Bell Tower, St. Anastasia’s Cathedral, Zadar
Bell Tower, St. Anastasia’s Cathedral
Adriatic Coast, Zadar, Croatia
See also: FAM (Familiarization) tour of Croatia
The rains have just stopped but the sky is still overcast with black rain clouds. Standing atop the Bell Tower in Zadar, Croatia, I admired the the blue Adriatic Sea, which looked even more bluer.
The red titled rooftops of Zadra, which were drenched by rain just a few hours ago, had a sparkling effect.
Zadar, the Croatian town on the Adriatic Sea, has a history dating back far beyond the days of the Roman Empire. The Romans had there share too with Julius Caesar and Augustus fortification the city and adding gates and watch towers.
In middle ages the fortification was strengthened and Zadar gained its urban aspect, which it continues to this day.
Today the old town of Zadar consists of a series of ancient structures, including churches, gates, fortification walls and towers.
As one makes his way from the Adriatic Sea front towards the ancient city square, one is greeted by the strange circular structure of St. Donatus Church.
St. Donatus Church is a monumental round building from the 9th century in pre-Romanesque style.
Just behind the St. Donauts Church towers the Bell Tower of St. Anastasia’s Church, the Cathedral Church of Zadar.
From the bell tower, a left turn through a narrow lane leads to the open square housing the St. Anastasia’s Cathedral.
The history of St. Anastasia’s Cathedral dates back to the 4 – 5 th century AD but the present building dates back to the 12 – 13th century AD. The three nave building constructed in Romanesque style have been submitted to the UNESCO’s Tentative List of Heritage Sites.
The 56 meter tall, bell tower of the cathedral is located in the extension of the Northern aisle of the cathedral. The construction of the bell tower happened in two stages.
The first stage, consisting up to the first floor, was built in the second half of 15th century by Archbishop M. Vallaresso. This part of the tower was without any opening, in the upper part it is decorated with simple blind arches on semi columns.
The second and the last phase of the tower was built between 1891 – 93 and was supervised by British architect T G Jackson. This part consisted of three flours with opening and wall decorations in Romanesque style.
The tower is crowned with a pyramid, which in turn is crowned with a black metal angle, standing on a movable stand, and shows the direction of the wind.
The prime attraction of the Bell Tower in Zadar is not its architecture but the views it offers. Initially the spiral stairs is broad and leads to the bell house, housing five bells of different size. After the bells it narrows down and finally leads to the top.
The views are simple fascinating. The deep blue Adriatic coupled with the dazzling red rooftops of Zadra creates an amazing scenery. The Bell tower also offers a great view of the Zadar harbour, housing all kinds of fishing boats and ships.
Zadar is said to have one of the finest sun sets in the world, but sadly due to our tight tour itinerary, we just had a half day in Zadar, and missed out on the sunset. But it was largely compensated by the grand views from top of the Bell Tower, which offered a magnificent view of Zadar along with the deep blue Adriatic sea and the spectacular clouded sky.