Donji Grad is a modern part of Zagreb city.
It is relatively young, but full of different amazing attractions, museums, monuments and parks, united into the Green Lenuci Horseshoe.
Let`s take a little tour,
and learn something new about our flowering wonderful city!
“Lenuci Horseshoe” or “Zagreb Green Horseshoe” is a system of eight squares in a middle of the Lower town of Zagreb city.
Word “green” in its name goes from its main feature – all following squares are parks.
Another word – “Lenuci” – goes from the name of its planner, from the first Croatian urbanist Milan Lenuci.
Trg Marshal Tito square
The Croatian National Theatre was projected at late 19th century by two architects – Fellner and Helmer, also famous for theatres in Vienna and Graz, in Varazdin and in Rijeka city.
Officially it was opened in 1895 by the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph, who finished the construction by hitting the last block with a silver hammer.
Inside there are many arts and sculptures. At the first flour you can see the sculptures of the most famous artists and managers in this theatre history. Today it is the main opera and ballet house in Croatia.
In front of the Croatian national theatre you can see a statue. The statue name is “The Well of Life”, and it was created by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mistrovic.
Next to the faculty of law, you can see the sculpture by same Ivan Mistrovic, created in 1932, and it is called “History of Croats”.
The University of Zagreb was built in 1 669, and it is the oldest and the biggest university in South-Eastern Europe.
Firstly, it could place only 20 000 students, but now it is the largest concentration point of Croatian education, where almost 8 000 teachers are teaching many different subjects from all scientific fields to 72 500 students. University of Zagreb unites 29 Faculties and 3 Art Academies. They are planning to open five more Faculties in next few years.
“Mimara” museum of Fine Arts is located in the middle of the city, in the heart of Zagreb’s sights. It offers us the huge collection of cultural property from ancient times till the 20th century, especially from European part of the world.
The materials for this museum were being collecting since the foundation of Croatian literary and pedagogical community in 1871. This is the Croation museum of school, it was opened in 1901, and it has a huge collection of training aids and generally everything connected with school.
“Museum of Arts and Crafts” was built at the end of 19th century, and here you can overview different furniture, glass, metal, textile, ceramic exhibitions from Middle ages. It would be interesting for those who love antiques: the museum is full of old books, toys, clocks, photos, sculptures, rings, paintings and stuff like that.
One of these 3 Art Academies we can find not so far: it is the Academy of Music. The building of the academy is quiet new, but, actually, its roots are beginning at the German-language music school opened there in 1829, specialized on the wind instruments. It became the Croatian music Institute and conservatory in 1916, and it continued growing. Later its teachers got titles of professors, and Academy was first time proclaimed as a university faculty – that happened in 1940.
After the Second World War the school was divided into the primary music school, secondary music school and the university-level academy, the Academy of Music.
The Academy is located on the Marshal Tito Square in Zagreb, but it has its department in Rijeka city.
Josip Broz Tito – from the end of Second World War leader and president of Yugoslavia.
The square was named after whole famous Croatian family – Mažuranić.
Ivan Mažuranić – Croatian poet, linguist, lawyer, Croatian ban and successful politician from 19th century, and his elder brother Antun Mažuranić, Croatian writer and linguist too.
Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, in according with some statistics, she considered as the best Croatian fairytale-writer.
Her father, Vladimir Mažuranić, son of Ivan Mažuranić, was well-known politician and lawyer.
People started to collect different exhibits for Ethnographic museum in 1846. It was opened in 1919 by donations of merchant Solomon Berger.
The museum building was built in 1903, and it had only one restauration in 1972 by architect Aleksandar Freudenreich.
This museum is for those who interested in costumes, traditions and heritage: it stores the oldest and the biggest collection.
ADU, or Akademija Dramske Umjetnosti is located in the upper part of Mažuranić square.
This is the oldest Croatian institute, based on all types of theatric art, was formed in 1896 and it still works.
They are preparing young talented actors, producers, directors and other specialties connected with theatre and cinematograph.
Marco Marulic was Croatian humanist and litterateur. He was working in Latin, Italian and, of course, Croatian languages; his writings were inspiring to defend the Homeland, to appreciate Christianity and freedom. Very often, he is called the Father of Croatian literature.
Before, there was a library in this building. It symbolically started in 1643, when the main state treasurer Ivan Zakmardi offered special chest, to store different laws and official contracts.
Later on it was growing and developing, so today only one chest wouldn’t be enough! Over 160 employees are working in Croatian State Archives, separated by many information departments. It stores more than 23 500 meters of archive writings, from 10th century till the present day. The building, that we can see now, was constructed in 1913 out of the modern, for those times, materials: armored concrete and metal constructions.
The idea of organization the botanical garden was given by Zagreb’s university professor S. Spevec and his colleague B. Jirus. They came up with many primary orientations, but, when they returned to Prague, the task to draw a plan of future garden was provided to another professor, to Antun Heinz, in 1889.
Professor Heinz is counting as a main founder. In 1890 the first land works started, and in 1911 they were finished with the building of ponds system.
Today the Botanical garden belongs to the Science Faculty, but besides the studding purposes it also has not bad historical, cultural and tourism values.
Since 1971 Botanical garden proclaimed as a monument of nature and architecture. The rules of visiting are quiet strict: it’s not allowed to walk on grass, to make noises, to ride bikes and, of course, to pick flowers. People are coming there, searching for quietness and calm.
Ante Starcevic square
Ante Starčević was an Austria-Hungarian politician and writer, native of Croatia. He was fighting for Croatian independence.
Esplanade Zagreb hotel
The building of Esplanade Zagreb Hotel 5* was built in 1925, and since these times it was a center of public life, encountering politicians, stars of cinema, presidents, musicians and artists among its honored guests.
Besides the refined luxury, Esplanade Hotel is located in the middle of all famous attractions of Lenuci’s Horseshoe.
King Tomislav square
In 1862 the first train arrived to Zagreb, and the Capital of Croatia became, since following time, connected with trading and cultural centers of European life, such as Vienna and Budapest.
That why Glavni Kolodvor – or the Main Railway Station – was projected and built in 1892 by the Hungarian architect Ferenc Pfaff. Its situated on the King Tomislav Square, and it still works.
He was the first Croatian king, he was protecting Croatia from the Hungarian conquerors, for the first time he united all Croatian lands into one state, and now his statue is decorating square, named in his honor – king Tomislav, who died three years after the coronation under mysterious circumstances.
The stately and proud equestrian statue was performed by Robert Frangeš Mihanović in 1938, but on the square it came only after the Second World War, in 1947.
Interesting, but the Art Pavilion was built in Budapest in 1896, for the exhibition of millennium of Hungary.
During the exhibition, Croatia had its own pavilion for the introducing itself, and in the 1898 it was demolished and transferred to Zagreb, where it was constructed again.
The Art Pavilion is the first and the main showroom in Croatia, every year there are many exhibits of Croatian and international artists.
The green Strossmayer Square was named in honor of active religion and art figure of Croatia, of Josip Juraj Strossmayer.
During his life, he was spreading and developing sciences and culture among the Balkan part of Croatia. The sculpture was created by famous Ivan Mestrovic.
In 1860 Juraj Strossmayer gave a huge donation to Croatian ban – almost 50 000 forint – since he was a disseminator of education, for foundation of the Academy of Sciences and Arts. O
fficially it was opened in 1861, and Strossmayer by himself became its first patron and president. In 1880 a special palace, the building that we can see today. It is famous for one of the oldest stone inscriptions called Baska Tablet, written in Croatian language.
The Academy is situated on the border between Zrinjevac and Strossmayer Square.
On the corner we have Moderna Galerija, or the Modern Gallery. It stores inside one of the richest and the most important collection, from 19th century till the present day.
The Gallery welcomes all extraordinary individuals, and it has more than 750 different sculptures, pictures and other installations.
In 1890 Eduard Prister, a wealthy trader, donated money for building a musical pavilion, and in 1891 it was placed on the Zrinjevac, exactly on the place where the monument for Nikola Zrinski used to be.
Starting from the end of 19th century many different concerts are being held there on huge celebrations and especially during the summer time.
Zrinjevac was the first in the chain of squares projected by Milan Lenuci. Its full name comes from the name of Croatian ban Nikola Subic Zrinski, who heroically died during the protection of his homeland from Turks.
Before, there was an empty field, where, sometimes, were held some cattle fairs. At the present day Zrinjevac is, maybe, the most famous Zagreb promenade, with fountains, trees and busts of celebrities.
There are three fountains on the square, but the most interesting one is one that called “Mushroom”. It was, again, designed by Herman Bolle, and since the first day of its establishment in 1893, it became mockery and laughing-stock. The project was recognized as failed one, because sometimes it could flood the part of the park or spit into the passers. In 1975 the fountain was rebuilt by Restauration Institute and made functional. Since these times, it turned from the joke into the recognizable symbol of Zagreb.
The Metrological column is a present of army doctor Adolf Holzer, donated in 1884. The blueprints were drawn by Austrian architect Herman Bolle, and the column by itself was completed in Istrian marble.
Metrological column is still showing people temperature, air pressure, humidity and time, but since the column didn’t take the today’s standards of Worlds Metrological Organization, its records can’t be considered as true.
The Archeological museum is a heir of National museum, which was the oldest museum in Zagreb. In 1880 the museum started the systematical excavations all over Croatia; the collection also was replenished buy presents and donations. Today museum reckons about 450 000 different historical artifacts. The most famous ones are the mummy, brought from Alexandria and wrapped in the longest Etruscan text called Liber Linteus; and the bronze sculpture of Dove – a part of Vucedol culture.
Some symbols of Zagreb city
Licitar is a famous gingerbread cookie, the symbol of love and a affection.
Croatian solders bring the kravata to France in XVII century, during the Thirty Years War
Penkala is a first fountain pen, invented by Slavodjub Penkala in XX century in Zagreb, replaced ink and feathers.
Amazing, that wherever you are, there is always something new to learn. But even if now you know everything about the Lenuci Horsesshoe.
I am quiet sure, that you will come back there, to enjoy one more time the walk through the green squares of Zagreb city
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“Only two hours and Zagreb will become your friend!” pedestrian tour
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On this page used photo from web www.enciklopedija.hr, ethicscenter.nd.edu,