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We will make you wanna explore Croatia

Dear travellers, the European tourists have chosen their top destination for 2016.  And the winner is… Paris? Prague? Rome? Vienna? No, maybe next year. Among 20 selected destinations the prestigious title of Best European Destination 2016 was grabbed by the Croatian city – ZADAR

Congratulations to all Croatian people! Zadar took the first place and was followed by Athens (Greece), and Plovdiv (Bulgaria).  However, let’s check out what is so special about that city.

Main article photo: European Best Destinations 

LOCATION - IN HEAVEN

The city is situated on the Adriatic coast, in the center of the region Dalmatia - one of the most visited and intriguing parts of Croatia. Furthermore, the nearby beautiful islands and the national park Paklenica make it a preferred destination for both sea vacation lovers and people who are keen on the natural tours. 

Zadar

Photo by: Luka Papić Photography

HISTORY LOVERS DESTINATION

I have read somewhere that the history of this city is like peeling back layers of time and ages. Why? Zadar’s history dates back from 9th century BC in ancient Illyria. Imagine if you start to peel off all the history layers of that city – you should start from the Croatian War of Independence (1991- 1995), the communist regime of SFR Yugoslavia (1947–1991), continue through the Italian occupation (1918–1947), and many others eras… Till you get to the Roman period. All these ages and cultures had left a piece in the city converted it into an amazing masterpiece of architecture.

For example, The Old Town is paved with gleaming white stone and the straight streets were first laid out by the Romans. And the high wall remains, located at the harbor side, were built by the Venetians in the 16th century. That is why you can see the Venetian lion on the entrance gate of the city. So, for those one who like the history – Zadar is your destination.

 

MAGICAL SYNCHRONY BETWEEN MAN AND NATURE

Zadar has nested so many unique monuments which can make you leave the breathtaking beaches. We should start with the Sea Organ.  This art installation is built on the very seashore, so that the music which comes out of it is composed by… the sea waves! How does it work this installation?

On the very shore are built stairs that extend approximately 70 meters along the coast. Under the stairs, 35 pipes with different lenght are located. I am not going to explain the whole mechanism because this is not my strongest point of knowledge. However, as a result the pipes play 7 chords of 5 tones. The most amazing is that sound come out through the stone stairs above pushed by the sea air coming from the sea waves. ECHO!!!

Sea organ

Photo by: Luka Papić Photography

This original installation is created by architect Nikola Bašić. As an addition, he constructed a visual effect to accompany the magical sea music – Greeting to the Sun. Another amazing architectural achievement. Though, this is the moment to use a quote “three hundred multi-layered glass plates placed on the same level with the stone-paved waterfront in the shape of a 22-meter diameter circle". Under the glass conduction plates there are photo-voltage solar modules through which symbolic communication with nature is made, with the aim to communicate with light, just like the Sea Organs do with sound. PHHHHHHH  It is difficult to explain you but the most important is the result – magic, a sense of piece and completely synchrony between the man and the nature.

Greeting to the Sun

Photo by: Luka Papić Photography

ARCHITECTURE LOVERS DESTINATION

Let’s make a step back. We talked about the amazing history and blended architecture styles that Zadar has. One really impressive monument is The Zadar Cathedral (known as the Cathedral of St. Anastasia). This church is special about its unique style – it combines architectural styles from the Byzantine to the Gothic churches. It is the biggest cathedral in Dalmatia and is definitely must-see monument.

Even though the cathedral is impressive, the symbol of Zadar remains St. Donatus Church. It dates back from the early Middle Ages (9th century). However, nowadays thanks to its extraordinary acoustic features, the church is used as a concert hall. If you are interested, you can buy tickets online and enjoy the unique sound. 

St. Donatus Church

Photo by: Luka Papić Photography

THE MAIN STREET THAT IS OLDER THAN A CITY ITSELF

Do not miss to enjoy a walk through Kalelarga, known as the Wide Street, it's the main and most famous street in Zadar. An interesting fact about this street is that it exists even before the city Zadar – the Romans had been using it as a main road through the spine of the peninsula. Finally, if you want to feel the spirit of the city, you can visit the City Market – top place for people who enjoy the nice food. There and only there  you can see little old ladies (bakice) who sell home made olive oil, rakija, cheese. Moreover, there is an indoor meat and fish market, coolly located inside the city walls. Local people claimed that the best food can be found here. Tempting, right?

Kalelarga

Photo by: Luka Papić Photography

There is plenty of other monuments and amazing places to visit – I have just mentioned a small part of them. The rest – try to google it! Or even better, book a ticket and go. Come on - this city was not chosen by accident as the best European destination in 2016.

See you there!

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