Walking tour of Zagreb Upper Town (Gornji Grad), Gradec and Kaptol
Walking tour of Zagreb Upper Town (Gornji Grad)
Gradec and Kaptol
See also: FAM (Familiarization) tour of Croatia
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is divided into two parts the Lower Town and the Upper Town (Gronji Grad). The upper town consists of old Zagreb while the lower town consists of new Zagreb.
Both the upper and lower town of Zagreb is best explored on foot (See: Walking tour of Lower Town Zagreb).
The upper town also known as Gronji Grad is located at the foot of the majestic Medvednica Mountains and has a rich history
Once the Zagreb consisted of the Upper Town (Granji Grad) only and it consisted of a twin settlement spread across two neighboring hills.
The larger western section was known as Gradec and was mainly inhabited by farmers and merchants.
The smaller eastern section was known as the Kaptol and housed the Zagreb Cathedral and was inhabited by the priests and clergy men.
The two hills were separated by a narrow canal but the canal has long been filled up to give way to a road.
Ban Jelačić Square (Trg bana Jelačića), located at the junction of the upper town and lower town of Zagred is the best place to start the walk of Zagreb upper town. Ban Jelačić Square, the central focus of modern day Zagreb, is well connected to the rest of the city by Zagreb’s Blue Tram and other public transport.
The square served as the commercial heart of the city since 1641 but most of the present day buildings surrounding the square dates back to the nineteenth century.
From the Ban Jelačić Square take the Ilica Street and move westward. Ilica was once the longest street in Zagreb and still happens to be the symbolic main artery of the city.
The street is 6 km long but the walk is short as one takes a right turn leading to the Funicular.
The 66 meter long Funicular connects the lower town and upper town of Zagreb and happens to be the shortest passenger cable railway in the world.
Operating since 1890 the funicular is Zagreb’s oldest public transport. Initially it was powered by steam but later converted to electricity. The rides takes 55 seconds and the tiny funicular has a capacity of 28 adult passengers.
The funicular leads to the base of the towering Lotrščak Tower (Kula Lotrščak). The Lotrščak Tower, is the only surviving tower of the 13th century fortification of Zagreb.
The bells of the Lotrščak Tower used to summon the townsfolk to return to the town at sunset.
Today canons are fired at noon everyday and the tower offers an amazing 360 degree view covering both the Lower Town and the Upper Town (Gronji Grad) of Zagreb.
Getting down from the tower take a right turn towards the St. Catherine’s Church (Crkva sv. Katarine). The 17th century is considered the most beautiful Baroque church of Zagreb.
From the St. Catherine’s Church retrace your steps back to the Lotrščak Tower and head towards the St. Mark’s Square and on right will be the Museum of Broken Relationship.
Museum of Broken Relationship (Muzej Prekinutih Veza) is a museum dedicated to failed love relationship. Its exhibits include personal objects left over from former lovers, accompanied by brief descriptions.
On the left is the Orthodox Church with its towering steeple and straight ahead is the St. Mark’s Square (Trg svetog Marka).
Dominating the St. Mark’s Square in Zagreb is the St. Mark’s Church, with its beautiful coloured roof tiles and towering clock tower.
The multi coloured tiles on the roof of the church depicts the coat of arms of Croatia and Zagreb
The St. Mark’s Church is flanked on the right (East) by the Croatian Parliament(Hrvatski sabor) and on the left (West) by Government building Banski Dvori.
The St. Mark’s Square has been the witness to various historic events and it was in this square Franjo Tuđman, the first President of independent Croatia took his oath in 1991.
It was also at this square Matija Gubec, the leader of Croatian – Slovenian Peasant Revolt, was tortured and hanged in 1573.
Even today the St. Mark’s Square is full of activities and young girls dressed in traditional Croatian costume sells artifacts and souvenirs, including the famous red heart of Zagreb.
To the right of the square is the Stone gate, which was part of the old Zagreb’s fortification.
It is the only old town gate that has remained intact. The gate also houses a chapel. The chapel contains a painting of Virgin Mary the meticulously survived the great fire of Zagreb in 1731.
From the stone gate head north towards the Zagreb City Museum. Both the sections of the upper town Zagreb (Gornji Grad), Gradec and Kaptol are still lit up by gas lamps, during the night. Most of the 200 gas light posts are beautifully decorated with flowers.
The Zagreb City Museum (Muzej grada Zagreba) is located on the northern edge of the upper town and is housed in a former convent.
The front faced of the first floor is built without windows, helping the nuns to maintain their isolation, but to maintain a parity with the surrounding architecture windows have been painted on the wall.
The museum started operating in 1947 and presents the history of Zagreb in a entertaining way.
Next to the Zagreb City Museum are steps leading down to the Kaptol, the smaller eastern section of old Zagreb inhabited by the priest and clergy men.
The steps lead to the road, which was originally a canal that separated the Kaptol from Gardec. The canal has long been filled up and the road leads past beautiful small chapels toward the Zagreb Cathedral.
The Zagreb Cathedral (Zagrebačka katedrala) with its twin towers is the icon of the city.
The cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and dates back to 1217, but the present building dates back to 1906. The interiors are grand and are open to public.
Just in front of the Cathedral is the famous Dolac Market. The market operating since 1926 is Zagreb’s most famous farmers market.
From there the one can head for the Ban Jelačić Square to end the walk of Upper Town Zagreb (Gronji Grad).
- The walks take about 2 hours excluding the time spent inside the museums and the Cathedral
- The area houses several special interest museum but the visit to the interiors of Broken Relationship Museum and Zagreb City Museum is a must