Zagreb is the capital city of the Republic of Croatia. Zagreb is an old Central European city with the unique flavor. For centuries it has been a focal point for culture and science, as well as for commerce and industry. It lies at the intersection of important routes between the Adriatic coast and Central Europe. Zagreb is divided into three parts: the thousand-year old Gornji grad (upper town) which contains the Presidential Palace, the historic church of St. Mark’s, Sabor – the Croatian Parliament, aristocratic palaces, museums and galleries which are all set in cobbled streets lit by gas lamps; the 19th century Donji grad (down town) with its shops, restaurants, famous cafes, theatres, parks; and the modern post-war (WWII) Novi Zagreb (new Zagreb) which is full of high-rise buildings from the prosperous period of development originating from the state socialism, and as a such this part could be very interesting for visitors to see and analyze the achievements of socialist urban planning and architecture. However, although on periphery Novi Zagreb can offer nice walk near Lake Bundek, shopping in the new Avenue Mall, or offer a program in newly opened Gallery of Modern Arts, or visit to specialized exhibitions in the complex of buildings that create famous Zagreb’s fair.
Trg Bana Jelacica (Ban Jelacic Square)
This large paved piazza has been Zagreb’s main square since Donji Grad came into being in the 19th century. Pedestrian-only (with the exception of trams) it’s a lively public meeting place rimmed by several elegant pastel-colored Secessionist facades and open-air cafes. The centerpiece is a bronze statue of its namesake, Ban and Baron Josip Jelacic upon a horse. The square was named after the Croatian hero and viceroy (Ban) who defeated the Hungarians in an uprising in 1848, and thus defended Croatian national identity and the statehood.
From the Jelacic monument go right and turn into the first street on the left to see the twin neo-Gothic spires of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. There has been a church on this site since the 12th century, but today’s neo-Gothic façade with twin steeples was erected after the 1880 earthquake. Inside, on the north wall, note from the 12th-centruy inscription in Glagolithic script (a predecessor to Cyrillic). The baroque Archbishops’ Palace is attached to the cathedral.
Markov Trg (St Mark’s Square)
Explore the Upper Town which includes Banski Dvori (the Presidential Palace) with its colorful guards, Sabor (the House of Parliament), and St. Mark’s Church (with the works of Ivan Mestrovic, Croatia’s most famous sculptor) with its beautifully tiled roof. There are also several museums and galleries nearby. See Lotrscak Kula (tower) before returning to the hustle and bustle of modern Zagreb either via the pedestrian walkway or the hundred-year-old uspinjaca (funicular railway).
In the Down town Zagreb, you can do your shopping in the main shopping street Ilica or visit one of the most prominent museums and galleries, like the Strossmayer Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Ethnographic Museum and the famous Mimara museum which, with almost 4,000 priceless objects, which is one of the finest art galleries in Europe.