Alfred Hitchcock famously declared Zadar to have the world’s best sunset. Photo: Getty Images
First published on smh.com.au
The "Boatmen of Zadar" have been rowing passengers across the city’s harbour for centuries. Today, as I make the five-minute crossing to the old town side, the red skiff rolls in the choppy sea. It looks hard work for my oarsman, who is from one of the local families that have long run this service. I disembark at Liburnska Obala, fringed by 16th-century walls, and enter the city through the magnificent Port Gate, built in 1573. It’s the perfect way to begin a day exploring this wonderful city in Croatia’s Dalmatia region, which has endured a turbulent history of occupation and bombardment.
The diminutive Port Gate looks like a Roman triumphal arch and is decorated with an equestrian statue of St Krsevana, a local patron saint who is also remembered in a Romanesque church nearby. Outside, underlining Zadar’s rich literary heritage, is the bizarrely muscled statue of Petar Zoranic, the Zadarian who wrote the first novel in Croatian. more…