The Croatian capital is located on a tributary of the Danube and has an impressive history full of unexpected twists and turns. The beginning of the historical path from the fortification on the hill is still reflected in the parts of the historical center of Zagreb that have survived to this day – Hradec and Kaptol (from the Latin “capitul”) remind of its glorious past. The medieval period of the history of this Free City includes many bright episodes, but one of the turning points that determined its fate can be safely called the opening of the first gymnasium and academy in Zagreb in the 17th century – from that moment on, the political and cultural significance of this city only increased.
The current Zagreb represents itself a harmonious combination of ancient heritage and infrastructure of the modern capital. Although its historic center is relatively small compared to residential and business areas, this is quite sufficient for tourism purposes.
According to the established tradition, we started visiting the old town of Zagreb with an excursion with a private guide – this option of getting to know the new city allows us to solve several problems at once: to find out useful information in a concentrated form, not to miss the iconic tourist places, and just to have a good time. The main thing is that the duration of the tour should not exceed 2 hours – in our experience, walking longer is tiring from all points of view.
During the tour, we were able to appreciate the Zagreb Cathedral of the 11th century, which survived both the invasion of the Tatar-Mongols and the earthquake of the 19th century, and has been preserved to this day in a very good condition.
We also walked around the historical district of Hradec, a medieval haven of merchants and artisans. On St. Mark’s Square is the church of the same name, which is a local landmark. The left half of its mosaic roof is decorated with the coat of arms of medieval Croatia, the right half with the coat of arms of Zagreb.
Not far from the Church of St. Mark are the Stone Gates that have survived to this day, through which the main entrance to the city was carried out in the Middle Ages. They contain a small chapel that keeps a local relic – a statue of the Virgin Mary, which, according to local legends, has miraculous properties.
Also in this area is another local attraction – the Lotrschak Tower. A long time ago, the “Bell of Villains” was placed on it, notifying belated travelers about the closing of the city gates for the night, and the tradition has survived to this day to shoot from a cannon on top of the tower at exactly noon. In general, this is the most basic of the old city that we remember.
But in the Lower City there are the most decent hotels, restaurants and bars, and there is also where to spend time. For example, next to our hotel “Dubrovnik”, literally around the corner, Bogoviceva Street begins, on which several fairly decent restaurants are located at once. This street generally limits a small quarter with cafes, bars and restaurants, where you can find great food and entertainment for little money.
Especially I would like to note the cutest cafe right in front of the cathedral – Amelie’s cafe. They serve wonderful handmade desserts. In particular, there you can try the local dessert “Kremshnita” made from custard. It can be found in almost any tourist cafe, but it is worth a try in Amelie, where the observance of the recipe is carefully monitored.
In general, the city made a very pleasant impression. And last but not least because it is very green – spacious parks are found at every step. And the atmosphere itself is quite friendly. Which gave us a reason to rent a car and explore the area. In each trip, such a move is not superfluous, it gives more knowledge about the country of a visit.
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