Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Old School Zadar

We are very, very bad bloggers... We've been in Zadar for more than a month and still haven't shown you any pictures of Old Town! It's one of our favorite places to visit. Best of all, it's only a 30 minute walk from our apartment in Borik.

Zadar's city center is over 2,700 years old. These days it is a walled, pedestrian-only zone:
The walls of Old Town.
There are four main gates. The most impressive is the Land Gate, constructed by the Venetians in 1543:
Can you see the winged lion of Venice over the main opening?
Here's an inner view of the Harbor Gate:
Notice the cars on the walls? Traffic is allowed up there!
Old Town's stone-lined streets are great for wandering:
Bird's eye view of Old Town Zadar.
Inside the Bridge Gate.
There's many great cafes and restaurants, too:
Dining al fresco at Stomorica restaurant.
Grabbing a gelato to go in Old Town.
Like any proper historical center, Zadar has several notable churches and towers. My favorite is the rotund Church of St. Donat, which I've affectionately dubbed St. Doughnut's Church. It was constructed in the 9th century by a Zadar bishop. Nowadays, it's used for musical performances.
St. Doughnut's Church and the Bell Tower of St. Anastasia.
St. Doughnut's and ruins of the Roman forum (1st to 3rd century).
Church of St. Mary (11th century).
Church spire at the Franciscan monastery.
Inside the Franciscan monastery.
Another sight is the Square of Five Wells (Trg Pet Bunara). The wells were Zadar's only water source until the late 19th century:
Square of the Five Wells
There's also a daily fruit and veggie market. While we've never seen it in action (it takes place during the early morning while we're still asleep!), we have seen the stands:
The daily farmers market.
Along the western side of Old Town there's a beautiful seaside promenade called the Riva. We love chilaxing on the waterfront. It's a great place for people watching:
The locals, sunning and swimming off a pier at the Riva.
And for happy-houring:
You don't need to work a 9-to-5 to appreciate a good happy hour.
And watching the sunset:
Another Hitchcock sunset in Zadar
One of the newest and coolest attractions along the Riva is the Sea Organ. It's a set of stairs along the waterfront that plays musical notes based on the waves. In my humble opinion, this is pure magic and completely fascinating to listen to. (If you would like a more technical description of how it works, please ask Jim.)

Listening to the Sea Organ.
The other "new" addition to the Riva is called Salutation to the Sun. It's a solar-powered LED display that puts on a dazzling light show at night. The display consists of a series of circular solar panels, representing the sun and planets, sized and spaced to scale. We borrowed a fellow tourist's video so that you can see it in action:
Mesmerizing, me thinks.
Wouldn't this be a great place for a Saturday Night Fever dance party?

If you're in Zadar after dark, a great place for a night cap is Garden. It's an open-air bar on top of the city walls. Word on the street is that this place is owned by the drummer from the band UB40 (remember them?) It was really challenging to get a good picture of this place at night since it only has ambient lighting. But, we did capture its best feature:
A bar with beds! Brilliant!