August 17, 2016 - Greeting to the Sun


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August 17th 2016
Published: August 20th 2016
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Today was a "beat feet" drive to Zadar, with no dawdling along the way. Zadar is one of several old towns along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, and the current Old Town goes back to the middle ages, although historical evidence of this as an important seafaring town goes back several centuries BCE. Zadar is the largest city in Dalmatia, and the fifth largest in Croatia. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the country. Zadar was heavily bombed during World War II, at least in part because Yugoslavian partisans greatly overstated the German presence there in order to further their own power ambitions. There was no important industrial target, and Zadar has sometimes been called the "Dresden of the Adriatic" because of the heavy bombing of a militarily unimportant target.

From a tourist standpoint, the significant attraction is the old town, and it did not have significant damage during the bombings. It dates back mostly to the Middle Ages, and is walled in and isolated on a small peninsula. The oldest large structure is the Church of St. Donates, built back in the 9th century. It stands empty today, but is a good example of pre-Romanesque architecture. It is used as the venue for the International Festival of Medieval Renaissance Music. It as built on part of the old Roman forum, and vestiges of the forum surround it, but only foundations and short column segments. Going further down the peninsula, there are other old buildings and finally the location of the famous Sea Organ and the solar installation Greeting to the Sun.

The sea organ (Morse Orgulje) is a construction consisting of 35 organ pipes connected to passages where wind and wave action cause air to blow through the pipes in random patterns. It creates a haunting series of tones and chords. When a large vessel passes by, the high tones become much more noticeable. From the standpoint of the observer, however, it is just a series of small steps going to the ocean along the waterfront. If you look closely, you can see a series of small outlets for air, but otherwise it is just magical music coming from nowhere. In prospect, it would not seem that a series of random tones would be so enchanting, but it is mesmerizing and unforgettable.

Nikola Baŝić, the architect of the Sea Organ, also designed the Greeting to the Sun. It is a 22 meter wide solar street level set of photovoltaic cells that collect sun energy during the day and then at night put on a light show. It produces enough energy to light a significant proportion of the waterfront (about 46,500 KWH per day). When dark comes it produces waves and flashes of light the continuously evolve in psychedelic patterns. I had the impression that it might respond to the presence of people standing on it, but have been unable ton confirm that. It is meant to form a visual accompaniment to the music of the sea organ.

Our visit missed, by two days, the Maraschino festival. True maraschino cherries (not those ridiculous things often served in drinks in American bars) are bitter cherries that are raised around Zadar, and then shipped to Trieste for soaking in cherry liqueur. Order some Luxardo brand from Amazon and taste the difference.From a tourist standpoint, the significant attraction is the old town, and it did not have significant damage during the bombings. It dates back mostly to the Middle Ages, and is walled in and isolated on a small peninsula. The oldest large structure is the Church of St. Donates, built back in the 9th century. It stands empty today, but is a good example of pre-Romanesque architecture. It is used as the venue for the International Festival of Medieval Renaissance Music. It as built on part of the old Roman forum, and vestiges of the forum surround it, but only foundations and short column segments. Going further down the peninsula, there are other old buildings and finally the location of the famous Sea Organ and the solar installation Greeting to the Sun.

The sea organ (Morse Orgulje) is a construction consisting of 35 organ pipes connected to passages where wind and wave action cause air to blow through the pipes in random patterns. It creates a haunting series of tones and chords. When a large vessel passes by, the high tones become much more noticeable. From the standpoint of the observer, however, it is just a series of small steps going to the ocean along the waterfront. If you look closely, you can see a series of small outlets for air, but otherwise it is just magical music coming from nowhere. In prospect, it would not seem that a series of random tones would be so enchanting, but it is mesmerizing and unforgettable.

Nikola Baŝić, the architect of the Sea Organ, also designed the Greeting to the Sun. It is a 22 meter wide solar street level set of photovoltaic cells that collect sun energy during the day and then at night put on a light show. It produces enough energy to light a significant proportion of the waterfront (about 46,500 KWH per day). When dark comes it produces waves and flashes of light the continuously evolve in psychedelic patterns. I had the impression that it might respond to the presence of people standing on it, but have been unable ton confirm that. It is meant to form a visual accompaniment to the music of the sea organ.

Our visit missed, by two days, the Maraschino festival. True maraschino cherries (not those ridiculous things often served in drinks in American bars) are bitter cherries that are raised around Zadar, and then shipped to Trieste for steeping in cherry liqueur. Order some of the Luxardo brand from Amazon and try them.


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