A Travellerspoint blog

Zagreb.

Croatia's Vibrant Capital City.

sunny

large_7138796-The_Botanic_Gardens_Zagreb.jpg
The Botanic Gardens.

Zagreb.

Zagreb was the last port of call of our two and a half weeks of travels around Europe in the summer of 2014, so we arrived there absolutely exhausted. Fortunately, it is a very manageable city with most of the attractions within easy walking distance of each other, so we did manage to see a lot of it at a relaxed and enjoyable pace. Zagreb was a city of outdoor cafes, restaurants, green spaces and vast, impressive, ornate buildings. Old Zagreb consists of two areas: Kaptol with its wonderful cathedral and colourful market; and Gornji Grad with its towers, funicular and St Mark’s Church. These two areas were originally different towns separated by a river. They were rivals and sometimes fought each other. There is also a beautiful green horseshoe shaped area with botanic gardens forming the bottom of the U shape. One prong formed by Trg Kralja Tomislava and Trg JJ Strossmayera with their art pavilion. The other prong formed by Trg Marka Marulica, Trg Antuna, Ivana i Vladimira Mazurinanica and Trg Marsala Tita with its theatre and state archives.

Our only forays off the beaten track were to visit the stunning Mirogoj Cemetery with its ivy clad domes. We had intended to also try to get to the lakes at Jarun for a swim, but we did not manage that. This was our second visit to Croatia. Last year we spent three nights in Dubrovnik. Personally, I vastly preferred Zagreb to Dubrovnik. It was cheaper, friendlier, less touristy and much more a real, lived ­in place.

Back in the eighties I almost ended up in Zagreb by accident when I took a Yugoslavian Airways flight from London to Istanbul. I knew the plane landed in Belgrade and that I had to change planes there, but I did not know it landed in Zagreb first and almost got off there. It was fortunate I had been chatting to a Croatian man who told me where we were and that I was to sit back down.

large_7138808-Sculpture_Zagreb.jpg
Sculpture.

Hotel Central.

We stayed in this hotel for two nights in July 2014. The hotel is close to Zagreb's main train station. Exit the station and go right to find the hotel. We were able to check in at 11 am without any problems. Check­-in was reasonably friendly. Our room was fine. It was at the top of the hotel and had a few oddly placed pillars. I suppose the decor was a bit dated, but such things do not bother me. It was clean, comfortable and quiet. We slept really well here. The hotel's location is also great for the historic centre of Zagreb which you can very easily get to on foot. The bus station is about 15 minutes walk away or you can take a tram. There are tram stops near the hotel. The breakfast staff at the hotel were pleasant and friendly. Food at the hotel was fine with various breads, cheeses, meats, cereal, fruit. The big negative was that the coffee was awful. The liquid they called coffee only resembled coffee in colour. It neither smelt nor tasted like coffee. As someone who needs three coffees to get going in the morning, even I was on the tea. Wifi was rather unreliable at this hotel. It worked on and off and was not consistent. We would be happy to stay here again. Address: Branimirova 3, Zagreb .

large_7177443-Our_Room_Zagreb.jpg
Our Room.

Steam Engine.

An old locomotive steam engine is located outside Zagreb's Main Train Station. We also noticed when we were in Slovenia that Slovenian stations also always had an old engine on display.

large_7138760-Steam_Engine_Zagreb.jpg
Steam Engine.

large_742445567138805-Railway_Stat..tue_Zagreb.jpg
At the Railway Station.

Zagreb Cathedral.

Zagreb Cathedral’s full name is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a beautiful building located in the Kaptol part of the city. The cathedral has two tall spires which can be seen from a long way away. One of the spires was being restored during our visit. The cathedral dates from 1093. During its long history it has been damaged by fires, earthquake and a Tartar invasion. After Zagreb experienced a dreadful earthquake in 1880 the cathedral was restored by Hermann Bollé, Outside the cathedral there were two pillars: one restored and one not. At the end of the Communist era the whole cathedral was in the same state as the non-­restored pillar after years of neglect. Nearby was a clock stopped at the time the earthquake of 1880 struck the city. During our visit there was a service going on inside the cathedral, so we could not wander round and look at things. Instead we listened to parts of the service. Zagreb Cathedral was visited by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

large_7138767-Zagreb_Cathedral_Zagreb.jpg
Zagreb Cathedral.

large_7138768-Zagreb_Cathedral_Zagreb.jpg
Zagreb Cathedral.

large_7138769-Zagreb_Cathedral_Zagreb.jpg
Zagreb Cathedral.

large_7138766-Zagreb_Cathedral_Zagreb.jpg
Zagreb Cathedral.

large_7138770-Zagreb_Cathedral_Zagreb.jpg
Zagreb Cathedral.

Dolac Market.

Dolac Market is also located in the Kaptol area. The market is a colourful assortment of stalls selling flowers, fruit, vegetables, baskets, wooden goods and souvenirs. I liked the statue of the lady carrying a basket on her head as she set off to market.

large_7138772-Dolac_Market_Zagreb.jpg
Dolac Market.

large_7138777-Dolac_Market_Zagreb.jpg
Dolac Market.

large_7138778-Dolac_Market_Zagreb.jpg
Dolac Market.

large_7138776-Dolac_Market_Zagreb.jpg
Dolac Market.

The Funicular.

The Funicular up to Gornji Grad is supposedly the smallest funicular in the world. We did not use it and instead climbed up the stairs next to it. There were good views from the top. A ride on the funicular costs 5 kuna.

large_7138785-View_from_top_of_funicular_Zagreb.jpg
The Funicular.

large_7138780-The_Funicular_Zagreb.jpg
The Funicular.

large_819572367138757-Stall_at_the..lar_Zagreb.jpg
The Funicular.

The Lotrscak Tower.

The Lotrscak Tower stands at the top of the funicular. You can go up it for views over Zagreb but we did not do so. This tower dates from 1266 and contains the Gric cannon which is fired daily at noon; just as it has been every day since 1877. The tower is open from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday and from 10am to 9pm Saturday and Sunday. Different exhibitions are held inside the tower.

large_7138784-The_Lotrscak_Tower_Zagreb.jpg
The Lotrscak Tower.

large_7138786-The_Lotrscak_Tower_Zagreb.jpg
The Lotrscak Tower.

The Church of St Catherine.

This church is located in Gornji Grad. It is a baroque church and was originally built in the seventeenth century by the Jesuits. St Catherine’s was totally destroyed in the 1880 earthquake and was completely rebuilt by Zagreb architect Hermann Bollẽ;. It was closed during our visit.

large_7138792-The_Church_of_St_Catherine_Zagreb.jpg
The Church of St Catherine.

The Church of Cirila I Metoda.

The Church of Cirila I Metoda was also closed when we visited, but we liked the colourful icons on its façade. This church was built in 1880 by Zagreb architect, Hermann Bollé who was born in 1845 and died in 1926.

large_7138793-The_Church_of_Cirila_i_Metoda_Zagreb.jpg
The Church of Cirila I Metoda.

St Mark’s Church.

This church dates from the fourteenth century. Its most notable feature is its colourful roof depicting the Croatian, Dalmatian and Slavonian coats of arms. Inside there are sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic, Croatia’s most famous sculptor. As the church was closed during our visit we did not see these. On the same square as the church sit the parliament and presidential palace.

large_7138795-St_Marks_Church_Zagreb.jpg
St Mark’s Church.

large_7138794-St_Marks_Church_Zagreb.jpg
St Mark’s Church.

The Botanic Gardens.

These beautiful gardens form part of Zagreb's green horseshoe area. They are free entry and have beautiful turtle filled ponds and beautiful water­lily filled ponds. I love plants and thought the gardens were a lovely, peaceful place for a seat or a stroll.

large_7138798-The_Botanic_Gardens_Zagreb.jpg
The Botanic Gardens.

large_7138797-The_Botanic_Gardens_Zagreb.jpg
The Botanic Gardens.

large_7138800-The_Botanic_Gardens_Zagreb.jpg
The Botanic Gardens.

large_7138801-The_Botanic_Gardens_Zagreb.jpg
The Botanic Gardens.

large_7138759-Roses_at_the_Botanic_Gardens_Zagreb.jpg
The Botanic Gardens.

The Green Horseshoe.

Zagreb is a city with lots of greenery even right in the city centre. One prong of the so called green horseshoe stretches from Zagreb Railway Station past the Trg Kralji Tomislava, the art pavillion, the Trg JJ Strossmayera to the Trg Nikole Subica Zrinskog. Near the railway station there is a statue of King Tomislava sitting on his horse. The art pavillion is a very attractive bright yellow building. This area also has statues and fountains. There are plenty of seats here to relax on in the shade. Both sides of this green area are lined with beautiful buildings with ornate facades.

large_7138806-The_Art_Pavillion_Zagreb.jpg
The Art Pavillion.

large_7138807-The_Art_Pavillion_Zagreb.jpg
The Art Pavillion.

large_7138809-The_Green_Horseshoe_Area_Zagreb.jpg
The Green Horseshoe.

The Green Horseshoe Prong Two.

The other prong of the green horseshoe stretches from the state archives - ­ a beautiful building with owls on its roof. This is on Trg Marka Marulica. The green area also covers Trg Antuna, Ivana i Vladimir Mazranica and Trg Marsala Tita with its lovely Croatian National Theatre.

large_7138817-Croatian_National_Theatre_Zagreb.jpg
Croatian National Theatre.

large_7138816-Croatian_National_Theatre_Zagreb.jpg
Croatian National Theatre.

large_7138812-State_Archives_Zagreb.jpg
State Archives.

large_7138811-Roof_of_State_Archives_Zagreb.jpg
Roof of State Archives.

large_536329687138758-Fountainby_I..tre_Zagreb.jpg
Fountain by Ivan Meštrović.

The Stone Gate.

The Stone Gate is near St Mark's Church in Gornji Gradec. In 1731 a great fire destroyed most of the gate but a painting of the Virgin and Child by an unknown 17th century artist inside the gate survived. The painting is part of a shrine inside the gate nowadays and many people come here to pray and place flowers.

large_7138848-The_Stone_Gate_Zagreb.jpg
The Stone Gate.

large_7138849-The_Stone_Gate_Zagreb.jpg
The Stone Gate.

large_608640107138850-Praying_at_t..ine_Zagreb.jpg
Praying at the Virgin and Child Shrine.

Mirogoj Cemetery.

We walked to Mirogoj Cemetery from the old town. It was quite a long way and took around 35 to 40 minutes. You can also get here by bus. The cemetery is surrounded by domed walls covered with green ivy. It is a very well kept cemetery in excellent condition and an interesting place for a stroll. Outside the entrance there are shops selling flowers and candles. I found the war areas at the bottom of the cemetery particularly interesting. There was a sculpture on top of a mass grave of victims of World War I and an area of white crosses for the dead of World War II.

large_283254087138821-The_Entrance..ery_Zagreb.jpg
Entrance to Mirogoj Cemetery.

large_7138823-Mirogoj_Cemetery_Zagreb.jpg
Mirogoj Cemetery.

large_7138822-The_walls_of_Mirogoj_Cemetery_Zagreb.jpg
Walls of Mirogoj Cemetery.

large_7138824-War_Memorial_World_War_II_Zagreb.jpg
War Memorial.

large_495378127138825-monument_for..r_I_Zagreb.jpg
Monument to Victims of World War I.

Saint George Statues.

We found one St George and the Dragon Statue near the Croatian National Theatre and another one outside the stone gate in the old town. Both were well worth seeing and very good to take photographs of.

large_7138827-Saint_George_Statues.jpg
Saint George Statues.

large_7138829-Saint_George_Statues.jpg
Saint George Statues.

large_7138828-Saint_George_Statues.jpg
Saint George Statues.

Statue Of Marija Juric Zagorka.

On Tkalciceva in Kaptol we noticed a statue of a prim looking lady holding an umbrella. All around her were bars and cafes. To us she looked rather like Mary Poppins, but, in fact, she was Marija Juric Zagorka ­ Croatia’s first female journalist. Marija Juric Zagorka was also an author and wrote nineteen novels. In addition to that Marija Juric Zagorka was the founder of Women’s Papers, the Austro­Hungarian Empire's first ever magazine which focused on women’s issues.

large_7138840-Statue_Of_Marija_Juric_Zagorka.jpg
Statue Of Marija Juric Zagorka.

Statue Near Market Place Zagreb.

I found this statue near the market place in Zagreb, but I am not sure what it depicts. Two of the men in it are prisoners and look injured or dying, one is playing a musical instrument.. I wrote the above part of this tip when I had extremely limited internet access. I now know the statue is of Petrica Kerempuh. He is a fictional character who is known for his extremely unconventional sense of humour. He travels the world and laughs at people suffering adversity. His role is not so much a sadistic one but a way to teach people that humour is a means of getting through adversity.

large_7138844-Statue_Near_Market_Place_Zagreb.jpg
Statue of Petrica Kerempuh.

The Changing Of The Guard.

There are various ceremonies on Saturdays and Sundays in the old town revolving around the changing of the guards. They start at noon and continue in various parts of town until about two. We caught up with them just as they were leaving St Mark's Church.

large_7138852-The_Changing_Of_The_Guard.jpg
The Changing Of The Guard.

large_7138851-The_Changing_Of_The_Guard.jpg
The Changing Of The Guard.

Cravats.

The term cravat derives from the French word for a Croat person. Croatian mercenaries in France wore brightly coloured scarves as part of their military uniforms. The soldiers in the changing of the guards ceremony wore colourful cravats.

large_7139055-Cravats.jpg
Cravats.

Faces Of Zagreb.

I love carved faces on buildings and monuments etc. Here are two of my favourites from our trip to Zagreb. One is from a building near the botanic gardens and one is from the fountain in front of the cathedral.

large_7139058-Faces_Of_Zagreb.jpg
Faces Of Zagreb.

large_7139059-Faces_Of_Zagreb.jpg
Faces Of Zagreb.

Posted by irenevt 17:45 Archived in Croatia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint