When talking of Zagreb, first think that comes to your mind is its center divided into Upper and Lower town made for strolling the streets, drinking coffee in the permanently full cafes, popping into museums and galleries, and enjoying the theatres, concerts, cinema and numerous parks. Upper town is one of the oldest parts of town, it was in fact once a medieval city by itself. Earlier called Gradec, in 19th century it got united with Kaptol into a single city – Zagreb.
Nowadays Upper town is primarily pedestrian zone where you can walk around the charming streets full of history and interest points such as Catherine’s square, Park Grič with Lotrščak Tower and Strossmayer Promenade to name a few. Upper Town buildings and palaces are under cultural heritage protection, meaning they need to keep their original exterior look, however some of them have completely modernly refurbished interiors while keeping the old, original architectural features. That’s why Upper Town is a very popular area amongst expats moving to Zagreb and looking for a home in which they can feel the history of the old town.
Lower town is the central point of nowadays Zagreb where most of the city’s life takes place and this is the part where you can find the biggest offer of real-estate led by representative palaces in yellow façades reminding of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. This wonderful mixture of old and new, modern and classical gives a special charm to this part of Zagreb where you will always be „in the middle of all happenings “.
ART AND CULTURE
City center enjoys a rich cultural life with its numerous theatres, galleries, museums, film and music festivals. The Croatian National Theatre is the national home of ballet, opera and drama. You can find musicals at the Komedija Theatre, contemporary production at ZKM, see great documentary films at Cinema Europa or the mysterious mummy at the Archeological Museum – it would be impossible to list every venue. Upper town is home of Banski dvori – the seat of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, St. Mark’s Church, Dolac market, Museum of broken relationships, Stone gate and the Cathedral. The main square with the statue of Ban Jelačić and the old clock is everyone’s favorite meeting point.
RECREATION AND LEISURE TIME
Right in the city center, parks, streets and squares intersect with green spaces and gardens. One of the most famous and beautiful is Zrinjevac park, known for its row of plane trees. It is also the starting point of The Lenuci Horseshoe, a U-shaped system of city squares with parks in downtown Zagreb. Starting from northeast and going clockwise, the horseshoe is formed by Zrinjevac, Strossmayer square – home to Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts HAZU, King Tomislav Square, where Zagreb’s main railway station is located, Ante Starčević Square holding the beautiful Esplanade hotel, Adrenaline park, Botanical Garden, Marko Marulić Square which is a home to Croatian State Archives, Mažuranić Square and Square of the Republic of Croatia – a home to many prominent institutions such as The Croatian National Theatre, University of Zagreb Faculty of Law, Museum of Arts and Crafts, The Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography, Academy of Dramatic Art and Zagreb Academy of Music.
Behind the walls of the Cathedral you’ll find Ribnjak, ‘Fishpond’, a park where clergymen used to catch fish for their Friday meal. There are many streets to walk around and explore, sign up to newly opened gyms, fitness and dance studios or relax in spa centers.
LIFESTYLE AND GASTRONOMY
The moment the sun appears in the sky in Spring, streets become promenades, places to get a cup of coffee, relax or have a business meeting. Lower town is full of pleasant caffe bars where you can discover the seductive coffee-drinking-culture of Zagreb, especially the ones around Ban Jelačić square, Petar Preradović square popularly known as Cvjetni square, Tkalčićeva street or British square. The gastronomic selection comprises a rich combination of many cuisines offered in many restaurants throughout the center. Teslina street is considered one of the most popular locations for Croatian and Italian cuisine while Tkalčićeva Street holds the largest number of international restaurants. Dolac is the so-called ‘The Belly of Zagreb’, adorned with red parasols, where you will encounter a mass of colors, smells and sounds and grab a bite at the eateries by the market offering fast home-made dishes, such as inevitable burek or čevapi from Dolac. As the night wears on, many of the cafes transform into small clubs with occasional live acts, from jazz, funk and alternative music, through to new and old R&B, hip hop an electro beats.