Zagreb - The Croatian metropolis
Zagreb www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr, the capital of and largest city in Croatia, is a city of rich history and arts, entertainment and sports. With its attractions, beauty and organisational capabilities it is host to congresses and arts, sports and other events. This central European city is, in the true sense of the word, like a magnet attracting visitors who want to get to know its past and present – read on the streets of the Upper City, the somewhat younger, but no longer young, Lower City and those of New Zagreb.
Zagreb is located on the Sava River, 170 kilometres from the coast connected with modern highways. It is 122 metres above sea level. Its climate is continental, with an average summer temperature of 20o Celsius and a winter average of 1o Celsius. The 2001 figures have its population at 780,000 inhabitants. Zagreb has about 20 swimming facilities, 21 museums, about 30 galleries and several art collections. The wealth of permanent exhibitions of art and culture from Croatia and abroad are enriched by topical exhibitions and are one reason more to pay the city a visit.
What definitely makes Zagreb different from other European capitals is its charm and spontaneity, emphasised by the fact that all of the municipal and arts attractions and the institutions are located in the city centre, and can all be reached on foot. Although bearing, by its geographic location, all the traits of a central European city, Zagreb is also the charming open-air cafes and garden terraces that are characteristic for the Mediterranean way of life. The architecture of the Upper and Lower Cities, the monuments and noteworthy buildings from different periods and the unmistakable atmosphere of a city with many parks, truly "on a human scale" is winning the hearts of tourists whose number is yearly growing.
An excellent hotel infrastructure is adapted to their needs so that visitors – whether they're here on business or pleasure – can choose among hotels belonging to global chains or smaller hotels, also of proven quality. There is a rich offer of cuisine that combines the best of Mediterranean cooking with time-honoured continental cuisine. For those who prefer not to change their habits there is international cuisine on offer. Tourists will be attracted by the varied shopping offer. Since the first pen, whose inventor is Slavoljub Penkala, launched its triumphant course right here from Zagreb perhaps it, or a tie (the cravat, also a Croatian invention), will be an ideal souvenir from Croatia. The choice, of course, is great.
Modern day Zagreb grew out of two medieval settlements that developed for centuries on to adjacent hills.
Zagreb's written history dates back as far as the year 1094 when a diocese was founded here. Zagreb's university, established in the 17th century, is one of the oldest in Europe.
Zagreb's theatres and concert halls have a rich repertoire. They are the stage of top local and many famed visiting artists from around the world. The wealth of life in the arts is reflected in the numerous theatre stagings, operas and operettas, concerts of contemporary, classical and jazz music and in the many festivals. The streets of Zagreb are – especially during the summer – the scene of events and performances that make it lively and particularly interesting. Zagreb has for over three decades played host to the Floraart International Flower Fair.
Zagreb is a member of many European associations of which FECT, the Federation of European Cities Tourist Offices (www.visiteuropeancities.com) and “Art Cities in Europe” deserve special mention. Reservations for hotel rooms and concert and theatre tickets can be made at the Art Cities in Europe Internet site: www.articities.de.
Just like every city adapting to the latest trends and the new lifestyle, Zagreb too is "getting" the facilities that are appropriate to the habits and "sporting spirit" of its inhabitants. Few European capitals have in their direct vicinity a nature park like Zagreb's own Medvednica. Ideal for outings, recreation and rest year round, Medvednica and its highest peak, Sljeme, is as of 2005 the host of the FIS Snow Queen Trophy women's ski event. Sljeme is the place world-class women's skier Janica KosteliŠ took her first steps in skiing as did her brother Ivica KosteliŠ, also a successful skier.
The Zagreb Indoors event is a draw for many top international tennis players. The city is also home to the Jarun Sports & Recreation Centre – a favourite outing area for the people of Zagreb and their guests. Regatta lanes are fitted out for international and local competitions, as are cycling trails, beaches and an excellent offer of restaurants.
To help visitors find their way around easier and to bring the attractions closer there is the Zagreb Card, offering consumers several advantages: free rides on public transport, savings at almost all of the city's museum, many restaurants, shops, services and many other benefits. The Zagreb Card costs 12 Euros and can be used for 72 hours from the date and time printed on it. The Zagreb Card can be purchased on-line, at all tourist information centres in the city of Zagreb and at the receptions of larger Zagreb hotels.
Zagreb is very well connected to other countries and other parts of Croatia. The airport is 17 kilometres from the city centre. Besides the national air carrier, Croatia Airlines, the capital is connected to the world by foreign air companies with regular and charter flights. Thanks to a modern system of highways Zagreb is well connected by road as it is by rail.
The Zagreb environs (www.tzzz.hr) are attractive and have a lot to offer, with their vineyards, Wine Roads, medieval and Baroque-period castles (the greatest concentration of castles after the Loire valley), and their many medicinal thermal springs – renovated and now a real Thermal Riviera.
A special tourist attraction is the original ethno-village of Kumrovac. The Zagreb environs are just as attractive to athletes as they are those in search of recreation, to those who enjoy the beauties of nature, customs, traditional culture and architecture.
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