Sounds of the Adriatic

„da me mlati bura moga kraja, bura moga kraja“….
“Bura (the wind) of my country is beating on me, the bura of my country”
- Lyrics of a traditional Klapa song.

On the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage since 2012, traditional “Klape” fill our ears with traditional singing, unaccompanied by instruments, as they have been doing since the 19th century. It’s impossible to visit any city and not enjoy absorbing the local sounds. The Adriatic Sea, together with the coast and the Croatian islands, is full of harmonizing sounds. Whether they are the sounds of nature, or the singing of a Klapa assembly from a narrow side street, listen well, because these sounds never repeat themselves. The Adriatic Sea, or as the locals call it ‘Jadran’, has many secrets and while trying to find them, keep alert for the healing sounds around you.

While visiting one of the 1000 and more Croatian islands, islets and reefs, of which only 48 are inhabited, and experiencing and absorbing the beauty around you, listen well and let the sounds around you create unforgettable memories. Culinary magic of the masters from the Adriatic sea, especially on our beautiful Croatian islands, are well know to all lovers of good food, creating memories for all the senses; but how many of you are aware of the ‘souvenirs’ you can pick up along the way just by listening? People with a peaceful spirit will be fascinated with the sound of waves pounding on the shore, seagulls quarrelling or chit-chatting and crickets singing their love songs. For those with a little more of a restless spirit, Klapa songs, in one of the many taverns, will be a balm for the body and the soul. For the most restless, just visit some of the many nightclubs or festivals that are held regularly throughout the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea.

Although you might find it a bit silly, you cannot stay in Dalmatia and not recognize the sound of probably the most famous wind – ‘Bura’. Dalmatians believe and blame this extremely strong wind coming from the land, for many of their troubles, from health to bad moods. They will also praise the Bura for indicating what type of whether to expect and when it will rain. A common saying among all Dalmatians: "there is no good ‘pršut’ without the Bura”. Well, you’ll have to try the pršut to be sure!

Except for the Bura, or the good wind, you can also hear of ‘Jugo’, the “bad” wind. With the warm air coming from the south-east, Jugo usually brings bad weather. And when you’re feeling a bit melancholic, be like the locals and just say: "it’s because of the Jugo”.

So, let’s combine the sounds we mentioned and hop to Zadar in northern Dalmatia.
Zadar, a 300 year old city, full of historical and cultural sites, with a violent and dynamic history, often destructed, robed and devastated, each time emerging from the ruins stronger, richer and more beautiful! Since the 4th century. B.C. as a settlement of the Illyrian tribe Liburna, named Jader, the city changed its name depending on who invaded the city; from Idassa (Greek), Jadera (Roman), Diadora, Zara (Venetian and later Italian rule), up to today's name - Zadar.

The sounds that you will experience here are impossible to experience anywhere else in the world. While sitting on Zadar’s famous steps next to the seashore, enjoying the sunset and the gentle clash of the waves, a pleasant surprise awaits - the sound of the Sea Organs! The Sea Organs in Zadar are the epitome of nature’s music. Installed in 2005 as part of the waterfront, 35 pipes, of various length, diameter and position, the Sea Organs play their 7 chords and 5 tones using the movement and pounding of the waves. They will never play the same song twice, as their music depends on the high or low tide and the waves.

While enjoying the symphony, walk a few meters away, towards the end of the pier, and enjoy the views of the harbor, the islands and the sunset, renown for their beauty worldwide. More than 300 multi-layered glass plates, named ‘The Greeting to the Sun’, are located on the same level with the promenade to communicate with nature and the Sun. As the sunset progresses, the lights that are embedded within this system will treat you with an impressive show of lights, simultaneously to the rhythm of the waves and the sound of the Sea Organs.

All that’s left is for you to decide whether you want to visit a local festival in Zadar, Split or Dubrovnik and enjoy the fabulous acoustics of the old towns, party ‘til dawn in a place like Zrče on the island of Pag, or soak in the peace and quiet on a sailboat among one of 1044 Croatian Islands. Not an easy choice.

Every country has its familiar sounds…Croatia’s are definitely diverse - from singing, waves, crickets and seagulls, to the different shades of silence… the choice is yours!

Published by Boba Komljen 02.03.2017.

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