The city of Zagreb
More than 800 000 inhabitants make Zagreb the biggest city in Croatia, in addition to being the capital. It is located in the northwest of the country, surrounded by the Medvednica mountains. Zagreb is very well connected with other countries and particularly with its neighbour Slovenia, thanks to a well-developed road system. There is the Jarun artificial lake in the southwest, where the inhabitants of Zagreb often go to enjoy a relaxing day.
Only 170 km away from Zagreb you will find yourself on the Adriatic coast: Croatia is a link between Central and Southern Europe, and Zagreb is located directly on important crossroads between Central Europe, the Adriatic coast and Eastern Europe. Furthermore, the Sava river, the longest river in Slovenia and Croatia, runs through the city centre.
Zagreb was first mentioned in 1094 when the bishopric of Zagreb in Kaptol was founded. The modern city centre is formed by two old settlements, Gradec (today Gornji Grad) and Kaptol, which were situated on two neighbouring hills. Some of the city walls and the towers have remained.
Gradec was given the Bulla Aurea by the king Béla IV in 1242, which symbolised its freedom. Gradec became independent and it grew to be an important political centre. Kaptol was still the headquarters of the Catholic Church of Croatia.
The University of Zagreb was founded in 1669, being nowadays one of the oldest European universities.
It was not until 1850 that the many different settlements became one town. The Sava river would later play a major role in the development of the city, as it served as a link between both shores and as a way to Europe. Nowadays, the trade centre of Zagreb is found in the southern part of the river Sava.
Zagreb became the capital of Croatia when Croatians conquered their independence in 1991. It also became a centre for higher education, politics, economy and culture. Zagreb is an active trade centre, and the city has managed to keep its characteristic charm despite the quick economic development in recent years.