Many amazing destinations in Zagreb, Croatia.
This is the diverse private art collection – Zagreb’s best – of Ante Topić Mimara, who donated over 3750 priceless objects to his native Zagreb (even though he spent much of his life in Salzburg, Austria). Housed in a neo-Renaissance former school building (1883), the collection spans a wide range of periods and regions.
Inside you’ll find an archaeological section with 200 items; exhibits of ancient Far Eastern artworks; a glass, textile and furniture collection that spans centuries; and 1000 European art objects. In the painting collection, check out works by Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Bosch, Velázquez, Goya, Manet, Renoir and Degas.
The park, a peaceful wooded enclave covering 18 hectares, is easily accessible by trams 11 and 12 from Jelačić square. Opened to the public in 1794, it was the first public promenade in southeastern Europe. It’s landscaped like an English garden, with alleys, lawns and artificial lakes.
The most photographed structure in the park is the exquisite Bellevue Pavilion, constructed in 1843. Also here is the Echo Pavilion, as well as a house built to resemble a rustic Swiss cottage. Zagreb Zoo has a modest collection of the world’s fauna and daily feeding times for seals, sea lions, otters and piranhas.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Kaptol Sq is dominated by this cathedral, formerly known as St Stephen’s. Its twin spires – seemingly permanently under repair – soar over the city. Although the cathedral’s original Gothic structure has been transformed many times over, the sacristy still contains a cycle of frescoes dating from the 13th century. An earthquake in 1880 badly damaged the cathedral; reconstruction in a neo-Gothic style began around the turn of the 20th century.
Inside, don’t miss the baroque marble altars, statues and pulpit, or the tomb of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac by Ivan Meštrović.
Backo Mini Express
Children and tech lovers fall for this model railway displayed across 75 sq metres – the largest in southeastern Europe. The museum consists of a single room, but the hypnotic effect of gazing at 102 model trains choo-chooing across 1050m of railway more than makes up for it.
The scenery is meticulously crafted to the finest detail, including tiny people engaged in various activities. The ‘wow’ moment is seeing a train through a transparent floor drive underneath your feet.
Museum of Illusion
Housed in an apartment building, this newcomer delivers a fantastic sensory adventure to visitors of all ages. Children in particular are in for a great time. The Slanted Room or the Mirror of Truth are among 70-plus intriguing exhibits, hologram pictures, puzzles and educational games that offer up a fun mental workout.
The museum shop has fabulous 3D puzzles and Dilemma Games – didactic toys that make a perfect souvenir.
Croatia’s most recognised artist is Ivan Meštrović. This 17th-century building is his former home, where he worked and lived from 1922 to 1942; the excellent collection it houses has some 100 sculptures, drawings, lithographs and pieces of furniture from the first four decades of his artistic life. Meštrović, who also worked as an architect, designed many parts of the house himself.
Hope you enjoy your time in Zagreb, Croatia.
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