As we plan our trip to Croatia this spring, we are excited to be in the capital city and explore some of the following highlights in the Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and Lower Town (Donji Grad).
This Gothic architecture cathedral, formerly known as St. Stephen’s, dominates the Kaptol Square and it’s twin spires rise over the city. See the triptych by Albrecht Durer on the side altar and the tomb of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac by Ivan Meštrović. The north of the cathedral is an Archbishop’s Palace that was built in the 18th century in a baroque style. And under the northeastern wing of the cathedral is a 19th century park with a sculpture of a female nude by Antun Augustinčić.
Croatian: Katedrala Marijina Uznešenja
Address: Kaptol Square
This is the Upper Town centre and most building here are from the 17th century. Take a look at the Stone Gate at the east side of Gradec Town, which is a shrine now. According to a legend, a fire destroyed every part of the wooden gate except the painting of the Virgin and Child (Kamenita vrata), which is believed to possess magical powers. Locals and tourists come here to pray and light candles or leave flowers. The western facade of the Stone Gate sees a statue of Dora, the hero of an old novel who loved with her father next to the Stone Gate.
This is Zagreb’s main point and the heart of the city where people arrange to meet. The interior courtyard contains the Bašćanska ploča (Basika Slab), a stone slab from the island of Krk, that has the oldest exampel of Glagolitic script.
The Lotrščak Tower was built in the middle of the 13th century in order to protect the southern city gate. Since 1877, the Grič cannon has been fired every day at noon commemorating an event from Zagreb’s history. According to legend, a cannon was fired at noon one day at the Turks camped across the Sava River and to demoralize them. The local explanation is that the cannon shot allows churches to synchronize their clocks.
Climb the tower for an amazing 360-degree view of the city. Near the tower is a funicular railway (10 KN), which was constructed in 1888 and connects the Lower and Upper Towns.
Croatian: Kula Lotrščak
Address: Strossmayerovo Šetalište
Hours: 11am-8pm Tue-Sun
This is one of Zagreb’s most emblematic buildings. Its colorful tiled roof depict the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left, while the emblem of Zagreb is on the right side. The 13th-century church was named for the annual St Mark’s fair, which was held in Gradec at the time. The Gothic portal composed of 15 figures in shallow niches was sculpted in the 14th century. The present bell tower replaces an earlier one that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1502. The interior contains sculptures by Meštrović. Croatian: Crkva Svetog Marka
Address: Markov Trg
Hours: 11am-4pm & 5.30-7pm
The Banski Dvori (Ban’s Palace) was once the seat of Croatian viceroys and is now the presidential palace. The building is composed of two mansions, houses courts, archives and other government offices. The palace was bombed in 1991 by the federal army, allegedly citing an assassination attempt on President Franjo Tuđman. From April to September there is a guard-changing ceremony every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at noon. Leave Markov Trg by Ćirilometodska to see a sculpted stone head representing Matija Gubec, the leader of a celebrated peasant rebellion who was allegedly beheaded on the square.
The museum displays Croatia’s naïve art, a form that was highly fashionable locally and worldwide during the 1960s and 1970s. The small museum houses over 1000 paintings, drawings and some sculpture by the most important artists in the discipline.
Croatian: Hrvatski Muzej Naivne Umjetnosti
Address: Ćirilometodska 3
Prices: adult/student 10/5KN
Hours: 10am-6pm Tue-Fri, to 1pm Sat
Former home to Croatia’s most recognized artist, Ivan Meštrović, this is now a museum that has a collection of some 100 sculptures, drawings, furniture, etc. from the first four decades of his art life.
This baroque church was built by the Jesuits between 1620 and 1632. The six side chapels have five wooden baroque altars and one marble altar from 1729. Although battered by fire and earthquake, the facade still gleams and the interior contains a fine altar dating from 1762. The interior stucco work dates from 1720 and there are 18th-century medallions depicting the life of St Catherine on the ceiling of the nave.
Croatian: Crkva Svete Katarine
Address: Katarinin Trg
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