Music of the waves in Zadar

I promised some Croatia photos to the dear Soma, but had to disappoint when our camera unexpectedly left us. Still, I got lucky! A very dear friend from home agreed to share her photos of Zadar with us. Thank you, S!

My favourite place in Zadar is the riva or promenade (in Croatian), with its white stones dipped into the deep blue and green sea, with a long and thin evergreen park of pine trees and black oak in the background, the views of the islands of the coast of Zadar and amazing, achingly beautiful sunsets. The riva is a beautiful urban space in its own right, but there is something else there that makes it even more special. In 2005, a sea organ was built on the west side of the riva. Yes, an organ, an instrument. Played not by a human hand, but by the wind and ‘the sounding sea’ (You might have guessed that I owe this last phrase to Poe).

The sea organ (morske orgulje in Croatian) is  designed by the architect Nikola Bašić. Made from white marble, several stairs extend for about 70 meters along the riva. Under the stairs, at the lowest sea-tide level, there are 35 pipes of different length, diameter and tilts, placed vertically to the coast, with labiums (whistles), which play 7 chords of 5 tones. The stairs have little holes in them, through which the sound comes out as the air is pushed by the sea. Concealed under the stairs is a resonating cavity. This amazing creation produces random, but strangely harmonious sounds that go from slow whistles produced by the gentle ripples of bonaca (calm sea), to angry fortes directed by the wind and the storms. You can hear the Zadar sea organ on YouTube, or in the Odd Music Gallery.

We didn’t take photos specifically of the sea organ, so do have a look at the excellent collection of the sea organ photos on Flickr.

Here are the photos that my friend took. Enjoy.


Walking towards the sea organ



View from the sea organ to the Zadar University (the building on the edge of the coast)


Greeting to the Sun – another of Basic’s installations – in the day time. (I shall have to dedicate another post to this)



One of the many sailing boats in the Zadar Canal. You can see the islands in the background here.

So here you go! Here are some little snippets of my homeland. Oh how I miss those blue blue skies, and the smell of the sea…

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11 thoughts on “Music of the waves in Zadar

  1. wow, nice pics… can imagine all the good time you spent there… You took us all for a virtual tour, nice reading about croatia, zadar – sea oragan…

  2. Maninas .. I am having goosebumbs & I am just speechless. I went thru all your links, & I am sure I will do it again, just to absorb it all virtually. I really wish I could experience the endless blue ( oh my what a blue it is! ) in real life… just so perfectly harminous — with the white & the red tinged roofs.
    & what a place to build that University!! I envy the students:-D

    Thanks to your friend! Thank you Maninas!

  3. Maninas, thank you so much for these photos! I was told in Lebanon by an aunt that I have to go visit the Dalmatian coast! It is so beautiful and to do it before it gets flooded with tourists and investors and high rises etc

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