Coffee fix

The famous "špica" in Zagreb. This slang word usually means a peak (e.g. traffic), but in this case it's used to describe an interval during a day where people go out and have coffee (drink)... it's a place to see and be seen. During off season, these coffee shops and terraces are completely full and you usually have to be quick to grab a seat. However, you can see the summer influence, where the whole continental Croatia practically moves to the coast during holidays, and free tables during špica are normal occurrence.


A bubble for an unborn child

About a month ago, our government passed the most backwards law they possibly could (and have outdone themselves, yet again; Catholic church had a huge role in this one!). They forbid unmarried couples to undergo any fertilization treatments. Also for those married couple who do, they state that only one egg can be used in the treatment, therefore minimizing the chances of fertilization. None of the eggs are allowed to be frozen, which means that a woman has to undergo hormone therapy and the procedure at least 3-5 times more often than normal. This puts woman's health in danger, as well as empties their pockets (the treatments are expensive and not covered by the general health care).

People in the photo were protesting against such a retarded and oppressive law, by blowing soap bubbles, each bubble representing a child who will never be born because of this law:


A really old car...

I guess it's fitting that we found this car (double parked, I might add) in the Old town:

I'm fascinated by the fact this car still works after so many years. I guess the number of parts that can break was far less than today's cars... no electronic parts either! :)


Zagreb surroundings: Veliki Tabor castle

Some 40km north of Zagreb, there are quite a few castles on the hills of Zagorje region. Today I visited Veliki Tabor with my parents:

Wine cellar:

View of the hillsides from the castle:

The photos are 10 months old, since the castle is now closed for renovation and its outside walls are fully covered in scaffolding. If you like to know a place in Croatia where there are almost no tourists, this is the one!


Busy Saturday...

The photo was taken on Ilica street in the center...


Time machine: Dora Krupiceva and "Goldsmith's gold"

We're stepping back into Zagreb's 16th century - August Šenoa wrote a novel "Goldsmith's gold" (1871.) set at the beginning of the 16th century, which introduces a sad love story among Zagreb's turbulent historical events (uprising against Franjo Tahy - see previous 2 posts & comments, etc.). The main character is Dora Krupićeva, goldsmith's daughter, portrayed as hardworking, sweet-tempered, somewhat naive... she falls in love with Pavao Gregorijanec. Their love is filled with his father's hatred and disapproval, since his father hates Zagreb and all people from Zagreb. To make things worse, Dora turned down a marriage offer from Grga Čokolin (a mean, greedy, callous and ugly man). This proved to be a deadly mistake, as Grga poisons her.......

A statue of Dora Krupiceva can be found in a niche on the inner wall of the Stone Gate (one of the still-standing entrances to Zagreb's Old town). She's always portrayed as a woman carrying a tiny chest filled with gold:

Thanks to the Time machine event, you can also see and talk to her ;-) every Saturday from 5PM-8PM, somewhere in the Old town (it took us an hour to track the group):


St. Marko's church and square

A probable photo you will find with Google on Zagreb will be of St. Marko's church and its roof - painted roof tiles represent two coats of arms. White castle on red background represents the coat of arms of Zagreb and the other one represents Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia.

West entrance:

The square in front of the south side entrance used to be an open and flee (literally too ;-)) market in 13th century. At that time it was also a place where they had a "pole of shame" where all people indicted by the court were punished. In 1573. Matija Gubec was executed (crowned by an incandescent crown). He was a leader of a short-lived peasant uprising in Croatia against Franjo Tahy (a feudal tyrant). Although the uprising was suppressed within two weeks, this revolt and its personification in Gubec have endured as potent national symbols in Croatia.

Nowadays, the square and the church are surrounded by highest government institutions - the Parliament, the Government palace and the Supreme court.

The church has been renovated for the past 25 years and officially opened in March this year... this explains why I have never been inside yet...


St. Marko's church portal

As Cristobal noticed in the previous photo, the south side entrance to the St. Marko's church is quite elaborate and unusual:

It's one of the richest Gothic church entrances in Croatia. The church itself dates back to 13th century, but has been renovated several times due to fires, earthquake,... more on church in another post... :)


Time machine: Knights on a stroll....

I should probably mention it's 30-35C (90-100F) every day....... it's amazing how fresh they look in those costumes!


Killing a beast...

There are quite a few statues in Zagreb with men killing dragons, snakes and other beasts. This one is in the Old town, next to St. Catherine's church:


Passing by....

A busy day like today calls for this photo:

A tram passing by reflected the busy Saturday life...


Time machine: 'šnel' photographer

A photographer who takes and develops photos of people in 19th ct costumes... being photographed:


Time machine: the history of a tie

Have you ever wondered who thought of an idea to make men wear ties? The French had an idea... and Croats made sure the word got around. Croatian men were a part of the French army. Since there were no official uniforms, Croats wore red neck ties as a distinguishing item among other soldiers. For some reason, Europeans loved it, started wearing it.......

Just in case you read the wiki, it's incorrect - king Louis XIV (born in 1638) was not the first one to wear a tie. A portrait dating in 1622 of Ivan Gundulic shows that he wore a neck tie. If you're one of the men who hate wearing ties, I guess you now know who to be angry at :-).

The photo shows two men dressed as soldiers in the 17th ct uniforms in front of the Croata store in Zagreb:


Time machine park

As a bit of distraction from the time machine series, here are a few photos of the park called Zrinjevac (right smack in the center) where a part of the Time machine event is taking place:

South side of the park has a dozen or so statues of Croatian writers, artists, scientists...:


Time machine: I'm seeing red

... well, not really :-D, I'm actually in a great mood today ;-). The bright red parasols/umbrellas with characteristic horizontal lines you already saw in a few of the Time machine series were a part of the folklore uniforms from Zagreb's neighborhood Sestine. They were quite regularly used until the 1920s. Now they're a part of Zagreb's open markets as parasols, or any public event. Souvenir shops are full of tiny ceramic umbrellas, but also real ones.

A few more photos from the Time machine event:

Daily open market Dolac in the center of the city:

Flower market next to the Dolac market:


Time machine: fashion!

Quite elaborate daily outfits for women including hats, gloves,.......


Old&modern mix:


Time machine: 1940s swing dancing

Zagreb's tourist board has organized a "time machine" every Saturday, taking everyone to some other life time... Everything takes place on Zrinjevac (a park in the center of the city) and the Old town. This Saturday they organized a swing quartet and mixed some 19th/20th century dress style. The Old town boasted knights from medieval times and some real people portrayed in famous novels by Croatian author August Senoa (~17th ct). Since I took a huge number of photos during the whole day, I'll be posting the series of the photos in my next n blogs :) (incl. a story if there's one connected to a character or a place).

We'll start today with the swing quartet and dancing couples:

And my favorite couple whose faces showed how much they enjoyed dancing:


Red roof tiles

Overlooking "Kaptol" neighborhood of Zagreb which center is the Cathedral:

A view of the central part of Zagreb from a famous promenade which turns into a lovers' lane after nightfall...


Lookin' good!

These two crows come for their feathers check at least 5 times per day. The chimneys have shiny tops, and the crows first look at the reflection, then do a bit of cleaning the feathers, then check again their reflection... maybe take a nap and then go about their business. Very funny. :) Also, they seem to know it's their own reflection they're looking at (e.g. if they see in the reflection another crow approaching, they get extremely upset and chase away the intruder):


Remete church

Today I found myself at the foot of Zagreb's mountain, in an old neighborhood (recently gained the upscale status) called Remete. Other than expensive real-estate, it's well known for the second most important Marian shrines in Croatia - an old church, called The church of Blessed Virgin Mary, first built at the end of the 13th century. History of this church is almost identical to the Cathedral's, with both of them heavily damaged by the Turks in 13th ct., then by the 1880 large earthquake, to have the renovation overseen by Herman Bolle (the same architect who designed Mirogoj's arcades). Unfortunately, more than half of its beautiful frescoes have been damaged in the earthquake. You can still get a glimpse of the glorious painted ceiling, mostly above the altar and on the dome.

I love this church, it's just the way churches are supposed to be - small, old... it has that *something*:

The back side of the church:

A statue: