World War One Sites - The NETWORLD Database

Monument at Zadar City graveyard, Croatia

In year 1932, the remains of deceased Italian soldiers were collected and putted in tombs in this monument. Altogether there are 88 tombs with 89 solders buried there. In one tomb there are remains of two solders.

Croatia, Zadar

Type of WWI-heritage

  • War monument


Around 50m2 and 4 m high

State of repair/preservation

The monument is well preserved.

Historical WWI Context

Just before the First World War, Zadar had around 20,000 inhabitants. It was one of the most developed and largest Croatian cities. Numerous newspapers are published and industry is developed. In that time, Zadar was the capital of Dalmatia, but weak connections with continental Croatia and poorly developed and rarely inhabited hinterland caused it to overcome Split, which, along the wider hinterland, had the border with the more densely populated part of Bosnia and Hercegovina where Croats were the majority of the population. All this caused that in 1910, according to the population census, 60% of the population of the city was made by the Italians. They are mostly immigrated from Italy to Austro-Hungarian Empire. They did the town elite and bureau office, and in Zadar the autonomy never lost power. Zadar, like most of the Croatian coast, was included in the London Treaty. The Secret Agreement, concluded on April 26, 1915 between Great Britain, France and Russia on the one hand, and Italy on the other hand, according to which Italy would step into the war against the former Austro-Hungarian and German allies. Italy has in turn promised large territorial concessions amongst others - South Tyrol to Brenera, Gorica, Gradiska, part of Carinthia, Trieste, Istria, Adriatic islands to Mljet, Zadar and Šibenik with hinterland.

“Madrine dei militari morti” (Godmothers of the dead solders) was (and still is) an association gathering young women and mothers of the Italian soldiers that died in WWI  in order to take care of their graves. In year 1932, the remains of deceased Italian soldiers were collected to be buried inside  monument at Zadar cemetery. Altogether there are 88 tombs with 89 solders buried in the monument. In one tomb there are remains of two solders.

Italian community in Zadar is representing a bond between those who manage and those who have interest of visiting monument in order to protect and maintain Italian graves in Zadar.

Each year on 2nd of November, the anniversary of bombing City of Zadar in 1943, Italians that were born in Zadar but moved in Italy after its bombing, together with Italian Consul from City of Rijeka, City of Zadar and Zadar County representatives, gather in front the monument to pay respect to deceased Italians in WWI. Also, a mass in the small chapel in Italian part of the graveyard is performed.

State of legal protection

The monument is protected as a cultural heritage


Since the monument is in the part of cemetery that is since 1974 protected as a cultural heritage, Ministry of culture owns it, but Nasadi- Utility Company of City of Zadar takes care of it. Italian consulate in Rijeka, together with Italian government pays fee for its maintenance.

Kind of cultural use of WWI

The Zadar cemetery was founded in 1821, and in 1854 it was partially expanded according to the project of architect Valentina Presana. In 1866 it became monumental, and in 1932-1933 it spread beyond the ancient closed walls. There are six neo-classical chapels with valuable sculptures, monumental family tombs in Istrian stone or stone from the island of Brac, enriched with marble or bronze statues, reliefs and Byzantine crosses from the neighboring small Orthodox cemetery. There are also the tombs of some Austrian governors and citizens who have borne the city with their work in the field of humanities, arts and politics. After the Second World War, the cemetery was greatly expanded after the development of the city during the last decades, but the old cemetery graveyard enclosed within old walls is its historic heart.

The Zadar cemetery is a member of the Association of Important Cemeteries in Europe - ASCE.

The cemetery has the opportunity to organize sightseeing under expert guidance.



The cemetery is open every day

Entrance Fee


Information regarding cities, villages, other touristic attractions (non-WWI) nearby

Further information sources

It is a landscape, religious cemetery. The prevalent religions present in the cemetery are Catholics and Orthodox, but in recent years also Muslims are buried there. Most deceased are Croats, Serbs and Bosnians. In the past, one part of the cemetery was Jewish, but after World War II it has changed owners.

The area of the cemetery occupies about 11 hectares, divided into 10 areas and every area is divided by grave fields. It includes about 7.000 tombs and about 1.500 ground burials but the number is increasing since the cemetery is still expanding, following the development of the city.

There are two chapels in the cemetery - Catholics and Ortodox. The Chatolic chapel was constructed in 1866. It has arcades to its left and right and also some graves inside the chapel. The Ortodox chapel on the other hand was built in 1910 by civil engineer Anton Matezenik.

In 1934, the cemetery was expanded for the first time. At this time the structures near the entrance were constructed as well as the facade which exists unchanged to this days. It's called the New Cemetery B.

One of the attractions at the cemetery is also the ancient Roman aqueduct, built in the 2nd century in the time of Roman emperor Trajan, that delivered water from Lake Vrana to the city.

The oldest part of the cemetery has some valuable and lovely memorial plates and gravestones and some of them were created by famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Rendić, who worked on well known monuments in Croatia, including in other Croatian cemeteries.

Some important tombs in the cemetery are the tomb Borelli, tomb Vlahov, tomb Abelich, tomb Tomassich and others.

From 1974, the oldest section of the cemetery (incorrectly referred to as New Cemetery A) is under the protection of State Directorate for Cultural Heritage Protection. Also the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments protects the oldest part of the cemetery that date back to the 19th century.

The tombs in the cemetery are divided into four categories, according to their value, beauty and importance to the families that created them. The most significant category 1 includes the most important tombs. Nothing regarding their original appearance can be changed.

Museums Private Collections


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