More of the wonderful City of Zagreb

Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
Trip End Sep 27, 2011

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Today I met my Guide Luka (more about Luka later) and his friend whose name I will not try to spell but will call V.  One has to pass a test and be licensed to act as a guide in the City and Luka does not have this license but has licenses in Slovenia and all down the Coast of Croatia where we will be going in the coming days.  V. was very knowledgeable about Zagreb.  One of our first visits was to the Cemetary which I found rather unusual but when i saw it, I was awe struck.  It is a work of art and I only have a few pictures to show a small part of it because I could not walk in very far.  My loss as Croats in the capital city don’t mess around with the homage they pay to their lost loved ones.  Situated on the slopes of the Medvednica mountain, it is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. Lime-green cupolas top the wall that surrounds the memorial park. Mirogoj is not only a burial place but also a beautiful park and open art gallery. Not far from the present mortuary, in the period between 1852 and 1895 there stood the summer house of the Illyrian leader, Ljudevit Gaj. After his death the municipality bought the complete estate and constructed the central Zagreb cemetery upon it. The well-known architect Herman Bollé designed the shape of the cemetery, applying a monumental composition of arcades, pavilions and domes, intermingled with rich vegetation, and adding a gallery of sculptures by Croatian sculptors. For a great U-tube video of the buildings, art and grounds click here.
V then  gave me a tour of the Upper and Lower Towns which have a short steep train to get you from one to the other.  Rather than use that I made it up and down the steep hills on my trusty scooter.  Zagreb is a union of two settlements - Gradec and Kaptol. Gradec was the settlement of merchants and craftsmen. Kaptol was a diocese, the canonical settlement of the Zagreb Bishopric. Diverse origin, interests and politics were often the cause of many disputes and even bloody conflicts between these two settlements.  There is one street called Blood Street because so many battles were fought there.   Kaptol  today is the center of Croatia's Catholic church and its spiritual life, while Gradec, the Upper Town, represents, along with the Croatian Parliament, the political and administrative center.   

The main Cathedral is beautiful, the market full of vegetables and flowers and the sidewalk cafes are plentiful, (some only licensed to sell coffee, some only licensed to sell drinks, and some classified as  restaurants, sell everything.  They are busy, during lunch and early evening.     Both Luka and V. were amazed at how well the scooter does on the cobblestone streets and steep hills. Although I could not recommend it to anyone with a bad lower back. 
After the tour, I went back to the hotel for a rest as my knees are still painful and I needed to ice them.  Then I went back to the Cafe District and had dinner in one of the restaurants and did some people watching and look into store windows.  The shops in this area are so small that they only hold three or four people at a time and they invariable have one large step blocking the entrance.  Not spending money on "things" this trip so window shopping was great.  Some wonderful hand-made textiles and jewellery. 

 Pictures are attached so you can appreciate what I saw and below is extra information.  Remember to hit Slideshow above my pictures,  and then click on the right lower corner of the picture that comes up to get full screen pictures.  

I should also mention that religion kept coming up as a topic so I looked up some information. 

 Religion in Croatia
Ever heard the phrase, "More Catholic than the Pope"? It could have been written about Croatia where Catholic holidays and rituals are celebrated with enthusiasm. According to recent figures, nearly 90% of the population defines itself as Catholic, nearly 3% as Orthodox, 2.1% atheist and only 1.1% Muslim.
 The Catholic religion is a defining aspect of the Croatian identity and deeply intertwined with politics. When Croatia was a part of former Yugoslavia (see Croatian history) Tito discouraged outward displays of religion as part of his effort to meld the ethnic identities. As a deeply religious people, Croatians smoldered under the restrictions and lost no time publicly celebrating their Catholic faith when the country declared independenceThe Croatian independence drive was, in turn, strongly supported by the Vatican and the country has been treated to a stream of visits by Pope Jean Paul II. The Pope's visit to Zagreb in 1998 to beatify cardinal Stepinac was greeted with wild celebrations.The church is a highly respected institution in present-day Croatia, enough to encourage many young Croats to enter convents or the priesthood which further endears the country to the Vatican. Church services are strongly attended (30% of Croats claim to attend mass weekly) and some 76% of Croats answering a recent poll described themselves as religious.Religion goes a long way to explaining the bitter differences between the Catholic Croats and the Orthodox Serbs as well as the relatively traditional values that prevail in Croatia. Homosexuality is still frowned upon (see Gays in Croatia) although attitudes are changing slowly. Yet paradoxically, there is wide tolerance fornaturism and abortion is legal (although restricted) in Croatia.
Zagreb Cathedral

located on Kaptol is a the most famous building in Zagreb, and the tallest building inCroatia.[citation needed] It is dedicated to the Holy Virgin's Ascension and to St. Stephen and St. Ladislaus. The cathedral is typically Gothic, as is its sacristy, which is of great architectonic value. Itsspires can be seen from many locations in the city.
The building of the cathedral started in the 11th century (1093), although the building was razed to the ground by the Tatars in 1242. At the end of the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire invaded Bosnia and Croatia, triggering the construction of fortification walls around the cathedral. Some of these fortifications are still intact. In the 17th century, a fortified renaissance watchtower was erected on the south side, and was used as a military observation point, because of the Ottoman threat.[edit]HistoryIn 1880, the cathedral was severely damaged in an earthquake. The main nave collapsed and the tower was damaged beyond repair. The restoration of the cathedral in the neo-gothic style was made byHermann Bollé, bringing the cathedral to its present form. As part of that restoration, two spires of 108 m (354 ft) height were raised on the western side, both of which are now in the process of being restored during a massive general restoration of the cathedral.The cathedral is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 1000 kuna banknote issued in 1993.[1]The building is, by its horizontal view when facing the portal, 46 meters long in width, 77 metres vertically and 108 metres in height.[2] The cathedral contains a relief of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac with Christ done by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.  

Zagreb Cathedral

Dolac Market near the Cathedral of the Assumption is a farmers' market located in Gornji Grad - Medveščak city district of ZagrebCroatia. Dolac is the most visited and the best known farmer's market in Zagreb, well known for its combination of traditional open market with stalls and a sheltered market below The sheltered part is for perishible food such as lettuce and meat. It is located only a few dozen meters away from the main city square, Ban Jelačić Square, in the middle between the oldest parts of Zagreb, Gradec and Kaptol.

Church of St. Mark   

St. Mark's Church, Zagreb.

The Church of St Mark is easily recognizable by its brightly colored tile roof, bearing the coats of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, Savonia, and Zagreb city. The roof was actually a recent addition, which took place in the late 1800s. The first Church of St Mark was documented as far back as the mid 1200s. Since that time many changes have been made to the church but a Romanesque window, and a Gothic doorway by Ivan Parler, still remain from the original structure. A series of niches in the door contain statues of the twelve apostles, along with Jesus, Mary, and St Mark.

The Stone Gate
The Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata) in Zagreb's Gornji Grad is the last remaining of the five gates which once stood. They were the entrances through the walls around Gradec, the district next to Kaptol. The Stone Gate, which was the eastern Gate to Gradec town, was built in the 13th Century, as was the adjacent tower. As the story goes, in 1731 a fire destroyed much of this area, burning all the houses to the ground. The gate displayed a painting of Mary and Jesus which was "miraculously" undamaged by the fire. To protect the painting a chapel was built and the painting remains behind a metal grille. The painting is visited regularly by people who come to pray and leave gifts.

Stone Gate 1760 - Zagreb CroatiaStone Gate 1760 - Zagreb Croatia


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Someone called G. on

What a wonderful post about Zagreb. I hope really you enjoyed your visit !
Congrats !

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