There is something miraculous in the city of Zadar that has flourished in the last 30 years, with a new target port in Gaženica, fantastic resorts near the city, excellent restaurants, a respectable university, and some of the most beautiful bars on the Adriatic coast. The sunsets are the best on the Adriatic in Zadar, while the sea plays Sea Organ, and where is the monument The Salutation to the Sun.
Today, Zadar is the center of Zadar County, with its University, well connected with a highway to Zagreb, has an airport, and therefore is connected to Europe and the world by sea, road, and air. Zadar is a student city, a dynamic urban center with about 70,000 inhabitants.
Zadar is proud of the captain of the Croatian national football team, Luka Modrić, but also of Krešimir Ćosić, who became a multiple world, European and Olympic champion in the Yugoslav basketball national team.
Zadar in the time of the former state
After the Austro-Hungarian monarchy collapsed in 1918, Zadar was annexed to Italy in 1920. At the end of the Second World War, it was returned to Croatia, in fact to Yugoslavia.
At that time, Zadar was rebuilt due to frequent bombings during the war and eventually became a cultural and economic center and began its tourist development.
Until the end of the First World War, Zadar retained the Dalmatian city’s role, the Kingdom of Dalmatia. Its Maraschino, a famous liqueur, was introduced to many guests of Zadar today as one of the most famous souvenirs. It is good to know that the first systematically implemented electricity network in Croatia shone in Zadar back in 1894.
Zadar in the time of Napoleon
Before the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Zadar fell under Napoleon’s France’s administration in 1806, which resulted in the renewal of the University with the study of medicine, surgery, pharmacy, law, construction, and geodesy. Zadar became the administrative center where the first newspapers in the Croatian language, Kraglski Dalmatin, were written and printed. After Napoleon’s fall and the siege of Zadar in 1813, the Austrian army recaptured the city.
Venetian government in Zadar
Zadar’s history is inextricably linked to Venice, the Venetian Republic, for most of its existence, as many as 3 centuries, from the 11th to the 14th century. A Croatian King Petar Krešimir IV. annexed Zadar and the Dalmatian commune to its state by agreement in 1069. But, from the beginning of the 12th century, Zadar became part of the Hungarian-Croatian kingdom. However, it was officially sold to the Venetian Republic in 1409 together with Dalmatia for only 100 thousand ducats to the Kingdom of Naples and the Holy Roman Empire.
During the 16th and 127th centuries, Zadar was threatened by the Ottoman Empire from the hinterland. That caused the construction of city fortifications (today on the UNESCO World Heritage List) as well as a favorite promenade of Zadar and its guests.
In the Middle Ages, Zadar became the essential free Dalmatian commune and the Dalmatia center in Byzantium, developed and strong as Venice. Excellent and proven Croatian warriors guarded the hinterland of Zadar, Adriatic islands, and other cities. In that protected period, the town was urbanized, developed shipbuilding. At the end of the 14th century, the Dominicans founded the first University on Croatian soil in Zadar.
A Friendship with Rome
Before that time, Zadar was saved by an alliance with Rome, while the Greeks and Dalmatians invaded from the south.
Thus, Zadar became a city of antiquity. The most beautiful witness of that Roman time is the Zadar Forum.
Zadar dates back to the Stone Age
As many as 2,700 back Liburnians created a vital center, anchorage, and port in today’s Zadar.
The Liburnians were contemporaries of the Etruscans in Italy and the Levantine Phoenicians, excellent sailors and good merchants, as evidenced by the imposing megalithic Asseria in the Zadar hinterland.
However, Zadar dates back to the Old Stone Age because in a layer as old as 15,000 years was found the most famous Dalmatian, Šime, with its popular name on Dugi otok/Long Island in front of Zadar. Šime had a female companion, Lili, a Paleolithic Venus. In the area of Arbanas and in Puntamica there are traces of a settlement from the late Neolithic.
When you go to Croatia, plan your visit to Zadar. It’s the Adriatic pearl you must see.