Monday, April 5, 2010

Zadar Old Town Tour

[Footbridge across Jazine Bay leads to a gate in the ancient wall surrounding Zadar's Old Town]

15 March, 2010

(Day 2)

We make our way by city bus to this same spot each morning for our day's events to unfold. Today is our first official day in Zadar - the town we will be focusing on in the service learning component of our course. We begin with a city tour by Mladen Masar. He is a senior librarian at the Zadar City Library.
We spend about an hour and a half walking around and hearing about the history of the area, the city, the buildings we're seeing and the roads we're walking on. This little part of Zadar is a peninsula between Jazine Bay and the Adriatic Sea. It was founded by the Romans in the 5th century and survived many trials over its long history. We learn that 60% of this Old Town was destroyed by Allied bombing in WWII, so we are lucky to see what remains.
There was a lot of information in the who-did-what-to-whom vein. Hard to keep it straight. But then I get even more confused.
This town's history is not really "Croatian" is it? It was founded hundreds of years before Slavs even moved into Croatia. And who knows how long before they made it all the way to the coast? And then, Venice controlled Zadar..for 400 years! How many generations of people is that? I kept wondering what language they spoke during all of these time periods.
The Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun were wonderful in their own right, but they also created a balance between old and new. They were signs of culture and memory for today's Zadar.

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