To become the capital of the Republic of Croatia, the city of Zagreb has had to endure a lot. The first settlements along the Sava river took place around the first century and since then the city has only grown. The founding of a diocese and the political center of Croatia subsequently left an indelible impression. Parts of this history are still visible in the center of Zagreb. The city has quite a few historical sights and old architecture. The cathedral and the National Theater are excellent examples of this. Zagreb is a fun and fascinating city to visit as a city trip. The variety of the lively center, fascinating museums,
Zagreb ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
#1. Ban Jelacic Square
According to bridgat.com, the most central part of the city of Zagreb, revolves around Ban Jelacic Square. The square was created around the seventeenth century. At that time, the square was called Harmica. It was only later named after the Count Josip Jelacic. On the square are a number of historic buildings with different architectural styles. In the center of the square is a statue of the person the square is named after, Josip Jelacic, and there is also a fountain. Because the square is car-free, it is a busy part of the city for both locals and tourists. Both on the square and in the surrounding streets you will find many nice cafes, restaurants, shops and terraces.
#2. Croatian Museum of Naive Art
Founded in 1952, this Zagreb art museum is known for its remarkable and special art. The artists have mainly created naive works of art that deviate from the norm in technique, color and design. This of course regularly results in exciting works. In our opinion, the Croatian museum ‘Hrvatski muzej naive umjetnosti’ should not be missing in this top 10 of the city of Zagreb.
#3. Strossmayerova Galerija Starih Majstora
Around 1884 the Strossmayerova Gallery was opened as the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts on Nikola Subic Zrinski Square. The initiative to open such an academy came from Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, an avid art collector. In order to present the art properly to the general public, Josip Strossmayer decided to design a special building for this purpose. For this he engaged the Viennese architect Franz Schmidt. When it opened in 1884, the collection consisted of 256 works of art. Well-known names you will encounter are Virgo inter Virgines, El Greco, Jacob van Ruisdael and Beato Angelico.
#4. Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is located on the Andrija Hebranga. The ‘Moderna Galerija’ (MG) has various works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The majority comes from Croatian artists. The museum is located in Zrinjevac Park in the former Vranyczany Palace. In addition to the permanent collection, there is also a regular changing exhibition.
#5. Saint Stephen’s Cathedral
As the most important church in Zagreb, the Gothic Saint Stephen’s Cathedral ‘Zagrebacka Katedrala’ is still highly regarded. The original cathedral was lost during the devastating earthquake of 1880. So the current one is not very old. The German architect Herman Bollé was commissioned to restore the cathedral and has never left. To include the imperfection of nature in his design, he decided to weave a remarkable detail into the design. He decided not to make the towers the same length. The interior of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral contains several religious artworks and references to history. Behind the main altar you can admire a sarcophagus of the Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac. This bishop was accused of collaborating with fascist groups during the communist regime of Yugoslavia.
#6. Mimara Museum
The Mimara Museum is located in the beautiful palatial residence on Rooseveltov trg. The building was designed at the end of the nineteenth century by the German architects A. Ludwig and L.Th. Hülssner with the help of the art historian Izidor Kršnjavi. Emperor Franz Joseph I gave the order to build a training institute. The history museum has been housed here since 1987. Part of the collection comes from the private collection of Ante Topic Mimara, a Croatian art collector and philanthropist. In addition, the museum offers various works of art from different parts of the world. Dutch artists such as Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh and Gerrit Dou are also represented here.
#7. Maksimir Park
This oldest public park in Zagreb is much visited. The Maksimir park, founded in 1787, is loved for its beautiful lakes, wooded surroundings, wonderful walking and cycling paths and, above all, the tranquility. It is of course a welcome change from the busy center of Zagreb. There is also a pleasant zoo to visit where the little ones can enjoy themselves. Among the lush gardens and lakes are some monumental sights such as the Jeka pavilion and the Swiss house ‘Švicarska kuca’.
In the southwest of Zagreb, near the lake Jarun, a fairly new recreation area can be found. You can practice all kinds of (water) sports here, such as roller skating, sailing, surfing and cycling, but also simply enjoy the flora and fauna around you on one of the many terraces. The adjacent district, which also bears the name Jarun, enjoys the various sports facilities, the wonderful beaches and the small islands in the beautiful lake all the more.
#9. Museum of Broken Relationships
A museum dedicated to broken loves has been established in Zagreb. In 2011, this Croatian museum ‘Muzej prekinutih Veza’ even received an award as Europe’s most innovative museum. In the baroque Kulmer palace on the Cirilometodska you can see what failed relationships can cause, what emotions it evokes and above all the sadness.
#10. Medvednica Nature Park
The largest park of Zegreb is located in the north of the city. Medvednica Nature Park measures no less than 228 square kilometers. For many centuries, the mountain ‘Sljeme’ with its fortified fortresses served as protection against attackers and invaders. Castles were even built. All kinds of horror stories are still circulating, in which the widely feared ruler Countess Barvara of Celje plays the leading role. This mountainous area can be discovered in various ways. You can even drive there by car. However, most tourists visit the natural park by cable car. During the winter months, this area is ideal for skiing or snowboarding.