Zagreb, the capital of the Republic of Croatia, is one of the oldest European cities and is yet one of Europe’s youngest metropolises. The fact that the Zagreb archdiocese was founded in 1094 and that the city was proclaimed a free royal city in 12 42, attests to its long history. Zagreb was founded in a place where the last hills of the Alps merge towards the edge of the Panonian valley, making it an ideal spot for building a city within the Medvednica mountain hills (the highest point is Sljeme at 1035 meters, a favourite picnic spot for Zagrebians) and along the Sava River valley.
Zagreb is the administrative, economic, diplomatic and cultural capital of the country, with a population of almost one million. It is also a university center with forty higher education schools and over 40,000 students, it is a city that is proud of its long history of education: the first secular city school was built in the middle of the 14th century, the first secondary school was founded at the beginning of the 16th century and in the second half of the 16th century, Zagreb had its first university. Zagreb is a city of science and culture. Many excellent scientists and artists, who have enriched Croatian and world heritage, work here. The city has approximately fifty museums and galleries, as well as private art collections and about twenty theatres and musical venues. In 1895, the city’s oldest theatre, the Croatian National Theatre, with its neo-baroque architecture was opened by the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph I. Many open air events and exhibitions are organized from spring to autumn. They create a very special atmosphere in the city and are a true tourist attraction. The most important cultural institutions and hotels (many of which are members of international hotel chains) are situated in the heart of the city, only walking distance depending on weather to Europe’s biggest outdoor cafe.
Other main attractions include one of Europe’s most lively outdoor markets, and visiting it always proves to be a memorable experience to all visitors to Zagreb. It is here that you will remember those almost forgotten scents and tastes of childhood and where you will enjoy a diversity of colour… Despite being a Central European city in geography, culture and baroque architecture, in many ways, Zagreb has a Mediterranean way of life. Thanks to its many influences, the city has a special charm and hospitable feel generated by its open-hearted people. Many say that nothing compares to this city! A walk through Zagreb is an interesting and pleasant journey that encapsulates both history and modern day life. Ilica, the longest street in Zagreb, divides the city into the old romantic Upper Town and the young, busy and business orientated Lower Town. The oldest areas, Gradec and Kaptol, from which Zagreb arose, are considered to be one of the most preserved and beautiful European city centers built in the Art Nouveau style. The Upper and Lower Towns are connected through the Kamenita vrata (Stone gate), yet another recognizable Zagreb tourist attraction that is linked to many legends and beliefs, as well as to faith and peace.
For some, the most recognizable place in Zagreb is its neo-gothic Cathedral situated at Kaptol. Although it took many centuries to build, the Cathedral that stands today was completed at the end of the 19th century. The Cathedral’s treasury has kept priceless treasures and objects that date back from the 11 th to 19th century. The people of Zagreb are especially proud that during his first visit to the city, Pope John Paul II held a special mass inside the Zagreb Cathedral, commemorating 900 years since the founding of the Zagreb archdiocese. Others tend to remember the always lively central Ban Jelačić Square or The Mimara Museum, also known as the Zagreb Louvre. Amongst the city’s many monuments is the oldest Zagreb cemetary called Mirogoj, which was opened in 1876. Thanks to its monumental neo-renaissance arcades, tombs of many famous Croatians from political and cultural life lay there. Numerous grave stones have been built by famous artists. Mirogoj is a must-see place for visitors to the city. Zagreb is also the site of many cultural and international events.
HOW TO GET THERE
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a Central European city that has excellent air, road and train connections to other European and non-European cities. For instance, it is only 390 km away from Vienna, 576 km from Munich, 380 km from Budapest and 420 km from Venice. For those who live in some other, more distant metropolitan cities, it is best to arrive by plane. The city center is only 17 km away from a well equipped and modern airport which is connected to numerous European cities such as Paris, London, Rome, Zurich, Vienna, Moscow, Prague… and it is through these cities that you are linked to the entire world. When travelling from any European city, you arrive in Zagreb in less than two hours. In association with the country’s national airline, Croatia Airlines, there are many other regular flights that include foreign airlines and numerous low-cost carriers. Over the past few years, Croatia has constructed a web of new, state of the art, modern motorways and if you are coming to Zagreb via Italy, Austria, Slovenia or Hungary, you will arrive quickly and safely. Thanks to this update in the road system, the Croatian capital is 2-2.5 hours away from the Adriatic Sea and other parts of the country, making the area most convenient for pre and post-touring arrangements.
Zagreb Airport is located 17 km from the centre of the city, or 20-25 minutes by bus. Information on flights can be obtained by calling +385 (0)1 6265-222.
The Zagreb Airport bus terminal (bus stop) is at the Central Bus Station on Marin Drzic Avenue. For more information on bus schedule visit www.plesoprijevoz.hr
The Main Railway Station is located in the centre of the City (at Kralj Tomislav Square 12, a ten minutes walk from the central city square). Information on arrivals and departures can be obtained by dialing 060-333-444. Information on arrivals and departures can also be obtained at the travel agency “Croatia Express”, tel: +385 (0)1 4573-253.
The Central Bus Station is located on Marin Drzic Avenue, a few minutes by tram (line number 6) from the central city square. Information can be obtained by calling 060-340-340. Information on arrivals and departures: 060-313-333. Bookings for domestic lines can be made by calling 060-313-333. For international lines bookings can be made by calling +385 (0)1 6008-631. Traffic office telephone number: +385 (0)1 6008-645.
Public transportation in Zagreb
The easiest way to commute on a daily basis in Zagreb is by using the public trams and buses ,ZET is the name of the company which runs the public transportation in Zagreb and you can find the Zagreb tram here.
ZAGREB TOURISM & ZAGREB ATTRACTIONS
Gornji grad – the Upper Town
This old part of Zagreb is a true attraction from which you can see there St Mark Church, the Stone Gate and several other nice places, apart from enjoying a great view of the city.
One of the top attractions in Zagreb is the Cathedral of the Assumption. The original church was badly damaged by sieges of the Tartars and by an earthquake. It has a gothic architecture and its construction started on the 11th century.
Jarun is Zagreb’s sporting and recreational centre. Here you can rollerblade, cycle and walk along the tracks that surround around the lakes. You can also swim, row, sail, cable ski or even go fishing in the lakes.
All kinds of fruits and vegetables are sold at the outside stalls, whereas meat, cheese and fish can be found in the Dolac Market Halls. The market is opened every day except on Sundays.
Tkalciceva ulica, which lies in between Kaptol and the Upper Town, is one of the oldest street in Zagreb. Actually, it belongs to the Upper Town although great majority of the citizens considere it as a line which used to devided two ancient rivals, Kaptol and Gornji grad, before their unification in the city of Zagreb.