It was a surprise for me to discover, some ten years back, that famous Von Trapp was actually “Zadranin” or “Zaratin” – person from Zadar. He was born on April 4, 1880. in Zadar.
It was even greater surprise to discover that the famous musical has a great following and people go to Austria just to see the “world of Von Trapp family”!
Zadar was just a brief stop of his childhood since his father’s military career took him to Pula and later to Rijeka where he entered the naval Academy.
Zadar, in the time of Von Trapp, was capital of Austro – Hungarian Dalmatia. Prosperous and heavily fortified military city always preyed upon by the Italians. Ever since the fall of Venice, Italy was claiming rights to Zadar. Austria made Zadar a great military center but also a bureaucratic headquarters for Dalmatia… That was a misfortune since the majority of people living within the walls were un-inventive, boring “paper pushers” that left no trace in the history of this city. The art scene of Zadar at the time, was never something to be proud of, no matter if we speak of painting, theater, music…
The only good legacy they left are the statistics
It is also little known that Zadar was an intelligence center of the region and stayed that way till the end of WWII. The elegant gentlemen would sit in cafe Bristol, still a nice “observation” point! – and carefully watch the steam boat travelers disembarking in Zadar.
Today, Zadar and Croatia are rarely connected with life of Von Trapp. I tell this story as a curiosity when personally taking some clients on walking tour of Zadar. Only lately an interest for Zadar as an interesting destination has started which is sad – far more history in Zadar than in Split and Dubrovnik combined!
I am even thinking about starting a historic walking tour of Zadar and maybe naming it Zadar of Von Trapp?