Sunday, March 15, 2009
City Tour of Zagreb
After what was a late night for many (afterall, it was our first night in Croatia!), we had a good breakfast at the hotel and were met by a tour guide. Jelena, the guide, took us on a 3 hour walking tour of downtown Zagreb. We all enjoyed it immensely.
Downtown Zagreb is divided geographically into the lower part and the upper old town. The lower town is made up of mostly late nineteenth-century neoclassical buildings. Zagreb suffered a horrendous earthquake in the 1880s, so this is all "new" construction. Our favorite building was the National Theater (the yellow building in the group photo).
Upper Zagreb has an older feel and contains little cobblestone streets and older buildings. It's where one finds the Parliament building, the old palace of former kings, and the cathedral. It is Sunday and masses prohibited us from entering the cathedral, but I think many of us will return to visit tomorrow.
Jelena told us about famous Croatians, inventions from the region (including the necktie and the pen), and lots of intersting history. We heard about everything from the persecution of witches to the more recent torture of an archbishop who helped Jews and gypsies escape Nazi encampment only to suffer at the hands of the Communists.
After our tour, we all decided to eat lunch together - an indication of our group's strong cohesion. We ate pizza and pasta at a neat restaurant, and it was warm enough to sit outdoors. Now, I think many are napping and I plan to join them!