Wednesday, 15 February 2012



Zagreb, capital of the Republic of Croatia is also its largest city and the cultural, economic, cinematic, sporting and governmental hub of the country. It is located on the southern slopes of the Medvednica Mountain along the banks of the Sava River. Culturally, it is a very old and traditional European city, with its numerous historical monuments and a long cultural history reminding of the times gone by. It favorable geographic positioning on the Pannonian Basin gives it an instant access to Central Europe and the Adriatic coast. Maybe that’s why, for many years, it has remained the economic gateway connecting Central and Western Europe via the Adriatic Sea.  

During the period of former Yugoslavia, Zagreb established itself as an important economic centre of the country, and was the second largest city.
When Croatia achieved independence in 1991, Zagreb was declared it capital and along with it came the political and administrative responsibilities. Today, the city has maintained its medieval structure in the Gradec and Kaptol area which are prime administrative regions of the city. 

Today, it is the only city in Croatia with a population of over one million. Yet as the city advances into the new millennium, it has retained its old charisma and its welcoming attitude towards its visitors.
The Grounded Sun

There are many interesting things for tourists in Zagreb, for example, the two statues of Saint George, one at the Marshal Tito Square, the other at Kamenita vrata, where the image of Virgin Mary is said to be only thing that didn't burn in the 17th century fire. Also, there is an art installation starting in Bogovićeva street, called Nine Views. Most of the people don't know what the statue Prizemljeno sunce (The Grounded Sun) is for, so they put graffiti or signatures on it, but it's actually the Sun scaled down, with many planets situated all over Zagreb in relative scale with the Sun.

Bana Jelačić Square officially known as the Trg Bana Jelačića is the central square of the city, named after ban Josip Jelačić. People simply call it Jelacic Square. It is located in Zagreb’s upper town area, south of Dolac market. The square marks the intersection of many streets such as Illica and Radićeva and small streets such as Splavnica, Harmica, Bakačeva, Jurišićeva and Gajeva. The square is marked as a pedestrian zone and therefore no vehicles are allowed inside the area. But it is accessible by tram.  

The historical part of the city to the north of Ban Jelačić Square is composed of the Gornji Grad and Kaptol, a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings that are popular with tourists on sightseeing tours. The historic district can be reached on foot, starting from Jelačić Square, the center of Zagreb, or by a funicular on nearby Tomićeva Street.
Numerous shops, boutiques, store houses and shopping centers offer a variety of quality clothing. Zagreb's offerings include crystal, china and ceramics, wicker or straw baskets, and top-quality Croatian wines and foodstuffs.

Notable Zagreb souvenirs are the tie or cravat, an accessory named after Croats who wore characteristic scarves around their necks in the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century and the ball-point pen, a tool developed from the inventions by Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, an inventor and a citizen of Zagreb.

Many Zagreb restaurants offer various specialities of national and international cuisine. Domestic products which deserve to be tasted include turkey, duck or goose with mlinci (a kind of pasta),štrukli (cottage cheese strudel), sir i vrhnje (cottage cheese with cream), kremšnite (custard slices in flaky pastry), and orehnjača (traditional walnut roll).

                                                                            Zagreb’s Top 5:
Katedrala Marijina Uznesenja
  1. Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Formerly known as St.Stephen's Cathedral, The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is locally known as Katedrala Marijina Uznesenja. The twin spires of the Cathedral make it the most visited attraction in Zagreb. The first Cathedral was destroyed during the Tartar attack in the 13th century and the present cathedral was built during the latter part of the 13th century. But what we see today is what not was originally built, as many renovations have completely restructured the construction. The main reason behind the reconstruction was the immense damage done by the earthquake in 1880, completely destroying the dome and bell tower. But later alterations have retained the medieval design. 
  2. The Tower of Lotrscak. (Kula Lotrscak) is a fortification tower built in the 13th century to protect Gradec's southern town wall. Once upon a time, the tower included a bell which rang during the night when all gates were supposed to be closed. Once the gates were closed the people who were left outside will have to remain there till the next sunrise. In the 19th century, additions were made to the tower in the form of an additional fourth floor and a canon which is even today is fired every noon and now is used to set watches. You can get to see a stunning view of the city once you climb the tower. Atop there is an exhibition gallery and a gift shop.
  3. The Mimara Museum. It is situated at the Roosevelt Square, housing the collection by Wiltrud and Ante Topić Mimara. Its full official name is the "Art Collection of Ante and Wiltrud Topić Mimara". Of the total of 3,700 varied works of art, more than 1,500 exhibits constitute permanent holdings, dating from the prehistoric period up to the 20th century. Some of the most famous exhibits include works by Lorenzetti, Raffaello, Giorgione, Veronese, Caravaggio and Canaletto,
  4. Mirogoj Cemetery. Located a little away from Zagreb city centre, but easily accessible by public transport is the beautiful and 'heavenly' Mirogoj Cemetery. Designed by Hermann Bollé in 1876, at the base of Mount Medvednica, the cemetery is counted among the top 10 cemeteries of Europe. The look of the cemetery doesn't seem to be spooky, but instead reminds us of a Neo-Renaissance castle with its vine covered walls, arcades, chapels; ornate structures and greenery spread around 7 acres of its space. Many distinguished families and personas of Croatia are buried here like Petar Preradovic and Stjepan Radic.
  5. St Mark's Church.  The Romanesque window found in its south facade is the best evidence that the church must have been built as early as the 13th century as is also the semicircular groundplan of St. Mary's chapel (later altered). In the second half of the 14th century the church was radically reconstructed. It was then turned into a late Gothic church of the three-nave type.

    St Mark's Church


  1. Zagreb looks gorgeous - I hadn't imagined anything at all like the photos you've posted here! It's a shame many travellers to Croatia skip it, from the looks of things.

    1. Hi Tom, Thanks for your interest. We are the same as most, did Dubrovnik and considered Croatia done. We soon realised there are many beautiful Croatian towns and cities yet to be discovered. I am hoping to cover more as my blog continues. Tony

  2. I'm really looking forward to visiting Zagreb in the near future. Croatia has another Z too, Zadar.

  3. I really liked this article on Zagreb and found the part about the Grounded Sun really interesting, very De Vinci code!. I will definitely be looking for all the planets when I next visit. Linda