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Zagreb

From Academic Kids

Map showing city of Zagreb within Croatia

Zagreb (pronounced ZA-greb) is the capital city of Croatia. The city's population was 779,145 in 2001, 1,088,841 in its metropolitan area which includes Samobor, Velika Gorica and Zaprešić. The city is situated between the southern slopes of Medvednica mountain and the northern bank of the Sava river, it is 120 m above sea level, located at Template:Coor dm.

Its favorable geographic position in the southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin, which extends to the Alpine, Dinaric, Adriatic and Pannonic regions, provides an excellent connection for traffic between Central Europe and the Adriatic Sea.

The traffic position, concentration of industry (metal processing, electrical appliances, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals (Pliva), printing and leather industries, wood processing, paper etc.), scientific and research institutions and industrial tradition underlie its leading economic position. The city is relatively prosperous by eastern European standards, albeit the average incomes and prices are still lower than farther in the west.

Zagreb seats central state administrative bodies and almost all government ministries.

Central Zagreb city square, the  square
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Central Zagreb city square, the Ban Jelačić square
Contents

History

While the human habitats were present at the wider city area since the Neolithic (including the well-preserved Roman town of Andautonia), its modern name was recorded for the first time in the 11th century (1094). In that year the Hungarian King Ladislaus founded a bishopric on the Kaptol hill. An independent secular community developed on a neighbouring hill Gradec (Grič). The settlements suffered greatly under the Mongol invasion of 1242, but when they abruptly left, King Bela IV declared Gradec a royal autonomous city in order to attract foreign artisans.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, the two communities actively tried to best each other - economically and politically. The bishopric would excommunicate Gradec which might respond by burning Kaptol. They only worked together for the occasional large commercial venture - such as the three yearly fairs each lasting two weeks. These two mediaeval hills, Gradec and Kaptol, finally merged into one community, Zagreb, in the early 17th century. They now form the cultural centre of the modern city (the economic and traffic centre shifted southwards since). The bishopric of Kaptol has since become the Archbishopric of Zagreb.

The construction of the railway embankment (1860) enabled the old suburbs, which did not represent an urban whole up to then, to merge gradually into Donji Grad, characterized by a regular block pattern. During the Austro-Hungarian era Zagreb was called by its German name Agram.

Working-class quarters emerged between the railway and the Sava and residential quarters on the hills of the southern slopes of Medvednica between the two World Wars.

The blocks between the railway and the Sava were built after the Second World War followed from the mid-1950s by new residential areas south of the Sava river, the so-called Novi Zagreb (New Zagreb). The city also expanded towards the west and the east and "consumed" what were once mere villages at Dubrava, Podsused, Jarun, Blato etc.

The cargo railway hub and the international airport Pleso were built south of the Sava river. The biggest industrial zone (Žitnjak) in the southeast represents an extension of the industrial zones on the eastern outskirts of the city, between the Sava and the Prigorje region.

Urbanized lines of settlements connect Zagreb with the centers in its surroundings: Sesvete, Zaprešić, Samobor, Dugo Selo and Velika Gorica. Sesvete is the closest one to become a part of the conurbation and is in fact already included in the City of Zagreb rather than the Zagreb county (which excludes the city).

City government

The City of Zagreb has the status of a county within Croatia. The city government is led by the Mayor who is elected by the City Assembly.

The current Mayor of Zagreb is Milan Bandić (SDP).

The City Assembly is composed of 51 representatives, presided by Tatjana Holjevac (ind. rep.), coming from the following political parties:

Based on the results of elections held in 2005.

Transport

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Tomislav square in Zagreb

There are three main transit connections:

The railway running along the Sutla river and the Zagorje main road (Zagreb - Maribor - Vienna), as well as traffic connections with the Pannonian region and Hungary (the Zagorje railroad, the roads and railway to Varaždin - Čakovec and Koprivnica) are linked with the truck routes.

The southern railway connection to Split operates on a line via the Lika region (renovated in 2004 to allow for a five-hour journey); a faster line along the Una river valley is currently out of use and in decay due to unsettled border crossing issues with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The railway and the expressway along the Sava river that run to Slavonia and further to Belgrade are the fastest traffic lines in the country.

The city has a reasonably well developed road network with several of the main lines up to four tracks wide and a full-profile expressway encircling most of the city. There is some congestion in the city center and parking is also a problem. Cars parked on the pavements often make it hard for pedestrians to get past.

Public transportation in the city is organized in two layers: the inner parts of the city are mostly covered by trams and the outer suburbs are linked with buses. The public transport company, ZET (Zagrebački Električni Tramvaj, Zagreb Electric Tram), receives a subsidy from the city council and so the fares are relatively cheap but they can get very crowded at peak times.

A single funicular near the city center is something of a tourist attraction. Taxis are generally only used for transport from the railway station and the airport due to their relatively high price. In latter years, the state rail operator HŽ (Hrvatska željeznica, Croatian Railways) has been trying to organize a net of suburban trains in metropolitan Zagreb area. As of 2004, it's been partially organized in directions east - west and vice versa.

Surroundings

The wider Zagreb area has been constantly inhabited ever since the prehistoric period, witnessed by the archaeological findings in the Veternica cave from the Paleolithic and the excavation of the remains of a destroyed Roman town of Andautonia near the present village of Ščitarjevo.

Picturesque ex-villages on the slopes of Medvednica: Šestine, Gračani and Remete are arranged around the city like beads of a necklace, and maintain their rich tradition even today: folk costumes, Šestine umbrellas, gingerbread products, etc.

The Medvednica mountain (Zagrebačka gora), with its highest peak Sljeme (1,033 m), provides a wonderful panoramic view of metropolitan Zagreb, the Sava and the Kupa valleys, the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje. From the top of the mountain, and during fair weather, the vista reaches as far as Velebit mountain and snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps in nearby Slovenia. There are several mountain huts offering accommodation and restaurants providing refreshment for hikers. Skiers visit Sljeme which has four ski-runs, three ski-lifts and a chairlift.

The old Medvedgrad, a medieval burg built in the 13th century and recently restored, represents a special attraction of the Medvednica hill. It overlooks the western part of the city and also has the Shrine of the Homeland, a memorial place with eternal flame, where Croatia pays reverence to all its heroes fallen for homeland in its history, customarily on the national holidays.

Travel agencies organize guided excursions to the surroundings as well as the sightseeing of Zagreb.

Tourism

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Bogovićeva street near the Zagreb city center

Zagreb is a substantial tourist center, not only in terms of transit from West and Central Europe to the Adriatic Sea but also as a tourist destination. Since the end of the war it has attracted a fair number of tourists, but many tourists that visit Croatia skip Zagreb in favor of the beaches along the Adriatic coast and the even older historic cities such as Dubrovnik, Šibenik, Zadar and others.

Nevertheless, Zagreb celebrated its 900th birthday in 1994 and it is not only rich in cultural and historical monuments, museums and galleries, but it also has a variety of modern shops, and offers good quality of diversified restaurants as well as sports and recreation facilities. It is a big center of congress tourism, economic and business events and trade fairs not only in Croatia but also in this part of Europe. Being an important junction point, it has road, air, railway and bus connections with European metropolises and all bigger cities and tourist resorts in Croatia.

The historical part of the town, the Upper Town and Kaptol, are a unique urban core even in European terms, and thus represent the target of sightseeing tours. The old town's streets and squares can be reached on foot, starting from Ban Josip Jelačić Square, the central part and the heart of Zagreb, or by a funicular on nearby Tomićeva Street. The old core of the town includes many famous buildings, churches, museums and institutions as well as pleasant restaurants and coffee bars.

Museums

Zagreb's many museums reflect the history, art and culture not only of Zagreb and Croatia, but also of Europe and the world. Around thirty collections in museums and galleries comprise more than 3.6 million various exhibits, excluding church and private collections.

The Archaeological Museum (Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square 19) possesses over 400,000 objects, not all of them being exhibited. The holdings include evidence of Croatian presence in this area as well as rare samples which have made the museum known to the whole world. The most famous are the Egyptian collection, the Zagreb mummy and bandages with the oldest Etruscan inscription in the world (Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis), as well as the numismatic collection. A part of the museum is set aside for the collection of stone monuments dating back predominantly to the Roman period.

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Zrinski square and Boškovićeva street in Zagreb

The Croatian Museum of Natural Sciences (Demetrova Street 1) holds the world's most extensive collection of the remains of Neandertal man found at one site — the remains, stone weapons and tools of prehistoric Krapina man. The Technical Museum (Savska Street 18) maintains the oldest preserved machine in this area, dating from 1830 which still operates. Valuable historical collections are found in the Croatian Historical Museum, the Museum of the City of Zagreb, the Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Ethnographic Museum, the Croatian School Museum, the Croatian Hunting Museum, the Croatian Sports Museum, the Croatian Post and Telecommunications Museum, the HAZU (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) Glyptotheque (collection of monuments), and the HAZU Graphics Cabinet.

Many visitors find the Mimara Museum (Roosevelt Square 5), housing the donation by Wiltrud and Ante Topić Mimara, very attractive. Of the total of 3,700 varied works of art, more than 1,500 exhibits constitute permanent holdings, dating from the prehistoric period up to the 20th century. The HAZU Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters (Zrinski Square 11) offers permanent holdings presenting European paintings from the 14th to the 19th centuries, and the Ivan Meštrović Studio, (Mletačka Street 8) with sculptures, drawings, lithography portfolios and other items, was a donation of this great artist to his homeland.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (Catherine's Square 2) follows and presents contemporary trends in fine arts. The Museum and Gallery Center (Jezuitski Square 4) introduces on various occasions the Croatian and foreign cultural and artistic heritage. The Art Pavilion (King Tomislav Square 22) is the oldest exhibition complex in the Slavic south, with regularly organized exhibitions. The exhibitions are also held in the impressive Meštrović's building on Hrvatskih Velikana Square — the Home of the Croatian Fine Artists. The Museum of Nave art (Ćirilometodska Street 3) houses more than one thousand works by a hundred and odd authors of the Croatian nave art. The World Center "Wonder of Croatian Nave Art" (Ban Jelačić Square 12) exhibits masterpieces of Croatian nave art as well as works of new generation of artists. The Modern Gallery (Hebrangova Street 1) comprises all relevant fine artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Other cultural sites and events

The city offers rich cultural and artistic enjoyment. There are about 20 permanent or seasonal theatres and stages. The Croatian National Theatre built in 1895 is the most impressive building among them. The most renowned concert hall is named "Vatroslav Lisinski", after the composer of the first Croatian opera.

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Preradović square in Zagreb

Zagreb hosts many domestic and international events. Animafest, the World Festival of Animated Films, takes place each even year, and the Music Bienniale, the international festival of avant-garde music, every odd year. The Festival of the Zagreb Philharmonic and the famous flowers exhibition Floraart (end of May or beginning of June), the Old-timer Rally, the Week of the Contemporary Dance, as well as Eurokaz, the international festival of contemporary theatre (in June) represent annual events. In the summer, theatre performances and concerts, mostly in the Upper Town, are organized, either indoors or outdoors. The stage on Opatovina hosts the Zagreb Histrionic Summer.

Zagreb is also the host of Zagrebfest, the oldest Croatian pop-music festival, as well as of several traditional international sports events and tournaments. The Day of the City of Zagreb (16th of November) is celebrated every year with special festivities, esp. on the Jarun lake near the southwestern part of the city. Entertainment can be found in many discotheques, night clubs, casinos, etc.

Souvenirs & gastronomy

Numerous shops, boutiques, store houses and shopping centers offer a variety of good quality clothes. World famous Zagreb souvenirs include: the ball-point pen, invented by Slavoljub Penkala from Zagreb over 80 years ago, or the tie, an accessory named in several European languages (cravat in French) after Croatian horsemen who fought on the European fronts from the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century up to the French Revolution, wearing characteristic scarves around their necks. The offer of Zagreb includes good-quality crystal, china and ceramics, nice wicker or straw baskets, top-quality Croatian wines and gastronomic products.

Many Zagreb restaurants offer various specialities of national and international cuisine. Domestic products which deserve to be tasted include turkey, duck or goose with mlinci (a kind of pasta), štrukli (cottage cheese strudel), sir i vrhnje (cottage cheese with cream), kremšnite (custard slices in flaky pastry), and traditional nut cake. As Zagreb is relatively close to the sea, restaurants offer fresh seafood. There are many fast-food restaurants and stands in Zagreb, so those who prefer this type of food will not be disappointed.

Recreation and sports

There are several sports and recreational centers in Zagreb. Recreational Sports Center Jarun, situated on Lake Jarun to the southwest of the city, has fine shingle beaches, a world-class regatta course, a jogging lane around the lake, several restaurants and a discotheque. Its sports and recreation opportunities include swimming, sunbathing, waterskiing, angling and other water sports, but also beach volleyball, football, basketball, handball, table tennis, and miniature golf.

Sports Park Mladost, situated along the embankment of the Sava river, has an Olympic-size swimming pool, smaller indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a sunbathing terrace, 16 tennis courts as well as basketball, volleyball, handball, football and field hockey courts. A volleyball sports hall is within the park.

Sports and Recreational Center Šalata, only several hundred meters from the heart of the city, is most attractive for tennis players. It comprises a big tennis court and eight smaller ones, two of which are roofed over with the so-called "balloon", and another two equipped with lights. The Center also has swimming pools, basketball and football playgrounds, a gym and fitness center, and a four-lane bowling alley. Outdoor ice-skating is a popular winter recreation at Šalata. There are also several fine restaurants within and near the Center.

Tennis Center Maksimir, in the part of the city called Ravnice to the east of the center, consists of two sports blocks. The first comprises a tennis center situated in a large tennis hall with four courts. There are 22 outdoor tennis courts with lights. The other block offers multipurpose sports facilities: apart from tennis courts, there are handball, basketball, indoor football grounds, as well as track and field facilities, a bocci ball alley and table tennis opportunities.

Recreational swimmers can enjoy a smaller-size indoor swimming pool in Daničićeva Street, and an newly opened indoor olympic-sized pool at Utrine sports centre in Novi Zagreb. Skaters can skate in the skating rink on Trg Sportova (Sports Square) and on the lake Jarun Skaters' park. Hippodrome Zagreb offers recreational horseback riding opportunities, while horse races are held every weekend during warmer part of the year (spring, summer, autumn).

There is a number of smaller sports centers and playgrounds as well as gyms and fitness centers throughout the city.

Neighbourhoods

The major city neighbourhoods (četvrti or kvartovi), with 2001 population in parenthesis, are:

  • Brezovica (10,884)
  • Črnomerec (38,762)
  • Donja Dubrava (35,944)
  • Donji Grad (45,108)
  • Gornja Dubrava (61,388)
  • Gornji GradMedvešćak (36,384)
  • Maksimir (49,750)
  • Novi Zagreb Istok (65,301)
    • Within Novi Zagreb Istok there are: Dugave, Hrelić, Jakuevec, Slobotina, Sopot, Srediće, Travno, Utrine, Zapruđe, Buzin and Veliko Polje.
  • Novi Zagreb zapad (48,981)
    • Within Novi Zagreb Zapad there are: Kajzerica, Lučko, Hrašće, Hrvatski Leskovac, Remetinec, Savski gaj, Siget, Sveta Klara and Trnsko.
  • PešćenicaŽitnjak (58,283)
    • Within Pešćenica there are: Stara Pećenica, Donje Svetice, Folnegovićevo naselje, Volovčica, Ferenčica, Kozari Bok, Kozari putevi, Ivanja Reka, Vukomerec
  • Podsljeme (17,744)
    • Within Podsljeme here are: Šestine, Gračani and Markuševec
  • PodsusedVrapče (42,360)
  • Sesvete (59,212)
  • Stenjevec (41,257)
  • Trešnjevka – jug (67,162)
    • Within Trešnjevka jug there are: Horvati-Srednjaci, Gajevo, Jarun, Knežija, Prečko, Vrbani
  • Trešnjevka – sjever (55,358)
  • Trnje (45,267)
    • Within Trnje there are: Cvjetnica, Cvjetno naselje, Kanal, Marin Držić, Martinovka, Staro Trnje, Trnjanska Savica and Sigečica.

Miscellaneous

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A look at the Zrinjevac park near the city center
The Zagreb botanical garden
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The Zagreb botanical garden


Zagreb is the site of the University of Zagreb founded in 1669. The faculty buildings as well as dorms are scattered all around the city. Zagreb also hosts several faculties, parts of various polytechnic schools, as well as dozens of gymnasiums and other high schools.

The most popular football clubs from the city are NK Dinamo (with the home stadium in Maksimir) and HNK Zagreb (with the home stadium in Kranjčevićeva street).

Zagreb is also home to the eponymous film-producing company, Zagreb Film.

Zagreb is officially twinned with the following towns and cities:

External links


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