Rich in its biodiversity Croatia is a stunning Slavic country any time of year. Taken aback by its Dalmatian canyons, Alpine panoramas, colorful harbors and urban sceneries preserved for over 13 centuries tourists from all over the globe can enjoy highly varied attractions, landmarks and historical heritage sites. Ever since it was first established as a duchy back in the distant 7th century Croatia has survived the tests of time, wars and domination by foreign powers on numerous occasions. Many of its medieval landmarks are still standing even nowadays and are a magnificent sight to see for Slavs and non-Slavs alike.
Croats have a vivid architectural heritage that offers a lovely blend of contemporary and ancient constructions. Here are some of the best examples of Croatian architecture which are definitely deserving of a top spot in your to-visit list.
The State Archives in Zagreb
An excellent example of the Croatian Art Nouveau style this façade is breath-taking in its exterior, as well as in its interior. Even though the national archives serve mainly as a way to preserve nationalism, you can actually tour the building from the inside from Monday to Friday. It was constructed back in 1913 and initially served as a national library. A huge plus for anyone wishing to visit the State Archives building is the fact that it’s situated across the picturesque botanical gardens.
Majestic in its typical Roman style the Pula Arena has managed to withstand the tests of time like no other. It’s not only the most preserved of all ancient monuments in Croatia, but it’s also the one and only ancient Roman amphitheater that still has its original four side towers!
Fascinating from every single angle, the arena is a must-see landmark for anyone visiting Croatia. The exceptional amphitheater is also the 6th largest one on the entire planet and it often serves as the host for massive events like concerts and festivals. As if the architectural magnificence wasn’t enough, here’s a not so well-known fact about Pula Arena – it actually hosted two ice hokey games back in September 2012!
The Walls of Dubrovnik
Between the 13th and 17th century the city of Dubrovnik stood up to foreign invaders with its ever-extending city walls that acted as a defense mechanism. Nowadays the walls are still well preserved and offer notably breath-taking views.
The historical significance, however, is not the only reason to visit the walls of Dubrovnik on your next vacation. Any hardcore Game of Thrones fan knows that the hit HBO series was filmed across various parts of Croatia – and the Walls of Dubrovnik are one of the filming locations. If you want to walk the path of Tyrion, Daenerys, Cercei and numerous other characters, you can book a special Game of Thrones tour of Dubrovnik on the King’s Landing Dubrovnik website.
The Croatian National Theater in Zagreb is the oldest official theater building in the country and it’s currently one of the most notable cultural centers in Croatia. Built in the late 19th century it graces the city streets in its typical Neo-Baroque style. Throughout the years the HNK has welcomed countless notable artists, including Richard Strauss, Vivien Leigh, Jose Carreras, Franz Liszt and other acclaimed musicians, directors, actors and dancers.
The Morske Orgulje
Out of the numerous contemporary structures that can be found all across Croatia (including the Split University’s library building), the most astonishing one has to be the Morske Orgulje, meaning “sea organ”.
Located on the coastline of Zadar, the Sea Organ is the deed of local architect Nikola Basic who received worldwide recognition for his device. It’s basically a combination of polyethylene tubes and a resonator that sneakily hidden under large concrete steps leading into the water. The sea waves and the winds produce “music” through the mechanisms on a random basis and the sound in the pipes escapes through a number of holes placed strategically on the upper step – hence the name “sea organ”.
Although the music produced by the organ is completely random and based on nature sounds, the site is a popular attraction for locals and tourists, and it’s one of the most futuristic facades along with its “cousin” Pozdrav Suncu (“a greeting to the sun”), which is located just a few meters away from the Morske Orgulje.