Zadar is a well-known and beloved destination on Croatian coast. This old city has plenty to offer in terms of natural beauty and cultural landmarks, and is annually visited by thousands of satisfied visitors. Here are three unique features of Zadar, which might be the sole reason for some to visit this beautiful Adriatic settlement.
The tradition of Zadar boat rowers has been passed on to generations for hundreds of years in some families, and has succeeded in being preserved regardless of all the modern times challenges.
Boat rowers (lat. barcatores) have been connecting the two shores of the city port since the 14th century – from the Diga, breakwater with lighthouse, to the Peninsula. Thus, they were shortening the trip to the city centre for many inhabitants of Zadar. The boat rowers are friends of travelers and taxi drivers, and are at their service all year round. Even though the distance between the two ends of the city is only 71 meters, the boat rowers are an obligatory tourist attraction to many Zadar visitors. Those who have not experienced their services have not really been to Zadar.
A consistent one-storey house with a lovely façade stands in Maestral Cove. It is called Villa Attilia and it is the oldest villa in Brodarica, dating back to 1901. It was built by a prominent Zadar restorer, academic painter and art historian Giovanni Smirich. He named the villa after his wife. He also had a replica sphinx built in memory of his beloved wife. Even though made of concrete, the Zadar sphinx is very particular – there was a relief of an eagle on its chest, and instead of claws it had fingers with which it once held a big sword and thus “protected” a small fish pond. The sword and fishpond were destroyed a long time ago, just like the eagle relief. There are many legends connected to the sphinx, such as a hidden treasure buried in it threatened its very existence, and during the centuries it was, unfortunately, the target of vandal damages. A romantic legend says that the sphinx makes love wishes come true.
The most beautiful description of the legendary sunset in Zadar was given by the famous director Alfred Hitchcock during his visit to Zadar in May, 1964. In observing the sunset from the window of Room 204 of Hotel Zagreb at that time, he wrote down the following: “The sunset in Zadar is the most beautiful in the world and incomparably more beautiful than the one of Key West in Florida.”
These were just three unique features of Zadar which make it a special and original place to visit in Croatia. If you have already been to this Mediterranean destination, feel free to add your impressions in the comments section below.
Written by: Milena Budimir / Adriatic Times