City of Hearts

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Zagreb the capital city of Croatia  is clearly divided into Upper & Lower Town by the long Sava River. The city is largely centred in the North with the Medvednica Mountain range in the background. It is also the most populated city in Croatia with about 790,000 residents.

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Kaptol which is part of the Upper Town ( Gornji Grad) & Medveščak city district is probably the most photographed square in Zagreb, Croatia.

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Facing the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary is the Column of St. Mary along Kaptol ulica.

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Roman Catholic Zagreb Cathedral or the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is situated in Kaptol. At the base of the Column of St Mary is a fountain with 4 angels which was built in 1873 by Austrian sculptor Anton Dominick Ritter von Fernkorn (1813-1878).

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The main nave collapsed & the tower was damaged beyond repair in the earthquake of 1880; as a result two prominent spires rising 108m (354ft) on the western side were added in the restoration works.

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An impressive entrance portal to this monolith which was built mid-13th century in Gothic style whilst the cathedral was  reconstructed during the 19th century in Neo-Gothic, led by architect Hermann Bollé.

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King Ladislaus (1040-1095) founded the Zagreb Diocese in 1094 & under his auspices the Cathedral’s construction began shortly after his death & was completed in 1217. This sacral Gothic monument was dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, King St Stephen & St Ladislaus.

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Interior of Zagreb Cathedral with the high nave, altar & beautiful stained glass windows. I sat in the pews to bask in this beauteous sanctuary  & to allow the tranquillity to saturate my soul.

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Interesting  ceramic floor tiles in romanesque designs.

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Dolac Market is the most well known farmer’s market in Zagreb. It is a traditional  open market where farmers from surrounding villages come & sell their produce & handicrafts since 1926. Freshest fruit, flowers, vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, honey, lace craft etc. I enjoyed a whole punnet of raspberries for €2

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Within the sheltered area is the Fish (Ribarnica) market & butchers. Dolac Market is located right behind the town’s main square, Ban Jelačić Square & is open every day except on Mondays.

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Autumn’s offerings –  My late mother recounted that she craved chestnuts when she was pregnant with me in her 3rd trimester & would send my Dad out to buy them late in the night. Little wonder then…that I am born in November!

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Licitars magnets-  Licitars are colourfully decorated biscuits made of sweet honey dough & shaped like hearts which are a cultural heritage & symbol of Zagreb. It takes about a month to make a one & it is used as an ornamental gift & is given out at celebrations such as weddings & St Valentine’s Day. At Christmas time the city & the Christmas tree in the town square  would be festooned with thousands of licitars. UNESCO listed it in 2010 as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Croatian culture.

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Walking down slope through narrow Skalinska ulica, we chanced upon Trattoria Leonardo where I had a satisfying Quattro Formaggi Gnocchi for lunch.

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Fabergé inspired perhaps? The four seasons of Croatia have been painted on this egg-citing sculpture.

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An irresistble  invitation to Tea in Zagreb, Croatia.

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Along ulica Ivana Tkalčića are many trendy bars & restaurants to hang out & people-watch.

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Austo-Hungarian architecture

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Walking uphill along  cobbledstone streets -Radiceva ulica in the Old Town of Zagreb is a lovely experience as you get to see the well preserved façades  of Austro-Hungarian  architecture.

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Elegant arch-porches & signages in Zagreb’s Old Town.

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Croat mercenaries wore coloured scarves around their necks when they went to Paris to fight against protesters in the Thirty Years War. The French found it more practical than the lace ones they used & soon this new fad took Europe by a storm. Croatia takes pride in being the originators of the Kravata or necktie & tourists can pick up an  silk tie for an  authentic souvenir.

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Continuing along Radićeva ulica we soon reached Kamenita ulica & was greeted by this statue  sculpted by Winder & Kompatscher in 1906. It depicts St George in a meditative state, seated on a horse with a dead monster beneath its legs. The saint has been cast in bronze & the monster sculpted from red breccia stone.

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Stone Gate (Kamenita vrata) existed since 1266 &  was part of the city’s  wall fortifications. It  has survived damages sustained in 4 different fires dating 1645, 1674, 1706 & 1731 when most of the wooden houses in the city  were gutted.

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In the last fire of 1731 only the painting of Virgin Mary with baby Jesus remained intact. The owner of the painting, a widow named Modlar built this chapel inside Stone Gate guarded by this Baroque fence in 1778. Countless prayers were answered & the many grateful devotees & citizens in Zagreb engraved plaques as a testament to this sacred site.

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Parliament Palace is where the Croatian Parliament (Sabor Republike Hrvatske) meets. It is the unicameral representative body of the citizens of the Republic of Croatia with 151 seats, since the constitutional amendment of 2001.

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Outside the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia (Ustavni sud Republike Hrvatske) which is the judicial  watch-dog of the Croatian Constitution where conformity to law,  the protection of human rights & the freedom of citizens is monitored.

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Ban’s Court (Banski dvori) standing on the west side of St Mark’s Square is the historical official residence of the Croatian viceroys (Bans) currently occupied by the Croatian government.

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Love is in the air – Church of St Mark (Crkva svetog Marka) is a Parish church in Zagreb which was completed during the 13th century with Late Gothic & Romanesque features.

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St Mark’s Square (Trg svetog Marka)  is dominated by Church of St Mark  (Crkva svetog Marka) which has an attractive & outstanding roof depicting the Coat of arms of Zagreb (White castle on Red background) & the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia & Dalmatia. This is the site of  Presidential inaugurations & the last was in 2015 when Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic swore in as President of the Republic of Croatia.

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The South Portal is one of the most valuable in South Central Europe with 15 effigies placed in 11 shallow niches, believed to be sculpted by the Parler family from Prague at the end of 14th century. The top 2 statues are of Joseph & Mary with baby Jesus, below them is St Mark with the Lion & the surrounding figures are of the 12 Apostles.

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Window to the world outside – taken along Ćirilometodska ulica, Zagreb.

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Greek Catholic Co-Cathedral of St Cyril & Methodius (Sveti Ćiril i Metod) opened since 1886 was for the believers from the Žumberak Mountains , Uskoks & clerics living around Zagreb. There are 3 bells in the 50m belfry; the largest weighing 782kg is dedicated to St Cyril & Methodius, the medium bell 395kg is dedicated to Mother of God & the small bell weighing 230kg to Basil of Ostrog.

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Greek Catholic Cathedral of St Cyril & Methodius along Ćirilomethodska ulica has a connecting seminary,  parish office  & a hall with sacristy.

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Church of St Catherine (Akademska Crkva svetog Katarine) is a Roman Catholic church  built during the 17th century when the Jesuits arrived in Zagreb. Originally the site of a Dominican church this Baroque structure was refurbished twice in 1645 & 1674 with the help of Croatian nobles when fires destroyed the interior.

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View of the  greater part of Zagreb from the vantage picture spot at Strossmayerovo šetalište.

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Lotrščak Tower (Kula Lotrščak) is a fortified tower in the Old part of town called Gradec or Gornji grad (Upper Town) which dates from the 13th century. It guarded the southern gate of the Gradec town wall.

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I took this more than 100 years old Funicular at Uspinjača back to Lower Town but you can choose to walk the long stairways down too. A bell was hung in Lotrščak Tower in 1646 & it was sounded to signal the closing of the city gates. The Grič Cannon (Kula Lotrščak i Grički top)  was installed on 1st Jan 1877 & it is found on the 4th level of the tower which was fired at mid-day in the days of yore as a signal  to the bell-ringers of the city’s churches. Don’t be alarmed, as you can still hear it fired at noon daily!

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The first electric tram track was opened on 18th Aug 1910 & these latest TMK 2200K Tram running along IIica came into service since 30th Jun 2010. They are air-conditioned  with cameras installed inside & outside, low-floored with redesigned seat layout; have wider passages & run at a maximum speed of 70km/h.

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Main thoroughfare & shopping street in Old Town of  Zagreb – llica

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Ban Jelačić Square (Trg bana Josipa Jelačića) is part of the pedestrian zone & this central square is also the most common meeting place for people in Zagreb. The colourful façades here are of different architectural styles ranging from classicism,secession & modernism.

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A large statue of Ban Josip Jelačić on horseback created by Austrian sculptor Anton Dominik Fernkorn was installed on 19th Oct 1866. It was removed by the Yugoslav Communist regime in 1947 as Jelačić was denounced  as a ‘servant of foreign interests’ only to be returned a hero  on 11th Oct 1990 after the breakup of Yugoslavia & the elections in Croatia.

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In 1987  whilst the city square was repaved with stone blocks, the workmen uncovered  the underground Medveščak stream & Manduševac Fountain buried in 1898  on the eastern part of Ban Jelačić Square. At Christmas tide this square is adorned with Christmas trees & lights.

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When the sunsets… darkness engulf  the city but the hope of a new dawn awaits!

Zagreb lies in the northwest of the Republic of Croatia along the Sava River at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. This capital city is rich with history dating from the Roman times & though it is not the tourism cash cow of Croatia; the  warm atmosphere in this city of hearts & the  wide range of museums & galleries to enough to  pique anyone’s interest.

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