Two Days of Zagreb for History Lovers
The city of Zagreb has officially been counting its history since the year 1094, even though many interesting things in this area had also been happening centuries before.
The city of Zagreb has officially been counting its history since the year 1094, even though many interesting things in this area had also been happening centuries before. If you like stories about history and can easily find your way through the tunnels of European past, you will have plenty of research material in Zagreb. But of course, you shouldn't just keep your nose stuck in dusty historical sources and visit only ancient sites – you also need to appreciate and enjoy the present, so this itinerary suggests a bit of both.
Use the first day in Zagreb to get acquainted with the city, starting from a relaxed morning coffee somewhere around Cvjetni trg (Flower Square) and a stroll through the Lower Town. If it's Saturday or Sunday, go to Britanski trg (British Square) and browse through the lively antique fair. Surprises await at this exhibit of rare and bizarre objects from bygone times. However, the real history is hidden in the old core of Zagreb, the Upper Town. You can reach it by the famous Funicular, but before going up, don't forget to take a peek at Grič Tunnel that’s running underneath, built during the Second World War as a shelter in case of air raids. Climb the Lotrščak Tower, take a walk all over the Upper Town, because every street and building exudes history and abounds in interesting stories. Visit Zagreb City Museum, where everything you have found out so far will sink in even deeper. Go back to the main square through the old Stone Gate and reward yourself with local specialties in one of the downtown restaurants.
Use the morning to visit the magnificent Zagreb Cathedral, and then go Mirogoj, the central cemetery. This masterpiece of historicist architecture is sometimes called the Croatian Pantheon, because many great historical persons are buried here. Enjoy a peaceful walk as if you were in a big outdoor gallery. If you look up towards Medvednica Mountain, you will surely spot the impressive medieval fortification under the summit. Medvedgrad has been watching over Zagreb since the 13th century. The old castle is quite well preserved, and even though it is not yet open for visits due to reconstruction works, just walking around and admiring its glory is quite an experience. You can reach Medvedgrad with a car or a combination of public transport and hiking, so the visit can become an adventure in a protected nature park. Keep in mind that the mountain huts and traditional restaurants on and around Medvednica provide an excellent opportunity to explore the local cuisine.