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History & Culture

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  • History & Culture
  • Did you ever feel so overwhelmed by the beauty of heritage during your vacation that you did not know where to start? Well then, welcome to the Zadar region! 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! Choose your favorite period and we will find a piece of history that will amaze you.

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    Admire Roman remains 

    Talk to the locals about crafts and customs

    Find your favorite pre-romanesque church

    Landmarks

    St. Donatus

    Explore 3000 years of history!

    Get to know the symbol of Zadar – the Church of St. Donatus and travel through time.

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    Sea organ & Sun salutation

    Light and music show by nature

    Fall in love with the spectacular installations that show how well art and nature mix.

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    Forts, monastaries & remains

    Be the live witnesses of the past times

    Explore the traces of the history.

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    Religious treasures

    Richness of the religious heritage

    Discover the episcopal complex of Zadar and its sorroundings.

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    Crafts and Customs

    Learn the crafts and customs of the local people

    People of the region have always had a knack for fostering colourful and intresting tradition and practising valued and pleasing customs. And the best part - they will love to tell you all about it!

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    UNESCO heritage

    The legendary Dalmatian stone

    These stones hide more mystery than Stonehenge!

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    Museums

    Ave history and architecture!

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

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    Make the Rector's Palace your palace

    Rector's Palace

    One of the city’s prized buildings, the 13th century Rector’s Palace, has experienced many changes over the years. Today, it unites a museum space, its temporary exhibition halls, a video gallery, concert and multimedia halls - all in different styles reflecting the rich history it holds.

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    See (but don't touch) the Museum of Ancient Glass

    Museum of Ancient Glass

    Zadar

    It's baffling that a medium as delicate as glass could survive the earthquakes and wars that have plagued this region over the millennia, but this impressive museum has thousands of objects on display!

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    Sail through history

    Condura Croatica

    Nin Riviera

    Condura was arguably the smallest yet deadliest galley-type vessel in the history of warfare. Croatian Kings of the 11th and 12th century had up to 20 thousand oarsmen ready to propel them at a moment’s notice and one of the Conduras can be seen today at the Museum of Nin Antiquities. 

    Stories

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    Story of Lace, Benedictine Nuns and the Women of Pag

    When a craft becomes art

    The story and women behind Pag lace is as interesting as the lace itself! 

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    SICU & Benedictine Nuns

    History treasure more valuable than silver and gold

    The Gold and Silver permanent exhibition in Zadar is definitely a must. But, while there, look for another type of treasure – the history behind the story.

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    Mirila

    A place to die for

    Explore the funeral cult known in the parts of Velebit passes and its background story!

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    St. Simeon

    The legendary saint

    Holy moly, what a story! Find out about Saint Simeon and his story about Zadar!

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    Iški Kralji and Iški Lopiž

    Party like a Croatian!

    Croats are known for being party people. That is why every village has its own festivities. The feast of Iž stands out. Even among Croatians.

    Stories

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    Story of Lace, Benedictine Nuns and the Women of Pag

    When a craft becomes art

    The story and women behind Pag lace is as interesting as the lace itself! 

    Pag lace has fascinated for centuries – it used to be valued by emperors and now it is valued by the whole world. Probably mainly due to the fact that only a few women know how to make it. Pag’s lace-makers say that not even a computer could repeat the pattern they create each time. It comes from a time long before computers – the 16th century. The Benedictines of Saint Mary were the first teachers in the town and they formed a school for girls where they taught, among many other things, lace making. Since then, they have been praised for their hard work which was passed on from generation to generation. If you are looking for a different kind of souvenir, this is it! The lace can be purchased in one of the gift shops in the town of Pag, and we recommend you visit the Benedictine nuns at the Convent of Santa Margherita, who were the main initiators of the lace craft in Pag and its style.  The nuns have always been protectors of heritage and besides lace, they also protected a rich collection of sacral art presented in a Permanent exhibition. In honour of the 700th anniversary of the establishment of the Benedictine Convent of St. Margarita in Pag, a permanent exhibition of sacral art was opened. Besides being able to see lace and interesting exhibits such as relics, paintings and sculptures at the Benedictine convent in Pag, this is also the ideal opportunity to experience the lifestyle of the Benedictine nuns who follow the motto "ora et labora". For example, they make the famous baškotin, which is a type of sweet toast made according to the Benedictine nuns' special recipe, which has been made for more than 300 years. Sweeten up your excursion of traditional Croatia art with an authentic Croatian delicacy!

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    SICU & Benedictine Nuns

    History treasure more valuable than silver and gold

    The Gold and Silver permanent exhibition in Zadar is definitely a must. But, while there, look for another type of treasure – the history behind the story.

    The treasure was not kept by kings and emperors – but by nuns! The treasure of Zadar history is inseparable from the Benedictine convent of St. Mary and its nuns guardians. Their shared history goes back to the time of the Byzantine Empire. In newer history, the Benedictines once again proved essential when they hid the treasure in a deep hole under the church bell tower during the bombings of the Allies in 1943. Many items that have been preserved with love, knowledge and pride have great value. But for the people of Zadar, the most valuable item is the so-called Čika’s cross. Although small in size and without gems, it has held a special meaning for the people here since the 8th century. Find your favourite item while you find out more about the history of this treasure.

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    Mirila

    A place to die for

    Explore the funeral cult known in the parts of Velebit passes and its background story!

    If you take a walk through Velebit, you will surely spot unique, miniature monuments along your way. They are called mirilas, and their task was to preserve the memory of those who lost their lives on the mountain sides. Mirilas were created during the time when the residents of Velebit were mostly animal farmers and the bodies of the deceased were carried to the village church and graveyard. There was a rule during these difficult journeys: only one stop could be made to rest. This place would mark the last place where the deceased said goodbye to the sun and his/her measurements (mira) were taken. This is how these monuments got their name. These fascinating stone monuments made between the 17th and 20th century can be found along the steep and rugged mountain paths near Starigrad and Ražanac. As the final resting place of the deceased people’s souls, Mirila were adorned with artistic markings and venerated even more than the graves themselves!

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    St. Simeon

    The legendary saint

    Holy moly, what a story! Find out about Saint Simeon and his story about Zadar!

    The legend says that, in 1203, a merchant who was carrying the body of St. Simeon from the Holy Land to Venice sought shelter in Zadar because of a storm. He didn’t reveal the identity of the body he was carrying, but when he became ill and before he died, he gave the nurses a hint. That is why they dug up the grave with the local priests. Simultaneously, three city rectors had the same dream the night before the body of Saint Simeon was to be excavated. St. Simeon has been revered in Zadar ever since. The Chest of Saint Simeon, a masterpiece of medieval art, is a rectangular cedar wood sarcophagus in the shape of a chasse, overlaid with silver and silver-gilt plaques, said to hold the relics of St. Simon the God-receiver. On Oct. 8th, the Patron’s Day, the chest is opened and the mummy of the saint is displayed for a week. But you can visit the Church of Saint Simeon any day of the year!

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    Iški Kralji and Iški Lopiž

    Party like a Croatian!

    Croats are known for being party people. That is why every village has its own festivities. The feast of Iž stands out. Even among Croatians.

    The feast of Iž is summer entertainment that presents cultural programs and sporting events along with food, drinks and plenty of joy during a three day period. The traditional folklore entertainment of the Island of Iž reaches its peak with the final event of the festival entitled "Election of the King of Iž". It is a custom from the ancient times related to the Roman tradition of bacchanalia and saturnalia where the oldest people from the village drew straws (zbice). The person who pulls the longest straw becomes the king. The old king sails into the Veli Iž harbour accompanied by his “entourage” in national costumes with a song, fireworks and “luncijanj” of bells. The new king is then crowned on the stage with the presentation of the traditional island folklore. Every good party also features good food. “Iški lopiž” is popular around here, a meat dish with vegetables and aromatic Mediterranean herbs. What makes it special is the clay pot it is prepared in which is not surprising since this area is known for its pottery traditions. If you want to have a good time, head to Iž!

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    Sailing & Boating

    WANDERLUST OF THE OPEN SEA

    Sailing & Boating

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