Zadar, Croatia

Croatia, as with all of the former Yugoslavia, exists with recent memories of war. Given that for the most part, the (now) six states of the former republic (Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) have only been developing independently since the mid '90s, these are very young countries. 

The leftovers of the most recent war are tactile, but perhaps not in the way you would think. There was no visible damage from fighting (no bullet holes in buildings, no bomb craters preserved), but the harsh, block apartment buildings standing next to 12th century places of worship are some of the more obvious reminders. The more subtle one comes when you ask a local about his or her experience during the fighting. When our tour guide started talking about what her family went through, she seemed to speak with pain in her eyes, like this was still a raw memory.

The city is full of interesting contrasts. New imported cars sitting next to Yugoslavian relics, complex technology embedded in centuries-old buildings, a fashionable youth population walking with an older traditional generation. Have a look at a few of the photos I came away with.

 When one cathedral was destroyed, a new one was literally built on top of it. In this case, old columns were used as a foundation.

When one cathedral was destroyed, a new one was literally built on top of it. In this case, old columns were used as a foundation.

 An old Yugoslav hatchback parked in front of one of the lackluster concrete apartment buildings in the city center.

An old Yugoslav hatchback parked in front of one of the lackluster concrete apartment buildings in the city center.

 This woman was knitting and selling her knitted products against the wall of the city's main cathedral. 

This woman was knitting and selling her knitted products against the wall of the city's main cathedral.