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Croatia facts and history in brief


Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Zadar (Italian Zara) is a city in Croatia on the Adriatic Sea, with a population of 72,718 (2001).
Absolute majority of its citizens are Croats with 92.77% (2001 census).
It is the centre of Zadar county and the wider northern Dalmatian region.
Zadar is geographically located at 44:26N Latitude, 15:03E Longitude.

In the 9th century BC Zadar was settled by the Liburnians, a tribe of Illyrians.
After 59 BC Zadar became a Roman municipium, and in 48 BC a colony of Roman citizens.
It maintained its autonomy throughout the Middle Ages.
Upon the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the destruction of Salona in the early 7th century, Zadar became the capital of the Byzantine province of Dalmatia, as well as the governor's headquarters.
In the early 9th century it came under the Franks, while it was given back to Byzantium in 812, under the Peace Treaty of Aachen.
In the 10th, and especially in the 11th century, although it survived the migration of Slavs, the rulers of the town were the Croats.
From 1105, when it recognized the rule of the first Hungarian-Croatian king Coloman, Zadar began to be involved in frequent wars with Venice.
Zadar was under the Republic of Venice between 1111 and 1154 and between 1160 and 1183, before it was finally taken by the Venetians and the knights of the Fourth Crusade in 1202.
The Crusaders had promised the Venetians a certain amount of money to pay for ships for transport to Egypt, but when they could not pay, the Venetians diverted the Crusaders to Zadar.
After several insurrections (1242-1243, 1320s, 1345-1346), Zadar came under the rule of the Hungarian-Croatian king Louis I (under the Zadar Peace Treaty in 1358).
After the death of Louis, Zadar recognised the rule of king Sigismund, and after him, that of Ladislas of Naples, who in 1409 sold Zadar and "his rights" on Dalmatia to Venice.
From this time on Zadar started to decline, because the Venetians considerably limited the town's political and economic autonomy.
When in the early 16th century the Ottoman Turks conquered the Zadar hinterland, the town became an important stronghold ensuring the Venetian trade in the Adriatic, as well as the administrative centre of the Venetian possessions in Dalmatia and a cultural centre.
After the fall of Venice (1797) with the Treaty of Campo Formio, Zadar came under Austrian rule under which it remained until 1918, except for the period of French rule (1805-1813), all this time remaining the capital of Dalmatia.
During the period of French rule, the first newspaper in the Croatian language, 'Kraljski Dalmatin', was published in Zadar (1806-1810).
In the second half of the 19th century, Zadar was a centre of the movement for the cultural and national revival in Dalmatia.
However, under the Treaty of Rapallo, 1920, Zadar was ceded to Italy.
Nazi Germany occupied the city in World War II, as it was once one of the best-fortified cities in the world, and Zadar was bombed 72 times by the air forces of Britain and the United States.
Afterwards it was joined again with Croatia (at the time in Yugoslavia).
Consequently, much of Zadar's Italian population left for Italy as refugees, among whom was Ottavio Missoni, owner of the renowned fashion company Missoni.
Since World War II the city has developed as a strong economic and tourist centre.
In 1991 Serbian irregulars and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) attacked Zadar and it found itself on the very edge of occupied territory as a shelling target.
Connections with the capital Zagreb were severed for over a year, the only link being via the island of Pag.
Zadar was once again severely damaged in the war, including its historical bastions and churches.
The siege of the city lasted until January 1993, when the hinterland of Zadar was liberated.
However, the attacks continued up to 1995, when the war in Croatia finally ended.

Zadar gained its urban structure in Roman times; during the time of Emperors Julius Caesar and Augustus, the town was fortified and the city walls with towers and gates were built.
On the western side of the town were the forum, the basilica and the temple, while outside the town were the amphitheatre and cemeteries.
The aqueduct which was supplying the town with water has been partly preserved.
Inside the ancient town, a mediaeval town had developed, when a series of churches and monasteries had been built.

During the Middle Ages, Zadar had fully gained its urban aspect, which has been maintained until today.
In the 16th century, Venice fortified the town with a new system of defensive walls on the side facing land.
In the first half of the 16th century, architectural building in the Renaissance style was continued.
Defence trenches were built also (Fosa), which were completely buried during the Italian occupation.
Although in the second half of the 19th century by rule of Austria fortifications were destroyed, wall lines have been preserved until today.
In the bombardments during the Second World War, entire blocks were destroyed, but some of the structures were preserved.

Most important landmarks:
Roman Forum - the largest on the eastern side of the Adriatic, founded by the first Roman Emperor Augustus, to which two stone inscriptions about its completion dating from the 3rd century testify,
St. Donatus' Church - the monumental building in the pre Romanesque style from 9th century,
St. Anastasia's Cathedral, basilica in Romanesque style built in the 12th to 13th century,
St. Stosija's Church - ended in the high Romanesque style period, largest cathedral in Dalmatia.
St. Ilija's Church (St. Elias)
St. Francis' Church, gothic styled church, site of the signing of the Zadar Peace Treaty 1358
Five Wells Square
St. Mary's Church which belongs to a Benedictine Convent founded in 1066 by a noblewoman of Zadar by the name of Cika with The Permanent Ecclesiastical Art Exhibition "The Gold and Silver of Zadar"
Citadel - built in 1409, southwest of the Land gate, it has remained the same to this day.
The Land Gate - built according to a layout of the Venetian architect Michele Sanmicheli in 1543.

Zadar was, besides Dubrovnik, one of the centres of development of Croatian language and culture.
A annalist from the year 1177 noted that the joyous people of Zadar accompanying Pope Alexander III on his way to the basilica sang songs of praise 'in their native Slavic language'.
The first university mentioned in 1396 was a part of the Benedictine monastery.
The 15th and the 16th centuries were marked by important activities of Croatian writers writing in the national language: Jerolim Vidolic, Petar Zoranic (who wrote first Croatian novel "Mountains"), Brne Krnarutic, Juraj Barakovic, Sime Budinic.
During the French rule, the first newspaper in the Croatian language, Kraljski Dalmatin, was published in Zadar (1806-1810).
In the second half of the 19th century, Zadar was a centre of the movement for the cultural and national revival in Dalmatia.

Today's Zadar's cultural instutions:
The Croatian Theatre House
The National Museum
The Archaeological Museum (established in 1830)
The University of Zadar (founded in 1396)
The Maritime Museum
Permanent Exhibition of Sacral Art
Croatian Singing Musical Society Zoranic (established 1885)
Musical Evenings in St. Donatus (established 1961)
International Choir Competition (established 1997)

Major industries include tourism, traffic, seaborne trade, agriculture, fishing and fish farming activities, metal manufacturing and mechanical engineering industry, chemicals and non-metal industry and banking.
The farmland just northeast of Zadar, Ravni Kotari, is a well known source of marasca cherries.
Distilleries in Zadar have produced Maraschino since the 16th century.

External links

The above details were retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zadar) August 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

Hui Chin and I visited Croatia during our European travels in 2005.

We have enjoyed our stay in the country, but were very disappointed with the train services.

Before our departure from new Zealand, we purchased a rather expensive Regional Eurail Pass with added days to cover any delays or staying longer in any place than we have planned for.

Croatia, - at least between places we intended to visit - have very poor train services.

We arrived from Austria, through Slovenia to Rijeka, and although Rijeka connected by rail to Pula, our next stop, the train service is very slow and sporadic.

To go from Pula to Zadar or Split, or Dubrovnik, we either had to go through Zagreb with the consequent delay or use the bus services, which we did have to use throughout.

The roads are very good, so are the bus services, but it meant extra expenses for us, with already paid for rail passes.

With the good roads Croatia is catering for the neighbouring countries drivers, not for the like of us, with limited budgets, who can't afford a car or hired car in every country we like to visit.

Hui Chin and I enjoyed our stay.

Plenty of interesting, historical architecture to see.

Unfortunately I do not have many of my photos left, although we had four cameras between us and we taken many, many photos wherever we went, two of my cameras, with large, 512 MB SD Cards and many thousands of photos on them with my valet and money, were stolen from my bag, later into our trip, by some 'lowlife'.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.


Zadar Zadar Zadar

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