20 Must-Visit Attractions in Zagreb, Croatia

Tomislav trg | © James Diggans/Flickr
Tomislav trg | © James Diggans/Flickr
Photo of Peterjon Cresswell
22 August 2017

Zagreb is not only about stately institutions of Habsburg grandeur, although for the first-time visitor wandering around the façades and gardens of the Lower Town it might feel that way. Across the Sava, there’s a striking Museum of Contemporary Art and Croatia’s capital has a thriving gallery scene, part of an ever-broadening cultural agenda.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum, Shop
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Display at the Museum of Broken Relationships
Display at the Museum of Broken Relationships | © Robert Nyman/WikiCommons
The bizarre yet popular Museum of Broken Relationships illustrates doomed romantic liaisons by way of the unusual souvenirs, personal letters and strange artifacts that arise as couples uncouple. Conceived by a former couple, the concept struck a chord, and a permanent home was found here in the Upper Town.

Zagreb Cathedral

Building, Cathedral
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Zagreb Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral | © Mr.FF9900/Flickr
Dominating the skyline for miles around, the neo-Gothic spires of the Cathedral top this late 19th-century rebuild by German architect Hermann Bollé. Under restoration for several years, hence the scaffolding, the Cathedral contains the relief of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac by Ivan Meštrović, marking the resting place of the controversial cleric.

Archaeological Museum

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Archaeological Museum
Archaeological Museum | © Connie/Flickr
The collection of the Archaeological Museum stretches to nearly half a million artifacts, most unearthed in Croatia. Stand-out exhibit is the Vučedol Dove, a vessel carved around 2,500BC and discovered in 1938. Its intricate markings are said to represent the seasons and constellations, perhaps the first calendar in the western world.

Jarun

Created for the World Student Games of 1987, Jarun is Zagreb’s main area for recreation. Cycle paths and a skateboard park surround a man-made lake where sailboats glide, dotted with the islands that stage June’s major INmusic festival. Nightclubs, including the seminal Aquarius, fringe the shoreline.

Jarun, Croatia

Nikola Tesla Technical Museum

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Nikola Tesla Technical Museum
Nikola Tesla Technical Museum | © JasonParis/Flickr
Named after the famous inventor and national hero Nikola Tesla, the Technical Museum houses a planetarium, a collection of rare transport, a mock-up of a coalmine and a cabinet of Tesla’s bizarre creations. The end result is a surprisingly entertaining and diverse visit for all ages.

Maksimir

Zagreb’s largest park was created in the 1790s by Bishop Maksimiljan Vrhovac. Its rolling hills and sprawling oak trees represent the English style, rustic and less constrained than its French counterpart, with lakes and footpaths. Today you’ll also find Zagreb Zoo and nearby the national football stadium, also called Maksimir.

Maksimir, Zagreb

Museum of Contemporary Art

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Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Contemporary Art | © JasonParis/Flickr
Zagreb’s most significant cultural opening in modern times, the Museum of Contemporary Art is known by its acronym of MSU, permanent home for some 10,000-plus artifacts from the mid 20thcentury onwards. Architect Igor Franić has created a somewhat functionalist shell, with a flexible, twisting interior.

Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters

Donated to the nation in 1868 by the eminent bishop of the same name, the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters contains the 256 paintings of his private collection. Concentrating mainly on the Italian Renaissance, these works also include pieces by El Greco, Jean-Antoine Gros and Jan Wallensz de Cock.

Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters, Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog 11, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4895 117

Zagreb City Museum

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Zagreb City Museum
Zagreb City Museum | © Andrew Nash/Flickr
Presenting the urban development of Croatia’s capital from prehistoric times to the present day, the Zagreb City Museum is most enlightening when dealing with the 19th century. Away from the fusty models and maps showing medieval expansion, the museum brings Habsburg Zagreb to life with replicas of shopfronts and artifacts from the theatre stage.

Atelijer Meštrović

Workplace of Croatia’s most renowned sculptor, the Atelijer Meštrović occupies the 17th-century properties that he himself restored over 20 years until his arrest in 1941 and subsequent exile. Works in marble, stone, wood and bronze, and drawings and graphics cover two floors, an atrium and the atelier off the ivy-clad courtyard.

Atelijer Meštrović, Mletačka 8, Zagreb, Croatia, +385 1 4851 123

#zagreb #art #atelijermestrovic

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