Oct. 2, 2015:
Zagreb- finally a focus on something other than the war! Our first day we woke up and went on a walking tour of the Lower Town (Donji Grad) which is the modern part of town with all its office buildings and financial center. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia with over 800,000 people in the northern part of the country. Still in the heart of Slavonia, which means fresh produce is abundant. A goodly part of it was on display as we walked into the main town square (Jelačića square). From there, we took a funicular up to the Upper Town (Gornji Grad); which is the old part of town. There were two hilltops which used to be divided into two medieval settlements-Gradec and Kaptol. However, the two were united early in the Renaissance period and all the houses of state are located in the Gradec portion around a square centered by a beautiful church which is crowned by a stunning painted tile roof.
Seeing this, we all immediately thought of Legos.
The Gradec portion of the old town is home to many of the most notable museums in Zagreb, including the Museum of Naïve Art and the Museum of Broken Relationships.
To get to the Kaptol portion of the Donji Grad, you walk through a stone passageway with a mini-altar to the Virgin Mary. Lit by candles during the day, people pray here and sing hymns all the time.
On the other side, we walked down the cobbled streets and experienced market day in the Upper Town at the Dolac market. We walked among the vendors, stopping to try some of the abundant fruit on display. The market also sells some of the local handicrafts. Croatia is particularly well known for its linens and carved wooden implements and wooden toys.
Next, we walked to the medieval Gothic Cathedral of St. Stephen. Its twin spires can be seen from almost everywhere in Zagreb. While at St. Stephen’s, we saw the old original medieval walls and two turrets.
Zagreb, and much of this part of Croatia reaching into Bosnia is very seismically active, and part of the Cathedral was destroyed in 1880, when its neo-Gothic façade was added. Our tour ended with the tour of the Cathedral.
Kathy and I went back to the Dolac market to buy some linens (and the ever-necessary Christmas ornament). Then we all went back to the oldest section of the Kaptol area, where we had lunch at an outdoor café.
Jim and Mark left us in the old town to conclude our window shopping. We rejoined them in the later afternoon, and then went to dinner at a killer restaurant, which is called Vinodol., where I had a killer beef filet with a truffle mushroom sauce. YUM!