Zadar is a Croatian city located between Rijeka and Split and it was the capital of Dalmatia for many centuries. The Zadar peninsula still preserves very old network of narrow and charming city streets. The town is fortified with medieval walls dating back to the 16th century and boasts an historic old town of Roman ruins and medieval churches alongside a stunning modern seaside promenade. .
The pre-Romanesque Church of St Donatus dates back to the 9th century and it is certainly Zadar's most famous spot. The 12th and 13th century Cathedral of St Anastasia and Church of St Chrysogonus are both beautiful examples of Romanesque churches. The Church of St Mary contains architectural elements from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
Of greatest interest in the Roman Forum was the Column of Shame. It is said that people would prefer to go to prison for their crimes than be chained to this column.
The town is fortified with medieval walls with impressive gates - entries in the city all dating back to the sixteenth century. Throughout history, Zadar was the centre of key Croatian and Dalmatian cultural events: the establishment of the first Croatian university (1396), the writing of the first Croatian novel (1536) and the publication of the first Croatian newspaper. The famous permanent exhibition at the Museum of Sacred Art includes such treasures as the reliquary of St Isadore's arm and numerous paintings and religious artifacts. The museum is run by Nuns in full habit - reminded me of my old school days - and they are still as frightening today
Along the seaside promenade and directly alongside our ship are two of Zadar's modern day attractions: Greeting to the Sun and the Sea Organ.
The Sea Organ (morske orgulje) is the world's first musical pipe organ that is played by the sea. Simple and elegant white-stoned steps were carved into the quayside. Underneath there are 35 musically tuned tubes with whistle openings on the sidewalk. The movement of the sea pushes air through, and depending on the size and velocity of the wave, musical chords are played. It is quite astounding to stand there and hear the eerie, haunting music coming from beneath your feet. Looks totally unassuming but is magical in the numerous musical variations that are heard with nature itself as the performer.
Next to this marvel is yet another one. The Greeting to the Sun, made by the same architect, Nikola Basi. The Greeting to the Sun consists of 300 multi-layered glass plates (in 35 colours) placed on the same level with the stone paved waterfront in the shape of a 22 metre diameter circle. Under the glass conduction plates there are photo-voltage solar modules through which communication with light occurs. At night the Greeting to the Sun provides an impressive show of light in the rhythm of the waves and sound of the Sea Organ. The architect has also placed the planets in alignment with the sun. UNBELIEVABLE.....
Time to say farewell to Croatia and I have to say I have enjoyed visiting this country immensely. Not one I would have had on my bucket list but I have been wowed by the people, places and culture.........
Tonight is the Farewell Captains Cocktail Party on board ship. It is hard to believe that cruise number 2 is drawing to a close.