Zadar – the most important must-see historic monuments

After the city was heavily damaged by the Allies during World War II, the old town was only partially rebuilt, with only key objects reconstructed. This makes the site somewhat unique, with the new buildings, successfully merged in the old urban layout, offering a subtle background that highlights Zadar's valuable historic monuments.

Walls that will never collapse

The Old Town is situated on a rectangular cape which touches the mainland only with its southern edge. Running along its eastern side there are impressive defensive walls. Built in the 16th century under the Venetian rule to defend the city against Turks, they were entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2020. It is a less popular, albeit one of the top attractions of Zadar. The path on top of them will let you have a leisurely walk and look at the city from a different perspective. Have a look at the beautiful city gates, especially the Land Gate, and the Five Wells Square behind it.

View from the tower

The city looks stunning from the air, but you will be just as impressed when have a look at its panorama from the tower of the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, which dominates Zadar's skyline. Dating back to the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries, it is one of the most marvellous temples in Dalmatia, and its bell tower is an elegant 55m-tall open-work structure. You must climb 183 steps to get to its top. But when you get there, you will see a sea of red roof tiles, which were recreated after the wartime damage to mask the losses in the original buildings. Farther in the distance, you will see the city's very busy port basin which separates the Old Town from the land, and on the opposite side - the endless sea with the green islands of Ugljan and Pašman looming on the horizon.

Panorama of Zadar at sunset

Concert rotunda

The Church of St. Donatus, an imposing rotunda and one of Croatia's and Zadar's most important historical monuments, is more famous than the cathedral. Don't be misled by its simplicity – it is a pre-Romanesque structure built as early as the 9th century! As for the period, it has impressive dimensions - 27 metres of height and 22 metres of width. It was deconsecrated and today serves as a cultural venue. You might pop in for a concert. The fantastic acoustic of the interior will surely amaze you, even if you are not a music fan. Finally, visit the opposite St. Mary's Church and the nearby modern, albeit excellently adapted, Archaeological Museum - it has truly fine collections!

Shoping and a cofee break

Now it's time to take a stroll down Kalelarga Street, popularly known as Široka. The city's main promenade, loud and crowded, it is packed with cafés and restaurants. This is where Zadar's pulse beats strongest. Narodni Trg is as busy and noisy, with lots of café gardens. It is also where two other Zadar's historic monuments are – the arsenal and the city lodge. Take a sit to have a cup of coffee, a cake or… Maraschino, the flagship spirit of the city, a bottle of which will make an excellent souvenir.





Multitude of temples

One can say that Zadar is packed with temples to the brim. You have seen the cathedral and the rotunda, but that's not all. You still must visit the Orthodox Church of St. Elias the Prophet, which was built in the 16th century for Greek sailors and merchants, the 16th century Church of Our Lady of Health, and the 13th century Church of St. Francis, which is considered the oldest Gothic temple in Dalmatia.


Having visited all those interesting places, now you must go to the elegant boulevard of Riva to stare at the sea and have a look at a unique element of urban architecture. It is the Sea Organ, which give an unforgettable concert of various sounds when hit by the waves. Nearby you will find Pozdrav Sunca, an interesting installation presenting the solar system. They are Zadar's two latest and amazing attractions, which have become greatly popular among tourists.

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