VIEWPOINT OF THE CLOCK TOWER "KULA LOTRSCAK"
Two hills form the medieval area at the origin of the city of Zagreb: Gradec and Kaptol, both independent populations in their origin until the XVIIth century when they united to form a unique town called Zagreb.
From the high, from the so-called "Gornji Grad" (high town), we are going to be able to enjoy this extraordinary view, which also will give us the occasion to observe the imprint of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the extension of modern neighborhoods till the banks of the Sava.
For this, we must head off toward the hill of Gradec (the opposite of the Cathedral one known as Kaptol). We have three options to arrive at "Kula Lotrscak" Strossmayerovo setlist, 10,000 Zagreb, a funicular (5 km) departing from the commercial street Ilica doing part of the communication network of the city, so to say; its origin was not to transfer tourists to the elevated area of the town but to facilitate the access to its inhabitants from the commercial space that is in the low city. Also, we can climb through some gardens which go zigzagging just beside the funicular, and finally from the main square Ban Jelacuc, taking the way to the neighbourhood of Gradec by its winding medieval streets. Once up, we will find ourselves at the feet of a tower dating from the XVIIIth century, which was built to protect the Southern gate of the medieval town.
There we find an elongated viewpoint where we can see different city points; From West to East, we will distinguish the roofs of imperial times of the National Theater, University of Zagreb, part of the parks confirming the Renaissance Horseshoe and the spires of the Cathedral… From here, we can start a route to know all the areas of Gradec where we can admire museums as original as the Studio of Ivan Mestrovic, the most famous Croatian artist, or the Museum of Art Naif.
Many historic buildings in this area were converted into ministerial headquarters as the Church of Saint Marcus, known by its original roof. We recommend going up by funicular or by the gardens beside and after the views, to enter the neighbourhood of Gradec to go out by the same stone gate corresponding to the Eastern entrance of the old town, that is also an original cult and peregrination place.
If we go on midday, a gunshot will surprise us, calm; it is the way it was devised centuries ago, so all the churches put in time their clocks and even if it is not necessary in the digital times, it is already part of the city´s routine.
Address: Timiceva ul. 9
STRUKLI, THE NORTH CROATIAN BITE
The location of Zagreb in the North part of the country, and so near to the borders of countries of the centre and East of Europe, normalizes a significant external influence in its gastronomy.
Meat is the star of the table; if we opt for a traditional restaurant, meat is extensive. We highlight the duck and the turkey as the most original raw material of the area, but without disdain for veal, pork or lamb.
But in this case, we will taste a multifaceted dish that has as base the hi-pastry dough and cheese, the strukli.
Speaking of its different facets, we refer to its versatility as it can be part of the breakfast served boiled or in the oven, as the main dish or accompanying meat, and if we like sweet, taste its version with sugar. Its preparation is straightforward as over the high-pastry dough, the cheese and the sour cream are added, and it is rolled.
If we are going to have it as a soup, it is boiled directly in salty water with onion. Still, if we are going to bake it, which is the most usual, it will be covered with a sauce made out of sour cream, egg and cheese, and it will be served as an accompaniment for meats or as a special ration.
Traditionally, the families met to prepare the dough on the eve of holidays, but in front of the offer is found in the markets with stalls selling specifically the dought already done (Central Market known as Dolac), the tradition to prepare it by hand has been lost.
For this, in the Northern region of Zagreb, next to the border with Slovenia, the festival called Struklijada is celebrated annually, not to lose the social aspect carried by the elaboration of the dish. The government declared Zagorski strukli as an intangible cultural asset in the year 2,097.
If we have been in another place in the Balkans, it can remind us of Burek, a cake made with a base of hu-pastry dough, but its fillings are with meat, spinach, and/or cheese. Another difference is that Strukmi is cooked and served in the sauce while Burek is a kind of a sandwich.
THE HEART INSIDE THE HEART
Without walking away from the touristic area of the city, while we do some of these tips or we enjoy a walk without course, no doubt we will pass by the scope of Market Domac, which is the central market in the middle of the two historic hills; Gradec and Kaptol. Taking advantage of the fall of the slope of Kaptol, this market was constructed with three levels. In the upper part and outdoors, we find wooden and straw handicraft stalls between the stalls of vegetables and greens. Not many years ago, these stalls sold household items, even agricultural items, but their location inside the historic area has been attracting articles destined for the city´s visitors. Equally, between the market and the square of the Cathedral is where the streets where we will find most of the touristic business are located.
But the object that will call our attention and we will not be able to give up will be for sure, ´The Heart of Zagreb".
With a striking and multicolour decoration, this heart sometimes has a written love declaration, a verse of a poem or a small mirror at the centre. We will see them with different sizes and materials, from clay to ginger dough, transformed into biscuits.
The story tells that lovers gave the heart with the mirror at its interior as a present for their beloved to make her see that it was, she who was in his heart when they saw their face reflected in it.
It is used on multiple occasions; the smallest as ornaments for Christmas Trees or as a present for wedding guests. Cake shops make cakes of different sizes for Valentine´s Day, wedding anniversaries, requests...Even being the ginger biscuit has the traditional flavour, nowadays they satisfy any taste.
Being Zagreb the capital of Croatia, we can find shops with products from all over the country in this area.
Address: Trznica Dolac
THE "NATIONAL" ROOF
Suppose we are already in the Viewpoint of the Clock Tower contemplating Zagreb from above. In that case, we cannot leave the neighbourhood of Gradec without passing by the most famous roof of the country, history book cover and omnipresent image in the postcards.
At the back of the Clock Tower, we take Cirilomentodoska ul. that ends in the Square of the Church of Saint Marcus. Once we accept this street, we already know why we walk our steps there; it is impossible that its wonderful roofscapes our look. Even if the Church dates from the XIIth century, its present structure is the outcome of a significant remodelling finished in the XVth century due to different fires, pillages and even an earthquake that left it battered. Its avocation commemorates the celebration of the Annual Fair of Saint Marcus which took place at the square, being this date the most important for the city, both for the economic bonanza it represented, as for the time of peace, because if there was something in which the inhabitants of Karpol and Gradec agreed. Let´s remember they were two rival towns before their union as Zagreb in the XVIIth century. Was that in times of markets and fairs, it was convenient for both to set aside the enmity and join efforts for the shared prosperity.
Aside from its originality, the roof is very didactic as its meaning goes together to the history of the city and the country. On a background of tiles with national flag´s colours: white, blue and red, we have two shields, the one of Zagreb to the right, which represents the origins of the city has at its only part the Castle of Gradec and in the lower, the Cathedral of Kaptol. The shield on the left represents the oldest symbols of Croatia; On its left side, we see a red and white checkerboard nominated as the first symbol of Croatian history representing the calcareous lands in white colour and the fertile agricultural lands in red colour. The right side of the shield represents Dalmatia with the three heads of lions of Saint Marcus, denoting the Venetian influence. Down is the protection of Slavonia, a significant Agricole territory in the North East, represented by a marten, kuna in the Croatian language, from where the name of the currency comes.
The roof was built in 1,880 inside the remodelling of the city in different buildings from 1,850 after the great earthquake.
The Nationalist Croatian or Illyrian Movement was more potent after the country´s division by the Habsburg and the economic measures depending on the Empire; Croatians took advantage of any loophole to sink their thinking in the population. So, the roof represents Croatian´s people´s desire to be together as Dalmatia was divided from the rest on the date of the construction.
Address Crkva Sv. Marka
MIROGOJ, THE LAST REST
It is worthwhile to retire a little bit from the touristic area and the centre of Zagreb to arrive at one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe.
The project was born in 1,876 from the hands of the great architect of the time Herman Bolle. Its construction started in 1,879, the first part, which is the most original, will take fifty years to be finished.
After a majestic entrance which could be more the one of a palace or a neo-Renaissance urban garden, instead of a cemetery, passages with arcades and a total of twenty domes open to the right and the left; inside this structure rest many of the most notable and famous characters of Croatia. Or simply contemporary wealthy families who didn´t want to miss the opportunity to buy a place in this majestic project with the construction of this first phase.
The landscaped streets perpendicularly are scattered with statues and small constructions finely ornamented, belonging to the most ancient dynasties of the city.
A careful and elegant design, nothing pretentious, attached to the leafy centenary vegetation, make the place a haven of peace where letting our steps lead. At the same time, we enjoy the curiosity of the architectonic set.
A characteristic to have in mind is that it is Catholic and that this is the majority religion of the country, surpassing 80% of the population.
Suppose we pay attention to the symbols decorating the tombs. In that case, we can distinguish the ones destined to other Christian churches as the Orthodox and the Protest, even of the Muslim religion, among others, together with other non-religious characters.
It was decided to grant concrete plots for each religion during the last cemetery´s extension at the beginning of this century.
We will find only one modern element in the oldest part. It is a substantial black tombstone dedicated to Franjo Tudjman, who was the first President of today´s Croatia, a leader for most Croatians remembered as a symbol of the achievement of Croatian Independence in the "Balkan War" during the ´90s.
From the square of the Cathedral, in Karpol, departs the urban bus number 106 (8 km) that, with an interval of ten minutes, takes no more than twenty to take us to the city´s main cemetery.
Address: Mirogoj Aleja Hermanna Bollea 27
DO YOU DARE TO SPEAK CROATIAN?
The first known alphabet in this area is in the Glagolitic, going back to the IXth century, when the Saints Cyril and Methodius used it to translate the Bible, among other texts.
This spelling that can remind Greek disappeared in this part of the Balkans when different empires conquered this area, bringing this alphabet in disuse and prevailing the Latin one. In the Cathedral of Zagreb, we can see an example of Glagolitic scripture. Also, boards of writings found in different areas of the country are exposed in several museums.
The present Croatian language, in the beginning, seems easier to read, but it has a very great fan of pronunciations. For sure you have been able to check that in the names of the streets, locals...etc., accent marks and circumflex accents don´t only go on top of vowels but also over consonants as in S, C or Z, these letters are not going to be pronounced the same if they are with an accent mark or not.
Also, "we are going to miss vowels", for example, one of the country´s biggest islands is Krk.
Nobody is going to expect that a tourist of Spanish language speaks perfect Croatian. Still, they will always thank the effort and feel honoured if we try, as they recognize that it is not easy at all. Even inside the same country, the pronunciation of the same varies. Of course, those with a fine ear only notice this.
Now only remains to leave the shyness aside and throw ourselves, for sure from here you will get a nice anecdote to remember.
In parenthesis, it will appear how to pronounce it if it is necessary.
GOODBYE DOVIDENJA (Dovidenia)
GOOD MORNING DOBRO JUTRO (Dobro yutro)
GOOD AFTERNOON DOBAR DAN
GOOD NIGHT DOBRA VECER (Dobra vecher)
THANK YOU HVALA (juala)
EXCUSE ME OPROSTITE (opróstite)
I DON´T UNDERSTAND NE RAZUMIJEM ( ne razúmiem)
HOW ARE YOU? WELL, THANK YOU, KAKO STE? DOBRO, HVALA
HOW MUCH IS IT? KOLIKO STOJI? (cólico estoy)
THE BILL, PLEASE RACUN, MOLIM (rachún molin)
...and always accompanied with a big smile.
STATUE OF BAN JELACIC SQUARE
The Trg Josip Jelacica is the strategic heart of the city; It joins the high town with the low town. It is the most important point of connection for trams and the scenery of endless public activities. Here the Christmas Market, cultural meetings, and public concerts are celebrated…
The buildings surrounding it are mainly from the XIXth century, highlighting in number 9 the Grand Café of the city, which deserves a visit to its interior. In front of the Café, we see a fountain called Mandusevec, constructed over the spring that historically supplied the city.
But no doubt, the most characteristic of the square is the statue representing the character who names it "Ban Josip Jelacic". The title Ban is comparable to Viceroy or Governor in the Hungarian Empire. He was at that time the ones dominating the Northern part of the country, while Austrians dominated the coast and the South region.
In 1848, J. Jelacic raised Croatian troops against Hungary in response to repressive measures, such as the imposition of the language and the annulment of the charter. In front of the strength of Hungary, he asked Austria for help, Emperor Francis Joseph Croatians, getting these the liberation from the Hungarian yoke. However, in practice, with the Austrian "support", things didn´t change very much. Even so, this fact made Ban Jelacic become a national hero. Six years after his death, this statue was placed in the square (1,866).
The original position of the statue doesn´t match with the present. At its moment, it was placed in the direction of the market, so to say, toward the North of the country that is where geographically is the border with Hungary, marking the passage of history placing Ban as a national hero with a dominant pose. At what moment does the position change? In 1,947, when Croatia belonged to the Yugoslavia of Tito, it was wanted to eliminate nationalist symbols. Still, to avoid protests in the city, it was made to believe that it was going to be restored, so it was covered with a scaffold, and on time it was dismantled and taken to the basement of the National Archive.
After the referendum of 1,991, Croatians decided unilaterally to leave the Yugoslavian Federation. It searched for a way to restore these National symbols all around the country. In the case of this statue, they took its pieces to the mountain on the North of the city. After it was armed, they brought it down to the square in one kind of procession where thousands of persons participated, that once in the yard, they decided the orientation towards the entrance of the city.
Address: Square Ban Jelacic.
THE GREEN HORSESHOE OR OF LENUCI
We will leave at our back the historic hills of Gradec and Karpol to go to walk through a series of parks in three avenues creating a horseshoe shape. The project was devised by Milan Lenuci between 1,865 and 1,888, born as a public walk with the idea to modernize the city; a series of public buildings are going to be parts of it, such as the National Theater or the Railway Station.
Leaving the main square Trg. Bana Jelacica, we will go in the direction the sculpture itself indicates us, by Praska Ul. We will arrive at the first part of the horseshoe formed by three parks, the first one called Zrinjevac. At the beginning of the central walk, we find a centenary meteorological clock functioning perfectly and following straight, and we have a music kiosk in use on holidays.
We must not limit ourselves only to enjoy the gardens as the buildings bordering them are worthy of our attention, such as the Archaeological Museum, Ministries, Embassies, private institutions and classic hotels such as the Palace.
In the second park, we find the building of the Arts and Science Academy of Croatia. After it, its library, the sculpture is of J. Strossmayer, Croatian religious and politician founder of the Academy.
The third park, known as Leduci, welcomes us with the Pavillion of Art; after it, an esplanade will open permitting us to see the Central Railway Station. The fountain and the sculpture are dedicated to King Tomislav, the first Croatian King in the Xth century.
The Central Railway Station was built in 1892 and was part of the Orient Express route, for which the Esplanade Hotel was made on our right as a luxury hotel for travellers.
To follow our walk in a horseshoe form, we will take a lateral of the hotel Ul. Antuna Mihanovica, passing a government building, the Botanical Garden founded in 1,899, will appear at our left, with more than 10,000 different species from all over the world. Once the Botanical Garden is over, the last set of three consecutive gardens that make up the horseshoe appears on our right.
Trg Marka Marulica (Marko Marulkc is considered the father of the Croatian language) is this impressive Art Deco building from the early 20th century belonging to the National Archives. The following two buildings belonging to the University of Zagreb. The one on the right is the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, and the one on the left is the Faculty of Social Sciences.
The following park is dedicated to Ivan Mazuranic, poet and linguist dedicated to politics is one of the visible faces of the Croatian Nationalism of the middle of the XIXth century. In a lateral area, the Ethnographic Museum. On the other side, on number 6, a plate indicates where the main Synagogue destroyed in 1,941 was.
Here we arrive at the end of the green horseshoe and to our last park, which is the most majestic of all of them, located in the Square of the Croatian Republic, in the centre is the National Theater from 1,895, work of Helmer and Fellmer from Vienna, symbolic building if the city. Opposite the main door of the Theatre, we have one of Ivan Mestrovic´s significant works, "The Fountain of Life". Another building opposite the fountain is the main building of the University of Zagreb. The other great yellow building in the lateral part of the square is the Museum of Arts and Crafts; in the lateral of this museum, we can see a huge grey building. It is the famous Museum Mimara, considered by many the most important of the city.
The complete itinerary is approximately two kilometres.
Address: Square Ban Jelacic
TERRACES IN ULICA
In the different Croatian cities, there is a common nexus: their passion for coffee, kava. There is not a square or pedestrian area where there is not one but a series of Karavanas, most of them with terraces, winter or summer.
To have a coffee is not the only the fact of drink. It is part of the social relations; It is not having a coffee at the bar quickly during a shortstop.
In Croatia have a coffee requires time. From a labour meeting to a small fortuitous meeting that wants to be enlarged, an appointment with a friend, a family meeting, and even with the company of a newspaper or a good book. Also, how not, there are places to see and let oneself be seen.
Accompanied always with a glass of water, the variety of coffees are the normal ones in the neighbouring countries. It is more, for not getting stressed with the language we can make us understand with the konobar (waiter) using Italian, so to say cappuccino, espresso, café latte…
From the innumerable places we have at the Croatian capital, we will drop in Ulica Tkalcica. One of the most famous places in the city with a more than ample schedule. Its cafes and restaurants are the most popular meeting points of the town for "locals and strangers´´, from the Dolac Market West orientation, go up this street by the hillside of Gradec.
There is no activity related to restoration missing in this street, a great variety of international restaurants, vegetarian, traditional...cafes, breweries, cocktail bars...from breakfast till dinner, with exterior terraces where to enjoy the tempered summer nights and at the same time prepared for the cold winters, making them be enjoyed any time of the year. Aside from this leisure, locals in Ulica Tkalcica exist quiet and original corners, where a small garden flourishes with a sculpture of any famous character, landscaped stairs taking us to the top of Gradec or towards the Cathedral of Saint Stephen (Kaptol) and some passages with small designer or vintage kind shoops.
All this if we want to take a more quiet break.
Address: Ivana Tkalcica.
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