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The medieval upper town of Zagreb

The upper town of Zagreb lies high up on a hill above the city. A visit to this medieval part of the city is quite literally a highlight. Whereas the lower town is lively and busy, the upper town is steeped in peace and quiet.

Those who like to immerse themselves in the history of Zagreb will enjoy a visit to the upper town and its many museums. Everywhere there are traces of the city’s turbulent past. Entry is through the only remaining medieval city gate and there is a small shrine where residents pray and light candles. In the heart of the upper town is St. Mark's Square. The square’s main attraction is the 13th-century St. Mark’s Church, known for its brightly coloured tiled roof.

St. Mark’s Church
St. Mark’s Church

Zagreb

Museums within walking distance

Of the various museums in the upper town of Zagreb, there are 2 are which are especially worth a visit. The Croatian Museum of Naive Art houses a collection of 1,500 works by artists who have completely let go of any painting conventions, creating bizarre every-day scenes in bright colours. For a unique and moving experience, visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, less than a 2-minute walk away. Observe dozens of ordinary artefacts, each with a story about a broken relationship. The collection underlines that love leaves us with beautiful but also with heart-breaking memories.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Funicular: the city’s cultural heritage

The Zagreb Funicular is a 120-year-old cobalt-blue cog railway that connects Zagreb's upper town with the lower town. A ride on this fun city train takes only 64 seconds to climb 66 metres; still it used by some 750,000 passengers each year to travel up and down the hillside. Still in its original condition, the funicular is Zagreb’s oldest means of transportation and a protected cultural monument.

The cobalt-blue funicular
The Burglars’ Tower of the Upper Town

Viewpoint with cannon shots

For the best views of Zagreb’s lower city, climb the Kula Lotrščak (Burglars’ Tower). The tower stands at the top of the funicular stop and was part of the old town’s former fortifications. Every night a bell would ring to announce the closing of the city gate to ward off burglars – hence the name. In the 19th century, a 4th floor was added to the tower and a cannon installed on the top. Since that day, a cannon shot is fired from the tower every day at noon.

Photo credits

  • Museum of Broken Relationships: Mike Raanhuis, iFly KLM Magazine
  • The cobalt-blue funicular: Mike Raanhuis, iFly KLM Magazine
  • The Burglars’ Tower of the Upper Town: Mike Raanhuis, iFly KLM Magazine