When something more than 10 years ago, because of my husband’s work, I needed to move from a calm coast town to Zagreb, I was very unhappy. I even cried. I thought: “I don’t like that big city, conceited people who live there, the traffic…” Besides that, my son Noel was only three months old. You can imagine how I felt. Though I had some friends and acquaintances that I thought I would hang out there with, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that Zagreb’s life rhythm was very much different when comparing it to a small town’s. At the end I realised that somehow I needed to be on my own and therefore create my life in any way I am capable of. The better I started to get to know Zagreb, the less I missed Pula. My prejudices about Zagreb locals were gone and I got to meet many new friends. I can confidently say that my life became much richer and fulfilled. Besides that, living in Zagreb made it easier for me to do the work I love, likewise going to cultural and social events and many other beautiful things that one Middle-European city can offer.
Many cultural monuments and beautiful architecture from different areas since Baroque until now, won’t make you indifferent if you decide to visit this wonderful city. Zagreb’s most famous and most dominant building that you need to see is the medieval cathedral located on the historical quarter Kaptol. Besides Kaptol, it’s interesting to see Upper town where St. Mark’s Square is placed and right there is also the Political Headquarters of Croatia. On St. Mark’s Square there are many museums and art galleries to be seen, and let’s not forget the gothic church of St. Mark which is known for its Croatian coat of arms on its roof.
On the Upper Town there is a Lotrscak tower known for its viewpoint from you can see the beautiful downtown. Near to the tower, if you gaze down, you will se the Strossmayer walkway and a funicular that connects downtown to upper town.
The biggest and the main square is the Ban Jelacic Square. A feel of thrill takes over me every time I go there. It’s the biggest pedestrian zone in Zagreb, it’s full of tourists and often there are many cultural events being held. Near to that is the market Dolac where fresh flowers are being sold and I just can’t resist them. Every time when I go there I buy a bouquet of fresh flowers and when I catch some time I go for a cup of coffee with a friend or my daughter Iva to Mala Kavana.
It’s a place where I also like to spend some time by myself reading newspaper. The City Centre is filled with interesting stores, coffee shops and restaurants with delicious homemade and international cuisine that, I’m sure, you would like. On the west side of the Jelacic Square there is the Ilica street - the most popular shopping street in Zagreb. South-oriented from Ilica there is a small french-style square called Flower Square because there are many flower stands.
If you take a tram trough the Ilica street, after a few stops from the Main Square you will get to the British Square. This is a special place to me because there is a fair of antiques every Sunday. Whenever I get a chance to catch some free time I go there to look what is being offered for selling that particular day. Sometimes I buy an unique decorating detail for my home and it always brightens up the day. Some time ago I had my now antique store in a street near to the centre (Palmoticeva street) so that passion for antiques has been going on for quite some time.
There are endless lovely epithets I could use to describe Zagreb but for now I will mention the Zrinjevac park and leave you with that. The park is delightful, there are many events and musical performances during summer and also winter. In summertime what I love the most is when a sweet melody is being played live while people spontaneously dancing. In winter Zrinjevac is like a fairytale, just like the rest of the city centre, especially in the Advent time. I will give that topic its own post. Near Zrinjevac there is an art pavilion and a beautiful King Tomislav’s Square (we have a lot of squares, I know). Right next to that is the main train station and right across the street there is a famous Hotel Esplanade where the passengers of the well-know Orient Express stayed. Not very far from that there is a huge Baroque Revival building of Croatian National Theatre that I’m sure would fascinate you with its beauty.
Those are just a few landmarks of Zagreb that you should definitely come and see. I just want to mention the beautiful park Maksimir which is east-located when coming from the centre. That historical park was created in 18th century and inspired by English romanticism parks. It has five lakes and a zoo. By the way, I have to say that Maksimir is a really peaceful place, like a peace of heaven where I go when I want to escape a bit from my everyday routine.
I hope that with this post you got to experience at least a bit of the beauty Zagreb has and that the photos of my dear photographer Sanja Seb will make you want to visit this charming, warm and fairytale-like city. Let me know when you come here so we can catch some time together to have a cup of coffee at “Mala Kavana”.