4th ENSEC Conference

Zagreb-Croatia

What to see?

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is situated in the northwestern Croatia, and it lies on the crossroads between south and middle Europe, and between eastern and western Europe. It is a place where a German influenced sense of order is mixed with a Balkans sense of fun, and, after dark, hedonism.

Historically, Zagreb used to be comprised of two rival hilltop settlements, Kaptol and Gradec, which today, along with some other neighbourhoods, constitute the old city nucleus also called the Upper Town. Kaptol  used to be a village, formed around the today's city’s Cathedral. Focal point of Gradec is St. Mark’s Square called after St. Mark’s Church, which is situated on it. St. Mark Church is surrounded by the Croatian Parliament, called Sabor, on one side, and Prime minister's and his cabinet's offices, situated in Banski Dvori, on the other side. Many museums and galleries are situated in Gradec, just a few steps apart. To name just a few, there are the Palace of Klović, the Museum of Broken Relationships and the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art.

The Palace of Klović (Klovićevi dvori) is, at the moment, hosting the exhibition Masterpieces from the Picasso Museum in Paris. The exhibition presents more than one hundred works of art and various documents of the most famous master of the 20th century, the founder of cubism, a painter, sculptor and graphic artist. Paintings will all be exhibited in Zagreb until 7th of July 2013.

The Museum of Broken Relationships exhibits objects left behind at the end of romantic relationships: shared belongings, mementos and gifts. Indicators of its quality are the Kenneth Hudson Award in 2011 for the most innovative museum of Europe and the top place on the TripAdvisor list for must-see sights in Zagreb.

Croatian Museum of Naïve Art is one of the first museums of naïve art in the world. The museum's holdings consist of almost 2000 works of art - paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints - mainly by Croatians but also by other well-known world artists.

On Gradec, you can also enjoy interesting permanent collections of the Zagreb City Museum, the Croatian Natural History Museum, and the Croatian History Museum.

In the other parts of Zagreb the must sees are the Museum of Contemporary Art, opened just a few years ago; the Technical Museum, where one can see, among other things, a demonstration of Nikola Tesla’s experiments; and the Archeological museum, where the famous “Liber Linteus” is kept, an untranslated text in the lost Etruscan language, the longest one in the world, written in the only linen book still in existence in the world.

Throughout the history Gradec used to be surrounded with city walls and one could enter the city only through the city doors. One of the city doors was next to the Lotrščak Tower, on top of which today is placed “Grič cannon”. This cannon is fired every day at noon, as a legend says, to mark Croatian victory against Turks. The Lotrščak Tower is a  popular observation point which offers a view of the Lower town. There is also a station of one of the shortest public-transport funiculars in the world, with which one can descend to the Lower town and to the central place of the whole Zagreb and a popular meeting point of everybody living in and visiting Zagreb, the main square Trg bana Josipa Jelačića.

If you take a walk from the Main Square to the main railway station (Glavni kolodvor) you’ll pass through a few beautiful parks: Zrinjevac, i.e. Zrinski trg, Strossmayerov trg, and Trg Kralja Tomislava. These squares (Croatian: “trg”) are also beautiful parks and a part of what is called “Lenuzzi’s green horseshoe”. The “horseshoe” was designed in the late 19th and early 20th century by the architect Milan Lenuzzi and it surrounds the centre of the Lower Town on the west, south and east sides center of Lower town. Constituent parts of the “horseshoe” are also  Trg Ante Starčevića, the Botanical garden, Trg Marka Marulića, Trg Ivana Mažuranića, and Trg maršala Tita. When in Zagreb, don’t miss the opportunity to take a walk along this “horseshoe” and enjoy a little bit of peace in the city centre.

If this is not enough parks for you, you can visit a park-forest “Maksimir” in the eastern part of city. Founded in the 1787, the Maksimir Park was the first large public park in the South-Eastern Europe, and pre-dates the majority of Europe's public park foundings. The park includes several big meadows, numerous creeks and five lakes, and is a habitat for various plant and animal species, such as the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), an endangered species in Europe. Zagreb’s Zoo is located in the southern part of the Park Maksimir.

During weekends, many Zagreb residents like to hike on the Medvednica mountain, a nature park just north of Zagreb. You can arrive to the base of the mountain from the city centre by the means of public transportation (trams number 14 and 15) in just half an hour, and enjoy not only intact forest landscape and clean air while hillwalking, but also try bean stew, cottage cheese, and apple pie in one of the many climber's lodgings. You can also arrive to the Medvednica summit Sljeme by a bus from the number 14 tram's end station Mihaljevac.

Zagreb’s two lakes, Jarun and Bundek, are popular getaways for residents any time of year, but especially in the summer, when the clear waters are ideal for swimming. During the day, many of them can be seen walking, riding a bike, in-line skating or barbecuing there, and when the night falls, Jarun becomes a popular destination among young people because of its many night clubs and bars.

Croatians are known as people who like to spend hours sitting in cafés and chatting with friends. Even if you’re not a coffee person, don’t miss the opportunity to take a rest from your busy schedule in one of the many cafés located on the city squares. Here you can buy a hot or cold beverage, chat with your friends, read a book, or just relax and feel the atmosphere while watching the passers-by.

After all that sightseeing you’ll probably get hungry and whichever foods you try, for sure, you will not get disappointed. Croatian cuisine is a unique representative of the harmony of interesting, tasty, and often seemingly incompatible contradictions. Zagreb has its toponymic steak, Zagreb steak, a veal roll stuffed with cheese and ham, battered and fried as the Viennese steak is. If you like pastry,  try štrukli. It is a phyllo dough stuffed with cottage cheese. They can be boiled or baked, savory or sweet, added to soups or served as a dessert, but they are mostly offered as a hot appetizer.

For more information about Zagreb take a virtual tram ride through Zagreb, learn about Zagreb’s history and famous people, take a virtual sightseeing trip, listen to the  music and watch videos typical for Zagreb, and much more here: http://www1.zagreb.hr/zkult/zkult.html