... Zagreb : the Capital of Croatia ...
Zagreb Travel Blog› entry 1 of 17 › view all entries
Zagreb was the first stop in my Balkan's journey and the capital of the country. I knew something about this city before my visit and most of my knowledge was based on sports teams, Cibona (Basketball) and Dinamo (Football). I had a very nice flight experience operated by Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Zagreb about 2 hours duration, however, when I arrived Zagreb, I just felt a lil bit surprised, because Zagreb Airport (Zracna Luka Zagreb) is pretty small. I don't know why but I was expecting a bigger airport for some reason in Zagreb as a capital city with a population around 800.000 inhabitants.
So, welcome to Zagreb! =) My first impression about Zagreb is "Man, this city is so silent.
Zagreb central area is considered as two part: Upper Town and Lower Town. Upper Town is the old neighborhood of the city, and Lower Town is mostly the business/entertainment center.
We started from Upper Town and our first stop was the Ban Jelacic Sq. which is a meeting point for the locals. The place is named after Josip Jelacic who is kind of a national hero in Croatia. He has a huge statue in the middle of the square and also you can see him on the one side of 20 kuna (Croatian Money).
Actually, both upper and lower parts of the town is pretty compact and I need to say that all of our destinations were really close to each other and after 3-5 mins walking, we could get each of them. So, you cannot get lost in this city (maybe if you're a real idiot, you can try hard for getting lost, kidding!)
Anyways, the Cathedral was our next destination.
We passed through Tkalciceva and Radiceva streets and the alley called Krkavi Most (Bloody Bridge). Once there was a creek and this alley was a bridge, the people were arguing about the land ownership and occasionally those argument have become violent fights, so the name comes after that.
We continued climbing the upper town, and arrived Kamenita Vrata (the Stone Gate) which was a part of the old fortifications remained from middle ages. There is a chapel under the gate dedicated to Virgin mary, and you can see a lot of people praying here. What I learned during my visit in Croatia is, every city from the medieval period has a patron saint, and Virgin Mary is the patron saint of Zagreb. So, that's the sory of the chapel.
We passed through the Zagreb City Museum which was closed, (and also closed during Monday) we arrived St.Mark's Church and square. This structure is pretty famous with its roof tiles that represents the coat of arms of the Croatian Kingdom and city of Zagreb in 15th century. It was closed, so we couldn't see indoors, and I heard that this church is mostly closed because of the governmental function of the square.
We continue through the Lotrscak Tower which was also built in medieval period. Every day at noon, there is a canon-firing tradition from this tower. So, if you're around and hear a sound of artillery, don't be scared. Nothing is happening, just a tradition.
You can catch a beutiful view of the city from the route we followed, and take some kool pictures. Especially the Strossmayer Promenade is a pretty nice place to do that. Don't forget to stop by the statue of a famous Croatian poet A.Gustav Matos who will be sitting one of the benches. Take some pictures with him which we did =) You can take the Funicular to get lower town, or just walk down from the stairs. Funicular is not so original, at least for me.
When you get lower town, you can stop by a very nice/kool patisserie called Vincek.
After our pit-stop, we headed to see the other monuments and landmarks of the city such as Croatian National Theatre and National Archives, on our way to the pizza place where we had dinner. After dinner we passed through the Botanical Garden and Train Station (King Tomislav Square).
So, that was the end of the 1st day of my journey. But, there was just a few more things to see and experience in Zagreb for me.