Zadar is a city in Croatia on the Adriatic Sea, with a population of 72,717 (2001). It is the fifth largest Croatian city. 93% of its citizens are ethnic Croats (2001 census).
It is the centre of Croatia's Zadar county and the wider northern Dalmatian region. Zadar is located opposite the islands of Ugljan and Pašman, from which it is separated by the narrow Zadar Strait.
The promontory on which the old city stands used to be separated from the mainland by a deep moat which has since become a landfill. The harbor, to the north-east of the town, is safe and spacious.
Zadar is the seat of a Catholic archbishop.
During Antiquity the name was often recorded in sources in Latin in two forms: Iader in the inscriptions and in the writings of classic writers, Iadera predominantly among the late Antiquity writers, while usual ethnonyms were Iadestines and Iadertines. The accent was on the first syllable in both Iader and Iadera forms, which influenced the early-Medieval Dalmatian language forms Jadra, Jadera and Jadertina, where the accent kept its original place.
In the Dalmatian language, Jadra (Jadera) was pronounced Zadra (Zadera), due to the phonetic transformation of Ja- to Za-. That early change was also reflected in the Croatian name Zadar, developed from Zadъrъ by vocalizations of the semi-vowel and a shift to male gender. An ethnonym graphic Jaderani from the legend of St. Krševan in 9th century, was identical to the initial old-Slavic form Zadъrane, or Renaissance Croatian Zadrani.
The Dalmatian names Jadra, Jadera were transferred to other languages; in Venetian language Jatara (hyper urbanism in 9th century) and Zara, Tuscan Giara, Latin Diadora (Constantine VII in DAI, 10th century), Old French Jadres (Geoffroy de Villehardouinin in the chronicles of the Fourth Crusade in 1202), Arabic Jadora (Al-Idrisi, 12th century), Iadora (Guido, 12th century), Spanish Jazara, Jara, Sarra (14th century) and the others.
Jadera became Zara when it fell under the authority of the Republic of Venice in the 15th century. Zara was later used by the Austrian Empire in the 19th century, but it was provisionally changed to Zadar/Zara from 1910 to 1920 and finally only Zadar in 1945.
The people of Iadera, the Iadasinoi were first mentioned in 384 BC as the allies of the Hvar indigenes in their fight against the Greek colonizers. An expedition of 10.000 men and their ships sailed out from Zadar and laid siege of Greek colony Pharos in the island of Hvar, but the Syracusan fleet of Dionysus was informed and attacked the siege fleet. The naval victory was taken by the Greeks which allowed them relatively safer further colonization in the southern Adriatic.
In the middle of the 2nd century BC, the Romans began to gradually invade the region. After 59 BC, Liburnian Iadera became a Roman municipium, while in the first years of the reign of emperor Augustus (48 BC) it became a colony of Roman citizens (mostly legionary veterans) and was granted the title Iulia after its founder – colonia Iulia Iader. From the early days of Roman domination, Zadar gained its urban character and developed into the one of the most flourishing centres on the eastern Adriatic coast, which lasted for several hundred years, until waves of marauding tribes battered the region. By some estimations, in the 4th century it had probably around ten thousand citizens, including the population from its ager, the nearby islands and hinterland, an admixture of the indigenous Liburnians and the Roman colonists. In 441 and 447 Dalmatia was ravaged by the Huns.
In 568 Dalmatia was devastated by an Avar invasion, and throughout the century Slavs its modern occupants, gradually established themselves in Illyria, where, unlike the earlier barbarian conquerors, they formed permanent settlements. Between 600 and 650 the main body of the immigrants occupied Illyria. Salona was captured and destroyed in the 40's of the 7th century, so Zadar, due its strategic position and its strong defensive system, became the new seat of the Byzantine province Dalmatia and later the capital of the Byzantine Theme (administrative unit) of Dalmatia. The city kept its role as the Dalmatia capital until 1918.
At the beginning of the 9th century the Zadar bishop Donat and the city duke Paul mediated the dispute between the Holy Roman empire under Pepin and the Byzantine Empire. The Franks held Zadar for a short time, but the city was returned to Byzant by a decision of the 812 Treaty of Aachen.
Zadar's economy revolved around sea, fishing and sea trade; and thanks to a new strategic position it became the most important city between the Kvarner islands and Kaštela Bay. Byzantine Dalmatia wasn't territorially unified, but an alliance of city municipalities headed by Zadar, and the large degree of city autonomy allowed the development of Dalmatian cities as free communes. Zadar was the leader of this movement and its position at that time was equal to Venice's.
Meanwhile, the Croatian state formed inland, and trade and political links with Zadar began to develop. Croatian settlers began to arrive, becoming commonplace by the 10th century, occupying all city classes, as well as important titles, like priors, judges, priests and others. In 925, Tomislav, the Duke of Croatian Dalmatia, united Croatian Dalmatia and Pannonia establishing the Croatian Kingdom. He also was granted the position of protector of Dalmatia (the cities) by the Byzantine Emperor. He thus politically united the Dalmatian cities with their hinterland for the first time.
At the time of the Zadar medieval development, the city became a threat to Venice's ambitions, because of its strategic position at the centre of the eastern Adriatic coast.
In 998 Zadar sought Venetian protection against the Neretvian pirates. The Venetians were quick to fully exploit this opportunity: in 998 a fleet commanded by Doge Pietro Orseolo II, after having defeated pirates, landed in Korčula and Lastovo. Dalmatia was taken by surprise and offered little serious resistance. Trogir was the exception and was subjected to Venetian rule only after a bloody struggle, whereas the Republic of Dubrovnik was forced to pay tribute. Tribute paid by Zadar to Croatian kings earlier, was redirected to Venice, which lasted for a few years.
The Zadar citizens started to work for the full indepedence of Zadar and from the 30's of the 11th century the city was just formally a vasal to Byzant. The head of this movement was the mightiest Zadar patrician family - Madi . After negotiations with Byzant, Zadar was attached to the Croatian state led by king Petar Krešimir IV in 1069. Later, after the death of king Dmitar Zvonimir in 1089 and ensuing dynastic run-ins, in 1105 Zadar accepted the rule of the first Croato-Hungarian king Coloman. In 1069 the city was joined with Croatia by treaty for the second time by Croatian King Petar Krešimir IV the Great.
In the meantime Venice developed into true trade force in the Adriatic and started attacks on Zadar. The city was repeatedly invaded by Venice between 1111 and 1154 and then once more between 1160 and 1183, when it finally rebelled, pleading to the Pope and to the Croato-Hungarian throne for protection.
Zadar was especially devastated in 1202 after the Venetian Doge Enrico Dandolo used the Crusades on their Fourth Crusade to Palestina. The crusaders were obligated to pay Venice for sea transport to Egypt. As they weren't able to produce enough money, Venetians used them for the Siege of Zadar, when the city was destroyed, demolished and robbed. The king of Croatia and Hungary Emeric of Hungary condemned the crusade, because of an argument about the possible heresy committed by the God's army in attacking a Christian city. Nonetheless, Zadar was devastated and captured, with the population sent away. Pope Innocent III excommunicated Venetians and crusaders involved in the siege.
This did not break the spirit of the city, however. Its commerce was suffering due to a lack of autonomy under Venice. They enjoyed considerable autonomy under the distant, much more feudal Croatian-Hungarian kings. A number of insurrections followed (1242-1243, 1320s, 1345-1346) which resulted finally in Zadar coming back under the crown of the Croatian-Hungarian king Louis I by the Treaty of Zadar, in 1358. After the death of Louis, Zadar recognized the rule of king Sigismund, and after him, that of Ladislas Anjou. During his reign Croatia-Hungary was enveloped in a bloody civil war. In 1409, Venice, seeing that Ladislas was about to be defeated, and eager to exploit the situation despite its relative military weakness, offered to buy his "rights" on Dalmatia for a mere 100,000 ducats. Knowing he had lost the region in any case, Ladislas accepted. Zadar was, thus, sold back to the Venetians for a paltry sum.
The population of Zadar in the Medieval was mainly Croatian, as shown by the writings of cardinal Boson, who followed Pope Alexander III en route to Venice in 1177. When the papal ships took shelter in the harbor of Zadar, the inhabitants greeted the Pope singing in Croatian. Even though riddled by sieges and destruction, the time between 11th and 14th century was the golden age of Zadar. By its political and trading achievements, and also his skilled seamen, Zadar played an important role among the east Adriatic coast cities. This affected its look and culture: a lot of churches, rich monasteries and palaces for powerful families were built, together with the Chest of St. Simon. One of the best examples of the power and glory of Zadar at that time was the first Croatian university built in 1396 by the Dominicans.
After the death of Louis I Zadar came under the rule of Sigmund of Luxembourg and later Ladislav of Napoli, who, witnessing his loss of influence in Dalmatia, sold Zadar and his dynasty's rights to Dalmatia to Venice for 100,000 dukats on July 31, 1409. That way Venice took over Zadar without a fight, but confronted by the resistance and tensions of important Zadar families. These attempts were met with persecution and confiscation. Zadar remained the administrative seat of Dalmatia, but this time under the rule of Venice, which expanded over the whole Dalmatia, barring the Republic of Dubrovnik. The Venetians restrained the political and economical autonomy of Zadar, which was still a prosperous city even with the repression. During that time Juraj Dalmatinac, one of the best known renaissance men, famous for his work on the Cathedral of Šibenik, was born in Zadar. Other important people followed, such as the Lucijan and Franjo Vranjanin, best known in Italy for their sculptures and buildings.
The 16th and 17th centuries were noted in Zadar for Ottoman attacks. Ottomans captured the continental part of Zadar at the beginning of the 16th century and the city itself was all the time in the range of Turkish artillery. Due to that threat, the consturction of a new system of castles and walls began. These defense systems changed the way the city looked. To make place for the pentagon castles many houses and churches were taken down, along with an entire suburb: Varoš of St. Martin. After the 40-year-long construction Zadar became the biggest fortified city in Dalmatia, empowered by a system of castles, bastions and canals filled with seawater. The city was supplied by the water from public city cisterns. During the complete makeover of Zadar, many new civic buildings were built, such as the City Lodge and City Guard on the Gospodski Square, several army barracks, but also some large new palaces.
In contrast to the insecurity and Ottoman sieges and destruction, an important culture evolved midst the city walls. During the 16th and the 17th century the activity of the Croatian writers and poets became remarkable (Jerolim Vidolić, Petar Zoranić, Brne Karnarutić, Juraj Baraković, Šime Budinić). Also noteworthy is the painter Andrija Medulić (c. 1510/1515 – 1563), who used to sign his name in Venice as "Andrea Schiavone."
During the continuous Ottoman danger the population stagnated by a significant degree along with the economy. During the 16th and 17th centruy several large-scale epidemics of bubonic plague erupted in the city. After more than 150 years of Turkish threat Zadar is not only scarce in population, but also in material wealth. Venice sent new colonists and, under the firm hand of archbishop Vicko Zmajević, the Arbanasi (Catholic Albanian refugees) settled in the city, forming a new suburb. Despite the shortage of money, the Teatro Nobile (Theater for Nobility) was built in 1783. It functioned for over 100 years.
During this time, it maintained its position as the capital of Dalmatia.
During the Napoleonic era, the first Dalmatian newspaper, "Kraglski Dalmatin - Il Regio Dalmata" ("The Royal Dalmatian"), was printed in the city.
After 1815 Dalmatia (including Dubrovnik) came under the Austrian crown. After 1848, Italian and Slavic nationalism became accentuated and the city became divided between the Croats and the Italians, both of whom founded their respective political parties. There are conflicting sources for both sides claiming to have formed the majority in this period; in general the era saw Slavs grow more than Italians throughout Dalmatia, fostering a neatly distinct national spirit.
In October 31 1918 the population of Zadar rebelled against Austrian rule and raised the Italian flag and on 4 November 1918 the city was occupied by the Italian army. The Treaty of Rapallo (12 November 1920) gave Zadar with other local territory to Italy. The Zadar enclave, a total of 104 km², included the city of Zadar, the municipalities of Bokanjac, Arbanasi, Crno, part of Diklo (a total of 51 sq. km. of territory and 17,065 inhabitants) and the islands of Lastovo and Palagruža (53 km², 1,710 inhabitants). The territory was organized into an Italian province.
Within a few weeks, Mussolini required the newly formed Nazi puppet-state, the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH) to hand over almost all of Dalmatia (including Split) to fascist Italy under the Treaty of Rome.
The city became the centre of a new Italian territorial entity, called Governorship of Dalmatia, including the provinces of Zadar, Split and Kotor. In general, this treaty was recognized only by the Axis and was, thus, considered void. For the rest of the world, and, indeed, the local populace, Dalmatia was under Italian occupation.
Under fascist reign the Slavic population was subjected to a policy of forced assimilation. This created immense resentment among the Yugoslav people and the Yugoslav Partisan movement (which was already successfully spreading in the rest of Yugoslavia) particularly took root here. The Italians used concentration camps (among others the Rab and Gonars camps), and to suppress the mounting resistance led by the Partisans adopted tactics of "summary executions, hostage-taking, reprisals, internments and the burning of houses and villages" .
After Mussolini was removed from power, the government of Pietro Badoglio surrendered to the Allies, and on September 8, 1943, the Italian army collapsed and was quickly disarmed. "Il Duce" was rescued, however, and formed the Nazi-puppet Italian Social Republic in the north of the country. The NDH proclaimed the Treaty of Rome to be void and occupied Dalmatia with German support. The Germans entered Zadar first, and on September 10 the German 114th Jäger Division took over. This avoided a temporary liberation by Partisans , as was the case in Split and Šibenik where several Italian fascist government officials were killed by an angry crowd.
The city was prevented from joining the NDH on the grounds that Zadar itself was not subject to the conditions of the Treaty of Rome. Despite this, the NDH's leader Ante Pavelić designated Zadar as the capital of the Sidraga-Ravni Kotari County, although its administrator was prevented from entering the city. Zadar remained under the local administration of the Italian Social Republic. Zadar was bombed by the Allies, with serious civilian casualties. Many died in the carpet bombings, and many landmarks and centuries old works of art were destroyed. A significant number of civilians fled the city.
On October 31 1944, the Partisans liberated the city, until then a part of Mussolini's Italian Social Republic. As the city was freed from fascist rule, a number of Italians were killed by vigilante groups of civilians and Partisans. Formally, the city remained under Italian sovereignty until February 10 1947 (Paris Peace Treaties). The city successfully recovered and became once more an important regional city in the newly established Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
However, during this period the city lost its status as the capital of the region, with Split overwhelmingly surpassing Zadar in population numbers, which, though increasing throughout the 20th century, boomed in the new, post-WWII, Yugoslavia.
All in all, by the 1990s the city had not only been rebuilt after the Second World War, but had emerged as a modern and completely industrialized regional centre, with as yet unsurpassed tourist numbers, GDP and employment rates, which were, surprisingly, significantly higher than the present day's. After the death of Tito, Yugoslavia rapidly began to destabilize.
In 1990, Serbian separatists from Krajina region of Croatia, just inland from Dalmatia, sealed roads and effectively blocked Dalmatia from the rest of Croatia, expelling non-Serbs from the area and killing a several Croatian policemen which resulted with the Dalmatian anti-Serb riots of May 1991 .
During the Croatian War of Independence, Krajina rebels with the protection of the serbianized Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) under Slobodan Milošević's control, converged on the city and subjected it to artillery bombardment, in what is now known as the Battle of Dalmatia. Along with other Croatian towns in the area, Zadar was sporadically shelled for several years, which damaged buildings and homes as well as UNESCO protected sites. Attacks in nearby towns and villages occurred, the most brutal being the Škabrnja massacre, where 86 people were killed.
Connections with Zagreb were severed for over a year, the only link between the north and south of the country was via the island of Pag. The siege of the city lasted from 1991 until January 1993 when Zadar and the surrounding area came under the control of Croatian forces and bridge link with rest of Croatia was reestablished, in Operation Maslenica. Attacks on the city continued until the end of the war in 1995.
During the Middle Ages, Zadar fully gained its urban aspect, which has been maintained until today. In the 16th century, Venice fortified the town with a new system of defensive walls on the side facing land. In the first half of the 16th century, architectural building in the Renaissance style was continued. Defensive trenches (Foša) were also built, which were completely buried during the Italian occupation. In 1873 under Austrian rule the ramparts of Zadar were converted from fortifications into elevated promenades commanding extensive seaward and landward views, wall lines thus being preserved; of its four old gates one, the Porta Marina, incorporates the relics of a Roman arch, and another, the Porta di Terraferma, was designed in the 16th century by the Veronese artist Michele Sanmicheli. In the bombardments during the Second World War entire blocks were destroyed, but some structures survived.
Most important landmarks:
The chief interest of Zadar lies in its churches.
Other architectural landmarks:
The 15th and 16th centuries were marked by important activities of Croatians writing in the national language: Jerolim Vidolić, Petar Zoranić (who wrote the first Croatian novel, Mountains), Brne Karnarutić, Juraj Baraković, Šime Budinić.
Under French rule (1806–1810), the first Dalmatian newspaper Kraglski Dalmatin - Il Regio Dalmata was published in Zadar. It was printed in Italian and Croatian; this last used for the first time in a newspaper.
In the second half of the 19th century, Zadar was a centre of the movement for the cultural and national revivals in Dalmatia (Italian and Croatian).
Today Zadar's cultural institutions include:
Zadar is divided into 21 local districts: Arbanasi, Bili Brig, Bokanjac, Brodarica, Crvene Kuće, Diklo, Dračevac, Gaženica, Jazine I, Jazine II, Maslina, Novi Bokanjac, Poluotok, Ploča, Puntamika, Ričina, Smiljevac, Stanovi, Vidikovac, Višnjik, Voštarnica.
The local basketball club is KK Zadar, and the football club NK Zadar. The bowling club Kuglački klub Zadar is also very successful. Zadar is also the hometown of Croatian football player Luka Modrić.
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