In the first article of Zagreb‘s rich history, we introduced you to what was happening there thousands of years ago until the dark medieval ages. Now we move on to one of the architecturally and artistically richest periods for our lovely capital. Read along!
Baroque mansions and churches were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Jesuit order built St. Catherine’s Church, considered one of the best-preserved examples of Baroque ecclesiastical splendor. In the second half of the 17th century, Zagreb became a university center, one of the longest existing in Europe. The new city’s position enabled unhindered growth and Zagreb soon spread around the valley of the river Sava. The development of industrial production, commerce, transport, and banking during the second half of the 19th century made their mark on the city’s appearance.
In 1862 Zagreb expanded to the railway that has connected it with all other central European capitals to the present day. This is when the city started to develop along gridlines. The town planning scheme strictly outlined that all streets must be straight and of the same width, and all buildings of the same type and height. Spacious squares and monuments in the neo-styles of the 19th century are seen among the many parks and green spaces that comprise the appearance of present-day Zagreb. Praška leads us away from the main square to the so-called Green Horseshoe.
This series of open green spaces, not unlike the Ring in Vienna, is formed in the shape of the letter ‘u’ and contains important institutions of public culture. The ratio of greenery to the urban architecture, fountains and pavilions were carefully planned out.
This is where the main railway station is located, as well as the Academy of Sciences and Arts, the University Library, the National Theatre, noblemen’s palaces, and numerous colleges. Yellow-tinted façades and lines of wild chestnut trees echo the era when Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy. The old Upper Town evolved into a systematically organized area with clearly defined sections of greenery and carefully located monuments. Building entrances around the Lower Town provide a link between public thoroughfares and the private sphere of residential courtyards. This atmospheric mix of small-town and luxurious Central-European metropolis raised Zagreb to the level of contemporary cities to be reckoned with during the nineteenth century.