Upper Town, Zagreb Gornji Grad
The cobble stone streets with red tile roof buildings of the medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town) are a beautiful place to start a sightseeing tour of Zagreb. Gornji Grad is home to the cities Cathedral, parliament building, numerous museums, and churches. This is the most beautiful area of the Zagreb and a good place to spend a day or at least a few hours.Gornji Grad was once two separate towns known as Kaptol and Gradec, now the two districts which make up the Upper Town. A famous stone gate marks the entrance to the eastern side of Gradec Town. Kaptol Square is the central area of Gronji Grad. The buildings around this area date back to the 1600s. At the opposite end of the district is the Dolac fruit and vegetables market.
Upper Town Map
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was formerly known as St Stephen's Cathedral. The twin Spires of the Cathedral are a landmark feature of Zagreb and the most famous structure in Zagreb. A cathedral has stood on this spot for hundreds of years. The first cathedral built here was destroyed by the Tartar invasion in the 13th century. The current structure was built in the later half of the 13th Century, although many alterations and renovations have been made since that time, changing the structure almost completely. Most recently, the earthquake of 1880 destroyed large sections of the Cathedral, including the dome and the bell tower.The reconstruction that proceeded after the quake maintained the original medieval design.The Cathedral Treasury contains fine works of religious art, garments, and objects.
Church of St Catherine
The Jesuit Church of St. Catherine was built the in first half of the 17th Century and is considered one of the finest churches in Zagreb. The interior of the church contains some beautiful Baroque art. Stucco reliefs by the Italian artist Antonio Quadrio date from the 1720s. The ceiling of the nave contains medallions with scenes depicting the life of St Catherine, by Giulio Quaglia. Also of note in St Catherine's Church is the Altar of St Ignatius by Francesco Robba. Behinda the main Altar, dating from 1762, is the fresco, "St Catherine among Alexandrine Philosophers and Writers", by Kristof Andrej JelovsekThe church has suffered damage on several occasions from earthquakes but the baroque exterior has remained relatively intact.
Tower of Lotrscak
The Tower of Lotrscak (Kula Lotrscak), which dates to the 13th Century, was built to guard the southern gate of the Gradec town wall. The square Romanesque tower once held a bell, which rang out each night prior to the closing of the gates. After such time anyone left outside the gates would have to remain there for the night. In the 19th century a fourth floor and windows were added to the Tower of Lotrscak and a cannon was placed on the top. The cannon has been fired every day at noon since that time. It is supposed to mark a historical event in Zagreb's history but is most commonly used to set watches.Visitors can climb the tower for stunning views over the city. In the tower visitors will find an exhibition gallery and gift shops.
Church of St Mark
The Church of St Mark is easily recognizable by its brightly colored tile roof, bearing the coats of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, Savonia, and Zagreb city. The roof was actually a recent addition, which took place in the late 1800s. The first Church of St Mark was documented as far back as the mid 1200s. Since that time many changes have been made to the church but a Romanesque window, and a Gothic doorway by Ivan Parler, still remain from the original structure. A series of niches in the door contain statues of the twelve apostles, along with Jesus, Mary, and St Mark.The interior contains some statues by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. There are also frescoes painted by Jozo Kljakovic.
The City Museum (Muzej Grada Zagreba), in Zagreb's Upper Town, is comprised of the Convent of St. Clair, a tower from the 1100s, and a 17th Century granary, and is built along the eastern town wall. It has been in operation since 1907 and houses 12 collections which include almost 75,000 pieces. Together the collections describe the history of Zagreb through documents, maps, art, archeological finds, and other historical pieces. Among the items on display is a scale model of the old town of Gradec. The City Museum also has interactive museums to interest children.The collection is the result of donations by local citizens, including famous figures from the Croatian arts community.
The Croatian Sabor runs along the east side of Markov Trg. This Neo-Classical style building was constructed in 1908 and has been the site of many historical events over the past century. In 1918 the secession of Croatia from the Austro-Hungarian Empire was announced from the balcony of the Sabor. In 1991 the decision was made at the Sabor to cut ties with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and become and independent nation. Later that same year the Parliament was hit by a bomb. This parliament building is still the center of Croatian politics.Although the Croatian Sabor has an interesting history, the building itself pales in comparison to much of the architecture in Gornji Grad.
Ban's Palace (Viceroy's Palace, Ban's Court Palace)
Ban's Palace (Banski dvori), or the Viceroy's Palace as it is also called, is located in front of the Church of St Mark. This building resembles the parliament building, but is comprised of two 18th Century baroque, single storey mansions. Ban's Palace contains the parliament chamber, the archives, law courts, the Presidents residence and government offices. In Zagreb, Ban's Palace is often referred to as the Viceroy's Palace due to the fact that it was once the seat of the Croatian viceroys.During the summer months, April to September, a changing of the guard ceremony is held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at noon.
Mestrovic Gallery (Ivan Mestrovic's Studio)
The Mestrovic Gallery (Atelje Mestrovic) is housed in a 17th century home where Ivan Mestrovic once lived and sculpted. On display in the house are his sculptures in wood, stone, and bronze, as well as drawings, furniture and lithographs. The pieces, more than 300 in total, represent a variety of themes including, religion, portraiture, and nude.Ivan Mestrovic is the most recognized Croatian artist and a world renowned 20th Century sculptor. He was recognized at a young age by the mayor of his town, who sent him to Zagreb. He studied in Zagreb and later moved to Paris where he became friends with Auguste Rodin. One of Mestrovic's most famous works, Pieta Romana, is on display in the Vatican.
The Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata) in Zagreb's Gornji Grad is the last remaining of the five gates which once stood. They were the entrances through the walls around Gradec, the district next to Kaptol. The Stone Gate, which was the eastern Gate to Gradec town, was built in the 13th Century, as was the adjacent tower. As the story goes, in 1731 a fire destroyed much of this area, burning all the houses to the ground. The gate displayed a painting of Mary and Jesus which was "miraculously" undamaged by the fire. To protect the painting a chapel was built and the painting remains behind a metal grille. The painting is visited regularly by people who come to pray and leave gifts.
Croatian Museum of Naïve Art
The Croatian tradition of naïve art is well represented at the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art (Hrvatski Muzej Naivne Umjetnosti) through the works of such well known artists as Ivan Generalic, Mraz, MirkoVirius, and Smaljic. Also on display are similar style works by international artists. Those not familiar with Croatian naïve art may not find it particularly pleasing but it is unique to say the least.The Croatian Museum of Naïve Art is housed in a 19th Century Neo-Baroque building, located south of Trg Sv Marka. It opened in 1994 to house collections from the 1952 Naïve painters' exhibition in Zagreb.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum (Hrvatski Prirodoslovni Muzej) is housed in the Amadeo Palace, which operated as a theatre from the late 1700s to 1834. In 1868 the Palace Amadeo opened as the Natural History Museum, and remains one of the foremost museums in Zagreb. In 1986 the collection was expanded to include the collection from the Natural Science Department at the National Museum.The museum houses some 2.5 million pieces, including minerals from around the world, an extensive zoological collection documenting a huge variety of plants and animals from all over Croatia, and finds from the excavation of the Krapina Cave.