The ancient Roman town of Andautonia was southeast of the modern city, which developed from 2 nuclei: Gradec and Kaptol. It was made an episcopal see of the Western church in 1093. In 1242, the year of a Mongol invasion, Gradec became a free royal city and later in the 13th cent. became the chief city of Croatia and Slavonia, which were then joined with Hungary in a personal union under the Hungarian crown. Although the Ottoman Turks attacked Zagreb in the 16th cent., they never conquered this part of Croatia. The bishopric of Kaptol and the city of Gradec merged in 1850. During the 19th cent. Zagreb was a center of the Croatian nationalist movement. With the formation of the dual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1867, the city became capital of autonomous Croatia. It has since been, successively, capital of an Axis-controlled Croatian puppet state (during World War II), the constituent republic of Croatia in Yugoslavia (1945-1992), and the independent Republic of Croatia (since 1992).
A fine modern city, Zagreb has its historic center in the old Kaptol district, with the Catholic cathedral (begun 1093) and the Catholic archiepiscopal palace (18th cent.), and Gornji Grad [upper town], with its baroque palaces and churches.
City (pop., 2001: 691,724), capital of Croatia. It was first mentioned in 1093, when a Roman Catholic bishopric was established there. In medieval times the area contained a civil and an ecclesiastical settlement. Rivals until the 19th century, they were joined when a spate of new building occurred and expanded onto the Sava River floodplain. At the time of the Croatian national revival in the 19th century, Zagreb was the centre of both a pan-Yugoslav movement and a Croatian independence movement. During the civil war following Croatia's secession from Yugoslavia in 1991, Zagreb sustained heavy damage. It is Croatia's principal industrial centre. It is also the seat of the Academy of Sciences and Arts and of the University of Zagreb (1669).
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Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia. Zagreb is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental center of the Republic of Croatia. The city's population in 2006 was 784,900 (approx. 1.1 million in the metropolitan area). It is situated between the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain and both northern and southern bank of the Sava river at an elevation of approximately 122 m above sea level.
Its favorable geographic position in the southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin, which extends to the Alpine, Dinaric, Adriatic and Pannonic regions, provides an excellent connection for traffic between Central Europe and the Adriatic Sea.
The transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions and industrial tradition underlie its leading economic position in Croatia. Zagreb is the seat of the central government, administrative bodies and almost all government ministries.
Zagreb is the largest city in Croatia, and is the only Croatian city whose metropolitan population exceeds one million people. Most people live in the city proper. There are 1,088,841 people in the Zagreb metropolitan area, which includes the smaller cities of Samobor, Velika Gorica and Zaprešić. The official 2001 census counted 779,145 residents, although by 2006 that number had grown to 784,900, according to government estimates. The majority of its citizens are Croats making up 91.94% of the city's population (2001 census). The same census records 40,066 residents belonging to ethnic minorities. Such ethnic minorities comprise: 18,811 Serbs (2.41%), 6,204 Bosniaks (0.80%), 4,030 Muslims by nationality (0.52%), 3,389 Albanians (0.43%), 3,225 Slovenes (0.41%), 1,946 Roma (0.25%), 1,131 Montenegrins (0.17%), 1,315 Macedonians (0.17%), together with other smaller minor ethnic communities.
The climate of Zagreb is continental, with four separate seasons. Summers are hot and dry, and winters are cold. The average temperature in winter is and the average temperature in summer is . Particularly, the end of May gets very warm with temperatures rising above . Snowfall is common in the winter months, from December to March, and rain and fog are common in fall (October to December). Highest recorded temeprature ever was 41°C in July 2007 and August 1983, and lowest was -27°C in January 1985.
The modern name Zagreb likely comes from the common Slavic word "zagrabiti" (to scoop). There are several legends about the origins of the name of Zagreb. According to one, a lady was thirsty and she took water from Lake Manduševac (nowadays a fountain). While she was taking the water, other people shouted, "Zagrebi Mando, zagrebi!" which means, "Scoop it, Manda, scoop it!". Another legend says that a Croatian ban was moving with his army through a deserted region and the soldiers were struck by thirst. In his anger, the ban thrust his sabre into the ground, at which point water began to pour out, and he ordered the soldiers to scrape the soil (zagrebati zemlju) in order to get to the water.
The verb zagrebati in the sense of digging is also believed to have something to do with the name of the city as the city lay behind a water-filled hole (graba). This theory is supported by some scientists.
There is also an interesting theory that Zagreb may mean a place behind a hill ("za bregom"), i.e. behind the Sava river's bank, and then the name just changed into Zagreb. This theory is supported by the fact that Sava had once flowed nearer to the center of the city. At today's Ban Jelačić square in the very center of Zagreb, pieces of what was once a wooden boat have been unearthed.
Some scientists believe that the name Zagreb is not of Slavic origin, just as the name Croat (Hrvat) is believed not to be of that origin. However, if the name does derive from a Slavic language, then possibly the most acceptable explanation is the city za grebom, i.e. "behind the tomb". The tomb could be the one in Marin Držić Avenue or one of many other still undiscovered tombs near Grič or Kaptol.
The Austrian name for Zagreb was Agram. This name has fallen out of regular use in Austria since the fall of Austro-Hungarian empire. While Hungary still uses Zágráb, Germany and Switzerland stick to Zagreb.
The history of Zagreb dates as far back as 1094 when the Hungarian King Ladislaus founded a diocese. Alongside the bishop's see the canonical settlement Kaptol developed north of the Cathedral, as did the fortified settlement Gradec on the neighbouring hill. Today the latter is Zagreb's Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and is one of the best preserved urban nuclei in Croatia. Both settlements came under Tatar attack in 1242. As a sign of gratitude for offering him a safe haven from the Tatar the Croatian and Hungarian King Bela IV bestowed Gradec with a Golden Bull, which offered its citizens exemption from county rule and autonomy, as well as its own judicial system. According to legend, Bela left Gradec a cannon, under the condition that it be fired every day so that it did not rust. Since 1 January 1877 the cannon is fired from the Lotrščak Tower on Grič to mark midday.
The main square of the Gornji Grad is dominated by the Gothic church of St. Mark. It was built at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century and a late Baroque bell tower was added later.
Fighting ensued between the Zagreb diocese and the free sovereign town of Gradec for land and mills, sometimes also for political reasons. The term Zagreb was used for these two separate boroughs in the 16th century. Zagreb was then seen as the political center and the capital of Croatia and Slavonia. In 1850 the town was united under its first mayor - Janko Kamauf.
It was not until the 17th century and Nikola Frankopan that Zagreb was chosen as the seat of the Croatian viceroys in 1621. At the invitation of the Croatian Parliament the Jesuits came to Zagreb and built the first grammar school, the St. Catherine's Church and monastery. In 1669 they founded an academy where philosophy, theology and law were taught.
During the 17th and 18th centuries Zagreb was badly devastated by fire and the plague. In 1776 the royal council (government) moved from Varaždin to Zagreb and during the reign of Joseph II Zagreb became the headquarters of the Varaždin and Karlovac general command.
In the 19th century Zagreb was the center of the Croatian National Revival and saw the erection of important cultural and historic institutions.
The first railway line to connect Zagreb with Zidani Most and Sisak was opened in 1862 and in 1863 Zagreb received a gasworks. The Zagreb waterworks was opened in 1878 and the first horse-drawn tramcar was used in 1891. The construction of the railway lines enabled the old suburbs to merge gradually into Donji Grad, characterized by a regular block pattern that prevails in Central European cities. This bustling core hosts many imposing buildings, monuments, and parks as well as a multitude of museums, theaters and cinemas. An electric power plant was erected in 1907 and development flourished 1880–1914 after the earthquake in Zagreb when the town received the characteristic layout it has today.
The first half of the 20th century saw a large expansion of Zagreb. Before the World War I, the city expanded and neighborhoods like Stara Peščenica in the east and Črnomerec in the west were created. After the war, working-class quarters emerged between the railway and the Sava, whereas the construction of residential quarters on the hills of the southern slopes of Medvednica was completed between the two World Wars.
In the 1920s the population of Zagreb went up by 70 percent — the largest demographic boom in the history of Zagreb. In 1926 the first radio station in the region began broadcasting out of Zagreb, and in 1947 the Zagreb Fair was opened.
The area between the railway and the Sava river witnessed a new construction boom after World War II. After the mid-1950s, construction of new residential areas south of the Sava river began, resulting in Novi Zagreb (New Zagreb). The city also expanded westward and eastward, incorporating Dubrava, Podsused, Jarun, Blato, and other settlements.
The cargo railway hub and the international airport Pleso were built south of the Sava river. The largest industrial zone (Žitnjak) in the southeast represents an extension of the industrial zones on the eastern outskirts of the city, between the river Sava and Prigorje region.
In 1987 Zagreb hosted the Universiade.
In 1991, it became the capital of the country following secession from Second Yugoslavia. During the 1991-1995 Croatian War of Independence, it was a scene of some sporadic fighting surrounding its JNA army barracks, but escaped major damage. In May 1995, it was targeted by Serb rocket artillery in the Zagreb rocket attack that killed seven civilians.
Urbanized lines of settlements connect Zagreb with their centers in its surroundings: Sesvete, Zaprešić, Samobor, Dugo Selo and Velika Gorica. Sesvete is the closest one to become a part of the agglomeration and is in fact already included in the City of Zagreb.
|Year|| Area |
| Population |
(inside city limits at that time)
| Population |
(inside today's city limits)
|1368||2,810||from the household census|
|1742||5,600||from the household census|
|1805||7,706||population census without clergy and nobility|
|The data in column 3 refers to the administrative arrangement valid at time of census. The data in column 4 is broken down to the territory now defined as 'The City of Zagreb' (as from regulative published in NN No.10, from 10th of January 1997). If not stated else the data is from population cesuses, carried out according to regulations valid at that time.|
Most important branches of industry are: production of electric machines and devices, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, food and drink processing. Zagreb is international trade and business center, and the transport crossroad of Central and East Europe.
34% of companies in Croatia have headquarters in Zagreb, and 38.4% of Croatian workforce works in Zagreb, including almost all banks, utility and public transport companies.
Companies in Zagreb create 52% of total turnover and 60% of total profit of Croatia in 2006 as well as 37% of Croatian export.
The most important historical high-rise constructions are Neboder on Ban Jelačić Square, Cibona Tower (1987) and Zagrepčanka (1976) on Savska Street, Mamutica in Travno (Novi Zagreb - istok district, built in 1974) and Zagreb TV Tower on Sljeme (built in 1973).
There have been many recent constructions in Zagreb, such as the Almeria Tower, Eurotower, HOTO Tower and Zagrebtower. Several new skyscrapers, such as Center Črnomerec, Sky Office Tower and the Tower 123 are planned for construction in 2008, along with proposed business districts in Kajzerica and Buzin, both in Novi Zagreb. There has recently been an announcement of development along the Jadranska Avenue, near Blato and Lanište, where the Zagreb Arena is being built.
Due to a long-standing restriction that forbade construction of 10-story or higher buildings most of Zagreb's skyscrapers date from 70s and 80s and new apartment buildings on the outskirts of the city are usually 4-8 floors tall. Exceptions to the restriction have been made in recent years, such as permitting the construction of skyscrapers in Lanište or Kajzerica.
According to the Constitution, the city of Zagreb, as the capital of Croatia, has special status. As such, Zagreb performs self-governing public affairs of both city and county. The city administration bodies are the city assembly as the representative body and mayor and the city government as the executive body. The members of the city assembly are elected at direct elections. They elect the mayor and members of the city government by majority vote. The city government has 11 members elected on mayor’s proposal by the city assembly by majority vote. The mayor is the head of city government and has two deputies. The city administrative bodies are composed of 12 city offices, 3 city bureaus and 3 city services. They are responsible to the mayor and the city government. Local government is organized in 17 city districts represented by City District Councils. Residents of districts elect members of councils.
The city districts (gradska četvrt) are:
|No.||District||Area (km²)||Population (2001)||Population density|
|2.||Gornji Grad - Medveščak||10.12||36,384||3,593.5|
|5.||Peščenica - Žitnjak||35.30||58,283||1,651.3|
|6.||Novi Zagreb - istok||16.54||65,301||3,947.1|
|7.||Novi Zagreb - zapad||62.59||48,981||782.5|
|8.||Trešnjevka - sjever||5.83||55,358||9,498.6|
|9.||Trešnjevka - jug||9.84||67,162||6,828.1|
|14.||Podsused - Vrapče||36.05||42,360||1,175.1|
The city assembly is composed of 51 representatives, presided by Tatjana Holjevac (ind. rep.), coming from the following political parties:
Based on the results of elections held in 2005.
Zagreb is the hub of five major Croatian highways. Until a few years ago all Croatian highways either started or ended in Zagreb.
The highways A1 and A6 start at Lučko interchange and concur until the Bosiljevo interchange. The former leads to Rijeka and forms a part of the Corridor Vb while the latter connects Zagreb and Split (as of September 2007 Šestanovac). Further extension of A1 up to Dubrovnik is in construction. Both highways are tolled.
Highway A3 (formerly named Bratstvo i jedinstvo) was the showpiece of Croatia in the SFRY. It is the oldest Croatian highway. A3 forms a part of the Pan-European Corridor X. The highway starts at the Bregana border crossing, bypasses Zagreb forming a big part of the Zagreb bypass and ends at Lipovac near the Bajakovo border crossing. It continues in Southeast Europe in the direction of Near East. This highway is tolled except for a stretch between Bobovica and Ivanja Reka interchanges.
Highway A2 is a part of the Corridor Xa. It connects Zagreb and the frequently congested Macelj border crossing forming a continuous highway-level link between Zagreb and Western Europe except for the Slovenian part, which is still just a primary route.
Forming a part of the Corridor Vb, highway A4 starts in Zagreb forming the northeastern wing of the Zagreb bypass and leads to Hungary until the Goričan broder crossing. It is the least used highway around Zagreb.
The railway running along the Sutla river and the A2 highway (Zagreb-Macelj) running through Zagorje, as well as traffic connections with the Pannonian region and Hungary (the Zagorje railroad, the roads and railway to Varaždin - Čakovec and Koprivnica) are linked with truck routes.
The southern railway connection to Split operates on a line via the Lika region (renovated in 2004 to allow for a five-hour journey); a faster line along the Una river valley is currently in use only up to the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The city has an avenue network with several main arteries up to ten lanes wide and Zagreb bypass, a congested four-lane highway encircling most of the city. There is much congestion in the city center during the rush hour and a daytime parking problem. Finding a parking space is supposed to be made somewhat easier by the construction of new underground multi-story parking lots (Importanne Center, Importanne Gallery, Lang Square, Tuškanac, Kvaternik Square, Klaić Street, etc.). The busiest roads are the main east-west artery, former Highway "Brotherhood and Unity", consisting of Ljubljanska Avenue, Zagrebačka Avenue and Slavonska Avenue; and the Vukovarska Avenue, the closest bypass of the city center. The avenues were supposed to alleviate traffic problem, but most of them are today gridlocked at rush hour and others, like Branimirova Avenue are gridlocked during the whole day.
There are also two rail traffic bridges across Sava, one near Sava bridge and one near Mičevec.
Two additional bridges across the river Sava are proposed: Jarun Bridge and Bundek Bridge.
Public transportation in the city is organized in two layers: the inner parts of the city are mostly covered by trams and the outer suburbs are linked with buses. The public transportation company, ZET (Zagrebački električni tramvaj, Zagreb Electric Tram), operating trams, all inner bus lines, and the most of the suburban lines, is subsidized by the city council.
As of 1992, the state rail operator HŽ (Hrvatske željeznice, Croatian Railways) has been developing a network of suburban trains in metropolitan Zagreb area.
Zagreb has an extensive tram network with 15 day and 4 night lines covering much of the inner- and middle-suburbs of the city. Trams commenced on September 5, 1891 and have been in continual service since. Trams usually travel at speeds of 25-50 km/h (15-30 mph), but slow considerably during rush hour. The network is unique as it operates mostly at the curb.
An ambitious program is currently underway to replace old trams with the new and modern ones built mostly in Zagreb by companies Končar elektroindustrija and, to a lesser extent, by TŽV Gredelj. Dubbed "TMK 2200", 70 trams have been delivered in 2005–2007 period, and delivery of additional 70 trams is contracted and already started.
In 2005, suburban rail services were increased to a 15-minute frequency serving the middle and outer suburbs of Zagreb, primarily in the east-west direction and to the southern districts. This has enhanced commuting opportunity.
A new link to the nearby town of Samobor has been announced and is due to start construction in 2009. This link will be standard-gauge and tie in with normal Croatian Railways operations (the previous narrow-gauge line to Samobor was closed in the 1970s).
Zagreb Airport , known as 'Pleso Airport' is the main Croatian international airport, a 20 km drive southeast of Zagreb in the suburb of Pleso. The airport is also the main Croatian airbase featuring helicopters, as well as military and freight transport aircraft. New terminal is planned for 2011 to replace the current inadequate building, with construction commencing in 2008.
Zagreb also has a second, smaller airport, Lučko . It is home to sports airplanes and a Croatian special police unit, as well as being a military helicopter airbase. Lučko used to be the main airport of Zagreb from 1947 to 1959.
The school was bombed on May 2, 1995 during the bombing of Zagreb in the Croatian war of independence.
The University of Zagreb (founded in 1669) is the oldest and one of the largest universities in southeastern Europe. Ever since its foundation, the university has been continually growing and developing and now consists of 29 faculties, three art academies and the Croatian Studies Center.
The Archaeological Museum (19 Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square) collections, today consisting of nearly 400,000 varied artifacts and monuments, have been gathered over the years from many different sources. These holdings include evidence of Croatian presence in the area. The most famous are the Egyptian collection, the Zagreb mummy and bandages with the oldest Etruscan inscription in the world (Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis), as well as the numismatic collection.
Croatian Natural History Museum
The Croatian Natural History Museum (1 Demetrova Street) holds one of the world's most important collection of Neanderthal remains found at one site. These are the remains, stone weapons and tools of prehistoric Krapina man. The holdings of the Croatian Natural History Museum comprise more than 250,000 specimens distributed among various different collections.
Museum of Technology
The Museum of Technology (18 Savska Street) was founded in 1954 and it maintains the oldest preserved machine in the area, dating from 1830, which is still operational. The museum exhibits numerous historic aircraft, cars, machinery and equipment. There are some distinct sections in the museum: the Planetarium, the Apisarium, the Mine (model of mines for coal, iron and non-ferrous metals, about 300 m long), and the Nikola Tesla study.
Museum of the City of Zagreb
The Museum of the City of Zagreb (20 Opatička Street) was established in 1907 by the Association of the Braća Hrvatskog Zmaja. It is located in a restored monumental complex (Popov toranj, the Observatory, Zakmardi Granary) of the former Convent of the Poor Clares, of 1650. The Museum deals with topics from the cultural, artistic, economic and political history of the city spanning from Roman finds to the modern period. The holdings comprise 75,000 items arranged systematically into collections of artistic and mundane objects characteristic of the city and its history.
Arts and Crafts Museum
The Arts and Crafts Museum (10 Marshal Tito Square) was founded in 1880 with the intention of preserving the works of art and craft against the new predominance of industrial products. With its 160,000 exhibits, the Arts and Crafts Museum is a national-level museum for artistic production and the history of material culture in Croatia.
The Ethnographic Museum (14 Ivan Mažuranić Square) was founded in 1919. It lies in the fine Secession building of the one-time Trades Hall of 1903. The ample holdings of about 80,000 items cover the ethnographic heritage of Croatia, classified in the three cultural zones: the Pannonian, Dinaric and Adriatic.
The museum called the "Art Collection of Ante and Wiltrud Topić Mimara" or, for short, the Mimara Museum (5 Roosevelt Square), was founded with a donation from Ante "Mimara" Topić and opened to the public in 1987. It is located in a late 19th century neo-Renaissance palace. The holdings comprise 3,750 works of art of various techniques and materials, and different cultures and civilisations.
Croatian Naïve Art Museum
The Croatian Naïve Art Museum (works by Croatian primitivists at 3 Ćirilometodska Street) is considered to be the first museum of naïve art in the world. The museum keeps works of Croatian naïve expression of the 20th century. It is located in the 18th century Raffay Palace in the Gornji Grad. The museum holdings consist of 1500 works of art - paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, mainly by Croatians but also by other well-known world artists. From time to time, the museum organizes topics and retrospective exhibitions by naïve artists, expert meetings and educational workshops and playrooms.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in 1954 and a rich collection of Croatian and foreign contemporary visual art has been collected throughout the decades. The Museum (2 St. Catherine's Square) is located in a space within the Kulmer Palace in the Gornji Grad. A new Museum building in Novi Zagreb has been under construction since 2003. The Museum's permanent art collection will be presented to the public when it moves into its new building planned for 2007.
Other museums and galleries
Valuable historical collections are also found in the Croatian School Museum, the Croatian Hunting Museum, the Croatian Sports Museum, the Croatian Post and Telecommunications Museum, the HAZU (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) Glyptotheque (collection of monuments), and the HAZU Graphics Cabinet.
The Strossmayer's Old Masters Gallery (11 Zrinski Square) offers permanent holdings presenting European paintings from the 14th to 19th centuries, and the Ivan Meštrović Studio, (8 Mletačka Street) with sculptures, drawings, lithography portfolios and other items, was a donation of this great artist to his homeland The Museum and Gallery Center (4 Jesuit Square) introduces on various occasions the Croatian and foreign cultural and artistic heritage. The Art Pavilion (22 King Tomislav Square) by Viennese architects Hellmer and Fellmer who were the most famous designers of theaters in Central Europe is a neo-classical exhibition complex and one of the landmarks of the downtown. The exhibitions are also held in the impressive Meštrović building on Zrtava Fašizma Square — the Home of Croatian Fine Artists. The World Center "Wonder of Croatian Naïve Art" (12 Ban Jelačić Square) exhibits masterpieces of Croatian naïve art as well as the works of a new generation of artists. The Modern Gallery (1 Hebrangova Street) comprises all relevant fine artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.
There are about 20 permanent or seasonal theaters and stages. The Croatian National Theater in Zagreb was built in 1895 and opened by emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. The most renowned concert hall is named "Vatroslav Lisinski", after the composer of the first Croatian opera was built in 1973.
Animafest, the World Festival of Animated Films, takes place every even-numbered year, and the Music Bienniale, the international festival of avant-garde music, every odd-numbered year. It also hosts the annual ZagrebDox documentary film festival. The Festival of the Zagreb Philharmonic and the flowers exhibition Floraart (end of May or beginning of June), the Old-timer Rally annual events. In the summer, theater performances and concerts, mostly in the Upper Town, are organized either indoors or outdoors. The stage on Opatovina hosts the Zagreb Histrionic Summer theater events.
Zagreb is also the host of Zagrebfest, the oldest Croatian pop-music festival, as well as of several traditional international sports events and tournaments. The Day of the City of Zagreb on the November 16 is celebrated every year with special festivities, especially on the Jarun lake near the southwestern part of the city.
Islamic religious organization of Croatia has the see in Zagreb. Current president is Mufti Ševko Omerbašić. A mosque used to be located at the Žrtava Fašizma Square, but it was relocated to the neighborhood of Borovje in Peščenica.
The wider Zagreb area has been continuously inhabited since the prehistoric period, as witnessed by archaeological findings in the Veternica cave from the Paleolithic and excavation of the remains of the Roman Andautonia near the present village of Ščitarjevo.
The Medvednica Mountain (Zagrebačka gora), with its highest peak Sljeme (1,033 m), provides a panoramic view of metropolitan Zagreb, the Sava and the Kupa valleys, and the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje. In mid-January 2005, Sljeme held its first World Ski Championship tournament.
From the summit, weather permitting, the vista reaches as far as Velebit Range along Croatia's rocky northern coast, as well as the snow-capped peaks of the towering Julian Alps in neighbouring Slovenia. There are several lodging villages, offering accommodation and restaurants for hikers. Skiers visit Sljeme, which has four ski-runs, three ski-lifts and a chairlift.
Old Medvedgrad, the recently restored medieval burg built in the 13th century, represents a special attraction of Medvednica hill. It overlooks the western part of the city and also has the Shrine of the Homeland, a memorial with an eternal flame, where Croatia pays reverence to all its heroes fallen for homeland in its history, customarily on national holidays. Travel agencies organize guided excursions to the surroundings as well as sightseeing in Zagreb itself.
Zagreb is an important tourist center, not only in terms of passengers travelling from Western and Central Europe to the Adriatic Sea, but also as a travel destination itself. Since the end of the war, it has attracted around half a million visitors annually, mainly from Austria, Germany and Italy. However, the city has even greater potential as many tourists that visit Croatia skip Zagreb in order to visit the beaches along the Croatian Adriatic coast and old historic Renaissance cities such as Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar.
The historical part of the city to the north of Ban Jelačić Square is composed of the Gornji Grad and Kaptol, a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings that are popular with tourists on sightseeing tours. The historic district can be reached on foot, starting from Jelačić Square, the center of Zagreb, or by a funicular on nearby Tomićeva Street.
Numerous shops, boutiques, store houses and shopping centers offer a variety of quality clothing. Zagreb's offerings include crystal, china and ceramics, wicker or straw baskets, and top-quality Croatian wines and gastronomic products.
Notable Zagreb souvenirs are the tie or cravat, an accessory named after Croats who wore characteristic scarves around their necks in the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century and the ball-point pen, a tool developed from the inventions by Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, an inventor and a citizen of Zagreb.
Many Zagreb restaurants offer various specialities of national and international cuisine. Domestic products which deserve to be tasted include turkey, duck or goose with mlinci (a kind of pasta), štrukli (cottage cheese strudel), sir i vrhnje (cottage cheese with cream), kremšnite (custard slices in flaky pastry), and orehnjača (traditional walnut roll).
There are several sports and recreational centers in Zagreb. Recreational Sports Center Jarun, situated on Jarun Lake in the southwest of the city, has fine shingle beaches, a world-class regatta course, a jogging lane around the lake, several restaurants, many night clubs and a discotheque. Its sports and recreation opportunities include swimming, sunbathing, waterskiing, angling and other water sports, but also beach volleyball, football, basketball, handball, table tennis, and minigolf.
Dom Sportova, a sport center in northern Trešnjevka features six halls. The largest two can accommodate 12,000 and 4,000 people, respectively. This center is used for basketball, handball, volleyball, hockey, gymnastics, tennis, and many others. It is also used for concerts.
Zagreb Arena is going to be finished by the end of 2008. The construction started in July 2007. It will have 16,300 seats and it will be used for many sports and events.
Sports Park Mladost, situated on the embankment of the Sava river, has an Olympic-size swimming pool, smaller indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a sunbathing terrace, 16 tennis courts as well as basketball, volleyball, handball, football and field hockey courts. A volleyball sports hall is within the park.
Sports and Recreational Center Šalata, located in Šalata, only a couple hundred meters from the Jelačić Square, is most attractive for tennis players. It comprises a big tennis court and eight smaller ones, two of which are covered by the so-called "balloon", and another two equipped with lights. The center also has swimming pools, basketball courts, football fields, a gym and fitness center, and a four-lane bowling alley. Outdoor ice skating is a popular winter recreation. There are also several fine restaurants within and near the center.
Maksimir Tennis Center, located in Ravnice east of downtown, consists of two sports blocks. The first comprises a tennis center situated in a large tennis hall with four courts. There are 22 outdoor tennis courts with lights. The other block offers multipurpose sports facilities: apart from tennis courts, there are handball, basketball and indoor football grounds, as well as track and field facilities, a bocci ball alley and table tennis opportunities.
Recreational swimmers can enjoy a smaller-size indoor swimming pool in Daničićeva Street, and a newly opened indoor Olympic-size pool at Utrine sports center in Novi Zagreb. Skaters can skate in the skating rink on Trg Sportova (Sports Square) and on the lake Jarun Skaters' park. Hippodrome Zagreb offers recreational horseback riding opportunities, while horse races are held every weekend during the warmer part of the year.
The 40,000-seat Maksimir Stadium, currently under renovation, is located in Maksimir in the northeastern part of the city. Upon renovation, it will seat 55,000 spectators, and sport a fully retractable roof. The stadium is part of the immense Svetice recreational and sports complex (ŠRC Svetice), south of the Maksimir Park. The complex covers an area of . It is part of a significant Green Zone, which passes from Medvednica Mountains in the north toward the south. ŠRC Svetice, together with Maksimir Park, creates an ideal connection of areas which are assigned to sport, recreation and leisure.
The latest larger recreational facility is Bundek, a group of two small lakes near the Sava in Novi Zagreb, surrounded by a partly forested park. The location had been used prior to the 1970s, but then went to neglect until 2006 when it was renovated.
|NK Dinamo Zagreb||Croatian First Football League||Maksimir Stadium||1911 Građanski, Formed in '''1945|
|NK Zagreb||Croatian First Football League||Stadium Kranjčevićeva||1903|
|NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac||Croatian Second Football League||Stadion u Sigetu||1975|
|KK Cibona||Euroleague, NLB League (regional) and A1 Basketball League (national)||Dražen Petrović Basketball Hall||1946|
|KK Zagreb||NLB League (regional) and A1 Basketball League (national)||Športska Dvorana Trnsko||1970|
|KK Cedevita Zagreb||A1 Basketball League||Športska Dvorana Sutinska Vrela||1991|
|RK Zagreb||Croatian First League of Handball||Dom Sportova||1922|
|HAVK Mladost||Croatian First Water polo League||PVC Mladost na Savi||1946|
|AOK Mladost||Croatian 1A Volleyball League||Dom Odbojke||1945|
|HARK Mladost||Interleague (regional) and Croatian Rugby League||ŠRC Mladost||1954|
|PK Medveščak||ŠRC Šalata|
|VK Medveščak||Croatian First Water polo League||ŠRC Šalata||1946|
|Ski klub Medveščak||Sljeme|
Zagreb is officially twinned with the following towns and cities: