Zadar, Croatia, is the ancient capital of Dalmatia and the oldest town on the Adriatic. Located 70 mi/115 km northwest of Split, it has a very historic core that juts out like a thumb into the Adriatic. The town was under Italian rule for centuries and still retains some of this influence with many of the Italian-speaking old-timers in the town market.
To see examples of architecture from the city's earlier era, visit the ruins of a Roman forum (second century BC) and the 16th-century Sea Gate, which was rebuilt from the remains of a Roman arch. Slavic structures include the ninth-century Sveti Donat Church that stands proudly in the center of the old town, and the 13th-century Cathedral of St. Anastasia. The remains of the Church of Stomorica can be found in the southwest end of the city. The foundation of this old relic, dating from the eighth century, pokes out of the ground in the shape of a key, symbolizing the keys of Saint Peter. The archaeological museum located in the main square opposite Sveti Donat Church is also worth a visit.
The Morske Orgulje (Sea Organ) is an intricate part of the city pier's marble steps, near the main ferry port. It is a modern day marvel with the varying waves, wind and tides creating a cacophony of musical sounds. The Sea Organ was conceptualized and built by architect Nicola Basic in 2005 as part of a revitalization project to bring life back to the far end of the city piers.
A local travel agency can organize a tour of the nearby Kornati Islands National Park from Murter, Sibenik or Zadar—these 147 stark, rocky islands and islets make up the largest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Most of the islands are uninhabitable and retain a natural beauty. The easiest and most interesting way to reach them is by boat.
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