaline junkie then why not try a bungee jump off the Maslenica bridge. Situated about 30km north west thsi bridge stands an impressive 56m above sea level. More infor can be found at maslenica_bungee@iasnikatravel.com.
St Donats Musical Evenings
St Donats Musical Evenings throughout July and into early August there are classical concerts in St Donats, there is a mix of chamber and solo music played. Check out www.donat-festival.com
The music of the sea
The best part of Zadar is something much newer. A few years ago, a local architect had the brilliant idea of installing organ-style pipes under the concrete steps leading down to the water’s edge at the city quay. When waves hit the pipes, they push air through them, creating music. The 35 pipes are tuned to create pleasing notes. Nikola Basic’s Sea Organ won the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006. Basic also suggested installing solar panels on the quay. The glass plates absorb the sun’s energy all day; at night they light up under your feet, changing in time to music from the Sea Organ.
Shore Excursions
Best for First-Timers: The two- to three-hour "Zadar on Foot" tour includes visits to the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, St. Mary Church and the upper floor of a convent to see a collection of goldsmith work and relics. The tour ends with wine, cheese and Maraschino liqueur at Arsenal Tavern.
Best for Active Travelers: For waterfall vistas and walking opportunities, take the five-hour "Highlights of Krka National Park" tour. You'll bus to the multilevel Skradinski Buk Falls along the Krka River. After a guided walking tour, you'll have time for a hike on your own before taking the bus back to the pier.
Best for Repeat Visitors: The half-day "Cheese Tasting on Pag Island" tour lets you explore two towns on the island. In Pag, visit the Lace Museum, the remains of a fortified convent and church and the New Town center. In Kolan, you'll be able to taste the local cheese, Paski Sir.
You are able to have a short dip from the quay within the Old Town-probably the most best spot to do this may be the Riva promenade-however for a far more tranquil go swimming, mind towards the Kolovare district, just southeast from the Old Town, using its lengthy stretch of park-flanked beach punctuated every now and then by restaurants and cafés. The accommodation complex in Borik has relatively shallow waters along with a sandy bottom that's perfect for kids. The notoriously sandy beaches of Zaton and Nin are half an hour north across the coast by bus or vehicle. Cycling. Zadar's relatively flat and bicycle-friendly, which makes it an excellent place to understand more about cycles.
Eating Out
As Old Town is really a busy center of local people, students and vacationers, you will find the typical selection of coffee shops, bookstores, pizza and pasta places, in addition to restaurants featuring sea food in the Dalmatian Coast -- calamari, octopus, crab and scampi. Zadar has lots of konobas, traditional tavernas which include a wide open-hearth fire place along with a storage cellar for wine and essential olive oil. They are regarded as the best place to experience typical Dalmatian cuisine. Once, these were places where anglers hung out and also got another person to prepare their catch on their behalf.
For any awesome treat, sweet shop (slasticarnica) Donat, situated close to the Saint Stosija Cathedral, has excellent gelato. Searching for much more of a bar-type setting? The recently remade Full Jelena Madijevka Park hosts Ledena, where one can enjoy great sights of Fosa Marina.
Konoba Stomorica offers traditional sea food dishes, with tables inside and out. It's the kind of place where local people really bust out in song every so often -- though I did not get to get a performance on my small visit.
In Zadar, Fosa is known for its fresh seafood and its lovely setting on the water beside the walls of the old city. Eat on the patio or inside. The restaurant’s interior is a combination of traditional Dalmatian and modern architecture. fosa.hr
Restaurant Kornat offers a wide variety of meat and seafood as well as a good selection of Croatian wines. It’s also just steps away from the quay and Zadar’s famous Sea Organ.
Konoba Skoblar is situated near the small Square from the Five Wells (Trg pet Bunara, which once provided Zadar with water) within the earliest area of the Old City. It features a stone interior and serves seafood and meat dishes cooked under an iron bell. Additionally, it includes a nice choice of Croatian and foreign wines. There's live music most weekends. Lower exactly the same street from Konoba Stomorica, Trattoria Canzona is a superb wager for pizzas and pastas at inexpensive price points. For any gourmet lunch, try the favorite local sea food restaurant, Riblji Restaurant Fosa, close to the Land Gate. It is named after the harbor, which flows near the city's east wall, just outdoors.
At one of Zadar's unpretentious fish restaurants. Hotel Niko (as before) has a smart, family-run place with a good range of shellfish and fresh fish cooked traditionally. In the old town, with harbour views, Kornat (Liburnska Obala 6, 00385 023 254 501) has a wider menu that includes handmade pasta in lamb sauce and beef tagliata. Fosa (Kralja Dmitra Zvonimira 2, 00385 23 31 44 21, www.fosa.hr) offers the most modern cooking, a wide choice of raw fish carpaccio and a romantic setting at the end of a small harbour. Expect to pay about £25 a head, including wine.
Zadar offers a wide range of specialized boutiques, where everything from antiques and fashion to crafts such as ceramics, paintings and woven textiles made by local artisans can be found to some impressively spacious shopping centres. If you feel like going shopping, in Zadar you have few options. You can enjoy a walk through the main street Kalelarga on the peninsula of Zadar where you can find small shops.Another option is to visit the mall City Galleria in which you can find many different shops and cafés where you can enjoy a drink after a long shopping trip.
You can take as souvenir to home Vitlov  luxury chocolates in a variety of rich flavours, Vitlov Chocolate was founded in 2012 but has already built up a decent local following thanks to its uses quality ingredients and traditional methods. Their delicious offerings include almond and cinnamon, dark chocolate with red peppers, pralines stuffed with pear ganache and fleur de sel, chilli chocolate, ginger, lemon, orange and, of course, Zadar’s trademark Maraska cherries. https://twitter.com/vitlovchocolate

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