Walking around Zadar’s old town, you might be surprised to suddenly find yourself amidst the city’s most historic sight, the Roman forum. Constructed between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD, the forum is the largest in Croatia. Today it still features remnants of an infamous “shame column” of sorts (where offenders were publicly humiliated), and a temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva — among other relics from the past.
Sadly, not a lot of the original forum endures, but what you can see is a healthy scattering of Roman artifacts laid out in the area in front of the Church of St Donatus (and within it, actually, as it is built atop the forum and is home to two Roman columns, and a sacrificial altar). Though Zadar’s forum may seem sparse compared to that of Rome, for example, it’s the fact that these remains very much exist among the city, and not enclosed beyond a ticket booth. This allows visitors and locals to experience Zadar’s forum to the fullest as they walk among it freely, enjoying one of the outdoor concerts, or while simply snacking on a refreshing ice cream.
The forum can be found in the area in front of the Church of St Donatus, and is situated near or on the way to many other Zadar sights, including the Archeology Museum, and the famous wave-playing sea organ.