Zagreb has always been an attractive city. Long time ago, during the middle ages, people used to go to Zagreb for large annual fairs and, later on, for commercial exhibitions. Currently, the main motif for visiting Zagreb are numerous cultural, entertainment and sports events. The people of Zagreb started preparing for their guests a long time ago. The first coffee shops opened all the way back in the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, even more inns were built as well as the first large hotel in the city. During the middle of the century, the first money exchange office was opened and the first tourist map of the city and its vicinity was printed. The arrival of the railway in 1862 transformed Zagreb into a modern mid-European city. The first tourist guides who were multi-lingual even back then familiarised the guests not only with the history, but also with Zagreb’s position, institutions and landmarks, that is, everything that the city featured back then. Today, Zagreb is not much different than other cities, but thousands of small details make it unique. The city, as the guests confirm, is a pleasant city. Its size is ideal for anyone. With a lot of green surfaces, areas for walking and recreation, you can get anywhere on foot. It is also a lively city where there is always something happening. The streets and cafes are always full of people. It is a happy combination of the mid-European coffee shop tradition and the Mediterranean street life tradition. Perhaps the secret of pleasurable visits to Zagreb is its harmony with the surroundings. The Medvednica Mountain on the north, the open area under it and the River Sava on the south, the Cathedral, the temple of heaven, is on the east side and Sabor (the Parliament) and Banski dvori, the hubs of the worldly powers, are on the west side. Nowadays, Zagreb is visited by more than a million guests per year. Hospitality, imagination and agility of the people of Zagreb as hosts has been recognized in the world. It has been getting international awards and recognition during the last few years. Regardless of the time of year you visit Zagreb, you are sure to be impressed with its past, values and beauty. Furthermore, you will be able to enjoy homemade gastro specialties. Croatian tourism is, among other things, a combination of tradition and gastronomy. These two stamps symbolise this fortunate combination in Zagreb.
The St. Mark Square, along with the Church of St. Mark, has not significantly changed since its creation in 1242. It was the hub of the public and political life, first as the free royal city of Gradec, that is, Zagreb, and then of entire Croatia. At this square, in front of the Church of St. Mark dating back to 1256, the city authorities have been getting confirmed and counts took their oaths. In 1992, Dr. Franjo Tuđman, the first president of independent Croatia, renewed this beautiful tradition. The greatest artistic value of this church is its Gothic portal on the south side. What makes this church especially interesting is its roof covered with colourful glazed roof tiles. A historical coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia is displayed on its left side and the coat of arms of the City of Zagreb with its gates wide open, a symbol of hospitality of the people of Zagreb, is displayed on its right side.
The Dolac Market, a tourist attraction visited by almost every other city guest, opened back in 1930. It is an important part of the city's gastro offer because there is no good food without quality healthy ingredients. For centuries, the hard working women from the countryside around Zagreb have been bringing baskets full of homemade and home-grown products to the city on a daily basis. As a token of their appreciation, the people of Zagreb have erected a statue of “kumica Barica”, a peasant woman, on the Dolac Market. Today, in addition to the local produce, you can go to Dolac to buy vegetables from Dalmatia, fresh fish that arrives every day from the Adriatic, as well as a traditional Croatian specialty and a type of a Croatian countryside brand – cheese and cream.
If you come to Zagreb, you are sure to its full, but still calm city rhythm. Perhaps, because of all this, you will wish to come back again.
Professor Miroslav Šašić