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Cement Steps leading into the ocean

Croatia's Sea Organ


Designed by architect Nikola Bašić, this instrument is planned so that the ocean will speak through it, and the inhabitants of Zadar recover their relationship with the sea.

The sea has its own music. And if you give it an instrument, it will speak through it for the rest of its hours, for the rest its waves. It’s not surprising then that the sound it produces as it enters and leaves the organ pipes resemble so much the melancholy song of whales. The sea is its creatures and it speaks through them. Perhaps this organ, just like the Wave Organ in San Francisco and the High Tide Organ in England, is yet another one of its creatures.

Hidden under the enormous white steps of the town of Zadar, in Croatia, stands this majestic sea organ. The instrument consists of a series of 35 tubes and a large acoustic cavity which is played by the wind and the waves. It was designed by architect Nikola Bašić as a place to sit and listen to the harmony of the ocean as the sun hides behind the horizon or while time simply passes one by.

Despite how unpredictable every note is, what is heard is surprisingly harmonious. This so because the organ’s different tubes have been carefully tuned to produce some musical notes that just happen to go well together. While one moves through the installation, the sounds of the harmonies change as if there was more than a single musician producing harmonies below our feet.

Thanks to this project, the inhabitants of Zadar have reclaimed their relationship with the sea. The chaotic construction was built on the site to repair the damage World War II made to the sea front, leaving behind ruins and a monotonous wall made of metal and concrete. The Sea Organ is, to this day, the only place where there is easy access to the sea; there we can be enthralled by her waves while we listen to her song.

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