Zagreb is a city we passed many times on our way to the coast as we did in the summer of 2004 when we travelled for three months aroundthe Balkans, but we came back the year after and this was my first visit to Zagreb and I liked it. Actually the only reason is to avoid the summer heath and when passing by, one can see th etemperatures because it is indicated on the highway, and then you think often, well maybe another time. But I was still eager to go and, 13 and a half years later , we did. We celebrated Christmas in Zagreb with the kids in December 2018. Kurt Hielscher made only one photo here, from the entrance portal of the Cathedral, which was covered by scaffolding in 2005, so I managed to take a better one in 2018.
Portal of the Cathedral in 1926. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Portal of Zagreb Cathedral, 2005. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Portal of Zagreb Cathedral, 27th of December 2018. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
The Cathedral of Zagreb is situated on Kaptol, close to the Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, Zagreb's main square and is, with its 108 meters high spires, the tallest building in Croatia. On the 22nd of March 2020, one of its two spires was damaged in an earthquake. Another earthquake would hit the city just after Christmas 2020 on the 28th of December 2020. Both came on top of the pandemic and I remember images that struck my heart: elderly evacuated in their hospital beds on the streets and ordinary people and officials like firefighters acting as heroes, next to the image of a 15 years old girl who passed away: Anamarija Carević. She was the only direct victim of the earthquake in March and it was a shock to many who grieved together. Another earthquake in December of that same year led to seven more victims. On my photo form 2018 both spires are still intact. The loss of the spire is seen as a symbol for the damage of the earthquake.
The Cathedral with two spires.
Inside the Cathedral.
The famous St. Marks Church, Crkva sv. Marka, situated in the upper town, Gornji Grad, just before sunset with both coat of arms from Croatia and the city of Zagreb on its roof.
Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, the main square in the city center of Zagreb during daytime and in the evening.
Ofcourse we also went for some ice skating in the Ledeni Park (ice park) at the King Tomislav Square. We even brought our own skates.
Advent u Zagrebu at Park Josipa Jurja Strossmayera and checking out the Meteorološki stup at the northside of Park Zrinjevac.
Dolac, the main market in Zagreb with the Crkva sv. Marije.
Built between 1242 and 1266 the Kamenita Vrata is a gate towards the Upper Town and part of the old city walls. Within the gate is a chapel where you can light a candle for the deceased or when you have something to wish for. When we are here, Kim always lights a candle, this time with the boys. When you go down, you'll come across the Statue of Saint George, the Spomenik Svetom Jurju.
Museum of Naive Arts
There's something about naive art I really like. I really love to swoon in a world that feels real, yet isn't, where the hard edges are gone but the melancholy remains. So when we had the chance to visit the museum of Naive Art in Zagreb and warm us up, we went in. And we, also the boys really enjoyed it. And it is just around the corner from St. Marks Church.
Vjetar u zimi (The Wind in Winter) by Dragan Gaži from 1973 in my house after bying the poster in the Hrvatski muzej naivne umjetnosti, The Croatian Museum of Naïve art. This stunning winter fairytale view is also in the museum.
Sljeme Mountain and Medvednica Nature park
On Christmas Eve, the citizens of Zagreb head out to Mount Mevednica/Sljeme for a semi-open-air service at the Kapela Majka Boža Sljemenska Kraljice Hrvata.
The Kapela Majka Boža Sljemenska Kraljice Hrvata in daylight the morning after on Christmas Day. We stayed a few meters away for a few nights in the Snježna Kraljica Hotel.
Happy family in the snow
The 169 meters high Radiokomunikacijski i Telekomunikacijski Objekt Sljeme is very impressive if you stand below it, but it can be seen from huge distances as well.
My oldes skiing the slopes of the Medvednica.
View from Restaurant Vidikovac on the Sljeme mountain to the north.
Our hotel for a few nights: Snježna Kraljica. Later we would move on to Rastoke and Plitvice Lakes and even to to the coast at Senj.
Down from Sljeme towards the city center of Zagreb, one will pass the Kapela sv. Jakoba. We were so lucky the sun was shining which made the atmosphere really magical. We stayed a while just to sit in the sun.
Coming from Varaždin, we also wanted to visit Marija Bistrica since we had the time before our planned arrival at our hotel on Sljeme mountain. Just before Marija Bistrica we were surprised by the Park Skulptura that popped up seemingly out of nowhere. It was a terrific place to take some photographs.
Marija Bistrica is a place of pilgrimage and I visited it before, also in 2005. I expected it to be crowded in the days before Christmas, but it was not. Though I am not a religious person, it is an impressive place.
Leaving Zagreb through Veliko Polje
Just south of Zagreb, in between Novi Zagreb and Velika Gorica is Veliko Polje, a village known for its wooden houses and church: the Crkva sv. Barbara.
On our way to Rastoke, the Plitvice Lakes and even the coast at Senj where we had some nice sunsets at the Adriatic. Just like in the summer.