While it has only been the political capital of Croatia since 1991, Zagreb has long enjoyed the influence of both the Eastern and Western culture. In medieval times, Zagreb consisted of two separate towns, Kaptol, the religious center, and Gradec, the commercial hub. The river Medvescak in-between the two towns was often the site of fierce battles between them. Today, Gradec and Kaptol together form the Upper Town, or Gornji Grad, which forms the historic Old Town of Zagreb. The Lower Town, or Donji Grad, on the plains is chicer and more contemporary. Don’t worry, your guide will help you understand all this and even assist with pronunciation!
This morning, your guide will take you to Gornji Grad (Upper Town) for your tour of the historic heart of Zagreb. The best way to get around the Old Town is on foot, so wear your most comfortable walking shoes. If you happen to be in Zagreb on a Saturday, you will find a bustling market square – full of locals out shopping and socializing.
Begin your stroll with a visit to the Dolac, the open-air fruit and vegetable market in Old Town and the Church of St. Mary and the towering spires of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the most prominent landmark on the city’s skyline. As you approach the front of the church don’t miss the ornate sculpted doorway. The Cathedral contains the tombs of the most important personalities in the history of Croatia including Ivan Mestrovic, the famous Croatian sculptor. While in the Old Town, don’t miss the historic stone city gates and the booming cannon of the Lotrscak Tower! Before leaving the Upper town, stop by the 17th century church, dedicated to St. Catherine.
Step inside the Mimara Museum’s extensive collection of art from around the world. Your guide will help bring to life some of the extraordinary pieces of the collection. Objects on display include an awe-inspiring collection of European artists, icons from Russia and the Middle East, magnificent carpets from Turkey and Morocco and several other artifacts from places as far reaching as India and South America.
At the end of the day, enjoy the charming ambience of the cobble-stoned streets of Lower Town (Donji Grad) full of boutiques, cafes and bookshops. You might want to explore a bit more on your own with a visit to the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships. Alternatively, delve into Croatian art at the Croatian Museum of Naive Art.