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The historic city of Zagreb dates all the way back to the Roman period. This ancient city's oldest settlement is "Andautonia", once a Roman settlement in the place of today's Ščitarjevo. This historic city "Zagreb" was mentioned for the first time in 1094 during the founding of the diocese of Kaptol, during 1242 this historic city was not only proclaimed a free state but also a city of royalty, There are still some remnants of when this city first began such as its ancient walls and towers. Zagreb’s most popular and historic landmark, The Cathedral of Zagreb was constructed in 1217; however during 1242 the cathedral suffered significant damage during the Mongol raids. The cathedral was fortunately rebuilt and restored to its former glory during 1263. In 1493 the Turkish invasion force reached Sisak where they attempted to capture it but were ultimately defeated. The city of Zagreb, fearing the Turkish invasion, had built terrific fortifications all around the Cathedral and around the Pope’s residence. These historic fortifications, comprising of large towers and walls, have survived till today since they were first built between 1512 and 1520. No longer a rural settlement, Zagreb did the unthinkable and achieved political power, influential enough to not only become the political centre but also the capital of Croatia and Slavonia in 1557.
Zagreb however didn’t stop there! An invitation directly from the Croatian Parliament was sent, the receivers were the "Jesuits", they came to Zagreb and built the first grammar school, the St. Catherine's Church and monastery, around 1669, they founded Zagreb’s first academy where philosophy, theology and law were taught, they are considered the forerunners of today's University of Zagreb. In the 19th century, Zagreb was the centre of the Croatian National Revival and lived through the completion of important cultural and historic institutions. In 1850, the town was united under its first mayor - Janko Kamauf. After the great earthquake of 1880 City as reconstructed and further developed many projects such as public buildings, parks and fountains, and transportation and other infrastructures were started. There was a massive population increase in the 19th. Strong trade links with other central European cities resulted in an increase in wealth and industry from the 1960s on, the city spread and shaped into a big business city and today’s Zagreb.
Zagreb is the largest city of the Republic of Croatia, it is located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river and at the southern slopes of the Medvednica Mountain. Its geographic position in the southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin extends to the Alpine, Dinaric and Adriatic regions resulting in an excellent position for strong traffic connections between Central Europe and other regions along the Adriatic Sea.
Zagreb metropolitan area population is slightly above 1.2 million inhabitants, most people live in the city area. The city population was estimated at 686,568 according to the records of 2011.
Like any language from the Balkan/Eastern European region the language here is going to be pretty tough, however there are few words pretty similar to English such as POLICJA, RESTORAN, HOTEL and TAXI, which can be pretty helpful for travellers when it comes to reading signboards and other traffic instructions.
The people of Zagreb are considered very peaceful and pleasant people. They are very welcoming towards tourists. You will often find English speaking staff in some restaurants or somebody on the road even to guide you or help you with directions. However their helpfulness can’t be denied but it might be difficult to get them engaged into a long conversation as Croatians are a bit conscious about mixing in with the strangers. They will take their time, check you out for a while, and only then decide whether or not you are worth endowing their time with.
Mimara Museum: The museum called the "Art Collection of Ante and Wiltrud Topic Mimara" or, for short, the Mimara Museum, was opened to the public in 1987. It is located in a 19th century neo-Renaissance palace. It houses over 3,750 works of art of various techniques and materials belonging from the different cultures and civilizations. There are about 450 paintings of the artists such as Raphael, Velasquez, Rubens, Rembrant, and Goya.
Archaeological Museum (Arheološki Muzej): Houses over 450,000 varied artifacts and monuments mummies and funerary exhibits.
Art Pavilion (Umjetnički Paviljon): The Pavilion is located in the Lower Town (Donji grad), it is home for solo and group exhibitions representing important art movements from all periods and styles, with works by both local and foreign artists
Museum of Contemporary Art: Museum of Contemporary which once used to be the Zagreb Municipal Galleries, is now the centre for photography, film, and television, Benko Horvat Collection, library, and the documentation department.
Croatian Museum of Naïve Art (hrvatski Muzej Naivne Umjetnosti): A fine art museum in Gornji Grad, dedicated to the work of naïve artists of the 20th century. The museum consist of over 1,850 works of art - paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, mainly by Croatian artists but also by other well-known international artists in the genre.
Museum of Broken Relationships (Muzej prekinutih veza): Probably the only museum of its kind is dedicated to the failed love relationships. Its exhibits are personal objects left over from former lovers which are accompanied by brief descriptions.
People and Art House Lauba: Lauba is a unique architectural rework of an abandoned industrial building, which now houses a large private collection of modern and contemporary Croatian art.
Upper Town (Gornji Grad): Gornji grad (The Upper Town) is a part dating from the medieval ages. It is situated on the slopes of the Medvednica Mountain. In the past, there were two rival cities (the name of street 'Krvavi most' - the Bloody Bridge is a witness of their enmity). Kaptol Square is the central area of the Town. The buildings around this area date back to the 1600s. At the opposite end of the district is the Dolac fruit and vegetables market.
Lower Town (Donji grad): Is another historic part of Zagreb housing many attractions such as the Strossmayer Walkway and others.
Tkalciceva: Tkalčićeva Street, a beautiful historic street located right in Zagreb’s city center. This street is lined with high quality restaurants, cafés and boutiques extending right from the vicinity of the central Ban Jelačić Square all the way to the north at the Little Street.
Strossmayer's walkway: located in the heart of the lower town, it is an outdoor exhibition cum fair for painters, musicians and other artists offering food, drinks, performances and concerts with the great view of the lower town.
St. Mark’s Church: It is located on Mark’s Square in the Upper Town. St. Mark’s Church dated back to the 14-15th century, making it the oldest Parish church of the city, and it was renovated in the 19th century after the earthquake.
Medvednica Mountain (Sljeme): is a mountain in north of Zagreb at the border of the historic region of Zagorje. The highest peak of this range at 1,035m is Sljeme. Most of the area of Medvednica is a nature park, The 63% of the area of the park is covered with forest.
Jarun Lake: Jarun Lake is surrounded with a recreational area where people go to relax, exercise or just enjoy the beauty of the lake. This lake is used for windsurfing and has a large rowing section with spectator stands. There are also several bars and cafes alongside the lake that get very busy during the weekends.
Maksimir Park & Zagreb Zoo: Great place for families; it is the biggest park of Zagreb, famous for leisurely walks around its forest and the small lakes or coffee or lunch at the park's restaurant. It also houses an old zoo featuring Red Pandas.
Samobor: Want the perfect daytrip? Then don’t look any further as Samobor is a pretty, quaint and tranquil little town located just a 20 minute drive west from the capital. Your tour most probably is going to start from the main square - Trg kralja Tomislava, a pleasant area, enjoy its cafes and restaurants. Samobor is also quite popular for its delectable "samoborska kremsnita", a custard cake. Although you can find these cakes elsewhere in Croatia, the true taste lies at the hands of its original creators and the Samobor version hits the spot! A few other places you may wish to visit within Samobor are the churches of St Anastasia, St Anne, the City Museum and Marton Museum (the first private museum in Croatia); and Stari Grad castle in the west of the town.
Plitvice national park: Located only 2 hours ride away from Zagreb, Plitvice National park is home to sixteen resplendent lakes, picturesque waterfalls, divine forests and wide variety of animal and bird species. There are several boardwalk trails and hiking tracks amidst this unspoiled Panorama of nature.
Varazdin: 18th century Varazdin, is a historical town. The centre of Varazdin is a sightseeing location like no other including the town hall, Draskovic Palace, Stari Grad fortress, and the nearby cathedral, built in 1647. If you know Varazdin then you definitely know about Spancirfest, perhaps the largest festival in Croatia that lasts for a total of 10 days every August. You will find a mix of music from all cultures, theatre performances, art workshops, street performers and more. To top it off it’s only an hour and half bus ride away from Zagreb.
Istria: The smallest town in the world (also included in Guiness Book of World Records), surrounded by hills, vineyards, olive groves and historic medieval towns. Climb to the top of the Motovun hill and enjoy the breathtaking view upon the Mirna River valley. Taste the delicious truffles directly from the famous Motovun forest and enjoy the unique Istrian wines. See the magnificent Castle pazin and river Pazincica, don’t forget to view into the crater Pazin pit, 130 meters beneath the walls of the castle, where the river’s over ground stream ends.
Velebit National Park: Velebit is Croatian Olymp, incomparable with other mountains, its natural diversity has yet to be spoilt. Because of its serene enticing nature Velebit was once included in the UNESCO list of Biosphere Reserves back in 1978.
Visit the Sanctuary for young bears in Kuterevo village on the way to velebit. While walking on the Premužic trail - masterpiece of architecture, you will discover beauty and amazing diversity of this unique mountain.
Enjoy the magical views on the Adriatic Sea and famous islands of Pag, Rab and Krk.
Zagreb is totally a peaceful and Family oriented destination. It is considered way safer than the majority of other European capitals such as London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Budapest. It’s recreational areas such as Jarun Lake, Natural park of Medvednica Mountain and Maksimir Park & Zagreb Zoo are perfect for amusing family day outs.
Zagreb offers a huge variety of cookery with the blend of the Northern and Southern parts of Croatia, the Italian and Balkan Peninsula along with a little fusion of the Southeastern European region. Croatian Cuisine is generally considered healthy as they are fond of fresh ingredients and love ‘home-made’ style of cooking. Choose anywhere from top notch restaurants to ‘fit for budget’ diners, be it the seafood, veggie dishes cured ham or meat you’ll find all kind of delights waiting for you in this city. Some famous restaurants are: Trilogija famous for breakfast and brunch, Konoba Didov San for good atmosphere, located in Gornji grad, Karijola for good pizza and the best price and Agava for great views with tasty delights.
Zagreb boasts a conventional European nightlife just like any other major city of the continent. Tkalciceva Street in Gornji Grad houses numerous bars and cafes making it the starting point of the weekend nights of most night creatures. The Main Square is also a known place to begin the night from. Skola, Boban, Bulldog and Hemingway Lounge Bar are some of upmarket places to hangout. Lake Jarun becomes the centre of the Zagreb nightlife scene during the summer with its excellent Bars and Cluds with terraces offering nice views and open air. IN bar, Mansion and Aquarious are some of its famous spots.
Just like other main stream European cities Zagreb has everything for profound shopaholics, from fashion streets with big names to shopping centers with upmarket stores. The most known spots for shopping for big brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Lacoste or MaxMara, are Gundulićeva and Frankopanska. For the choice of well standard shopping centres there is Kaptol Centre, Importanne Galleria and the new Centar Cvjetni. Avenue Mall located a little outside the city centre, is a great shopping destination with all sorts of souvenirs, antiques, gifts and entertainment stores.
Zagreb has comparatively mild weather as compared to other fellow Eastern European cities. It doesn’t get too hot during summers or unbearably cold during winters. The highest the temperature reaches during summers is around 30 °C by the end of May; however the average summer temperature is 22 °C. During winters its average temperature is -5 °C.