The real heart of Zagreb

Donji grad (Lower Town)

Most of the buildings of the ‘Donji Grad’ hail from the 19th century …

South of the Upper Town, modern center of Zagreb – Lower Town (Donji Grad) you might not find as picturesque as Upper town but it is here you find the real heart of Zagreb – with shops, restaurants, cafes, theatres, museums, galleries and parks.

Most of the buildings of the ‘Donji Grad’ hail from the 19th century and is still the focal point of many visitors’ itineraries, home to several of the capital’s most prominent buildings and museums. The Lower Town features a variety of beautiful parks, adding much-needed green space to the city.

Breaking the urban uniformity is a series of eight adjoining parks and garden squares, laid out from the 1870s onwards, which gives the downtown area a U-shaped succession of promenading areas and parks that encircle the main public squares and form a scenic walking route around the principal sights.

Known as Lenuci’s Horseshoe (Lenucijeva podkova) after Milan Lenuci, the city planner responsible for its layout, this was an attempt to give Zagreb a distinctive urban identity, providing it with public spaces bordered by the set-piece institutions – galleries, museums, academies and theatres – that it was thought every modern city should have.

It comprise eight squares: Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog (Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square)­ Zrinskog – usually referred to as Zrinjevac – which begins a block south of Trg bana Jelačića and it’s home to Zagreb Archaeological Museum and Zagreb’s court buildings Trg Josipa Jurja Strossmayera (Josip Juraj Strossmayer Square), Trg kralja Tomislava (King Tomislav Square), Trg Ante Starčevića (Ante Starčević Square), Botanički vrt (the Botanical Gardens), Trg Marka Marulića (Marko Marulić Square), Trg Ivana, Antuna i Vladimira Mažuranića (Ivan, Antun and Vladimir Mažuranić Square) and Trg maršala Tita (Marshal Tito Square).

Nearby attractions include Mimara Museum, the city’s most important art museum, the Cvjetni Trg or Flower square, renowned for its idyllic cafés and colorful flower stands; the Arts and Crafts Museum; the Gallery of Modern Art; and the magnificent neo-baroque Croatian National Theatre, the masterpiece of 19th-century architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer.