While Croatia is best known for its coastline, the landlocked capital is less recognized by visitors. It’s time to put Zagreb on a spotlight. Zagreb is the political and cultural center of Croatia and is a thriving, energetic inland city with some of the country’s best museums, restaurants, and shopping. Most of Zagreb’s major attractions are in the city center, which consists of two main sections: Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and Donji Grad (Lower Town). Gornji Grad lies on a high plateau and is home to Zagreb’s Cathedral and parliament building, while Donji Grad is a more modern area known for its world-class museums and the Croatian National Theatre.
Gornji Grad and the Church of St. Mark’s
The splendid cobblestone streets and red tiled roofs of the buildings in medieval Gornji Grad, Zagreb’s Upper Town, make for a beautiful place to begin a sightseeing tour of the Croatian capital. Once two separate towns known as Kaptol and Gradec, Gornji Grad is home to many of the city’s most visited tourist attractions, including the cathedral, parliament building, and numerous museums and churches.
Zagreb Cathedral and Treasury
Zagreb Cathedral – the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, formerly known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral – was erected on the site of a previous structure destroyed by the Tartars in the early 1200s. Famous for its two ornately decorated spires, the present cathedral was built in the later half of the 13th century, although many alterations and renovations have been made since that have changed the structure dramatically.
Trg Bana Jelačića
Zagreb’s main orientation point and its geographic heart is Trg Bana Jelačića – it’s where most people arrange to meet up. If you enjoy people-watching, sit in one of the cafes and watch the tramloads of people getting out, greeting each other and dispersing among the newspaper- and flower-sellers. The square’s name comes from Ban Jelačić, the 19th-century ban (viceroy or governor) who led Croatian troops into an unsuccessful battle with Hungary in the hope of winning more autonomy for his people.