Travel Destinations

Monday, April 28, 2014

Croatia’s Cosmopolitan Capital Zagreb

Church of St. Mark Zagreb Croatia
Zagreb's colorful Church of St. Mark.
Most of the cities travelers visit in Croatia are pretty, historic seaside towns.  But Croatia has a big city too, and that is the capital city Zagreb.  The only reason we visited Zagreb was because we needed to end our travels through Croatia and Slovenia in Croatia because it was cheaper to return our rental car in Croatia.  But in the end we found a city that we fell in love with and wished we had more time to explore.

One of our first stops during our brief tour of Zagreb was at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  The current cathedral is over a hundred years old and is an impressive Gothic-style church with tall pointy spires and an ornately carved doorway.  At the front of the cathedral is the sarcophagus of the controversial martyr Alojzije Viktor Stepinac.

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Zagreb Crotia
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
One of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen is Zagreb’s Church of St. Mark.  This small church stands out because of its brightly tiled roof depicting the coat of arms of Croatia, the Dalmatian Coast, and Slavonia, as well as the seal of Zagreb.

Just behind the Church of St. Mark is Ivan Meštrović Atelier, the house of Croatia’s most famous artist Ivan Meštrović.  Ivan Meštrović’s house has been converted into a gallery displaying many of his works.  A few blocks away is the Croatian Museum of Naive Art.  This small museum houses colorful works of art created by untrained peasant artists.  There are a number of pieces by Croatia’s naive art masters Ivan Generalić and Ivan Lacković.

Zagreb is a very colorful city, with bright pastel colored buildings everywhere you turn.  It is a very pretty city to just walk through, with green parks, statues, and shopping streets with outdoor cafes where you can sit outside, have a drink, and watch the world pass by.

Croatian National Theatre Zagreb Croatia
Croatian National Theatre
We spent our last night in Croatia at Zagreb’s five star Esplanade Zagreb Luxury Hotel where celebrities such as Pierce Brosnan and Elizabeth Taylor have stayed.  Their beautiful restaurant serves delicious and artfully presented dishes.

Regent Esplanade Zagreb Croatia
Regent Esplanade
Zagreb is the place to go if you want to visit a big city while traveling through Croatia.  Be sure to spend more than a day in Zagreb if you want to fully explore and enjoy this colorful capital city.

I planned our Croatia travels using Rick Steves' Croatia & Slovenia and Frommer's Croatia.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or book through them you pay nothing extra and they help fund our travels so we can bring you more travel stories.

Travel the World: Croatia's capital city of Zagreb has the Church of St. Mark, Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Ivan Mestrovic Atelier, and Croatian Museum of Naive Art to offer travelers.

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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.