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Zagreb is the capital city of the Republic of Croatia. Zagreb is an old Central European city. For centuries it has been a focal point of culture and science, and now of commerce and industry as well. It lies on the intersection of important routes between the Adriatic coast and Central Europe.
Zagreb is the capital and the economic, cultural and academic centre of the country, one of the most popular cities of the region, with a tradition of almost one thousand years. Zagreb is a big Croatian tourist centre, a city of culture full of museums, galleries and historical monuments, a city of entertainment with many restaurants and cafes to simply sit for a while, or to taste the delicious Croatian cuisine, dazzling bars and clubs for going out in the evening. The city is divided into three parts, the historical upper town, the 19th century lower town and the modern Zagreb with tower buildings. The main attractions are situated in the upper town, the church of St. Mark, the parliament and the museums. The lower town offers the shops, restaurants, cafes, while the modern Zagreb isn't an interesting tourist target.
The main airport of Croatia is in Zagreb, lying at Pleso, 17km from the city centre. The Airport of Zagreb offers a large number of services, like of car rental, travel agencies, post office, bank, restaurants, and shops. You can take a taxi, but the airport operates a regular shuttle bus, leaving every half an hour to the city centre, the tickets cost 30 Kunas / 4,5 Euros
Travelling by car to Croatia is very comfortable, thanks to the good connections to the European highways. The majority of the visitors still arrive from the European countries choosing this option. Travelling inside Croatia is the easiest and most comfortable using either a rented, or your own car. Car rental is available in all of the larger cities, airports.
You will need a valid driving license, automobile registration card and the vehicle insurance documents (including Green Card).
You can reach Zagreb with a direct line from Slovenia, Italy, Austria and Germany, Czech Republic and Switzerland. Travelling by bus is very cheap, the bus network is very comprehensive, and the Zagreb coach station is situated 20 minutes walk from the city centre.
Zagreb is connected to a number of Eurocity lines, direct lines to Zagreb depart from Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro. The EC and IC services offer the same high standards, as in any other countries, including restaurant, sleeping car, the train stations are all equipped with post office, newsstand, shops, and snack bars. Zagreb's main station is situated just 10 minutes walk from the main square.
The extensive network of public transport is operated by ZET in Zagreb. The inner part of the city is covered mostly by trams, the outer parts are connected via bus linesand suburban trains. The key attractions are in walking distance to each other, but you'll need the public transport to reach the suburbs. The lines operate regularly in the day, the night services are rare. The tickets are not sold on board of the trams, they can be obtained singly or in pack in a nearby newspaper kiosk. You can buy a one-day ticket or a three-day Zagreb-card, offering discounts in various museum, restaurants, and hotels. The tickets should be validated on board, they are valid for 90 minutes. The old trams will be replaced with a new construction in the end of 2007 to 2008. There's no metro in Zagreb. The funicular operates in the historic parts, it's a usual tourist attraction. It is possible to order a taxi by telephone: 970. There are taxis waiting for tourists in front of the train and bus stations, near the main square and in front of the larger hotels.
The old town can be reached on foot, starting from Ban Jelacic Square, the central part and the heart of Zagreb, making it the usual starting point for sightseeing tours through the three historical parts of Zagreb: the Upper Town (Gornji Grad), Kaptol and the Lower Town (Donji Grad). The equestrian bronze statue of Ban Jelacic, Croatian national hero, viceroy of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in the 19th century, is the centrepiece of the square, surrounded by elegant Secessionist buildings. The car traffic is excluded from the square.
Turn right into the first street on the left to visit the St. Stephen's Cathedral. A church already existed here before the foundation of the city. The original building was destroyed in the 19th century by an earthquake, the new Cathedral was erected in neo-Gothic style with twin steeples. It's one of the most representative features of the tow. The baroque Archbishop's palace is attached to the cathedral.
St. Mark Square houses the highest Croatian legislative organisations, the neo-classical Parliament and the baroque Ban's Court Palace, the traditional residence of Croatian viceroys in the 19th century. The palace is now seat of the Government. The square is named after the St. Mark's Church (with the works of Ivan Mestrovic, most famous sculptor of Croatia), standing on the north side, easily recognisable for the red-white-blue roof features the coats of arms for Zagreb and Croatia.
The market is situated north from the Ban Jelacic Square. Colourful stalls vending fruit, vegetables and flowers set up on the raised piazza outside, while an indoor area below displays meats and dairy products. The market is especially vibrant on Friday and Saturday.
Zagreb was founded in 1094 by the Hungarian king Ladislaus I along the left bank of the Medvescak. A fortified town began it's development about the same time on the neighbouring hill, later united with Zagreb. The meaning of Zagreb is "behind the hill". Both parts were devastated in 1242 by the Tatar invasion, which led to further fortification. In the centuries of Turkish expansion, the new system of walls surrounded the whole city.
Zagreb received the privileges of a free royal town early in the medieval, and gradually became an administrative and political centre of the region, the headquarter of the Croatian viceroy in the 17th century, and the seat of the Croatian Royal Council in the 18th century. The University of Zagreb was founded in 1669, being one of the oldest and largest is Southern-Europe. National, economic, political and cultural development became more intense in the 19th century, the first railroad and a horse tram were introduced, the gasworks and waterworks began operation, and the surrounding industry was in a boom.
After the First World War the Croatian Diet decided for the independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Zagreb. In the brief period of the independent state of Croatia during the Second World War Zagreb became the official centre, and the centre of resistance as well. The post-war communist government caused overall stagnation in the economy, but the population of the city was rising, and the high-rise suburbs developed. During the war of independence Zagreb saw little fighting. Since 1995, as the capital of Croatia the city is on the way to becoming a Central European metropolis.
The Zagreb museums and art collections possess exhibits from the whole world round of very considerable historical and artistic value. Most of the Zagreb museums are closed on Monday. The Zagreb-card ensures free or discounted entry to most of the Zagreb museums.
The museum disposes of an incredible amount of 400.000 historical objects, containing rare samples from the different cultures of the territory and around the world. The most significant parts are the Egyptian collection, the Etruscan items, and a larger section set aside for the era of the Roman period.
The museum stores over an attractive collection 3500 works of art, dating from prehistoric times, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Pre-Columbian America, Crete, Greece, Etruria, Rome and early medieval Europe. To the French masters Renoir, Degas and Manet. Donated to the Croatian nation by Ante Topic Mimara, the unique collection was first exhibited in 1987.
The Museum's holdings are very diverse from furnishing, clocks, photography to sculpture, musical instruments, printing and toys. The permanent exhibition opened in the 19th century, it was brought up to date in 1995.
The cinemas play all the latest films, many of them in English, with Croatian subtitles.
The National Theatre is famous for the performances of opera or ballet, which can be entertaining even for the visitors not speaking Croatian. Croatian National Theatre.
Events of classical music follow each after each during the whole year in Zagreb. The Zagreb Philharmonic and the Zagreb Quartet have got very good reputation around the world.
The centre of night life is the street of Tkalciceva in Gornji Grad, with the highest concentration of small bars and cafes in the city, overcrowded with guests looking for fun and amusement. Guests preferring music could relax in some of the numerous Zagreb discos or clubs, of which some are extremely popular. There are also jazz or swing clubs with rich programme or some candle lit restaurant with rhythm of waltz, tango, rumba or samba.