Zagreb, Capital of Croatia, City of Statues

Zagreb Art Pavilion

Gracious Town Ideal for Walking With Museums, Churches, and Gardens

Zagreb, capital of Croatia, has the relaxed atmosphere of a large provincial town. It’s an ideal walking city, with parks, gardens, quirky statues and plenty of cafes.

Any traveller to Zagreb will be spoilt for choice – there’s plenty to see and do in this lovely city, with it’s gracious wide streets and parks giving way to narrow laneways crammed with cafés serving teas and cake throughout the day and well into the night.

There are plenty of great museums, a thriving market area, and interesting churches. And all around, awaiting discovery, are lots of quirky statues and other curiosities.

Central Square Photographer

The central square of the city is Trg bana Jelacica – the Governor’s Square – and most trams stop here as it’s the intersection of the routes. It’s also a good central point to start exploring the city, as everything is within walking distance.

It’s a broad open square with gracious buildings painted in pastel colours, with shopping streets going off in all directions. Watch out for the silhouette of the photographer high on one of the buildings, camera raised to his eye.

Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Markets and Statue

Not far away from the square, up some broad shallow steps, is the main market place. Fruits, vegetables, flowers, and handicrafts are sold here. At the top of the steps is a statue of a peasant woman, apron on, hand on hip, and a large basket balanced on her head.

The steps are a handy place for elderly woman, and some not so old, to sell their wares of handicrafts and flowers. The markets usually close in the early afternoon.

Tkalciceva Ulica – Street of Cafés

Behind the markets is a section of narrow streets lined with cafés – during the summer tables and chairs are outside, and it’s very pleasant to sit and drink and watch the passing parade of people.

This is the older section of town, with narrow buildings, cobblestone streets, lovely little shops, and little parks and gardens. On one wall of a house that desperately needs replastering, there’s an old sundial, and the statue of a woman from time passed, in a high necked dress, with an umbrella in case of sudden showers.

Churches of Zagreb

From the central square the visitor can see the twin towers of the cathedral, which is surrounded on three sides by the Archbishop’s Palace. The cathedral has been rebuilt after suffering earthquake damage in 1880, but there are still old frescoes on sections of the walls.

Not that far away is St Catherine’s Church, a beautiful Baroque building dating from the 1620s. In Parliament Square is St Mark’s Church, in Gothic style with a multicoloured tiled roof displaying the arms of Zagreb and Croatia.

Zagreb’s Museums

There are also plenty of museums and galleries in Zagreb. There’s the Museum of Arts and Crafts, with a whole range of exhibits from furniture to pottery. It’s diagonally opposite the Ethnographical Museum, and opposite, beside a small park, is the Mimara Museum, with sculptures and paintings.

Down from the main square, walking in the pleasant gardens that cover three big blocks heading to the main railway station, there’s the Archaeological Museum, the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Art Pavilion. There’s also a delightful wrought iron bandstand for concerts in the summer, and a weather station.

City of Parks and Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are almost beside the railway station, part of a large L shaped gardens section that leads to the museums. They are only part of a lovely complex of parks and gardens that run through the city, making pleasant shady places to sit in the summer months and enjoy the sound of fountains.