Music & light: Zadar’s Sea Organ and Sun Salutation

Posted by on 16 Feb, 2015 in Blog, Croatia, Slider | 16 comments

Of all the places we visited in Dalmatia, Zadar had something different.

One of the biggest draws of Dalmatia is its history. The region is littered with impressive Roman ruins and boasts several beautifully well-preserved old towns. And Zadar is no exception: its large old town sits on a small peninsula and you’ll find plenty of Roman relics in the main square.

But what really made Zadar stand apart from other places in Dalmatia was the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation.

Sun Salutation, Zadar

A refreshing break from the somewhat monotonous historic ambiance, these contemporary art installations are pretty unique.

Designed by Zadar-native Nikola Bašić, both sights are found on the waterfront in the old town and were designed as part of the area’s renovation.

The Sea Organ consists of a series of metal tubes placed under the waterfront’s marble steps. When the water moves in and out of the tubes, it forces air out, playing music in the process.

Sea Organ, Zadar

The result is a totally unique, somewhat unpredictable, haunting melody.

Though slightly eerie, it really is a beautiful sound and the many recordings on YouTube don’t do it justice. The effect is best at night, when you can sit on the steps, look out to sea and listen to the waves gently crashing while the organ music plays. It really is lovely.

Sea Organ, Zadar (2)

The Sun Salutation (or ‘Greeting to the Sun’) is equally as inventive. During the day, the installation stores up solar energy, which it then uses to project a light show on to what is effectively a huge dance floor close to the harbour.

Sun Salutation at night, Zadar

It’s a really fun addition to the waterfront, which attracts plenty of people – families, couples, teens – who were all trying in vain to get the perfect selfie or Instagram post. (I was definitely one of them.)

Sun Salutation, Zadar (red)

Greeting to the Sun, Zadar

Overall, I think Bašić can rest safe in the knowledge that his designs have been a success. Not only do both sights liven up the area and draw tourists to the waterfront, but they have also helped Zadar to stand out as a tourist destination.

The light installation draws in tourists

Of the cities in Dalmatia we visited (including Dubrovnik, Split, and Trogir), Zadar was the only place that seemed to have embraced the new and modern in order to bring in tourism, instead of relying purely on the history it inherited. It might be simple, but for me it really stood out.

Have you been to Zadar? What did you think?
Comment below!

16 Comments

  1. Not been but always fancied it – it’s also got the coolest sounding name in Europe!

    • Get yourself there – Ryanair do some cracking deals!

  2. Embracing the new without throwing away the old is a neat trick if you can pull it off. For me, both have their appeal.

    • Couldn’t agree more. In the other cities we visited, there was too much of a focus on the old and not enough of the new. I think Zadar got it just right.

  3. It looks so cool! Also, I finally understand what’s going on in that picture that you used for my interview, haha. 😀 Sigh, adding Zadar to my wish list.

    • Haha, that photo was totally self-explanatory…
      I think you would like Croatia a lot.

  4. I’ve seen those stairs on TV before, so amazing you got to experience the sound first hand!

    • I watched a youtube video before hand but it was nothing like hearing it in the flesh. It’s a lovely installation – really bring life to the area.

  5. These are just amazing! I love the meeting of natural forces and human creativity. So playful. Now I know!

    • It really is nice to think that nature is playing a melody for you… as corny as that sounds!

  6. That’s a very cool ensemble. I know how some people won’t appreciate the meeting of the old and the new, but in today’s time, the striking difference is a beauty on its own.

  7. There are so many places in Croatia to explore!

    • Very true – I’d love to get up to Istria or to Zagreb.

  8. I have no idea why but the post and the photos really made me think of Crimea. Seems like a similar kind of energy to Yalta and Sudak.

    • Oh really? All I really know from the Crimea is the Swallow’s Nest in Yalta.

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