The true heart of Croatia is Zagreb, which is becoming an increasingly important tourist destination. The foundations of the city were built over centuries, with first mention of the city in the 11th century. The city was first known as a unified whole from the 19th century, upon the connection of Gradec and Kaptol, two settlements located on neighbouring hilltops. With this union two previously-conflicting peoples were merged: in Gradec, citizens, artisans and merchants; and on Kaptol, priests. The street of Krvavi most (‘bloody bridge’) tells of these relations, located where the bridge over the Medveščak stream once linked (or, in this case, separated) the Kaptol of the bishops and the royal city of Gradec, and where numerous residents spilled blood in conflict with their neighbours, although the exact number of deaths over the years remains unknown is area inspired the Croatian writer Marija Jurić Zagorka to begin her famous series ‘The Witch from Grič’ with the historical novel ‘The Secret of the Bloody Bridge’. Today, the oldest parts of Zagreb, Gradec and Kaptol, are among the most beautiful and best preserved secessionist city cores in Europe. They are linked by the legend of their underground tunnels, some of which lead to Medvedgrad, a fort located on the southern slopes of Medvednica.
Every day on the dot at noon, a cannon is fired from the Lotrščak tower on Grič to mark the middle of the day. The Klovićevi Dvori Gallery is one of the most significant destinations in Zagreb and Croatia for those who love culture. Located in the Jesuit monastery of the Upper Town, the Gallery is home to some of the greatest artworks in the world, along with Croatian artworks from various periods and contemporary art. There is also the Museum of Broken Relationship, in which memories of wrecked love are exhibited. The Upper and Lower towns are physically connected today, notably by the popular funicular, which is the shortest funicular in the world used for public transport. In a minute or less, you can descend into the Lower Town, then along Ilica, the longest street in Zagreb, reach the central square in Zagreb, Ban Jelačić. Onwards from there you can also reach what for some is the most recognisable part of Zagreb, the Neo-Gothic Zagreb Cathedral on Kaptol square. To reach the eight parks of the so-called Lenuzzi horseshoe, you can stroll across the Dolac market, where you can try domestic homegrown foods.
The Medvednica Mount feels rather like a city park, due to its location near Zagreb and due to its landscaped trails, historical monuments and recreational facilities. It is a favourite resort for locals, whose love of time spent outdoors also draws them Zagreb’s Jarun Lake, or to its famous beach and promenade situated along the Sava river, or to the Maksimir Park.
City of Zagreb
An Old City with a Young Soul
The Croatian capital Zagreb is young and playful at heart, despite the almost thousand year-old history of its old town. By day, the city beats to the pulse of its thriving businesses, letting its hair down come sunset. And despite being a thoroughly modern metropolis, the locals welcome visitors with traditional Croatian hospitality.