Zara (Zadar, in modern-day Croatia) had first come within the Venetian sphere of influence in the ninth century but in the eleventh century had returned to being a vassal of the Byzantine Empire. In 1202 the city was sacked by a combined Venetian and Frankish force at the start of the Fourth Crusade. In 1409 Venice purchased the rights to the Dalmatian coast and occupied the city until the fall of Venice to Napoleon in 1797.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the town was subject to repeated attacks by the Ottomans and consequently the defences were strengthened until they took on the form shown in the relief which is oriented as if viewed form the south west. The peninsula on which the town sits is defended by two bastions'with a very short length of curtain wall between them pierced by a gate and beyond that and set slightly to one side a large hornwork. The town and its peninsula were also surrounded by a sea wall.
The defences remain largely intact today. The carving shows no internal detail to the city except for a broad flight of steps leading up to the central portion of the hornwork but two vessels are depicted sailing off the coast. This is probably the most seriously eroded panel of the six.