Museums in Zadar and surroundings: explore the art and history through time

Museums in Zadar and surroundings: explore the art and history through time

The rich history of Zadar and its surrounding area is evident through numerous monuments and historical remnants. Museums in Zadar and around preserve the traditions of this region, narrating stories from the past and showcasing the way people lived before. Museums offer a unique experience, intertwining artistic, educational, cultural, and entertaining elements. When planning your visit to Zadar, make a checklist to ensure you don't miss out on something; Zadar and its surroundings have a lot to offer.
In Zadar, you'll find the Archaeological and National Museum of Zadar, the Museum of Ancient Glass, and the Museum of Illusions. Museums worth visiting in the vicinity include the Museum of Salt in Pag, the Salt Museum and Saltworks in Nin, and the Homeland Museum Biograd na Moru.

Over 300,000 people attended the Night of Museums in Croatia in 2023. If the Night of Museums is happening during your stay in Zadar in 2024, it would be a shame to miss visiting all the mentioned places.

Night of the museums

Make the most of what life, and the Night of Museums, has to offer. This cultural event took place for the 18th time in a row in 2023, with Zadar being one of the cities where visitors could explore museum exhibits providing a special insight into history. Zadar will host the Night of Museums again in 2024, coinciding with the 1st Croatian Biennial of Art Glass. The collective, juried exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog featuring artists' biographies. Exhibitions are planned every two years, allowing artists time to work on new creations.

There are plenty of reasons not to miss the Night of Museums in Zadar. Stay updated on the event by following the official website.

Archaeological Museum Zadar - discover the secrets of ancient civilizations

Embark on an exploration of over 100,000 artifacts! Established in 1832 as part of the National Museum, the Archaeological Museum Zadar is one of Croatia's oldest museums. It ranks among the most significant Croatian museums, systematically collecting, processing, researching, and presenting archaeological artifacts from northern Dalmatia, especially Zadar and its surroundings. The collection of the Archaeological Museum in Zadar spans various historical periods, from the Palaeolithic era to the end of the 11th century. The permanent exhibition is divided into prehistoric, medieval, and ancient sections.

The museum's collection was initially housed in the Church of St. Donatus, and today it resides in a building next to the Benedictine Monastery of St. Mary. During your visit, explore medieval objects on the ground floor, such as ciboria, altar screens, decorative architectural elements, and sarcophagi. Highlights include the tomb of an early Croatian warrior on horseback and the "Mother with Child" tomb from the 9th century (from the Nin-Ždrijac cemetery). The first floor showcases artifacts from the ancient period - ceramics, stone, glass, and metal objects from the Roman era. The floor above depicts life in the Stone and Metal Ages, featuring items like scrapers, awls, jewelry, rhytons (four-legged vessels), and more. Additionally, the museum includes two dislocated objects - the complex of the former St. Nicholas Monastery and the Museum of Nin Antiquities.

National Museum Zadar - visit the second oldest museum in Croatia

Discover the identity of Zadar and its surroundings through the collections of the National Museum Zadar! Located in the historic part of Zadar, near the Church of St. Donatus, it is the second oldest museum in Croatia. Though officially established in 1832, it didn't develop into the institution originally envisioned. The Archaeological Museum and later the City Natural History Museum, which forms the basis of today's Natural Sciences Department, grew from the defined foundations.
The Natural Sciences Department is one of four parts of the Zadar National Museum, alongside the Ethnological Department, the Museum of the City of Zadar, and the Art Gallery. Each section contributes to the main goal of researching, preserving, and presenting the natural and cultural heritage of northern Dalmatia (excluding archaeology, and including maritime heritage).

NMZ Zadar will take you to different eras with its exhibits, complemented by numerous exhibitions, presentations, workshops, lectures, and videos related to maritime heritage.

Zadar City Museum - cultural treasure of the medieval beauty

Established as an independent legal entity on January 1st, 1960, the Museum of the City of Zadar became part of the National Museum Zadar in December 1962 under the name Cultural-Historical Department. Due to subsequent historical events, it merged with the Department of the Revolution to become the Zadar City Museum. The museum houses cultural assets from the late 13th century to the present, with collections divided into the cultural-historical collection and the collection of recent history. Glass, furniture, old postcards and photographs, furniture, weapons... These are all objects you can see in the cultural-historical collection, while the collection of recent history includes photographs from the NOB (People's Liberation Struggle), documents, flags, printed materials, posters, and more.

The permanent exhibition "Six Salon Panels" showcases six historical periods of the city of Zadar through traces and objects of a historical mosaic that arrived in the city due to the specific taste of its inhabitants. Experience everything the museum offers first-hand.

Zadar Museum of Ancient Glass - unique collections and local production of ancient glass

Unique in Croatia and the world, the specialized Museum of Ancient Glass Zadar features over 5,000 glass objects from the ancient period. All were found in the Zadar region and depict life in this area. The Zadar Museum of Ancient Glass opened in 2009 in the former Cosmacendi Palace and has attracted visitors from all over the world since then. Many compare it to the Glass Museum on the island of Murano near Venice. What makes it particularly interesting is its own glassblowing workshop for creating replicas using traditional techniques - the technique of hand-blown glass. The museum also includes a souvenir shop where you can purchase replicas of ancient glass and unique jewelry.

Museum of Illusions Zadar - mastery of optical tricks in the heart of the city

Immerse yourself in illusions and spend an unforgettable day with friends and family. The Museum of Illusions Zadar will entertain visitors of all ages with numerous puzzles, tricks, mathematical and didactic games, and other elements that simultaneously confuse and amuse. Don't forget to take photos; the Zadar Museum of Illusions is the perfect backdrop for that!

Museum of Salt Pag - discover the history of salt production in this area

White gold. That's how salt was valued in the past when it was traded. A will from the year 999 is the first evidence of salt production on Pag, and later, salt pans are mentioned in other documents. Today, it's hard for anyone to imagine a day without salt, and if you visit the Salt Museum in Pag, you'll discover an expanse of whiteness covering over 50 square kilometers. More than 100 exhibits (paintings, tools, pools, salt products...) showcase everything related to the life of the residents and the production of Pag salt.

Salt Museum, Nin - explore the museum and house of salt

Engage in the salt creation process and discover everything the Museum of Salt Pag and the Salt Museum Nin have to offer! The Nin Saltwork is a place where salt has been naturally produced by hand, with great care, for over 1500 years. The saltwork includes a museum and a house of salt. The history is shown through old black-and-white photographs, tools used for work, and wagons used to transport salt from the pools to storage. The entire experience is complemented by an interactive game and a model depicting the unique natural reserve. A documentary film tells the story of salt, and if you find yourself near this area in August during the Salt Festival, participate in the salt creation process. Whenever you decide to visit the Salt Museum in Nin, be sure to bring back a memory from the souvenir shop, a useful product made from or with salt.

Homeland Museum, Biograd na Moru - ethnographic collections in the heart of the city

In the Biograd area, there is a valuable cultural institution - the Homeland Museum Biograd na Moru. The museum in Biograd presents the rich past of the city, the coast, and the surrounding area. Located on the waterfront in the central part of Biograd, the building it occupies is declared a cultural monument. The Native Museum Biograd takes pride in its unique cultural-historical collection that captures the attention of visitors. It includes the "Cargo of a Sunk Ship from the 16th Century" with over 10,000 objects recovered from a sunken Venetian ship. Besides equipment and inventory, the ship was loaded with treasures, valuable goods for trade, and unique items that you can observe in person when visiting the Homeland Museum Biograd.