Story of the Upper Town dates back to medieval times when in 1242 King Bela IV gave a royal charter to the citizens proclaiming this part of Zagreb as a free royal city. When a king gives you something, you have to give him something in return. That’s the way the game is played. The most important thing the citizens needed to do is the fortification of the city. They managed to round up the town with defensive walls and towers. Some of the remnants of those times are still present and at your disposal to conquer them with your camera. Wander the streets of this charming part of Zagreb. What should you see in the Upper Town, you ask yourself? These are the top sights not to be missed!
Lotrscak tower with the Gric cannon
One of the coolest traditions of Zagreb is firing a cannon shot exactly at midday! And I warn you in advance, it is not choreographed for tourists and it is extremely loud. There are numerous reasons why the cannon is blasting off, such as to adjust your watch and know the exact time or to scare away the pigeons and uninformed travelers. The only thing you should know is: do not run for shelter. Only small pieces of paper get out of the cannon. If you need a baller wake up call, just claim you ground in front of the tower at 11:59 any day of the week! Be intrepid, you will love it.
Saint Mark’s square
If you want to stumble upon our prime minister or some of the politicians, simply leisurely stroll on Saint Mark’s square. Our parliament house, government house and constitutional court are based here. The focal point of the square is the Saint Mark’s church. This picturesque church with colorful rooftop will awaken your curiosity. It is one of the most frequently sent postcards from Zagreb. While walking around do not miss the old gas lamps from 19th century that are to this day still hand lit every night.
What used to be one of the entrances to medieval Zagreb now is a shrine to Virgin Mary of the Stone gate, the patron saint of the city. To fully understand the story we have to go back in time to 18th century when there was a big fire. Everything went to flames except the painting depicting Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. Since it remained intact by the fire, the citizens founded it as a miraculous painting. Nowadays it is housed in a beautiful baroque chapel within the Stone gate.
Museums of the Upper town
Some of the best museums of Zagreb are here. Even if you are a museum aficionado with peculiar taste you will find something of your interest. If you want a quirky museum go to the Museum of Broken relationships. For the artistic soles, stumble upon the Mestrovic atelier where you can admire sculptures from our top notch artist Ivan Mestrovic. History buffs, go to the Zagreb City Museum. Most of them are located in palaces which will boost your overall experience. For the overachievers you have an open air museum of the Upper town. A place designated for street art with beautiful murals that share many stories.
If you are a first time visitor in Zagreb, do not skip the Upper Town. This is the essence of the city. To reach it you can use some of the stairs that lead you up. In this case scenario you can skip the gym for the day. Wiser people opt for the option of the shortest funicular in the world. Hop on and feel some of the Zagreb’s old charm. Enjoy the vistas from the Strossmayer promenade and balance your thoughts in this quaint place. Visit Upper Town of Zagreb, the nucleus of the city!
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Author: Filip Donadic
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