'10 QUESTIONS-10 ANSWERS' ZAGREB, Mirela Yeşiladalı | 04.09.2015

(1) How would you briefly describe Zagreb?

Zagreb is a green, quiet, historic, clean, safe, civilized and lovely European city, located at the intersection between East and West. It is the capital as well as the center of culture, science, economy, politics and administration of Croatia. It is the home of the quarter of the Croatian population, approximately 1 million people, and is referred to as "The City of Million Hearts."

(2) What would you say about what people from abroad think of Zagreb? 

Foreigners generally do not know much about Croatia and Zagreb. They immediately think of Dubrovnik when Croatia is mentioned. When they travel though, they come to realize that Croatia has so many amazing cities and places to explore other than Dubrovnik, such as Zagreb, Split, Hvar, Bol Islands, Primošten, and more than 100,000 other islands. They arrive at Zagreb with low expectations, and find so much more than what they were looking for.

(3) There are so many places around the world to explore. Why Zagreb should be on a traveler’s list?

As a small and pleasant city, Zagreb has so much to offer to visitors. Especially if you're looking for a vacation where you can relax, enjoy yourself, and have some fun, Zagreb is your city. Every corner of the city is packed with nice and lively cafes, so much so that the whole city is like a one big cafe. Besides, there are numerous entertainment venues in Zagreb. Visitors who are into history will get the chance to see architectural buildings, monuments, and religious sights which are almost a thousand years old and are still intact; and people who are into culture and art will get to see numerous museums and galleries. There are so many art events and festivals held throughout the year in Zagreb. Also, you can find lots of parks and gardens where visitors can get fresh air. Travelers looking for some time in the nature can enjoy themselves at the national parks around the city. Also, you can get to the seaside by car in just 2 hours.

(4) Can you tell us the most popular tourist attractions in the city (top 10)?

  • Ban Jelacic Square - The statue standing right in the middle of the square is Josip Jelačić's, a noted army general, after whom the square was named.
  • St. Stephen's Cathedral – The cathedral went under a comprehensive restoration in 1899, and has two Gothic style towers.
  • The Stone Gate – A city gate dating back to the 13th century. You can see Virgin Mary's picture on this gate.
  • Banski Dvori – The office of the head of state.
  • St. Mark's Church – The colorful roof of the church is highly interesting.
  • Lotrščak Tower – Every day at 12:00, a cannon is fired. The view from the tower is worth seeing.
  • The Flower Square – You can find so many cafes, shops, and flower stands here.
  • Dolac Market – The biggest open air market in Croatia.
  • The Zrinjevac Park – This is the miniature version of Central Park in New York.
  • The Mimara Museum – Both the Neo-Renaissance style building of the museum and the works of art inside are worth seeing.

(5) What are other places to visit other than those popular tourist attractions?

  • Travelers can visit the zoo in the Maksimir Park and see a wide range of animals.
  • They can also spend time by Jarun Lake, renting a bicycle and cycling around the lake is so much fun.
  • The small and pleasant city called Samobor, just 20km away from Zagreb, can also be visited. And while you're there, you should definitely give the well-known dessert Kremšnite a try.

(6) What are the activities that you would consider a must for visitors?

On Saturdays, having a coffee in the city center is a routine for the local people. Visitors can spend time where local people get together, especially at the cafes and bars on the Tkalciceva Street. Also, getting on the cable car that climbs up to the Upper Town is a must do activity in Zagreb.

(7) Which local foods are mostly consumed by the people of Zagreb?

"Strukli" is definitely a food you should have. It is some kind of a local savory pie prepared in different methods: roasted, sweetened, or salted. "Purica s mlincima" is a turkey dish with pasta tatters. "Zagrebački odrezak," meaning Zagreb steak, is also one of the popular dishes; it is prepared by filling the cooked beef with cheese and ham. "Paprenjak" is also a traditional biscuit that contains various spices. And "Kremšnite" is a cream cake dessert. 

(8) What would you recommend for shopping? What should visitors buy from Zagreb?

Croatia is the capital of ties. The elegant ties worn by the Croatian soldiers in the seventieth century intrigued the French and then spread to the rest of the world. Also, the fountain pen was first produced in Zagreb, in 1907. So visitors can buy ties and fountain pens as a souvenir in Zagreb. Besides, there are vineyards around Zagreb, and prestigious wines are imported. You can buy wines, clothes, cakes, scarves, straw baskets, and crystal objects in Zagreb.

(9) What is the ideal season to visit the city?

The most beautiful season in Zagreb is spring. Once the weather gets warmer, it gets green everywhere and the social life of the city becomes alive.

(10) What do you think was interesting when you first started living in Zagreb as a foreigner?

The fact that there is almost no case of theft, crime, and such; and also the way people behaved after a car accident, the tolerance they have for one another, was really interesting to me. Also, when you're watching the news, it is surprising to see how little bad news there is.

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Umut Aydoğan


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