Zagreb – Capital City of Croatia

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and like most capital cities, it serves as the center for the arts, cuisines, administrative offices, etc. While it has some of the modern touches, it is the historic “old soul” of the city that draws most visitors.

Map Source: modified by

Zagreb was one of the numerous cities that had 3-D replicas of the “main district” which enabled guides to provide a brief orientation for the tourists.

Replica of Zagreb’s Upper Town and Lower Town

Our first stop in the capital was in the area known as Upper Town where many of the old buildings and landmarks can be found. At Kaptol Square, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary rises above the surrounding buildings and streets.

Through the years, wars, earthquakes and other events destroyed parts of the Cathedral and there have been many periods of reconstruction which is ongoing.

Note the scaffolding around certain areas

A medieval turret adjacent to the Cathedral provides one more example of the historic architectural styles.

Along the same wall as the tower, is an old clock showing the time it stopped as a result of the magnitude of 6.3 earthquake on the morning of November 09, 1880 – 7 hours 3 minutes and 3 seconds.

Just west of the Cathedral is Herman Bolle’s fountain (Monument of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) which is the pedestal for a golden statue of the Blessed Virgin.

The artwork is quite remarkable. The column is surrounded by statues of angels. The ornate water taps designed as decorative masks further enhance the beauty and character of this monument.

Visitors can take a bit of a zigzag walk just a few short streets southwest of the Cathedral to find the well-known Dolac Market affectionately nicknamed “The Stomach of Zagreb.” It is an expansive farmers’ market characterized by large red umbrellas sheltering the stands.

Fresh produce of all types and varieties is easy to find at the market.

Garlic bulbs piled high

Established merchants also provide cheese, fish, baked goods, etc. in a building located in the market area. We stopped at the Gligora Cheese and Deli shop for several samples .

At the west edge of the market where the square begins to intersect with the city streets, a bronze statue pays homage to the market workers and farmers.

Read more about the Dolac Market HERE

As the country’s capital, there are numerous churches each with unique and often very ornate designs as evidenced by the green and gold tower of Saint Mary at Dolac built in the 14th century and remodeled periodically.

Perhaps the most colorful example of religious architecture in Zagreb is St. Mark`s Church located at St. Mark’s Square. It is one of the oldest buildings constructed in the 13th century. Quite noticeable are the colorful roof tiles representing the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left and the emblem of Zagreb on the right.

It is interesting to experience the characteristics of other cultures. Wending our way through the city streets of Zagreb, we heard a “happy” commotion. Graduating students were marching through the streets dressed in colorful shirts while blowing whistles to celebrate this rite of passage.

The Zagreb Funicular dating back to the 1890s is the oldest and shortest public transportation in the world.

*”Its primary purpose is linking Lower Town (Donji grad) and Upper Town (Gornji grad). The ride takes about a minute and it departs every 10 minutes from 6:30 AM till 10 PM. It costs only 4 HRK each way.” [less than $1. as of this writing.]

Another of the destinations on our visit to Zagreb was the tour of iconic Trakošćan Castle located in Zagorje. The hillside setting gives the castle a storybook aura.

Local citizens work to cultivate interest in the castle and its history. By special arrangement, they display period apparel and provide insights into life at the castle with anecdotes and stories.

There are beautiful examples of craftsmanship throughout the interior and windows that allow for remarkable views.

Astute visitors may window-peep and notice the picturesque Woodland St. Cross Chapel in Trakošćan park.


Drone footage of Trakošćan Castle

In Zagreb proper,Tkalciceva street** is an intersection of history, cafes, boutiques and restaurants. It is also noted for spirited night life according to reviews. If you are in the area, look at the unique sundial built into the side of the building at number 25.

“The sundial in the shape of a pentagon was incorporated into the facade of the building, roofing and windows. What followed was an hour scale painted in array of rainbow colors on the fresh plaster, in fresco technique. In subsequent minor revisions, binder in fresco colors were fresh cottage cheese and lime, mixed with a spatula. Symbols of months are placed along the curve of characteristic shadows in two vertical rows. Drawing on the sundial was carved with scraper. Some lines were painted black with casein paint, and some remained white. The Sun was formed by compressing the copper and eventually patinated. In the center of the Sun, copper gnomon is anchored to the ring. The sundial was completed on November 3, 1955.”

See a closeup of the sundial HERE

I enjoy visiting gardens when we travel so I was excited to find the Zagreb Botanical Garden near our hotel. The garden is part of the University’s “Faculty of Science” and some sections seem to serve as research projects.

This gazebo was very nicely set off against the trees and surrounding foliage.

The Exhibition Pavilion had old-fashioned beauty and elegance.

Next stop Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital and largest city!




** Tkalčićeva: the most vibrant street in Zagreb

*** Read more about Zagreb, Croatia HERE



See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Coastal City of Split, Croatia



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