Zagreb’s history

Ban Josip Jelačić, photo by Matko M. Švarc

The architecture of  Zagreb

The prosperity of Baroque and neo-classical architecture left a mark on Zagreb that will always remind its citizens of that era. However, many cultural and political things started to take place in Zagreb with the dawn of the 20th century.

Photo by M. Švarc, Vlaška street in Zagreb

Important bonds with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy

The historical events of the 20th century transformed the map of the world and left a mark on the lives of the 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 the early 20th century, Zagreb developed close links with other European art, culture, and science centers.

Hotel Esplanade Zagreb Croatia photo by Matija Spelic photo credit by TB of Croatia
Hotel Esplanade Zagreb Croatia photo by Matija Spelic photo credit by TB of Croatia

At this point, 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.

Zagreb iz zraka J. Duval
Zagreb, Croatia, photo by J. Duval, photo credit by TB of the city of Zagreb

Modern Zagreb

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 by constructing residential blocks.

Sava River in Zagreb, Croatia, photo by Matko M. Švarc

For centuries, the Sava had been flooding the valley while protecting citizens from medieval invasion and 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 river’s south bank. Pleso airport was built in the valley; office blocks sprang up around town, along with a new National and University Library.

Zagreb symbols, photo by Matko M. Švarc

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.

St. Marks Square Zagre photo by Matko M. Švarc
St. Marks Square Zagre photo by Matko M. Švarc

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.

 

Funicular in Zagreb, photo by Matko M. Švarc

Zagreb

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