Science and Culture
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 café, city center.
Other main attractions include one of Europe’s most lively outdoor markets, such as Dolac, and visiting it always proves to be a memorable experience to all visitors to Zagreb. You will always remember those almost forgotten scents and tastes of childhood.
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.
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.
Unfortunately, at approximately 6:24 AM CET on the morning of 22 March 2020, an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 M, hit Zagreb, Croatia, with an epicenter 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) north of the city center. The maximum felt intensity was VII (Very strong) on the Modified Mercalli intensity scale. The earthquake was followed by numerous aftershocks, the strongest of which with a magnitude of 5.0. It was the strongest earthquake in Zagreb since the 1880 earthquake and caused substantial damage in the historical city center.
Over 1,900 buildings are reported to have become uninhabitable by the earthquake damage, so was Cathedral. Tip of its southern spire broke off and crashed onto the roof of the adjacent Archbishop's Palace. On 17 April 2020, the northern spire of Zagreb Cathedral was removed due to leaning during the earthquake.
The earthquake occurred during the coronavirus pandemic and caused problems in enforcement of social distancing measures set out by the Government of Croatia.
Back to Zagreb sights, many 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 cemetery called Mirogoj, which was opened in 1876. Thanks to its monumental neo-renaissance arcades (also damaged during earthquake), 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.
A city which has so many young people is bound to be very sporty, with many sports facilities it also pays homage to an abundance of European and world sports champions, many of whom have won medals at prestigious sporting events.
The journey through Zagreb is not finished here. When you arrive in Zagreb you may best learn about it by walking down the city streets and enjoying a coffee in one of its many city cafes. If a person in Zagreb invites you for a cup of coffee be prepared that you will sit together for few hours ending up with not only drinking coffee.
The biggest value of this city is its atmosphere and the people who never allow you to feel alone.
Zagreb has a story to tell and it has a heart, a big heart a symbol of Zagreb that you will also find incorporated in Championships logo.
Street full of bars and restaurants, easy access from Ban Jelacic Square.
Centuries before the today's street emerged, the route of Tkalčićeva Street was covered by the Medveščak creek. Medveščak had been the center of Zagreb industry since the early days of the city, spawning numerous watermills. The watermills caused the development of Zagreb industry, leading in turn to the construction of Zagreb's first cloth, soap, paper and liquor factories and, later, animal skin industry. The watermills were often the subject of feuds between the twin cities, Kaptol and Gradec. Although both sides of the creek had been inhabited before, the 1898 covering left a full-scale street, which was aptly named Ulica Potok (English: Creek street). At the turn of the 20th century, prostitution was legal. In Zagreb it was advertised as a tourist attraction and contributed to the city's economy. Tkalčićeva Street was the main centre for brothels. At one stage every other building was a bordello
Upper Town – Stone gate
Zagreb's Upper Town (Gornji Grad) is a network of little streets that stretch between two hills: Kaptol and Gradec. First settled in the 11th century, it is the oldest part of Zagreb with 17th and 18th-century buildings lining narrow, winding streets. In contrast to the wide boulevards and parks of Zagreb's Lower Town (Donji Grad), the atmosphere here is intimate and old-fashioned. The Upper Town is a delightful place to explore and hosts some of Zagreb's most interesting museums, restaurants, bars and cafes.
Undoubtedly, the focal point of Gornji Grad is the square around St. Mark's Church that had been called St. Mark's Square for years. St. Mark's Church is the parish church of Old Zagreb. When guilds developed in Gradec in the 15th, and later in the 17th century, being the societies of craftsmen, their members including masters, journeymen and apprentices would gather regularly in St. Mark's Church.
On the opposite side of the Square at the corner of Basaričekova Street lies the St. Mark's parish office. The house has been standing there since the 16th century, although it underwent reconstruction in the 18th century and had an extension added in the 19th century. At the west end of St. Mark's Square, the mansion called Banski dvori, the former residence of the Civil Governor of Croatia (Croatian: Ban), was built at the beginning of the 19th century and yet, it can be classed among the Zagreb antiquities. Banski dvori, along with the Baroque mansion beside it, is the seat of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. Since 1734, the Croatian Parliament has taken up the east side of St. Mark's Square.
Stone Gate is a landmark of the Upper Town of Zagreb. It was built between 1242 and 1266 and got its present look in the 18th century.
Cathedral of the Assumption
Zagreb Cathedral, on the Kaptol, is a Roman Catholic institution and not only the tallest building in Croatia but also the most monumental sacral building in Gothic style southeast of the Alps. It is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and to kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus. The cathedral is typically Gothic, as is its sacristy, which is of great architectural value. Its prominent spires are considered to be landmarks as they are visible from most parts of the city. One of its two spires was damaged in an earthquake that took place on March 22nd, 2020.
Walking inside you will be overwhelmed by the peaceful serenity, beauty of the architecture, the many glorious stained glass windows, the statues and altar
Dolac is the most visited and the best known farmer's market in Zagreb, well known for its combination of traditional open market with stalls and a sheltered market below. It is located only a few dozen meters away from the main city square, Ban Jelačić Square, between the oldest parts of Zagreb, Gradec and Kaptol. The Dolac market Zagreb is centrally located right behind the town’s main square.
Located in the Upper town this 19-century church replaced an original one from the 13th century and includes many works of Ivan Mestrovic, Croatia's most famous sculptor.
Enjoy the city center walk from Ban Jelacic Square thru Cvjetni trg that ends with Croatian National Theatre that is just close to hotel Westin and Mimara museum.
The Mimara Museum (Croatian: Muzej Mimara) is an art museum in the city of Zagreb, Croatia. It is situated on Roosevelt Square, housing the collection by Wiltrud and Ante Topić Mimara. Its full official name is the Art Collection of Ante and Wiltrud Topić Mimara.
Of the total of 3,700 varied works of art, more than 1,500 exhibits constitute permanent holdings, dating from the prehistoric period up to the 20th century. Some of the most famous exhibits include works by Lorenzetti, Giorgione, Veronese, Canaletto, 60 paintings by the Dutch masters Van Goyen, Ruisdael, 50 works by the Flemish masters Van der Weyden, Bosch, Rubens, Van Dyck, more than 30 by the Spanish masters Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, some 20 paintings by the German masters Holbein, Liebermann, Leibl, some 30 paintings by the English painters Gainsborough, Turner, Bonington and more than 120 paintings by the French masters Georges de La Tour, Boucher, Chardin, Delacroix, Corot, Manet, Renoir, Degas. The drawings collection holds some 200 drawings by Bronzino, Guardi, Claude Lorrain, Le Brun, Oudry, Greuze, Géricault, and Friesz. The museum was opened in 1987. The building itself originates from the 19th century, its conversion to a museum overseen by a Zagreb architect Kuno Waidmann; originally it served as a gymnasium.
Museum of broken relationships
Located in the Upper Town do not miss the unique experience. The Museum of Broken Relationships is a museum in Zagreb, Croatia, dedicated to failed love relationships. Its exhibits include personal objects left over from former lovers, accompanied by brief descriptions.
The "museum" began as a traveling collection of donated items. Since then, it has found a permanent location in Zagreb. It received the Kenneth Hudson Award for Europe's most innovative museum in 2011
Museum of illusions
Museum of Illusions started as a unique project which soon became one of the fastest growing education and entertainment places, with locations in 15 cities around the globe; and continues to expand! This original concept was launched in Zagreb, Croatia in 2015 and quickly become a recognizable brand and leading attraction in each city where it is launched.
Museum of Illusions offers interactive, immersive and fun experience for children, parents, couples, grandmothers and grandfathers – a perfect, unusual and exciting place for all generations. Amusing and awesome tricks will teach you about vision, perception, the human brain and science so it will be easier to perceive why your eyes see things which your brain cannot understand.
The Meštrović Pavilion also known as the Home of Croatian Artists and colloquially as džamija, Croatian for "mosque", is a cultural venue and the official seat of the Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU) located on the Square of the Victims of Fascism (Trg žrtava fašizma) in central Zagreb, Croatia. Designed by Ivan Meštrović and built in 1938, it has served several functions in its lifetime. An art gallery before World War II, it was converted into a mosque under the Independent State of Croatia and was subsequently transformed into the Museum of the Revolution in post-war Yugoslavia. In 1990, it was given back to the Croatian Association of Artists. After extensive renovation, it has served as a space for exhibitions and events since 2006.
The Mirogoj Cemetery was built on a plot of land owned by the linguist Ljudevit Gaj, purchased by the city in 1872, after his death. Architect Hermann Bollé designed the main building. The new cemetery was inaugurated on 6 November 1876.
The construction of the arcades, the cupolas, and the church in the entryway was begun in 1879. Due to lack of funding, work was finished only in 1929.
Unlike the older cemeteries, which were church-owned, Mirogoj was owned by the city, and accepted burials from all religious backgrounds.
On March 22nd 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zagreb was hit by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that caused significant damage across the city, including the damage on the famous arcades of the Mirogoj cemetery
This 18th-century, 18 hectare park has several big meadows, numerous creeks, and five lakes, and is a habitat for various plant and animal species, such as the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), an endangered species in Europe
Zagreb’s Zoo also forms part of the park’s territory, located in the southern part of Maksimir Park.
Zagreb offers something you would never expect in a capital deep in Central Europe: seaside. In the immediate vicinity of the new neighborhoods in the western part of the city, the recreation and sports complexes, Jarun and Mladost, were first developed, soon followed by the most recently opened, Bundek.
Zagreb’s long tradition as a center for top professional sportsmen and enthusiastic amateurs is thus maintained, developed and enhanced.
On weekends and even on workdays, after the office, school or college, Jarun is the place to go for rest and recreation. It was built and opened in 1987, when Zagreb hosted the World Student Games. Walking paths, lakes with boating facilities, numerous restaurants and beach cafés, are comprise the many attractions which bring people to the Jarun Centre for all kinds of reasons. Among the lush greenery, close to the clear water of the lakes and beaches which fill on hot summer days, there are also cycling paths, jogging tracks, a mini-golf course. The lake itself contains one of the best rowing lanes in Europe and has been used for international competitions.
Here, as at its younger counterpart Bundek, many will spend the day on rollerblades, on a bicycle or on foot. Later on, after dark, Jarun changes character and the handful of landmark nightspots here come into their own. Every June, Jarun even hosts Zagreb’s major annual rock music festival, running over two days. But quickly afterwards, it is given back over those who just wish to relax, away from the demands of the city.
Plitvice Lakes is the oldest and largest national park in the Republic of Croatia. The park is situated in the mountainous region of Croatia, between the Mala Kapela mountain range in the west and northwest, and the Lička Plješivica mountain range to the southeast. With its exceptional natural beauty, this area has always attracted nature lovers, and already on 8 April 1949, it was proclaimed Croatia’s first national park. The process of tufa formation, which results in the building of the tufa, or travertine, barriers and resulted in the creation of the lakes, is the outstanding universal value, for which the Plitvice Lakes were internationally recognised on 26 October 1979 with their inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1997, the boundaries of the national park were expanded, and today it covers an area just under 300 km. The park is primarily covered in forest vegetation, with smaller areas under grasslands. The most attractive part of the park – the lakes – cover just under 1% of the total park area.
The lake system is comprised of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, cascading one into the next. Due to the geological substrate and characteristic hydrogeological conditions, the lake system has been divided into the Upper and Lower lakes. The twelve lakes forming the Upper Lakes are: Prošćansko jezero, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, Batinovac, Veliko jezero, Malo jezero, Vir, Galovac, Milino jezero, Gradinsko jezero, Burgeti and Kozjak. These lakes were formed on impermeable dolomite rock, and are larger, with more indented and gentler shores than the Lower Lakes. The Lower Lakes, consisting of the lakes Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluđerovac and Novakovića Brod, were formed in permeable limestone substrate, cut into a deep canyon with steep cliffs. The lakes end in the impressive waterfalls Sastavci, with the Korana River springing under the base of the falls.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park offers visitors seven different routes to tour the lake system, and four hiking trails. The park is open to visitors year round. All visitors are required to follow the instructions listed on the information panels, to keep on the marked trails, and to leave no traces of their visit, such as litter, or marking or devastating nature in any form.
Dubrovnik (historically Ragusa) is a city on the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a seaport and the center of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Its total population is 42,615 (census 2011). In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.
The history of the city probably dates back to the 7th century, when the town known as Ragusa was founded by refugees from Epidaurum (Ragusa Vecchia). It was under the protection of the Byzantine Empire and later under the sovereignty of Republic of Venice. Between the 14th and 19th centuries, Dubrovnik ruled itself as a free state. The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade; as the capital of the maritime Republic of Ragusa, it achieved a high level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries, as it became notable for its wealth and skilled diplomacy. At the same time, Dubrovnik became a cradle of Croatian literature.
The entire city was almost destroyed when a devastating earthquake hit in 1667. During the Napoleonic Wars, Dubrovnik was occupied by the French Empire forces, and then the Republic of Ragusa was abolished and incorporated into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and later into Illyrian Provinces. During most of the 19th and 20th centuries, Dubrovnik was a part of the Austrian Empire, Austria-Hungary and Yugoslavia.
In 1991, during the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was besieged by the Yugoslav People's Army for seven months and suffered significant damage from shelling. After undergoing repair and restoration works in the 1990s and early 2000s, it re-emerged as one of the Mediterranean's top tourist destinations, as well as a popular filming location, especially known for the HBO television series Game of Thrones.
Split is Croatia's second-largest city and the largest city in the Dalmatia region. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings. An intraregional transport hub and popular tourist destination, the city is linked to the Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula.
The city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos in the 3rd or 2nd century BC and later on was home to Diocletian's Palace, built for the Roman emperor in AD 305. It became a prominent settlement around 650 when it succeeded the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona. After the sack of Salona by the Avars and Slavs, the fortified Palace of Diocletian was settled by Roman refugees. Split became a Byzantine city. Later it drifted into the sphere of the Republic of Venice and the Kingdom of Croatia, with the Byzantines retaining nominal suzerainty. For much of the High and Late Middle Ages, Split enjoyed autonomy as a free city of the Dalmatian city-states, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and Croatia (in union with Hungary) for control over the Dalmatian cities.
Venice eventually prevailed and during the early modern period Split remained a Venetian city, a heavily fortified outpost surrounded by Ottoman territory. Its hinterland was won from the Ottomans in the Morean War of 1699, and in 1797, as Venice fell to Napoleon, the Treaty of Campo Formio rendered the city to the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1805, the Peace of Pressburg added it to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and in 1806 it was included in the French Empire, becoming part of the Illyrian Provinces in 1809. After being occupied in 1813, it was eventually granted to the Austrian Empire following the Congress of Vienna, where the city remained a part of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia until the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918 and the formation of Yugoslavia. In World War II, the city was annexed by Italy, then liberated by the Partisans after the Italian capitulation in 1943. It was then re-occupied by Germany, which granted it to its puppet Independent State of Croatia. The city was liberated again by the Partisans in 1944, and was included in the post-war Socialist Yugoslavia, as part of its republic of Croatia. In 1991, Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia amid the Croatian War of Independence.
Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Kvarner Gulf.
It is shared by three countries: Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. Croatia encapsulates most of the Istrian peninsula with its Istria County.
Istria is indeed a feast for the eyes. Its streams flow to the sea through deep valleys and gullies which bring to mind the ancient local myths about giants.
Rolling hills overlook the fields and valleys with little towns perched on the peaks, recalling some old paintings.
The view is splendid: white-topped mountains, lush wheat fields, plateau, valleys, vineyards and olive groves on hillsides, and, finally the sea.
What to visit in Istria: