Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Walking through the streets of Zadar one gets the distinct feeling that the city has had a rather mixed history. For over twenty-five hundred years Zadar has existed under threat from the outside interests. From the Romans, to various barbarians, the Venetian Republic, the Kingdom of Italy, and most recently to the Yugoslavian People's Army this ancient city wears its scars well.

The old city walls, built when Zadar was a possession of Venice, are striking to me. Winding their way around the coastline, their 16th-century design is much more elegant than the typical northern European city walls of a few centuries before and they have done well to protect the city's oldest edifices.

Zadar, among many of the other cities and villages on the Dalmatian coast, was historically associated with pirates as the many islands and winding coast line produced a plethora of natural harbours. Though I had already known about this fact, I only truly absorbed it after taking a swim in the sea yesterday.

 Diving into the open Adriatic, the water didn't seem to have any power over me, unlike the Mediterranean or the Atlantic and it became clear to me how excellent of a base the area could have been for medieval mariners. Yotam explained to me that he felt that swimming in off the beach nearest the old town was much closer to swimming in a lake than at sea. 

Many of the marine artefacts are stored in the city art gallery where Yotam and I spent this morning reading selections from Vivaldi's Opus 2. After being granted permission to play in the gallery from the state yesterday evening, we spent the night looking for some location-appropriate material. Being a former holding of the Venetians, the red priest seemed as close as we could get. A number of people came in to listen to us and I'm sure we convinced one person to come watch our concert.

Tonight the orchestra will perform in St. Donat, a 9th century church in the very centre of the old city. We haven't had a look inside the sanctuary yet, but many of us have been up the bell tower from which there can be seen an incredible view of the Dalmatian coast. The church sits next to the ruins of the Roman forum where one can see a number of different artefacts - from base-relief sculptures to Corinthian capitals. 

On the northwestern corner of the old city sits a brand new water organ. A contraption which i have a hard time understanding. Nevertheless, the instrument provides a very pleasant hum as the waves hit it. Unfortunate for us our first night, we discovered that the water organ, along with the rest of the city, is a tourist trap. The northwest promenade is always busy but especially so once the sun goes down. Despite the busyness, the price of food is well within Eubo members' budgets and we have taken advantage of that.

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