Zadar, Home of the Sea Organ

Zadar Fisherman

Zadar Fisherman

This old Croatian fisherman was fishing and collecting muscles under the main pedestrian bridge into the Zadar shopping area.  As commuters and tourists hurried across the bridge to work or shop, this guy had been hard at work for hours.

Zadar Croatia, Old Town

I called out to this fisherman a few times trying to get his attention for my photo.  While he could have been ignoring the pesky tourist, more likely he did not speak English and did not know I was calling to him for a prize winning photo.  On the shady side of the bridge, the colors were much more striking with the sun illuminating the water and reflecting light from the bridge.  The  starfish was let go.  He would row from one side of the bridge walkway to the other.

In my constant quest to depict how colorful the worn cobblestone walkways can be, I came across this pair of stiletto heels.  For a wide angle photo like this, my camera is on a tripod and appears to be pointing nearly straight down, causing much confusion to the locals.  It seems as if I’m photographing gum on the bricks.

Stalettos in the Sunshine

Stilettos in the Morning Sun


The one pedestrian bridge into the primary restaurant and shopping area of Zadar is crowded with workers heading to their jobs.  This biker cast a shadow onto a tourist boat that would later be full of people shopping and departing to the many Croatian islands.  We did not know which islands to visit and in the photos advertising the islands they seemed quite barren, but good for sun worshipers and beach goers.  I know there are several very beautiful Croatian islands somewhere.  We stayed ‘home.’

Zadar Boat Shadows

Zadar Boat Shadows

Modern Architectural Designs

Zadar is a very old town with lots of history like the other Adriatic coastal Croatian cities.  Also like some other Croatian towns we visited, Zadar was almost completely destroyed in World War II.  The initial rebuilding was said to be poor quality and mostly of unsightly concrete.  Recent architectural designs have begun to correct this.  One such construction is the Sea Organ.  The waves created from passing boats or the wind strike the cement walkway and are deflected below.  Air is then forced through thirty-five tuned pipes creating a constantly changing tune composed by the sea.  Though I’ve only heard whale calls on TV, these tunes made me think of the whales.  It is a popular spot to bring a bottle of wine and enjoy the sunset.  The boats you see in the video are bringing tourists by to hear the sound which comes through the holes at the top of the stairs.


Adjacent to the Sea Organ, embedded in the sidewalk, is the ‘Greeting to the Sun’ light installation. During the day, the 80 foot diameter circle is an  array of solar panels collecting energy. By night, the disc is a soothing, psychedelic sidewalk light show attracting an endless stream of selfie posers.  As the light from the sunset fades, people migrate from the sea organ a couple hundred feet to the electric light show.  Some will try for a human pyramid or practice yoga and Tai Chi.  Both of these designs were created by the same architect.

Greeting to the Sun at Sunset

Greeting to the Sun at Sunset


At night the solar cells, which have been collecting energy all day, light up in seemingly random colors and patterns.

Zadar Disco Floor IMG_4332 copy


Krka National Park Waterfalls

We did manage to get out and explore the countryside for a day with a trip to Krka National Park.  It was a day full of small problems.

Driving there, the road signs contradict our GPS.  We follow the road signs.  Once in the small town, 10+ places have people waving us in to park at their “best spot” in town.  We ignore them and overshoot the entire town looking for entrance signs to the park.  Circling back we finally park at what may be the official lot.  Exploring the village reveals an appealing, quaint town.  After consulting Trip Advisor, we have a very nice meal with wonderful views of the harbor.  Our waiter tells us not to ride the forty-five year old bus into the park, rather take the boat.  This is a small town, no stop lights, maybe one stop sign, 10 blocks end to end.  We cannot find the park entrance or the place to buy tickets….  Turns out we had walked past the ticket building a minimum of four times.  

Park tickets in hand, we do not know which boat to take but we hop on the one leaving next.  We do not know where it is going.  Our tickets show there are three boat stops, are we going to #1, 2 or 3?  At the first stop everyone gets off.  How do we get to the other stops?  Too complex, so we disembark and walk around for 30 minutes with everyone else.  At the top of this hike we see a bus with lots of people waiting for its arrival.  We wait as well.  No signs at the bus stop, no signs on the arriving buses.  Replies to our questions are inconclusive.  After a 15 minute ride up winding switchbacks, we are dropped off in an unfamiliar parking lot nowhere near our town.  Now we are in a strange place and I am not able to answer their most basic question, “Where do you want to go?”  They cannot understand my pronunciation of the town where we are parked.  I just want to go home.  Talk about lost…  

We backtrack our bus ride.  My wife knows the boat leaves every hour.  We have 12 minutes for a 20 minute hike to catch the next boat.  Fortunately it is all downhill.  She tells me to run for the boat.  After kind of running a ways I then start walking again, thinking I’m in the clear.  But I hear a voice in the distance yelling at me to “keep running.”  Approaching the boat dock I see it is already roped off and the boat appears full.  After some futile loud whistles, I hop over the rope and onto the boat at the coaxing of that same distant voice. 

Krka National Park

Krka National Park Waterfalls

We were the last people on the boat, to the cheers of the other passengers.  Oh, and we enjoyed the waterfalls.

The Roman Ruins

While I’m not writing a travel blog trying to prepare you for travel to Zadar, it would seem wrong for me to not show some of the old Roman ruins.  Roman walls and entry gates surround this fishing harbor.  Parts of the city have thick glass plates to walk on and allow you to see the Roman excavations below.

Zadar Bay and the Old Roman Entrance

Zadar Bay and the Old Roman Entrance


Roman Water Well

Sunrise on a Roman Water Well

You can even dine among the Roman ruins and share some of the gigantic fish portions with the cats.  Cheers!


Dine with the Cats

Dine with the Cats among the Roman Ruins




8 thoughts on “Zadar, Home of the Sea Organ

  1. The Sea Organs was one of our favorite places in Croatia, so much so we went back serval time to enjoy them. Plus , there is a geocache right next to the cafe and many more in the Old City. We went all day drinking and wondering the old town looking for geocaches. Too much fun..

  2. How did I miss this?? Well the good news is it is all a part of the travel blog so I enjoyed the ocean organ and the psychedelic solar lights!! I got scared as you got lost and I am glad it is you and not me!!! I just would not be so nonchalant!

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