A picturesque old Mediterranean town, and the economic, administrative, transit, tourist and cultural centre of a county. The old part of town lies on a low peninsula on a natural harbour. The port is open to international traffic, and has a permanent border crossing and two important ferry connections, Rijeka-Rab-Zadar-Split-Hvar-Korcula-Sobra-Dubrovnik-Bari and Zadar-Brbinj-Ancona. The railway line connects it with Split and Zagreb via Knin.

The airport is situated at the settlement of Zemunik Donji. Zadar has several scientific and cultural institutions, including the Faculty of Arts, the Institute of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences, the historical archive and several museums.

In the 9th century B.C. Zadar was known as a Liburnian settlement. Then it became a Roman colony and municipium called Jadera. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it became the capital of Byzantine Dalmatia. In the 9th century it was settled by the Croatians and in 1105 it came under Croatian-Hungarian rule. Between 1409 and 1797 it was under Venetian rule, followed by Austrian rule until 1920 except between 1805 and 1813, when it was occupied by France. After World War I it was ceded to Italy, but in 1944 it became part of Croatia and the former Yugoslavia. It was bombed frequently during World War II and was one of the most heavily damaged towns in Croatia.

The year 1960 marked the beginning of a comprehensive long-term development, including the development of tourism. Zadar is the most popular tourist centre in Northern Dalmatia. Numerous sacral and secular monuments include the preserved Roman and medieval layout of the town, the Roman forum from the 1st century, the Church (rotunda) of sv. Donat (St. Donatus) from the 9lh century, the Church of sv. Marija (St. Mary) from 1091, reconstructed in the 1st century, the Cathedral of sv. Stosija (St. Anastasia) from the 12th and 13th centuries, various other churches, parts of the defence fortifications along the town port, the town gate called Porta Terra Ferma (Mainland Gate) from 1543, the Bablja kula Tower with the remains of the medieval defence wall, Veliki Arsenal (Great Arsenal) from 1752, the palace of the Venetian governor from 1607, a loggia from 1562 and many others. Museum collections are displayed in the archaeological, national, natural history, ethnographic and maritime museums.

Due to the great number of passenger, tourist and fishing boats, it is difficult to find a space to berth. There is usually space at the bridge. By prior arrangement with the owner, it is possible to raft up to another boat. Berths are also available at the pier on the southwestern side of the old town, where the sea is around 4 m deep, but the pier is exposed to all winds except the northeasterly. Anchorage can be found in a bay east of the Vitrenjak harbour.

TANKERKOMERC MARINA ZADAR (023) 204-850 - It lies behind the port breakwater and offers 300 berths, 200 spaces for dry storage on the coast and in a hangar, a repair shop, a 6.5-ton lift, a 15-ton lift and a launch ramp.

BORIK MARINA (023) 331-018, 331-036 - It lies in front of the hotel complex. There are 250 berths, BO spaces for dry storage, a repair shop, a 5-ton lift and a launch ramp.

VITRENJAK MARINA (023) 331-076 - It lies on the western coast of the Vitrenjak Bay. There are 200 berths, 50 spaces for dry storage, a 2.5-ton lift, a 5-ton lift, a 15-ton travel-lift and a launch ramp for small boats.