Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Zrinjevac Park Square, the lushest of the parks belonging to a cluster of parks and promenades known as the Lenuci horseshoe, was designed and built in the 19th century when downtown Zagreb was taking its present shape. Zrinjevac park today serves its original function, which is to be a representable place for citizens to enjoy strolling along or sitting down in the shade of plane trees for refreshment and peace. Of all the things you can do at Zrinjevac square, we bring you a list of a few not to miss.
1. Check the time by the meteorological weather station pole
Wherever you stand in Zagreb, it’s easiest to find your way by looking at the Medvednica mountain: it’s always to the north. On Zrinjevac’s northernmost point, find a weather station pole that still uses its original machinery from 1884. The meteorological pole designed by Herman Bollé, allows passers-by to check the time, but also the air pressure, temperature and humidity. If you happen to be by the pole on a Monday, you may catch one of the engineers fine-tuning the mechanism of the clock, which is maintained by the same clocksmith family that maintains all the city clocks, Lebarović.
2. Listen to a concert held on Zrinjevac’s Music Pavilion
Zrinjevac square is equally attractive in its plainest outfit, when true elegance of plane trees stands as a living memory of older times, or imaginatively decorated during some of the many events that take place on Zrinjevac. The Music Pavilion has hosted dances and concerts since the 1890s, and this long tradition upstands today. In December, the plane trees get dressed in a glamorous string of lights, as the Advent takes centre stage, and in the summertime, there are concerts held almost every day, so make sure to check the current details for what’s on.
3. Visit the Archeological Museum
The Archeological Museum offers more than a healthy dose of exhibits (more than 450 000) and information for history and numismatic buffs. The historicist building is made in 1879 and its exterior is mainly well-preserved, except for the statues that got destroyed in an earthquake and were never placed back. The interior hides a Stigler elevator that is the oldest, still running elevator that operates with its original mechanism since 1917. It's a real thrill to close the elevator’s heavy iron doors as you try it out during your time in the museum.
4. Read a book under the shade
Ideal for an inner-city picnic, Zrinjevac is the place where people go to take a breather. With murmuring sounds from the Zrinjevac fountain popularly called Gljiva (the Mushroom), simply spread out on fine grass picnic style - and read a book, eat an ice-cream or ponder about this square’s history. Before Zrinjevac was a middle European park built in a French style, and downtown Zagreb was a centre as it is today, Zrinjevac park was for a long time simply a meadow on the peripheries, owned by the parish church of St. Mark. For a while, there was a women’s prison located on the Zrinjevac square, just where the court is today. Most recently, the Zrinjevac Square has been occupied by giant squids, as the event Summer on Zrinjevac takes place, and people are encouraged to come and sit in the shade and read one of the many books they offer. Some books are in English, so you won’t have to bring your own.
5. Buy yourself some original good-looking shoes Startas
You won’t know us until you’ve walked a mile in our shoes, and this is a shoe we’d gladly recommend. The factory that produces internationally acclaimed Startas shoes, Borovo, has been operating since the 1930s, and it’s one of the first of its kind in eastern Croatia. Borovo shoes were worn all over former Yugoslavia and gained extreme popularity in the ’60s after the invention of the famous Borosana shoe, designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and ideal for the body’s posture. When they introduced the Startas shoes in the ’70s, history was written. If you want to find this popular piece of Croatian fashion, from Zrinjevac, head south until you reach the main Rail station, and get yourself underground in one of the first malls in Zagreb, Importanne centre, and find a Borovo shoe store in Podhodnik.
For more local stories and a great memory of Zagreb, book a SNIP tour. See you soon.