The medieval architecture paired with the bustling city streets and ongoing cultural events will entice you to visit the spectacular City of Zagreb. Whatever the season, this city lives full-heartedly all year round. Zagreb is Croatia's only city with a population of just over one million people. In 1991, Croatia gained its independence after a five yearlong war and Zagreb was named Croatia's capital city. Zagreb has since remained the nation's main economic hub, attracting foreign and domestic business professionals along with many Croatian students attending the prominent University of Zagreb and an increasing number of tourists yearly.
This is truly a city that offers something for everyone. The rolling, Medvednica hills, which literally cascade into the city centre and the peak of Sljeme, which can be seen in the distance, all add to the esthetic appeal. Many international skiing competitions have been hosted in the hilly terrain of Slijeme, most recently the Snow Queen Trophy. Here, you will be sure to bump into many local celebrities including brother and sister skiing champions, Ivica and Janica Kostelic. During the off-season, this ski resort is transformed into a true haven for hiking and cycling enthusiasts alike. If you are in pursuit of some leisure sports trivia, you have come to the right place. Zagreb is home to the famous Drazen Petrovic Memorial Museum and Croatian Sports Museum. However, if you prefer watching sports live, be sure to take in a local soccer game at Maksimir Stadium. You will witness a true soccer spectacle and will be sure to see some of the most passionate fans in the world if national rivals Dinamo and Hajduk are playing. Sports Centre Jarun situated on Lake Jarun also hosts many regattas and sports events during the summer months.
The numerous churches in the city of Zagreb should surely not be missed. Their formidable architecture is breathtaking and the atmosphere inside brings one peace in his/her heart. The Zagreb Cathedral whose church tower spires peek through all the buildings in the heart of the city centre is a must see. You will understand why this monument is so special that it is printed on the back of every 1000 kuna banknote. Nearly ninety percent of Croatia's population is Roman Catholic and this is the reason that astonishing, ornate churches and religious monuments embosom every corner of Zagreb. St. Marks Church neighboring the Croatian Parliament buildings on St.Marks Square will definitely not disappoint you.
Museums such as Mimara Museum, Archeological Museum of Zagreb, and the Gallery of Modern Art are just a few of the abundant cultural centers stirring with artists, locals, and tourists alike. Dolac Market is not only Croatia's largest, outdoor, produce, meat, fish, dairy, and flower market but, in fact, an experience. Bargain with local farmers and vendors for fresh, homegrown products or take in a meal while watching the happenings of the bustling Ban Jelacic Square in one of the many restaurants over-looking the city. Trendy, Tkalciceva Street, just a few minutes away is the ideal place to enjoy a coffee and desert. For all you shoe fanatics, here the charming, small boutiques are the perfect place to shop.
Like every large city, the offer of nightlife, restaurants, cafes and shopping are plentiful and diverse. If it is local, traditional Zagreb cuisine you desire, ask a passerby to point you to the closest place that offers gablec. Gablec is the Zagreb term that refers to a warm, home-cooked meal such as stuffed peppers in sauce, cabbage rolls with smoked meat, or the specialty of the North, warm, cheese strukli or strudel. If this is not your bowl of soup, no pun intended, visit one of Zagreb's upscale restaurants and you will agree that from the atmosphere, food presentation or food itself, it is difficult to decide which will impress you more. Since the city caters to many domestic students, you will have no trouble finding a local pub or pizzeria offering good sized portions for great prices.
If it is large shopping centers that you are seeking, you are in the right place. It is a quirky fact that for every citizen of Zagreb, there is half a square meter of shopping space available. Small boutiques can be found in the city centre on popular streets such as Ilica, Draskoviceva, Masarykova and Tkalciceva. The flower square or Cvijetni Trg, as said in Croatian, is an ideal place to take a coffee break from all the shopping and treat yourself to a lovely floral bouquet. The scent of fragrant perfumes will either be coming from the one of the many local flower shops or from a local celebrity passing by.
Zagreb is a city whose charm lays in its many myriad avenues and with each visit you will unveil something unique and be sure to experience something new.