Weekend in Zagreb

Zagreb downtown

Bok decki or better say Hello people. The journey goes on after good times I had on Exit festival in Novi Sad. This time I was in Zagreb, capital of  the Republic of Croatia. Once up on a time Croatia was a part of great SFRJ, but since the collapse in 1992  it is independent  state admitted to the UN. Zagreb has around 780.000 citizens, so it’s not very big city. It is cultural and administrative center and the biggest city in Croatia. It is located in he southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin. The oldest settlement in the urban area of Zagreb was a Roman town of Andautonia, now Scitarjevo which dates back to the 1st century AD. The first recorded appearance of the name Zagreb is dated to 1094, at which time the city existed as two different city centers: the smaller, eastern Kaptol, inhabited mainly by clergy and housing Zagreb cathedral, and the larger, western Gradec, inhabited mainly by farmers and merchants. Gradec and Zagreb were united in 1851 by ban Josoip Jelacic, who was credited for this,  naming the main city square in his honor.

I spent there 3 days with my friend Ana from Ljubljana, who I met in Portugal in 2007. I haven’t seen her for ages, so this trip was a kind of reunion. We were situated in long Ilica street which leads to Bana Jelacica square. The center of Zagreb is quite dynamic. There is a lot of people passing by, chilling and watching folklore events ( you can see it in a photo). Downtown of the city is very beautiful. One can see a Lot of old architecture, also one really nice communistic piece. I am sorry I don’t have a good picture of that building, I actually love communistic architecture. The city is very clean, tidy and settled. Gas lamps in the streets with flower pots provide a special atmosphere. The trams are quite modern, not vintage like in Belgrade and very useful for moving around the city. There are signs posted on almost every corner and it is easy to get by around the city. Especially if you travel with somebody like Ana, who is really good guide.

 

My Zagreb street style

The city seems quite smooth and peaceful. There is a lot of tourists. Zagrebcani (citizens of Zagreb in Croatian) were quite polite and in a good mood everywhere. Seems to me that they managed to maximize the full potential of the city, which is quite good. The prices in the city are not that high, but are slightly higher than in Belgrade. Second night we had a drink in one alternative bar in popular street. I had Ozujsko beer with lemon it was around 2 euros. Currently,  there are a lot of sales and discounts in the stores. So, I mange to buy one cool jacket for 200 kuna which is around 30 euro. Citizens of Croatia are waiting to become the part of EU,they are trying that for so long, but I am not so sure how good that will bring them.

I recommend to visit city market. There is a many cool thing there to find like: records, retro and vintage jewelry and sunglasses, books and other cool stuff. I bought one nice second-hand vintage necklace for 3 euros.You can palter about prices on the market.

Zagreb’s cathedral is the most beautiful sacral architectural building and the symbol of the city of Zagreb. Made in neo-Gothic style. The cathedral is dedicated to Virgin Marry. Just to note that Croats are Catholics.

Cathedral of Virgin Marry the symbol of the city of Zagreb

Some other beautiful church in the city

Since, I have interests  in society and arts, I had to visit few museums like: Gallery Mestrovic, Archaeological museum, Museum of modern art and Museum of broken relationships. Gallery Mestrovic (Galerija Meštrović) is located in a hear of the city. It is a lovely place where people can see some of the works from well-known Croat and Yugoslavian sculptor and architect Ivan Mestrovic (Ivan Meštrović). Ivan Mestrovic (1883-1962) is the greatest sculptor of religious subject matter since the Renaissance. He was the first person who had solo exhibition in Metropolitan museum of art in NYC. He was born in Vrpolje, studied in Vienna and later moved to Paris and NYC. 

I think I didn’t notice that curators noted  that Mestrovic was not just Croatian, but also Yugoslavian artist. Which is a big minus if you ask me. He did works all around Yugoslavia, also in Belgrade on Avala and Kalemegdan fortress. He was one of the Yugoslav greats.

The best thing I saw on this trip was guess what?? The modern art museum (Muzej Suvremene umetnosti) located in suburb of Zagreb. The building itself it’s quite interesting. Like in every gallery there is a 50% discount for students. Permanent exhibition is set on a three floors. There is so much good art works. There you can feel the smell of Yugoslavian culture, history, communism, war, everything….and it’s just awesome.

Me taking Iphone photo of Hans Haacke art piece, if you can’t read Serbo-Croatian I am sorry, but it’s your lost…

From right to left: Mira Furlan (Yugoslavian actress), Ena Begovic ( Yugoslavian actress), Stipe Suvar (Yugoslavian politician)

                                                                                               Art work named Four seasons

Modern art museum has also a space with two floors for current exhibitions. Now, there is exhibition named Objects without dignity by Slovenian artist Duba Sambolec. But, I didn’t understand quite well her art. Also, museum has the nice restaurant with free internet. The whole museum is very well-arranged and sophisticated. Even plates in toilets are cool, marked with different artistic quotes. Good for Zagreb…..http://www.msu.hr

                                                          Art work about war in Bosnia

My friend Ana drinking and eating cherry pie in minimalistic  interior of the bar in MSU

The last museum I have visited is Archaeology museum, located in the center. The building is big and old, has a red carpet and it’s similar to National museum in Belgrade. But, in Zagreb this museum actually works properly. There is tree floors. Spaces with Prehistoric artifacts, Egyptian, Greek & Roman and early Slavic. Since, I actually studied archaeology I know that Croatia is a big and rich archaeological field. So, I expected to see more from Roman and Slavic archaeology. But, at the end I spoke with a guy from museum and He told me that museum is going to present more material in further future, because they are facing the luck of financial resources.

In one special room with low temperature Archaeology museum hides the mummy

And last, but not the least is Museum of Broken relationships. It’s also located in the center of the city. It’s small, but quite bizarre museum. This museum is a very smart marketing trick to attract tourists from all around the glob. Collects random objects from all around the world with personal sad stories, about lost love. There are objects from USA, Japan, Greece, Berlin, Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana and so on. Objects like teddy bears, keys, letters, rings, dress even an ax. I notice that it’s lacking Severina’s porn movie, it would be nice thing to have. But, museum has nice gift shop and a lovely bar crowded with people drinking wine and gossiping in quite nice interior.

At the end just to conclude that I had really good time in Zagreb. It is very lovely city to visit. I recommend it very much.

ZAGREB ROCKS!!!!

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