Experience a journey through centuries of human history with a guided tour of Zadar museums that highlight the history,culture, and art of Zadar and north Dalmatia.Visit two of the best museums in Zadar, including the Acheological Museum and Gold and Silver Museum. Discover and learn the stories and the legends behind objects that hide centuries of ancient cultures.
The tour starts at 9:00am from the Art & Nature Travel agency, Borelli street 5, just a few minutes walk from the two museums.
The Archeological Museum Zadar was established in 1832 as part of our natural goods, industrial products and antiquities. It became an autonomous institution in 1880. During its first 60 years archeological items were kept in the primary and secondary school premises, after which they were separated from the other holdings and were relocated to St. Donat`s church until 1954, then later most of the items were in the Faculty of Philosophy in Zadar, untill 1974, when the archeological Museum was moved to the new building built for the purpose in front of the ancient Forum, where it is today. Archeological Museum Zadar is a modern institution that collects, keeps, studies, and displays archeological items and it has been relentlessly accomplishing its mission for almost 200 years: preserving the identity of the area and the community it belongs to and cooperates with. The museum`s permanent exhibitions include Prehistoric, Roman Antiquity and Medieval collections.
Prehistoric Collection features more than 1800 valuable items found on prehistoric archeological sites in northern Dalmatia covering the time span from approx. 40 000 BC to the turn of antiquity. Roman Antiquity Collection is divided into thematic units: the historical framework and Roman army, arhitecture and town planning, economy, everyday life, arts and crafts, religion, and burrial customs. Each thematic unit deals with one aspect of the life in ancient Zadar and in Northern Dalmatia gravitating towards it.. In Medieval Collections we can see exhibits spanning from the period of the arrival of the Croats in the early 7th century to the end of Croatian national dynasty in the early 12th century. The collection includes objects belonging to the Old Croatian material culture, particulary grave finds, weapons, tools, stone church furnishing etc.
The exhibition “Gold and Silver of Zadar”, initiated in 1951 by the renowned Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža, was transformed in 1976 into a permanent exhibition of the Ecclesiastic Art in the Benedictine Convent of St. Mary in Zadar, one of the first capital buildings of Croatian culture. On the occasion of the exhibition, Krleža wrote one of his best essays, in which he glorified the treasures of Zadar. The permanant exhibition “Gold and Silver of Zadar” extends on a surface area of about 1200 m2 in 8 halls with up-to-date technological presentations, including the reconstructed interior of the old Croatian Church of St. Nediljica from the 11th century. Also included are manuscripts, sculptures, embroideries, tapestry, reliefs, etc., as evidence of the rich history of Zadar from the 8th to 18th century, as a town which was an important cultural center, particularly in the Middle Ages.
Some valuable exhibits e.g.: lace or church fabrics embroidered with golden threads are original old handwork of the nuns. The Permanent Exhibition of Ecclesiastic Art places Zadar amongst the great cultural centers since such a collection of valuable and exquisite religious works of art in one place can only be seen in the greatest European centers. You will discover much more than silver and gold at the permanant exhibition “Gold and Silver of Zadar”. Behind the name lies the treasure of Zadar’s history which is inseparable from the Benedictine convent of St. Mary and its nuns – guardians of the complex in which the treasure is situated. The connection between the Benedictine order and Zadar has been unbroken from the Byzantine period to the birth of the new Croatian state.
The Benedictines have been keeping the treasure for centuries and now they are presenting it to visitors from all over the world. It tells us the stories of grandeur and pride, perishing and suffering, love and faithfulness, skill and culture, the importance and wealth of Zadar throughout history.