The prosperity of Baroque and neo-classical architecture left a mark on Zagreb that will always remind its citizens of that era but many cultural and political things started to take place in Zagreb with the dawn of the 20th century.
The historic events of the 20th century transformed the map of the world and left a mark on the lives of citizens of Zagreb. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia severed all bonds with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, a new state formed by the south Slav peoples. The population of Zagreb increased and new districts emerged in the eastern and western parts of the city, while impressive residences were built in the foothills of Sljeme. In this early part of the 20th century, Zagreb developed close links with other European centers of art, culture, and science.
It was at this point that the first radio station in this part of Europe began to broadcast; the Zagreb Stock Exchange opened; the first automatic telephone exchange was built, as well as the city’s first skyscraper.
Modern times continued to change the everyday life of local citizens until the outbreak of World War II. After the war, Croatia, with Zagreb as its capital, became one of the six republics of Yugoslavia. The post-war years lead to the further expansion of the city. It finally spread over the south bank of the river Sava with the construction of residential blocks.
For centuries, the Sava had been flooding the valley while protecting citizens from medieval invasion and serving as a link to distant lands. From the mid-20th century, it became the border between the old town of Zagreb and Novi Zagreb. Today there are twelve bridges connecting north and south, new and old. The Zagreb Fair, a venue for international business conventions, moved across to the south bank of the river. Pleso airport was built in the valley; around town, office blocks sprang up, along with a new National and University Library.
In 1991 the Croatian Parliament proclaimed the independence of Croatia as a sovereign state. Zagreb became the capital of a newly independent European nation, in a society of free and equal citizens.
The Parliament of Croatia and the Government have their seat in the Upper Town, the oldest secular center of the city, where historic decisions have been made for centuries. In the new millennium, the city of Zagreb is the business center of the region, a place for multilingual business communication, political debate, and cultural exchange. Business quarters just outside metropolitan Zagreb are a response to the demands of modern life. Zagreb continues to be as involved in events in Europe and the world, as it always has done.