ZADAR www.zadar.hr, distance 48km
For centuries the capital city of Dalmatia and today the centre of the region. A city with a rich heritage of world importance, visible at every step. The Roman Forum from the 1st century, St. Donatus’ Church from the 9th century is the most famous medieval basilica and trademark of the city. The reconstructed Romanesque St. Grisigono’s Church from the 12th century and the St. Mary’s bell tower from the year 1105; the St. Anastasia’s Cathedral from the 13th century; the People’s Square with the City’s Lodge and Guardhouse from the 16th century, as well as the mighty fortification walls with first class Sea(farer’s) and Land gates from the 16th century followed by the Three and Five Wells Squares and many palaces, villas and other historic monuments.
Based on a three thousand year old tradition, the Zadar region has evolved to take up 14% of the total territory of the Republic of Croatia, and around 12% of the territorial sea, with as many islands as there are days in the year plus an islands’ surface area of approximately 580 km square. Just offshore of the 1200 km long coast, most indented coastline in the Mediterranean, there is an array of four strings of islands beginning with the largest: Pag, Dugi Otok, Ugljan, Pasman, leading to the smaller ones: Silba, Molat, Olib, Premuda, Iz, Vrgada, Sestrunj.
Its attractiveness is due greatly to its fantastic natural position in the very middle of the Adriatic coast, and to the four National Parks surrounding it: Plitvica Lakes, Paklenica mountain, the unique Rivera Krka waterfalls and a string of wondrous islands called Kornati. No less attractive are the nature Parks of Telascica, the canyon of the Zrmanja River and the largest natural lake in Croatia –Lake Vrana in the vicinity of Biograd. It is possible to reach the central Zadar Riviera region equally easily from all directions and by all means of transport.
The City of Zadar is not only known for its historical and cultural monuments but also for its amply supplied vegetable and fish markets on the peninsula (a part of the old city). The market is daily supplied with fresh fruit and vegetables from the rich hinterland of “Ravni Kotari”, the fruitful waters of Lake Vrana and the islands of Ugljan and Pasman. Judged by the variety of goods on offer, it is one of the largest markets in Croatia. The market is not only frequented for supplies, but also for the bustle, the abundance of colours and the haggle with the local women merchants.
In the direct vicinity of the “green market” is the fish market with an exceptionally diverse offer of fish and seafood, as well as salted sardines by the piece. The fish market is situated close to the promenade, where lively coloured fishing boats of all sizes lay crowded in the morning. The fishing tradition in these parts is very old (1995 marked the 1000th anniversary since the first written account of fishing in Croatia – Sali / Dugi Otok) and the most famous fishing town on the Adriatic is situated on the island of Ugljan.
Just as at the market, here too it is necessary to haggle with the merchants, and, even if on that particular day you end up without fish on your menu, you will still have enjoyed the scent of the sea and heard the arguments of fishermen in the local dialect.