Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and blogger friend Paula’s hometown, was meant to be just a transit point en-route to the Dalmatian coast. But it turned out to be far lovelier than we expected.
While we were deeply disappointed that we couldn’t meet Paula in person, she was with us in spirit as we explored her beautiful city, thanks to the wealth of information she had mailed me beforehand. Cannot thank you enough dear Paula!
The old town of Zagreb comprises two distinct sections, bisected by Ilica, its main thoroughfare. The older, Gornji Grad (upper town), consisting of the formerly warring Kaptol and Gradec, is the religious and administrative quarter. Donji Grad (lower town), with its host of impressive museums and theatres arrayed around a U shaped green space – called the Lenuci Horseshoe, after its urban designer – forms the cultural hub.
The upper and lower towns converge at the main square: Trg bana Jelačića, and are linked by steep stairways and a funicular: ‘the shortest and steepest in the world’.
The square between the Cathedral and Trg bana Jelačića, transforms into a fabulous market with the freshest produce each morning. There’s quirky street art that we hope to get to in the few hours we (might) have on our way back. And what’s not to like about a neoclassical train station and an Art-Deco hotel that once featured on the Orient Express itinerary? Or blue trams crisscrossing wide boulevards flanked by nineteenth century edifices?
We regret not having allowed more time for this vastly underrated Balkan city.