Zagreb main sights – walking author’s tour:
Only two hours and Zagreb will become your friend!
The author hopes this information will be interesting and useful to you :)
How to visit nine recognizable sights and monuments of old Medieval Zagreb?
The our trip:
Two parts of city Zagreb which we are interested in: Kaptol and The Upper Town.
Ban Jelasic Square
I am starting my Medieval Zagreb tour in the main square of the city – in the trg bana Josipa Jelacic Square.
It is the heard of Zagreb, and it was formed next to the first two settlements: Kaptol and Gradec.
The buildings on the square are presenting different architecture styles; basically there are many examples from XIX century till today.
The square changed its names few times, for example first name of the main “trade” square in that time was “Harmica”. Then it was named after the Croatian national hero – after ban Josip Jelasic; after the World Wars it became the Square of Repablic; and only twenty six years ago its historical name was returned.
For the locals it is one of the most popular meeting and festival place.
From the foundation of the city and till the end of 18th century, the Mandusevac wellspring was supplying Zagreb with the fresh water. Now it is already not a wellspring, but it is a really popular fountain. Interesting that, in according with one legend, Zagreb got its name from this fountain. So, centuries ago, one tired and thirsty ban came from the battlefield, and asked girl whose name was Manda, to scoop up some water for him. In Croatian “to scoop up” means “zagrabiti”. That is how the Zagreb got its name, and the fountain too.
In the old times, when the water from Mandusevac was potable, people were thinking that if somebody will drink from the wellspring, he will come back to Zagreb.
Josip Jelacic by himself was Croatian ban in the middle of 19th century. He is famous for the abolition of serfdom, and, besides that, for the Sabor’s (Croatian parliament) first collection.
He was actively struggling for freedom and unification of Croatia against the Hungarian power.
As I already said, he became a national hero, and you can see him on the 20-HRK banknotes.
There is even a monument in his honor. It shows us ban Jelacic on the horse and with saber, showing to the south. Firstly, the ban was showing to the Hungarian side – to the north, but in 1947 it was removed from the square. Only after forty three long years, because of the community’s wish, the ban has been came back.
If from Ban Jelacic square you’ll turn left to the llica street and walk forward, you’ll find the blue funicular, so called uspinjaca. It was built one hundred twenty six years ago, and today it still connects the Upper and Down parts of Zagreb city.
It the shortest railway in the world – it is only 66 meters long, but it can raise or lower 28 grown up people. The first model of funicular was working using the steam, but since 1927 it uses electricity. The ticket costs 4 HRK, but many local people have the special travel card.
In front of the Funicular, there is a southern Lotrscak tower.
It is the last preserved tower from the medieval city wall. Centuries ago, the bell inside of Lotrscak tower was ringing every evening, to make citizens hide inside of the fortress, and the gates were closed at the night.
The tower got its name from the Latin language combination “campana latrunculorum”, which means “the chess tower”. No, really, it’s looking like a chess tower. There are no more ringing bells, but every day, at noon, special person fires the cannon from the tower’s window. Population of Zagreb are accustomed to check the time like this.
Katarinin trg is located next to the St Mark’s square.
It is famous for St Katarina’s church – the most beautiful baroque building in Zagreb, for the oldest school and for the nice view of the cathedral in Kaptol.
Firstly, the St Katarina’s church was built as a Dominican church, but in 1620 Jesuits built a new church on its place.
Thirteen years before that, in 1607, on the same square, Jesuits formed the first Grammar school.
St Mark’s church
There is a church in a middle of the square – logically, that its name is St Mark’s church.
That is one of the oldest sights in the Zagreb city, and one of the most popular too. The first mention about it is about seven hundred fifty five years old, so the historians think that the church was built in the middle of 13th century.
Because of the numerous fires and earthquakes, gothic St Marko’s church was destroyed and rebuilt many times. At the end of 19th century it’s rebuilding was led by Herman Bolle. Exactly in that time, coats of arms of Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia, and of the Zagreb city, appeared on the roof, and the church became “visiting card” of old Zagreb.
In the corner of building, which is situated on the St Mark’s square, there is a face of a man. In according of the legend, this image belongs to the person whose name is Matija Gubec. He was the leader of a big peasant uprising against the lords and their power, but in 1573 this uprising was crushed, and Matija Gubec was quartered – Markov Trg, of the St Mark’s Square, is located in the center of the Upper city.
Centuries ago, it was the heart of social life and many kinds of trade, but today it is the heart of Croatian politics.
On the right side of the square there is a building of Croatian parliament, so called Sabor. It was there since the first seat in 1737.
Also very popular sight of an old Zagreb is the Stone gates. They are the last preserved gates from the medieval walls, and it is really recognizable.
The first notes about it are about 750 years old. As other historical monuments of ancient Gradec, the Stone gates were destroyed by the great fire in the May 1731. Only thirty years later it was rebuilt, and from that time they started looking like something that we know.
Inside of the gates there is a chapel with famous icon of Our Lady, which preserved during the fire. This is the real wonder, because the wooden frame was turned into embers, but the icon stayed intact!
Today, many believers from all Croatia and even from all over the world are waiting the icon. Inside, next to it, there are many marble or stone tablets with thankful messages to Our Lady.
In front of the entrance of gates, there is a sculpture of Our Lady, standing in the special niche. The point is that the after this story with icon, Our Lady became a holy patron of Zagreb. Even the day of the city celebration, which is on 31st of May, coincides with the celebration of Our Lady day.
The Bloody bridge, or Krvavi most
The Bloody bridge, or Krvavi most, isn’t so famous, but the sight of the old Zagreb too. Centuries ago, this short street was a real bridge, connecting Kaptol and Gradec settlements together.
The bridge was destroyed in 1898, and the street was built instead in the same year. Actually, it’s scary name appeared because of two main reasons.
Firstly, times ago, different clashes between people from two settlements were happening because of various economical disagreements. And the second reason is much creepier: from 12th till 17th century, the inquisition was killing and burning witches there. Also, many “witches” were burnt on the St Mark’s square.
The most popular food stores for the Zagreb locals are markets, and the most well-known market is called Dolac.
This is the huge bazar under the opened sky. Fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and other specific souvenirs are sold there all the time. This is the place, where you can find the season products from all over Croatia. Besides all this, Dolac has a very colorful tradition – all benches with stuff are placed under the national red Sestine umbrellas, which are also a famous visiting card of Zagreb.
There is a very romantic legend about it: centuries ago, all Zagreb population had only boring black umbrellas. One rainy day, the boy and the girl were standing under such black umbrella, and boy said to girl that he loves her.
Kaptol is the second oldest settlement of Zagreb, and today many locals and tourists are coming there every day to visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary.
This is the tallest and the most noticeable Neo-Gothic building in whole city – during our walk through the Medieval Zagreb, we can see it everywhere!
The Cathedral is a collection of many popular architecture styles from many times: Early Gothic style, Baroque, Classicism – that is how it was rebuilt several times.
After the strong earthquake in 1880 the Cathedral was seriously damaged, and rebuilt again – in Neo-Gothic style, as I already noticed.
That time, Herman Bolle led the rebuilding, and he gave to the Cathedral its modern appearance. It has two 150-meters-tall towers, and the left one is on reconstruction.
Around the Cathedral, you can see few towers and walls – that is all that rested from the Renesansne zidine, the fortress, which was protecting Kaptol from the Turkish sultan’s army. Amazing, but the time that people needed to build them was only nine years. Actually, that is short time only for ancient construction.
The tour was tested by me and my family & friends ;)
Author of of the article
“Only two hours and Zagreb will become your friend!” pedestrian tour
Yours Gina Kury Google+
We will be grateful for your Likes :)
Thank you very much for your attention!