Cultural and historical heritage of the Zadar County

Rare are the areas that provide possibility to absorb so many different atmospheres within small distances. Zadar County is just one of them. On a total area of just 7.486.91 km2 (of which to land belongs 3.641.91 km2, the sea area of 3.845.00 km2 and the island surface of 587.6 km2) we can: feel the freshness of the Lika air, see the sparkle of karst rivers, enjoy the delights of sailing and visiting 116 islands and islets, enjoy walks through the old towns’ centres, national beauties and nature parks, Bukovica karst and Ravni kotari fertile land, experience fishing on the largest Croatian lake, try hiking the longest Croatian mountain and in all other natural, cultural and historic beauties that our county is abundant of.

In this area, the county has existed since the 9th century, as we can learn from the lintel of the church of St. Cross in Nin where an inscription by the prefect Godečaj was carved. Since Godečaj’s County until our own, whose life began on April 16th 1993, many different rulers, states and systems have existed in this area. The various nations came and went or even stayed, fighting wars and making peace, destroying and creating, plundering and providing. All this is embedded in the material and spiritual heritage of the area and residents who live here.

Just that variety and splendour of natural rarities of our County, the unique blend of landscapes throughout history have always been the foundation for creativity and the highest cultural and economic achievements of local residents who repeatedly shaped priceless values by their actions. The richness of each region is its population. They, even in this region, despite numerous storms of historical events over the centuries, which did not make their lives easy at all, created a series of objects of material, as well as immaterial cultural heritage. Certainly, here should be mentioned Pag’s lace as a decorative element that occurs primarily on folk textiles, and then as an independent decorative item that originates from the Renaissance to the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Basic lacemaking techniques are lace needle sewing and mingling with mallets. It is significant that even today we can admire the beautiful lacework made by diligent women's fingers from Pag Island that seemed to have been captured and woven from sea waves’ foam. Lace makers guarded secrets of creating Pag’s lace for centuries and now it is on the list of protected immaterial cultural heritage and is registered on the UNESCO Representative List of the Immaterial Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Each year institutions such as the Museum of Ancient Glass, National Museum Zadar, Zadar Puppet Theatre, through their promotional activities represent the cultural heritage of the Zadar County as inexhaustible source of inspiration for local artists. Today Zadar is often called “city tailored to man”. This is a place of pleasant living that attracts increasing numbers of visitors to its ancient monuments like the remains of the Roman Forum, St. Donatus from the 9th century, the sarcophagus of St. Simon and new attractions such as the worldwide famous Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun.

We are proud of the tradition that has promoted ​​Zadar County as the County of the first university on Croatian soil, the first Croatian novel and grammar, great scientists and artists, the best farmers, fishermen, cattlemen whose hardworking hands, living in harmony with their natural surroundings, produce olive oil, cheese, wine, home-made bread, many other traditional delicacies, original folk songs, traditional music instruments and dances. As much as our modest man knew and had to work hard, so he knew very well how to have fun.

Thanks to globalization and the desire to go in step with modernity, sometimes we forget and unjustly neglect our tradition. Let’s try not to!