Croatia is a small country in South-Eastern Europe. After the World War II Croatia along with its capital Zagreb, became one of the six republics of Yugoslavia.
Population: 779,145 (2001)
Surface area: 650 sq. Km.
Currency: Kuna (HRK)
Climate: continental climate
Weather: Summer - 20° C
Winter - 1° C
Zagreb the cultural, economic, cinematic, sporting and governmental hub of the country. It is also the largest city and located on the southern slopes of the Medvednica Mountain along the banks of the Sava River.
The very first findings of human habitants in the area date to the stone age, around 35000 B.C. Culturally, it is a very old and traditional European city with its numerous historical monuments and a long cultural history. It favorable geographic positioning on the Pannonian Basin gives it an instant access to Central Europe and the Adriatic coast.
Besides being a major commercial and economical centre, it is also developing into a famed tourist destination, as it is rich in medieval historical monuments, museums, and art galleries. From the point of view of youngsters, the city offers a happening nightlife, plenty of restaurants and cafés that serve world wide cuisines and various theatres and multiplexes that screen good quality cinemas.
Today, the city advances into the new millennium but also has retained its old charisma and its welcoming attitude towards its visitors. Almost all of the main sites of the city and cultural venues are located in the very centre, which teems with charming coffee houses, fine restaurants, and lovingly tended park. With around 30 museums, 14 galleries, and 12 art collections, a great zoo, churches all around, Zagreb is a real Croatian metropolis, which attracts guests of all profiles.
Zagreb, a settlement of two hills: secular Gradec, today known as the upper town, and ecclesiastical Kaptol. A trading centre below the two settlements is now the main square of Ban Josip Jelacic, heart of the city and meeting point.
If you want to explore each and every nook and corner of Zagreb then the best way is simply exercise of walking. Every monument, religious architecture, park in the city centre is accessible by foot. The city is divided into two parts: Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and Donji Grad (Lower Town). While Gornji Grad is full of historical structures, churches, restaurants, religious monuments, theatres and cinemas, Donji Grad attracts with its museums, parks, architectural monuments and shopping. Some attractions that are little away from the city are easily accessible by bus or a tram.
Symbol of Zagreb - Licitar Hearts
Colorfully decorated biscuits made of sweet honey/gingerbread dough ~ part of Croatia's tradition. They are used as an ornamental gift often given at celebrations of love such as weddings, Valentine's Day, Birthdays. At Christmas time Zagreb is adorned with thousands of Licitar Hearts.
PLACES MUST SEE
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary / Katedrala Marijina Uznesenja - The twin spires of the Cathedral make it the most visited attraction in Zagreb.
St. Mark’s Church / Crkva Svetog Marka - An icon of Zagreb, St. Mark's Church can be recognized easily by any tourist by the checkered design on its roof depicting coats of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, Savonia, and Zagreb city. The interiors of the church are beautifully decorated by sculptures of famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and frescoes painted by Jozo Kljakovic.
Mirogoj Cemetery -Located a little away from Zagreb city centre, but easily accessible by public transport is the beautiful and 'heavenly' Mirogoj Cemetery.
Mount Medvednica / Nature Park Medvednica - On the slopes of Mount Medvednica which was established in 1981. In the summers, the park is popular for outdoor activities such as walking and hiking trail and in winters serve as a great reason for skiing down the slopes of the mountains. The accommodation and skiing equipment facilities are provided by the park. A cable car is also available to reach the top of Sljeme at 3388ft which otherwise is also is a great hiking trail.
Jarun Lake - Situated southwest of Zagreb formed by inflow of Sava River. The lake is the primary spot for many outdoor activities such as boating, rowing, sailing, surfing, swimming, jogging, skating and skateboarding. On the outskirt of the lake there are many restaurants and nightclubs situated that are well open till the wee hours of the morning. The lake premises can be easily accessed by a tram.
Maksimir Park / Zagreb City Zoo - Located to east of Zagreb and is the city biggest park and also main attraction among families and kids. People who want to enjoy a relaxed evening, head for the park.
Andautonia Archaeological Park - Located near the village of Scitarjevo, nearby Zagreb. The place is the remains of the ancient Roman town of Andautonia which dated back 400 years ago. Tourists can explore the 2,500 sq mtrs of the Roman ruins which include streets, city baths, and colonnades. The village of Scitarjevo is also worth visiting where you can get a glimpse of traditional Croatian wooden houses.
The Tower of Lotrscak / Kula Lotrscak - Fortified tower built in the 13th century to protect Gradec's southern town wall. You can get to see a stunning view of the city once you climb the tower. Atop there is an exhibition gallery and a gift shop.
Trg Bana Jelacica (Jelacic Square) - Bana Jelačić Square officially known as the Trg Bana Jelačića is the central square of the city. People simply call it Jelacic Square. It is located in Zagreb’s upper town area, south of Dolac market. The square marks the intersection of many streets such as Illica and Radićeva and small streets such as Splavnica, Harmica, Bakačeva, Jurišićeva and Gajeva. The square is marked as a pedestrian zone and therefore no vehicles are allowed inside the area. But it is accessible by tram.
Stone Gate / Kamenita Vrata - These gates were entrances of the walls which were fortification walls built around Gradec.
Zagreb shopping varies from the high street European brands to the souvenirs and gifts markets. But the main attraction is the Dolac Market which lies on the north side of the Ban Jelacica square. It is Zagreb's oldest open air market and one of Europe's best every week on Friday and Saturday, one can buy fresh food, fruits, vegetables.
For fashion goods and boutiques, the best places are the streets of Ilica and Vlaska. Zagreb's shopping scene doesn't lack in anything, be it the lavish goods, fashionable boutiques or handmade products.
Every Sunday, the Antique Market on Britanski trg gives way to huge numbers of antique dealers. Kaptol Centar is one of the imaginative shopping malls in Zagreb where you can find some of the most amazing surprises in the variety of a multiplex.
The city gastronomic selection comprises a rich combination of many cuisines. Strukli is one of the authentic dishes of Zagreb. And if you are on a short trip to Zagreb then don’t miss to visit Zigante's shop (easiest one to access will be the one on Rotonda centre which is located off the Jurišićeva Street). You can get the authentic taste of fresh, Croatian truffles, Istrian wines, mistletoe rakija and biska. Dolac - “The belly of Zagreb”, where lovers of good food come to find seasonal products from all parts of Croatia. And during day time many eateries and restaurants are open by the market side offering variety of food.
Zagreb's nightlife is diverse and growing. Tucked away, you’ll find everything from intimate bars and pubs, to multi-level nightclubs. Jam-packed with discos, cafes, clubs, casinos and bars the city has plenty of options to enjoy. The nightclubs are packed more than their capacity with the over-excited youngsters and are stay open until the wee hours of the morning.
Main public transportation is served by wide-ranging network of Bus and Trams. To explore suburb area, public transportation is available operated by the Zagreb Municipal Transit System (ZET). Tickets are available at kiosk and little more expensive tickets can be purchased from driver itself. For sight-seeing and free entry to all city transport, there is one day special ticket available known as Zagreb card pass. Beside public transportation, there are many companies providing car on rental and another cheapest option to explore city center are is bicycle, which are also available on rent in the city. Another option for transport will be to order radio taxi or catch it directly from the train and bus stations.
Do you know- Tie and Fountain pen were invented in Croatia
Tie ~ the necktie evolved from a type of scarf worn by Croatian soldiers in the early 17th century. According to folk tradition, before a soldier set off for war, his girlfriend or wife would bestow upon him a narrow scarf to wear around his neck to remind him of her love.
Pen ~ Eduard (Slavoljub) Penkala (1871-1922) invented the mechanical pen in 1906 and fountain pen in 1907. The name of "penkala" is derived from his family name.