Zadar is the oldest continuously-inhabited Croatian city. It is situated on the Adriatic Sea, at the northwestern part of Ravni Kotari region. Zadar serves as the seat of Zadar County and of the wider northern Dalmatian region. The city proper covers 25 km2 with a population of 75,082 in 2011, making it the second-largest city of the region of Dalmatia and the fifth-largest city in the country.
The area of present-day Zadar traces its earliest evidence of human life from the late Stone Age, while numerous settlements date as early as the Neolithic. Before the Illyrians, an ancient Mediterranean people of a pre-Indo-European culture inhabited the area. Zadar traces its origin to its 9th-century BC founding as a settlement of the Illyrian tribe of Liburnians known as Iader.