Roman harbour Barbir in Sukošan, City of Zadar (HR)

The ancient Roman port of Barbir (near Sukošan) is a submerged archaeological ground monument lying in a depth of about 1-3,6 meters in the closer vicinity of the City of Zadar, Croatia. Visible submerged stone structures are defined as remnants of the two piers and/or breakwaters that enclosed and secured the port. The harbour site Barbir was registered as an archaeological site in 1973. Except a first survey conducted by the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology, Zadar in 2016 and 2017, no archaeological research or excavation activities have been conducted so far. Remains of an ancient pithoi vessel and numerous small archaeological findings made it possible to date back the port of Barbir preliminarily in the 3rd and 4th century.

Surveying underwater by the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology, Zadar


Despite of the undeniably great cultural and historical value of the Barbir harbour, it remains unveiled and unknown, even to the local population. The unawareness of the presence as wells as ongoing shipping and fishing activities require new strategies in protection and management of this site. Furthermore, this heritage and new information facilities offer possibilities for tourism development by extending the cultural touristic offer in the Zadar region.


Within the project it is planned to initiate surveys and digitization of pilot heritage as well as subsequent visualisation. The planned outputs include creating a 3D model showing the ancient port Barbir as well as the current state of preservation, which is not visible to the population. This 3D model will be implemented into the local outdoor information points aimed at local population and tourists, sharing visualized information via WIFI on mobile devices. The 3D outdoor access point will compose of both video and sound components so that an access for people with hearing and visual impairments will be ensured. Finally, a series of workshops and field trips with local stakeholders to promote hidden archaeological heritage will be initiated throughout the project implementation. The project VirtualArch provides the tools to convince policy makers about the importance of managing underwater heritage and in the next step, to better management of the above mentioned conflicts.

Relicts of the submerged roman port (photo: International Centre for Underwater Archaeology, Zadar)



During implementation of the project, a cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the Croatian Conservation Institute as the lead organizations for archaeological and cultural heritage will be established. Tourism enterprises and institutions, regional and national public authorities, interest groups from the field of shipping and fishing including NGOs, but most importantly the general public will be addressed and given a chance to learn about the roman harbour in a way that is completely new to what their perception of the site is at the moment.


Klick here for the planned regional strategy (after project ending).

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