Sixty years ago, south of the Sava river, a new city has started to grow. Novi Zagreb (New Zagreb) forms a specific whole as it is separated from the northern part, and for decades was observed like such – a city on the “wrong” side of the Sava, a blank spot on Zagreb’s map. The monumentality of its socialist architecture and lack of facilities destined it to become an unattractive suburb. However, nowadays this image is profoundly changing, making Novi Zagreb a desirable place to live in. It is mostly residential, consisting of blocks of flats and tower blocks, abounds with parks and plazas, newly built facilities and projects that are still in planning stages, contributing to higher quality and popularization of life in neighborhoods within it: Kajzerica, Središće, Zapruđe, Trnsko, Siget, Sopot, Utrina, Travno, Dugave. Due to its size, it is divided into two administrative districts: East Novi Zagreb and West Novi Zagreb.
ART AND CULTURE
Novi Zagreb expansion started when mayor Holjevac moved the Zagreb Fair from downtown to the southern bank of the Sava river in 1953. Zagreb Fair is an established organizer of trade fairs, business and social events, most famous be Auto Show, Boat Show, Ambienta, Interliber, Inova and many others. Art lovers will enjoy The Museum of Contemporary Art, with around 5000 artworks from the fields of modern and contemporary art organized in various collections. In Siget the first new church with a monastery in Novi Zagreb was built, The Church of a Holy Cross, one of the most successful modern architectural sacral buildings in Croatia, and a few years ago a Church of the Holy Luke of the Evangelists in Travno was included in the final selection of the five most beautiful religious buildings of the world at the Building of the Year 2010 contest held by award-winning Archdaily magazine. Travno is also a home to Mamutica, largest residential building in Zagreb with its 1169 apartments, and among the largest residential buildings in Europe. Cultural Center Travno organizes many international and local programs, events and activities in various fields of education and culture like the prestigious International Festival of Puppet Theatre – PIF, part of which is Rental Workshop of National Costumes, specialized in folk costume collection, rental, reconstruction and restoration. In Music House you can learn to play an instrument, create your music, record it at a professional level and perform. If you are keen to experience some real local culture here, go to Farmer’s Market in Utrine, the biggest market in Novi Zagreb which except fresh vegetables and homemade food, is a place where people meet their friends and neighbors to have a cup of coffee with.
RECREATION AND LEISURE TIME
The strongest trump in Novi Zagreb’s sleeve definitely is Bundek. This wonderful park extends to 545,000 m2 on which people can enjoy nature, numerous outdoor activities, barbecuing, sunbathing, and fishing. Bundek is also a sports and leisure center with two lakes: Big Lake, where you can swim over the summer and Small Lake which remains a habitat for numerous plant and wildlife species. Volleyball courts, handball court, pathway for Nordic walking and running and children’s playground are just a little piece of activities this place offers. In the very vicinity are Hippodrome modeled on Parisian Longchamp and uniting all branches of equestrian sport, and National Tennis Centre. Zagreb Fair also has lots of sports facilities such as gyms, ice skating rink, Go-kart tracks and a rock climbing hall. On the very west of Novi Zagreb is the largest sports hall in Croatia, Arena Zagreb. This architectural symbol of the city was built in 2008 the purpose of hosting the 21st Handball World Championship and due to its capacity, multi-functionality, and technical equipment is a worthy facility for concerts of the world’s top musicians and great sporting events. Novi Zagreb’s public and green spaces are the first thing that the majority of Zagreb’s residents identify Novi Zagreb with. The image of people spending most of the day outdoors playing chess and chatting are commonly seen in these neighborhoods.
LIFESTYLE AND GASTRONOMY
Notions of Novi Zagreb as Zagreb’s southern dormitory is slowly being forgotten, as people recognize its successful planning, favorable rent prices, accessibility, public spaces, its tradition of social diversity and new facilities. Several big shopping centers were built recently, like Avenue Mall which brought the first multiplex cinema to Novi Zagreb, and Arena shopping center, offering an impressive list of established global and local brands in fashion, beauty, sport, health, gastro and kids segments. If you’re in a mood to wander off the beaten track and peek behind Zagreb’s European facade, go shopping in Hrelić – the most unusual shopping you can do in Zagreb, a flea market where you can find almost anything while Gypsy orchestra plays music for you. Novi Zagreb hosts National center for external evaluation of education, INA (national oil company), Institute of maritime technologies, and soon to be American International School of Zagreb. Although Novi Zagreb doesn’t have many places to go out at night, Metropolis club isn’t a bad choice – a coffee bar and billiard club by day and a club with a diverse evening program throughout the week. But before you go out, treat yourself with a nice dinner in Didov san, Il Secondo, Potkova or Magellan.