Two of Zadar’s most popular attractions are the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation — artistic installations that utilise the power of nature to create beautiful sounds and sights for the citizens and visitors of Zadar.
In the Second World War most of Zadar’s sea front was destroyed – and then quickly repaired as a boring, monotonous concrete wall. In order to bring some life and something different to the sea front, architect Nikola Basic designed and opened the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation in April 2005.
The Sea Organ is an experimental musical instrument, which plays music generated by the motion of sea waves through a series of 35 organ pipes built under a set of large marble steps.
As the movement and energy of the sea, in terms of tides and winds, is unpredictable then the sea organ produces a infinitely long, random, yet mournful sound.
The “music” is created by pipes of different lengths and sizes with whistles built in them, which play seven chords of five tones as the waves force air through them. The pipes are built into seven steps, each one with its own tubing and chord, so as you move along the sea front the sounds and harmonies you hear change relative to your position.
The Sea Organ gets extremely busy in the evening, when crowds gather to sit on the steps and listen to the music whilst watching the sun set. I much preferred sitting and enjoying the music during the afternoon when it was less crowded.
Below is a video I took recording the sounds of the Sea Organ whilst staying in Zadar:
After watching the sun set, the crowds then head over towards the Sun Salutation, located a few hundred metres away from the Sea Organ.
The Sun Salutation is a 22 metre diameter solar panel formed from 300 multi-layered glass panels. Underneath these glass conduction plates, there are a series of solar cells.
The solar cells absorb the Sun’s energy from sunrise to sunset, and convert this energy into electricity. The electricity produced is then used to light the entire waterfront at night – a unique example of an efficient and renewable energy source.
At sunset, the installation switches on and displays a series of bright colourful lights. The motion of the lights is dependent on the solar energy collected throughout the day as well as the power of the waves, and is supposed to also represent the motion of the solar system. All eight planets are represented by proportionally sized solar lights placed at their proportional distances from the sun.
When I visited the Sun Salutation, it was extremely busy, and so it wasn’t easy to see as much of the display as I would have liked. I imagine that if you were to return later on in the evening after the crowds had dispersed then it would be a lot more impressive.