Six Squares of Lenuci Horseshoe, Zagreb
Lenuci Horseshoe, Zagreb
Walking tour of lower town Zagreb
See also: FAM (Familiarization) tour of Croatia
It was early morning and the sun was yet to come out I stood at the balcony of Hotel Esplanade, Zagreb looking down at the main station area of Glavni Koldovor.
I have reached the city little more than twelve hours ago and already had a small guided tour of of lower town Zagreb.
Now I am all set to explore the city all on my own and decided to do a walking tour of Lenuci Horseshoe in lower town Zagreb.
Lenuci Horseshoe is a U – shaped belt of squares and parks designed by engineer Milan Lenuci, in the late 19th century.Consisting of six squares (Marshal Tito, Mažuranić, Marulić, King Tomislav, Strossmayer and Zrinski), the Lenuci’s Horseshoe forms the core part of Zagreb’s lower town.
The Lenuci’s Horseshoe actually consists of two wings, Western and Eastern, with three squares in each. The two wings are connected by Zagreb’s Botanical Garden, Hotel Esplanade, Starčević Square and Glavni Kolodvor.
After a quick shower I headed East from Hotel Esplanade and by the time I have reached Starčević Square the first rays of the sun have struck the Western faced of Hotel Esplanade.
Toward my left is a building with a dome crowned with a statue of an angle, no wonder it reminded me of our own Victoria Memorial. The golden coloured angle held a torch in her hand.
Soon I was in front of the main railway station of Zagreb Glavni Kolodvour, the streets were totally empty and although the blue trams of Zagreb operated its coaches were totally empty.
A horse mounted statue of King Tomisalav greets visitor coming out of the Glavni Kolodvor (main railway station).
King Tomislav Square is the south – eastern square of the Lenuci Horseshoe. Its a large open square with fountains and flower beds and tree lined walkways.
The southern end of the square is marked with the statue of King Tomisalav while on the norther end stands the Art Pavilion of Zagreb.
The butter – yellow coloured Art Pavilion, with its glass dome is one of Zagreb’s most iconic building. It is the first custom built art pavilion in South Eastern Europe.
Strangely the Zagreb Art Pavilion was once located in Budapest in neighboring Hungary. It was removed piece by piece and was reconstructed on the King Tomisalav Squre, Zagreb in 1897 – 98.
I headed further north from the Zagreb Art Pavilion and made my way to the Strossmayer Square.
Named after Josip Juraj Strossmayer, politician and Roman Catholic Bishop, the Strossmayer Square occupies the central position of the eastern wing of the Lenuci Horseshoe.
Sadly the Strossmayer Square is probably the least impressive of the six squares of Lenuci Horseshoe and contains two building on its northern and southern ends.
The building on the northern end of Strossmayer Square is the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, it Croatian it is known as Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti ( HAZU).
It was founded in 1862 and was then known as the Yugoslav Academy of Science and Arts.
Today the beautiful building houses nine acamedic departments, covering different branches of arts and science.
The Croatian Academy of Science and Arts is beautifully decorated with flower beds ans tree lined walkways and a statue of Josip Juraj Strossmayer stands on its southern end.
I continued further north walking past the The Gallery of Modern Art and The Archeological Museum, both of which were to my left, and made my way to the Zrinski Square.
Zagreb has its own share of greenery and probably the greenest part of downtown Zagreb is the Zrinski Square. Located on the northern end of the eastern wing of Lenuci Horseshoe, this square is named after Croatian Bun Nikola Šubić Zrinski.
Initially it was a meadow, which served as a cattle market. In the later part of the 19th century it was transferred into one of the greenest squares of Zagreb.
Decorated with beautiful flowerbeds and tree lined walkways Zrinski Sqaure has no major structures, but it does have its share of wrought iron bandstand, fountain and marble bust of notable Croatian.
The fountain in Zrinski Square dates back to 1878 and happens to be the oldest fountain in Zagreb. For its unusual shape it is refereed to as “The Mushroom.”
The square serves as a venue for open air concerts. The strangest structure in the Zrinski Square is the Meteorological Post, located on the northern end it was set up in 1884 and records the meteorological data till this day.
Further north lies the Ban Jelačić Square, the central square of the city of Zagreb, but instead of heading north I turned left and headed west ward.
I followed a narrow street lined with cafes but it was about 7 am and the cafes were yet to open their gates. I made may way passed the closed cafes on to the largest and the most beautiful squares of Zageb the Marshal Tito Square.
The Croatian National Theatre stands at the centre of the Marshal Tito Square. Opened to public in 1895 the Croatian National Thearte is one of Zagreb’s iconic landmark.
Named after the former Yugoslavian Prime Minister and President Josip Broz Tito, the Mearshal Tito Square is flanked on the north by the Zagreb University and on the west by the Museum of Art and Crafts.
The square also house two beautiful sculptures of the “Well of Life” and “King George Killing the Dragon.”
I moved south wards toward the Mažuranić Square, named after the Croatian poet Ivan Mažuranić. It is the central square of the western wing of Lenuci Horseshoe.
Sadly the Mažuranić Square is one of the lesser impressive ones and houses a Gymnastics School at its northern end.
The building with its brownish brick exterior finish has been the breeding ground of world famous gymnasts of Croatia and former Yugoslavia.
With the Ethnographic Museum on the left I made my way towards the sixth and last square of Lenuci Horseshoe, the Marulić Square.
The south – western square of Lenuci Horseshoe is named after the Croatian National Poet Marko Marulić.
The square is marked with a statue of Marko Marulić at the northern end of the square.
The prime attraction of Marulić Square, the Croatian State Archive, lies on its southern end.
Once the National and University Library, today it is the home of Croatian State Archive.
Designed by architect Rudolf Lubyanski in 1913 the building is by far the most beautiful example of Croatian Art Nouveau.
The building is rich in symbolism, with rooftop globe bearing owls, symbolizing wisdom.
Several other statues and relief art adorn the facade of the Croatian State Archive.
It was finally time to head back to Hotel Esplanade and I turned left towards my hotel.
I walked past the gates of the Zagreb’s Botanical Garden, which opens at 9 am (it was about 8 am).
After about two and half hours of walk I finally made it to Hotel Esplanade, where an elaborate breakfast spread awaited me.