We spent our first two nights in Croatia in the outskirts of the capital in Hotel Jarun – a rather pleasant little hotel with a HUGE SHOWER. Very much loved after the rather epic day in Athens and 3 hour flight. Big breakfast in the morning then a tram (the trams are excellent!) into the city to have a wee explore and book a rental car for the next day.
We hadn’t heard much about Zagreb – it isn’t on most people’s to-do list, and isn’t as famous as the tourist areas of Croatia, but it was a great little city with lots of young people around and LOADS of museums and galleries.
BUT. It turns out that nothing really opens on a Monday… We didn’t realise this, and with only a half-day on the Tuesday, we ended up with a fairly relaxed day wandering the city. We discovered the market (above) and bought a kilogram of cherries for 17 kuna - that’s like, NZ$4, or 2 pounds! INSANITY.
I LOVE CHERRIES.
Ok, enough of that. So something that was open was Zagreb Cathedral. It turned out the pope had just visited the country the day before, and his face is EVERYwhere. Croatia has a strong Roman Catholic tradition. Yell out if you want to receive a postcard with his face on it.
It’s an impressive church, and rather ostentatious as I’ve discovered churches can be! parts of it date back to 1093 when building began, but most of it is in the neo-gothic style of the 19th century. One of the turrets was being restored when we were there (hence the photo at the top) but it is a beautiful building.
I hope you’ve all discovered that you can click on these photos to make them bigger…
The far left photo was of a kinda creepy wax cast of an archbishop. This was the first time I’d come across veneration of the saints in person (though after two weeks of visiting Croatian churches, I’m more used to it) and I found it intriguing to see people weeping and praying in front of his figure. Aloysius Stepinac was the archbishop of Zagreb who was accused of war crimes after WWII by the Yugoslav government. There seems to be debate about the legitimacy of the charges, and the wikipedia page wasn’t much help, so investigate and decide for yourselves!
Oh! I almost forgot, we made it to the Museum of Arts and Crafts which had an art deco exhibition on. Sooooo many pretty things.