Biograd na Moru

Biograd na Moru is a city and municipality in northern Dalmatia, Croatia and is significant for being the former capital of the medieval Croatian Kingdom. Its population is 5,569 (2011). Biograd is administratively part of the Zadar County. It is located on the Adriatic Sea coast, overlooking the island of Pašman, on the road from Zadar and Sukošan towards Vodice and Šibenik.

The city of Biograd is a noted tourist resort with a long tradition. Its first tourists started arriving in the 1920s from Czechoslovakia and its first hotel was built in 1935.

The town itself has a population of 5,569 (2011 census). The absolute majority are Croats (95%).

Geography

Biograd na Moru is located 28 km south from county center Zadar. It is located on small peninsula surrounded by two little bays – Soline on south and Bošana on north, and in front islands Planac and Sveta Katarina. Average temperature in January is 7.3 °C and 23.9 °C in July. Biograd is the only settlement in the municipality.

History

The town’s native Croat name fully translates as “the white town on the sea”. The name Biograd is a compound literally meaning “white city”, and etymologically corresponding to several other toponyms spread throughout the Slavdom: Beograd, Belgorod, Białogard etc.

The name was first mentioned in the 10th century as a town founded by the Croats. It was one of the most important cities, being the capital of most Croatian regnants such as Stephen Držislav and Peter Krešimir IV and as well as an important religious place. It was the city where Coloman of Hungarywas crowned in 1102, marking Croatia’s joining the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1202, when the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade occupied the city of Jadra (Zadar), many of its citizens took refuge in Biograd, then noted as Jadra Nova (“New Zadar”). Two years later, the most of them left back to Zadar, after which the city was also referred to as Jadera Vetula (“Old Zadar”) or Zara vecchia in Italian translation.

During the 13th and 14th century the city was run by the dukes of Cetina, the Knights Templar of Vrana and the dukes of Bribir the Šubićes. It was acquired by the Venetian Republic in 1409 and would remain its property until its downfall in 1797.

During the Venetian-Turkish wars, the city was gravely damaged, and on two occasions, in 1521 and in 1646, it was destroyed and burned. In the 16th and 17th century, the Croatian militia formed in Biograd and had much involvement in the wars against the Turks.

In recent history, the Serbian forces inflicted considerable damage by long-range bombardment in the period 1991-1993 during the Croatian War of Independence.