Lower Town, Zagreb Donji Grad
Donji Grad (Lower Town) is a relatively modern area of Zagreb, with museums, galleries and the National Theatre. This area, also known as the horseshoes, is spread out around numerous parks, which form a U shape. The beautiful main square of Donji Grad is Trg Josip Jelacica, (Trg Bana Jelacica) which is serviced by most of the trams. To the north of the square is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Gornji Grad. To the south is lies the majority of sights in Donji Grad.Unlike the rambling street in the Upper Town, the Lower town is laid out in a more organized grid pattern. The area is lined by squares and gardens, giving it a unique appeal.
Lower Town Map
Zagreb's Archeological Museum (Arheoloski Muzej) has five main collections, with the general focus being on Croatia. There are approximately 400,000 pieces from Croatia, many of which are from the Zagreb area. The five sections include prehistoric, Egyptian, ancient, medieval, and coins.On display are Egyptian mummies, the cloth from the Mummy of Zagreb showing script in Etruscan which has yet to be deciphered, Greek vases, and a medieval section focusing on the "Great Migrations of the Peoples". One of the most important pieces in the Archeological Museum is the Head of Plautilla from the ancient town of Salona. The extensive coin collection includes Greek, Celtic, Roman, Byzantine and modern pieces and is considered one of the best in Europe.The Archeological Museum is housed in the Vraniczany-Hafner Palace and has an outdoor style café in the summer.
The Ethnographic Museum (Etnografski Muzej) is one of the best of its kind in Croatia and definitely worth a stop while in Zagreb. The extensive collection shows the cultural history of Croatia with exhibits of ceramics, jewelry, gold, musical instruments, textiles, tools, weapons and elaborate costumes. The traditional folk costumes are worth the visit, with various colors and styles illustrating the regional diversity throughout Croatia. Note the lace from the island of Pag, and the gold embroidery in the scarves from Slovenia.There is also a section with displays from South America, Africa, Japan, and the South Pacific, donated by Croatians who have traveled to these areas. The entire collection totals almost 80,000 pieces, although less than 4% is on display at any one time in the Ethnographic Museum.
Museum of Mimara
The Museum of Mimara (Muzej Mimara) was created by the city of Zagreb to house the collection donated by Ante Topic Mimara in 1972. Mimara was a private collector from Zagreb, who spent most of his life in Austria. The Museum of Mimara is housed in an 1895 Neo-Renaissance building designed by German architects Ludwig and Hulsner.The extensive collection covers a wide range of items from a variety of locations and time periods. The archaeological collection contains pieces from Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, the Middle East, the Far East, India, and Inca and Pre-Inca South America.There is a large glass collection from Europe and other Mediterranean countries, furniture from the middle ages, and sculptures from ancient Greece. Paintings include works by Dutch artists Rembrandt and Ruisdael, Italian artists Raphael, Veronese, Flemish painters Bosch, Rubens, and Van Dyck, and Spanish painters, Velazques, Murillo and Goya. French and English artists are represented by the works of Renoir, Degas, Boucher, and Delacroix. Sculptures by Auguste Roden and Jean-Antoine Houdon are also on display.
Museum of Arts and Crafts
The Museum of Arts and Crafts (Muzej Za Umjetnosti i Obrt) at first appears to be a mix of different art forms from different time periods and regions. However, when the museum was originally opened in 1880 it was intended to hold a collection of works by craftsman and artists from Zagreb and other areas of Croatia. Over the years the collection has grown to more than 160,000 pieces from Croatia and various European countries.On display at the Museum of Arts and Crafts are textiles, including a famous embroidery from Varazdin and tapestries from Tournai, Antwerp and Brussels. There are also collections of jewelry, musical instruments, Gothic and baroque sculptures, metal, glass, furniture, paintings, chandeliers, bells, rings, clocks, toys, ceramics and other miscellaneous items. Next door is a library with an extensive collection of books on arts and crafts. The library also occasionally has temporary exhibits.
Zagreb's Art Pavilion (Umjetnicki Paviljon) was established at this location following its debut at the international exhibition in Budapest in 1896. It was constructed in Budapest and following the exhibition, the iron frame work was transported to Zagreb where it was constructed in its current form by Viennese architects Helmer and Fellner. The building is a yellow, Art Nouveau style structure that is used for changing exhibitions of contemporary art. In front of the Art Pavilion is a piece by Croatian artist Ivan Mestrovic. It is the oldest exhibition hall of its kind in Croatia and the only building designed for hosting large exhibitions. The pavilion faces Trg Kralja Tomislava and a statue commemorating the first King of Croatia.
Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters
The Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters (Strossmayerova Galerija Starih Majstora) is located on the second floor of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences, in the Lower Town of Zagreb. This 19th Century neo-Renaissance building was commissioned by Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer in the 1870s to house the Academy and later, the Gallery of Old Masters , containing a collection of almost 600 pieces of art which he himself donated. Other private collectors have also donated to the collection over the years.On display at the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters are works by G Bellini, Veronese, Tiepolo, Bartolomeo Caporali, Proudhon, Carpeaux, Brueghel, Van Kyck, and the Croatian artists Medulic and Benkovic. There is also a sculpture by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.
Croatian Artists Centre
The Croatian Artists Centre (Dom Hrvatskih Likovnih Umjetnika) in Trg Zrtava Fasizma, is an exhibition space for contemporary artists in Zagreb and throughout Croatia. The centre displays artworks in a variety of mediums with regularly changing exhibitions.The building which houses the Croatian Artists Centre is very unusual and has a unique history. The round structure, dominated by square columns, was designed by Ivan Mestrovic, a Croatian sculptor. A round pool with fountains which sits in front, complements the building. It was originally intended to be an exhibition pavilion, but was also later used as a mosque, before being set up as the Croatian Artists Centre.
Croatian National Theatre
Built in 1895 by Viennese architects Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner, the Croatian National Theatre (Hrvatsko Narodno Kazaliste) in Zagreb sits at the beginning (the northwest corner) of the "green horseshoe" in Donji Grad. It was officially opened on October 14, 1894, by the Emperor Franz Joseph I. The imposing yellow structure in Trg Marsala, is a landmark feature in the Lower Town. The building is a Neo-baroque and Rococo style, with two small domes at the front and a larger dome towards the back. The interior contains artworks by Vlaho Bukovac, and "The Well of Life" by Ivan Mestrovic.The Croatian National Theatre presents opera, ballet, and drama performances.
The Botanical Garden (Botanicki Vrt) in Zagreb was originally built as a research area for the Zagreb University's Faculty of Botany. It was designed by botany professor Antun Heinz, and encompasses approximately 50,000 sq m / 540,000 sq ft. The park is part of the series of parks which form the "green horseshoe" in Donji Grad.On the grounds are an arboretum, two ponds which are home to a variety of aquatic plants, an ornamental bridge, and plants from all over the world with some 10,000 different plant species. The Botanical Garden is a nice escape from the city and a great place to relax or take a walk in the Lower Town.
Gallery of Modern Art
The Gallery of Modern Art (Moderna Galerija) is located in Donji Grad in the Vraniczany Palace, built in 1882. The gallery is home to works by 19th and 20th Century Croat artists. The Gallery of Modern Art opened in 1973, but the institution dates from the early 1900s, when it began acquiring important pieces by such artists and Ivan Mestrovic, Mirko Racki and F Bilak. The collection has grown through the years and now displays works by Ljubo Babic, Miljenko Stancic, V Karas, M Masic, Emanuel Vidovic, and a host of other well known Croat artists.The Gallery of Modern Art also hosts temporary exhibitions.