The Stunning Symphony of Sounds from The Sea Organ

Last Updated on September 15, 2023

One of the most defining aspects of Zadar, Croatia is the city’s relationship with the sea. Zadar’s Old Town is located on a peninsula. Two of the most famous 21st-century attractions in Zadar, the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun, have radically transformed the city’s waterfront.

Before you read any further, I want to show you this video I filmed one night at the Sea Organ. (Please make sure your sound is enabled so you are able to hear it.)

In my previous post, I explained how the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun were both created by a Croatian architect named Nikola Bašić to symbolize communication between nature, light, and sound.

The Sea Organ connects nature to sound.

I put together a YouTube video to show you the Sea Organ itself.

In the case of the Sea Organ, hearing is believing.

As much as I’ve tried to capture the many sounds that come from this structure, the truth is that nothing can ever fully capture the true essence of how these stairs enliven the waterfront.

The Sea Organ’s unworldly noises are completely powered by the waves.

(This embedded video from Facebook requires Flash to play. As many browsers including Apple’s Safari browser no longer support Flash, you may find this space empty depending on which you use…)

The sounds of the Sea Organ are always changing.

With the help of experts in sea hydraulics and musical organ pipes, Bašić and his team designed the tide-driven instrument and its casing, a set of steps leading down into the water.

The tunes coming out from this communal installation can vary depending on the frequency, intensity, and directionality of the waves that come rolling in.

The Sea Organ is comprised of 35 pipes fitted into the pavement. These pipes have openings along the backside of the top steps along with air holes on the upper flat area where people tend to walk by.

The “Obala kralja Petra Krešimira IV” refers to the path following Zadar’s waterfront. The name translates to English as, “Coast of King Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia.” When walking along this path, you will find the Sea Organ at the far western end of Zadar’s peninsula.

As you approach these special stairs, you’ll typically see people sprawled out, sitting and chatting with friends, soaking up rays from the sun, listening to the musical sounds, or perhaps reading a book.

When I lived in Zadar, I would walk to the Sea Organ every night. I was awaiting the night the Greeting to the Sun would turn on. (A sad fate that was never to be during my visit to Zadar.)

Where light never did shine, nature still connected to sound. So at the Sea Organ, I’d sit down with my Nook and read a book while appreciating the harmonious sounds from the waves brushing against the steps upon which I sat.

Eventually, the sun would begin its descent and I would look up from my book to watch the sun finally set in Zadar each and every night.

Each night was something remarkable. The sky’s colors were unlike anything I’d ever seen before while traveling.

After the sun had fully set, I would begin my walk back home from the Sea Organ.

Those nightly long walks alongside the waterfront are something I do miss.


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