What is Zagreb famous for?
Every time before you make the decision of “Why to visit” a city, you have to ask yourself “What is this city famous for” or “What do I have to try”.
Since you’re interested in Zagreb, let’s look at a couple of things that make Zagreb famous, why you should visit it and what you have to try.
The origin of the name Zagreb is not clear.
It was chosen as the name for the city only in 1852 but had been used for centuries as the name of a historic bishopric known as Zagreb.
This became increasingly popular as the name for the city in the 17th century.
Historically, the name was first mentioned in a charter by archbishop of Esztergom Felician , which was dated 1134.
The name Zagreb first appeared in the year 1094, when the city existed as two distinct city centers: the smaller, easterly Kaptol , inhabited mainly by clergy and merchants Zagreb Cathedral , and the larger, western Gradec.
Ban Josip Jelacic is credited for uniting Gradec and Kaptol in 1851, thereby naming the main square in his honor.
If you are wandering around the city center at noon, you might be surprised by a cannon blast.
When you hear it, don’t be frightened because every day at noon, the Lotrščak Tower, located in the old part of the city, is opened with a cannon shot.
Generally, the only people impacted by this cannon blast are uninformed tourists, which sometimes, is very funny. One might say it is an interesting tourist attraction.
Legend has it that a shot from the cannon prevented the Turks from invading the city a long time ago.
Zagreb introduced the funicular as one of its first methods of public transit.
Since there have been no accidents with human victims, it is considered to be the safest method of getting around.
Despite the fact that locals absolutely adore the funicular, they prefer to take the stairs to the upper part of town rather than pay for a ride that takes less than a minute.
Look at it this way, it’s a good exercise before lunch or coffee.
The funicular is essentially a museum exhibit and is popular among tourists who wouldn't mind paying less than one euro for a ride.
The local thing to do in Zagreb is to buy fresh food from markets. Take numerous photographs of the vegetables in Dolac Market - it's right on Jelačić Square.
Zagreb markets are more than places to shop for groceries; they're also great places to socialize and to observe the relaxing and calming atmosphere.
One of the most famous outdoor markets in the city is Dolac Market – it's a gorgeous and colorful market that both the locals like to visit and tourists as well.
In regards to the many photographs of vegetables, being tourists, this is something that only they do.
Croatia is the home of Slavoljub Penkala and Nikola Tesla.
Fun Fact - It is funny but Zagreb gained worldwide fame for being the homeland of the necktie.
French captains in the 16th and 17th centuries began wearing them after observing a similar item being worn by Croatian soldiers.
As a result of its popularity, it has become a national souvenir.
You might get hungry after walking around Zagreb and the city square, am I right?
Here are a couple of special Zagreb dishes or food you have to try while you’re here.
Zagrebaki odrezak is a must have and it’s made with veal just like the Cordon bleu.
There are a variety of ways to prepare it, including rounding out flat pieces of pork or chicken and stuffing them with cheese and ham.
After that, it is breaded and fried to a golden-brown perfection!
Purica i mlinci (Turkey and mlinci) is a traditional dish of roasted turkey accompanied by homemade flatbread, similar to noodles.
What are mlinci?
Mlinci is a dense bread with a soft texture that is similar to matzah bread made in Jewish tradition, and it is often available at local markets.
The noodles are sold in thin sheets that are then taken and soaked in water to become a noodle-like side dish. Once soaked, you bake the noodles alongside roasted turkey to complete the meal.
Cottage cheese and sour cream are combined in “sir i vrhnje”.
Dolac Market in the city centre has all the ingredients for one of the most popular dishes of all time.
If combined with some garlic and spices, sir i vrhnje is typically served with bread, however, it can be the key ingredient to some more complex meals as well.
Štrukli are sour cream tarts stuffed with cottage cheese (There we are again with the sir i vrhnje).
This is a really wonderful dish that can be prepared in many ways, fried or boiled, sweet or savory.
Additionally, Štrukli can be found quite commonly in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region.
Walnut cakes - or Orahnjača - are a popular sweet made from walnuts.
The dough is rolled thinly, then coated with a honey mixture topped with finely diced walnuts, then rolled into a log shape.
It creates a lovely spiral pattern when you slice into the log.
These are a pretty traditional Christmas dinner dessert. They're also quite popular in the markets throughout the winter.
Most tourists come to the Zagreb Cathedral, and for good reason; it's a beautiful building that others can't help but admire.
In addition, the building is impossible to miss – it can be seen from all over the city, and don’t forget it can be seen through our hotel rooms :) We’re located 2 minutes by foot from the Zagreb Cathedral.
Although it may seem strange, it's been so long since the towers have been undergoing reconstruction and no one really notices the scaffolding.
People who visit here tend to pay close attention to the scaffolding surrounding the towers of the church and wonder why it is there.
Since the cathedral was initially constructed from low quality materials, it is currently being restored so that each stone can be manually replaced to make it more durable.
However, Zagreb also offers plenty to beer lovers, even though Croatia is known for its wines.
A place to begin to find good beer is Mali Medo (Little Bear) bar which is located in the middle of Tkalciceva street – you can’t miss it.
In addition to serving locally made beer like Mrki Medved, Dva Klasa and Crna Kraljica, the restaurant also serves fine food if you get hungry from the beer.
This bar is unique in that area because it offers tourists friendly staff, as well as reasonably priced and locally produced beer.
Good news for you, Hotel Dubrovnik is located 5 minutes by foot from the Mali Medo bar.
A great example of this is the Museum of Broken Relationships, one of the most unique museums to visit while in Zagreb.
Personal belongings relating to past lovers from all over the world tell compelling and heartbreaking stories.
What makes this museum so interesting are the collection of mementos that tell the universal story of love and break-up.
Well, there may be one more thing to mention, at least in the blog post :)
It's rarely seen this way in western European capitals, but Zagreb's cityscape is a fascinating mixture of classic Austro-Hungarian architecture and gritty socialist architecture.
With clean streets lined with ornate, centuries-old buildings in contrast to century-old cobbled streets, Zagreb 360° tower offers a great view of all the old city has to offer.
Check it out, it's right next to the hotel.
It will be exciting to observe the Zagreb cityscape from the Zagreb 360 tower and the Lotrscak Tower.
The more you walk around the city center on Zagreb, there are more random things you will discover.
Zagreb is an amazing and beautiful city and the whole point of it is that no one knows what to expect, and they always have a great time. Don’t miss out – Zagreb is a very special place to explore and we’re here to help you.
We will place a couple of honorable mentions of places to see and which will be mentioned in other posts;
- Maksimir Park
- Zrinjevac park
- Mimara museum
- Jarun Lake
- Zagreb Eye 360
- Kamenita vrata
- Zagreb Botanical garden
- Medvednica Nature Park
- Many street art scene
- Croatian National theatre
- Ilica street