The theatre evolved out of the first city theatre built in 1836 housed in the present-day Old City Hall. The theatre was first established as the Croatian National Theatre in 1860.
Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph I was at the unveiling of this new building during his visit to the city in 1895. The building itself was the project of famed Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer, whose firm had built several theatres in Vienna.
This neo-baroque theatre, established in 1895, stages opera and ballet performances. Check out Ivan Meštrović’s sculpture The Well of Life (1905) standing out front.
This is the diverse private art collection – Zagreb’s best – of Ante Topić Mimara, who donated over 3750 priceless objects to his native Zagreb (even though he spent much of his life in Salzburg, Austria). Housed in a neo-Renaissance former school building (1883), the collection spans a wide range of periods and regions.
Inside you'll find an archaeological section with 200 items; exhibits of ancient Far Eastern artworks; a glass, textile and furniture collection that spans centuries; and 1000 European art objects. In the painting collection, check out works by Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Bosch, Velázquez, Goya, Manet, Renoir and Degas.
This 13th-century church is one of the most emblematic Zagreb landmarks. Its colourful tiled roof, constructed in 1880, has the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left side, and the emblem of Zagreb on the right. The Gothic portal, composed of 15 figures in shallow niches, was sculpted in the 14th century. The interior contains sculptures by Ivan Meštrović. You can enter the anteroom only during opening hours; the church is open only at Mass times.
Visit Zagreb from late April to October and see a guard-changing ceremony outside the church every Saturday and Sunday at noon.
Kaptol Square is dominated by this cathedral, formerly known as St Stephen’s. Its twin spires – seemingly permanently under repair – soar over the city. Although the cathedral’s original Gothic structure has been transformed many times over, the sacristy still contains a cycle of frescoes dating from the 13th century. An earthquake in 1880 badly damaged the cathedral; reconstruction in a neo-Gothic style began around the turn of the 20th century.
Inside, don’t miss the baroque marble altars, statues and pulpit, or the tomb of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac by Ivan Meštrović.
Zagreb’s colourful fruit and vegetable market is just north of Trg Bana Jelačića. Traders from all over Croatia come to sell their products at this buzzing centre of activity. Dolac has been heaving since the 1930s, when the city authorities set up a market space on the 'border' between the Upper and Lower Towns.
The main part is on an elevated square; the street level has indoor stalls selling meat and dairy products and (a little further towards the square) flowers. The stalls at the northern end of the market are packed with locally produced honey, handmade ornaments and cheap food.
A 10-minute ride north of the city centre (or a 30-minute walk through leafy streets) takes you to one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. It was designed in 1876 by Austrian-born architect Herman Bollé, who created numerous buildings around Zagreb. The majestic arcade, topped by a string of cupolas, looks like a fortress from the outside, but feels calm and graceful on the inside.
The lush cemetery is criss-crossed by paths and dotted with sculptures and artfully designed tombs. Highlights include the grave of poet Petar Preradović and the bust of Vladimir Becić by Ivan Meštrović.
From romances that withered to broken family connections, this wonderfully quirky museum explores the mementos leftover after a relationship ends. Displayed amid a string of all-white rooms are donations from around the globe, each with a story attached. Exhibits range from hilarious (the toaster someone nicked so their ex could never make toast again), to heartbreaking (the suicide note from somebody's mother). In turns funny, poignant and moving, it's a perfect summing up of the human condition.
The innovative collection toured the world until it settled here in its permanent home. Check out the lovely adjacent store – the 'bad memories eraser' is a bestseller – and the cosy cafe with sidewalk tables. There are jazz nights on Thursdays during summer and fall.
The shortest cable car in the world, the Zagreb funicular is an absolute delight. For over 120 years it has been transporting the citizens of Zagreb and its guests between the Upper and Lower Towns. The lower station is located on Tomićeva Street, while the other station is located at the base of Lotršćak Tower. It was constructed in 1888 and opened in 1890 after 2 years from getting the building permit. No everything went smooth though, it went through difficult times for a year - temporary halts where passengers had to push the wagons it to make them move at all.
This tower was built in the middle of the 13th century in order to protect the southern city gate. Normally you can enter and climb up to the top for a sweeping 360-degree view of the city but it was closed for extensive restoration work in 2018.
For the last 100 years a cannon has been fired from the tower every day at noon, allegedly to commemorate one day in the mid-15th century when the cannon was fired at noon at the Turks, who were camped across the Sava River. On its way down, the cannonball happened to hit a rooster, which was blown to bits – according to legend, this was so demoralising for the Turks that they decided not to attack the city.
This gallery is housed in one of the few architectural works by Ivan Meštrović and has a diverse repertoire of art shows and various events – a must on the art circuit of Zagreb. The building itself has also had several fascinating incarnations, reflecting the region’s history in a nutshell.
Originally designed by Meštrović in 1938 as an exhibition pavilion, the structure honoured King Petar Karađorđević, the ruler of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Zagreb’s main orientation point and its geographic heart is Trg Bana Jelačića – it's where most people arrange to meet up. If you enjoy people-watching, sit in one of the cafes and watch the tramloads of people getting out, greeting each other and dispersing among the newspaper- and flower-sellers.
The square’s name comes from Ban Jelačić, the 19th-century ban (viceroy or governor).
This private art collection, housed in a former textile-weaving mill in an industrial area of western Zagreb, provides an insight into Croatian contemporary art from the 1950s to today. Works on display change frequently, with an exciting roster of events, and there's the cool Lauba Bistro on site.