On the northern Dalmatian coast, Zadar, Croatia, is an outdoor museum for architectural history. The picture to the left is ninth-century Church of St. Donat. Read more below about Zadar from, After 2,000 Years, a Croatian Port Town Still Seduces.
Zadar — which is seeking heritage-site status of its historic center from Unesco— possesses a combination of Split’s ancient, blue-collar moxie and Dubrovnik’s well-heeled, outdoor-museum aura. Like those Dalmatian cousins, Zadar is still most famous for an embarrassment of historical and architectural riches. The newly remodeled Archeological Museum has more than 100,000 pieces from the Paleolithic period to the 11th century.
Next door, at St. Mary’s — a three-nave church founded in 1066 — is perhaps Zadar’s most valuable collection. Hidden by resident Benedictine nuns during wartime (including the last decade), the permanent exhibition is awash in Byzantine-era gold and silver, and includes paintings, reliquaries, crosses and embroidery spanning 1,000 years.
My first break from sightseeing in the Old Town was at the Garden which the UB40 drummer James Brown and a British music producer, Nick Colgan, opened four years ago. The outdoor lounge sits atop the town walls and combines comfortable daybeds, a terrace overlooking the water, and top international D.J.’s.
“Geographically, I think Zadar is perfect,” Mr. Colgan said. “This is new territory. Zadar’s on the cusp and the kind of place you find rather than being told about.”
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