excursor

11 things you didn’t know about Zagreb

Author: excursor team

Each city tells its story to their visitors or residents. But each city has its secrets that are not known even to those born and raised in it. For this reason, we’ll try to bring you closer to Zagreb so you can easily experience its authenticity and become a Purger, at least for a day.

1. Besides numerous staircases connecting Zagreb’s Upper Town and downtown, there is also a funicular which is unique because it is the oldest public transportation in town. Another argument for its uniqueness is the fact that the ride of 66 meters (217 ft) rail lasts for only 64 seconds. Because of that, it is considered the shortest public transport funicular in the world. It is situated in Tomić Street in downtown and at Strossmayer promenade in the Upper Town.

Picture 1. Funicular | Photo: Zagreb City Tourist Board

2. The oldest hotel in Zagreb was opened in 1827 and it’s called Jägerhorn. It is only a five-minute walk from Zagreb’s central square called Ban Jelačić square at address Ilica 14. The hotel has been recently renovated and we recommend you to visit it for a warm refreshment.

3. You know that saying that horseshoes bring good fortune? Well, if that’s the truth, Zagreb is the luckiest city in the whole world. Wondering why? Well, Zagreb has a huge Green Horseshoe, also known as the Lenuzzi Horseshoe, named after its conceptual architect, urbanist Milan Lenuzzi. The “horseshoe” consists from eight squares and parks – Park Zrinjevac, Strossmayer Square, King Tomislav Square, Ante Starčević Square, Botanical garden, Marulić Square, Mažuranić Square and Republic of Croatia Square. This project was designed after the devastating earthquake struck Zagreb in 1880, and its goal was to rebuild and expand the city towards south.

Picture 2. Green / Lanuzzi Horseshoe | Photo: Google

4. Laika was the first dog in space, we all know this. But, do you know that Zagreb has a dog that has its own monument? His name was Pluto and first he was just an abandoned dog near construction site of “Prva hrvatska štedionica” (eng. First Croatian Saving bank). Later, Pluto became friendly with construction workers who provided him with food, and he guarded the construction site from thieves and intruders. At the very end of the construction, Pluto was killed (probably by thieves) so construction workers decided to make a memorial plaque to keep the memory for this amazing dog. Today, the plaque is located at Bogovićeva Street.

Picture 3. Pluto’s memorial

5. Do you know that there is an interesting installation located at the “Zagreb’s Sea” (Jarun Lake) which almost looks like Stonehedge? In 2005, Slovenian artist Marko Pogačnik installed this interesting installation, consisting of 61 stone blocks, at the Otok hrvatske mladeži (eng. Island of Croatian Youth), and named it “Solar Plexus of Europe”. The installation represents the central energy axis of Europe, extending from Iceland in the north to Crete in the south of the continent. Great place to visit if you want to enjoy nature and tranquillity, just a few minutes away from Zagreb’s downtown.

6. Did you know that Zagreb’s Cathedral is the tallest sacral building south of the Alps? This monumental Gothic edifice is special in so many ways, but the fact that many people won’t believe is that the three main chandeliers mounted in the Cathedral were a part of the Gold Coast Casino from Las Vegas, Nevada. Chandeliers are a donation from an “American Croat” Stefan Stankić.

Picture 4. Zagreb’s Cathedral

7. The Zagreb City Museum is a home of many works of art. Certainly, one of the most interesting exhibits is Dušan Vukotić’s replica of the Oscar award. Dušan won his golden statue for an animated movie “Surrogate” back in 1961. It is special because it was the first Oscar for an animated movie to be won by a non-American director.

8. Zagreb celebrates its birthday on May 31st, on the same day as a catholic holiday called Our Lady of the Stone Gate. Why is it so? Well, the legend says that back in the 1731 great conflagration destroyed a huge part of Zagreb together with the Stone Gate. Everything was lost except the painting of Virgin Marry and Child – they survived a great fire without any scratches.

9. The first skyscraper in Zagreb was built in 1933 at the Masarykova/Gundulićeva (Löewy’s skyscraper) in just 79 days. It was designed by a young architect Slavko Löwy for the needs of wealthy merchant Eugen Radovan, an agent for Bosch, Blitz and Opel, and was a combination of business and residential space. Interestingly, in the second half of the 20th century, Löwy came back to this building but this time as a tenant. He was there till his death in 1996. His apartment was on the last, 9th floor and he enjoyed the most beautiful view of Zagreb every day.

10. Zagreb’s main square, Ban Josip Jelačić Square, was first called Harmica. What kind of a name is that? Well, back in the time when main square was also a fairground where you had to pay customs fee for Croatian-Hungarian King of 1/30 the value of the goods you sold (Hungarian: Thirty – Harminc). Name Harmica was retained until June 23rd, 1848, when it was changed to Jelačić Square in honour of the newly elected Ban Josip Jelačić.

Picture 5. Zagreb’s square Harmica | Photo: Povijest.hr

11. The people from Zagreb obviously care very much about their electric trams. Even the popular hip-hop band Tram 11 is named after a tram line. How is that? Well, the members of this group lived in Črnomerec and Dubrava, two Zagreb neighbourhoods connected by tram line number 11 and, it seems, this was the only reasonable choice for a band’s name.

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