History & Culture

Experience Rich History of Zadar & Region

Zadar the Epochal

Did you ever feel so overwhelmed by the beauty of heritage during your vacation that you did not have a clue where to start and what to choose first? Did you ever have the impression how the sheer volume of cultural monuments made you miss out on so many important things that you simply had to come back? Well then, welcome to the Zadar region!

The earliest settlements in the region have been dated as early as the Neolithic and ever since the whole area has been continuously inhabited and ruled by various nations in unceasing battles for the coveted land. Locate the ancient communities of the Liburnians, step into the grand cities of the Romans, visit the northern parts of the Byzantine Empire, explore the walls of the Venetian strongholds and see in person where Croatian Kings laid the foundations of Croatian sovereignty! You will stumble upon countless remains of splendid Roman buildings and follow the ensuing structures of medieval master builders, and whether you are an admirer of sacral monuments or a fan of defence structures, the architecture of the region will reinforce your interest in history as well as art. Come to discover incredible cultural heritage that will serve as a true inspiration and maybe even evoke your child passion for building sand forts and drawing churches while you are enjoying your vacation on some beautiful local beach!

Pre-Romanesque Churches
TB Nin Archive
Pre-Romanesque Churches
TB Nin Archive
Pre-Romanesque Churches
TB Zadar Archive

PRE-ROMANESQUE CHURCHES

Nin

The extraordinary churches of the area draw attention, dazzle the mind and uplift the soul, bringing you colourful stories of local saints, bishops and kings!

If you start your journey in the little town of Nin, make sure not to miss "the smallest cathedral in the world" and "the fortified church" before you continue towards the city of Zadar and its "Carolingian colossus"! 

The unusual epithets do not reveal much at first, but suffice it to say that all three had not only a religious ecclesiastical purpose but also interesting secular uses. The elliptical 9th century Church of the Holy Cross was serving as a sundial that determined the exact dates of the equinoxes and the solstices; the towered 12th century Church of St Nicholas was built on a prehistoric burial mound which kings had to reach on horses to perform regal sword rituals; and the grand 9th century Church of St Donatus at times filled in for Zadar’s museums, concert halls and even warehouses!

Crafts and Customs
TB Pag Archive
Crafts and Customs
TB Pag Archive
Crafts and Customs
TB Nin Archive

CRAFTS AND CUSTOMS

Pag

People of the region have always had a knack for fostering colourful and interesting tradition and practising valued and pleasing customs!

Archaeologists have unearthed numerous valuable remains in the Zadar region and restorers have preserved countless attractive monuments built around their foundations, but the greatest legacy always lies in people themselves, that is in the way they perceive their environment and develop a symbiotic relationship with their cultural and natural heritage. 

Local people of the region have been excelling at that for centuries, building great nimble galleys as Condura Croatica for kings and their fleets, making beautiful decorative lace for queens and their ladies-in-waiting, producing rich tasty food and harvesting pure sea salt for all. Intangible heritage of the area is remarkable and unravels lively tales and intriguing mysteries of the past at every step, so come and hang around with our people before leaving home enriched and elated!

Takes Your Fun Seriously

History & Culture

The Romans and La Serenissima
TB Zadar Archive
The Romans and La Serenissima
TB Zadar Archive
The Romans and La Serenissima
TB Zadar Archive

THE ROMANS AND LA SERENISSIMA

Zadar

The Romans and the Venetians made a huge mark in the region, leaving behind a permanent legacy of unique customs and architectural marvels!

Many great empires and rulers fought over this land, from the Carolingians and Germanic Tribes to the Turks, the Austro-Hungarians and Napoleon’s troops, however no one left such impact as the Roman Emperors and the Venetian Dukes. 

Come to Zadar to see complex Augustus’ Forum and visit Nin to take a look at grand Vespasian’s Temple and you will get a glimpse of Iader’s and Aenona’s ancient glory. You will quickly understand why these cities represented progress and served as safe havens, with the first being the historical capital of Dalmatia and the latter the birthplace of the Kingdom of Croatia. You will also stroll among numerous Venetian structures that served as secure protection from the invaders, as striking places of worship and as an aesthetic inspiration for generations of future master builders and brilliant architects.

Mysticism of Dalmatian Stone
TB Starigrad - Paklenica Archive
Mysticism of Dalmatian Stone
TB Starigrad - Paklenica
Mysticism of Dalmatian Stone
TB Pag Archive

MYSTICISM OF DALMATIAN STONE

Starigrad Paklenica

Stone has always played a very special role in the history of Dalmatia, but it was not only a great building and defence material but also the root of local lore and spirituality!

From Pag Island’s pagan places of worship on which Christian churches were built overlooking the Adriatic to dry-stone layered walls that bordered the land and sheltered sheep and man from strong unyielding winds, from Paklenica’s mountainous Mirila monuments for the deceased that provided the final resting place for souls rather than bodies to the modern-day Way of the Cross installation that rekindles the faith and the spirit, stone of the Zadar region has been an inexhaustible source of fascinating beliefs, myths and legends. 

It was also a logical foundation of fortified walls, gates, bastions and towers that both stood firm against the attacks of the invaders and stood the test of time in the Renaissance masterpieces like the City Walls and the Land Gate of Zadar, which not only protected life but also inspired imagination as a part of Venetian architectural artwork.

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IN ZADAR REGION

Zadar region

Nin

Biograd

Starigrad - Paklenica

Zadar

Pag