Urban Oases: Top Green Spaces in the Heart of Zagreb

This article is going to be very useful during hot summer days, but it is good to know these green oases during the entire year, even when they aren’t so green.

If you’re in the center of the city, you should visit a couple of lovely parks. Let me start with the most famous one – the Zrinjevac Park.

Zrinjevac Park is an unmissable tourist attraction in the city’s heart, offering a refreshing contrast to the urban surroundings. It received its current name in 1866, and its grand opening was held in June 1873. The area previously hosted a cattle market, which was relocated to Sajmišni Square, now known as The Republic of Croatia Square, in 1870. The park was designed to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the victory in the Siege of Szigetvár and Nikola Šubić Zrinski’s death anniversary.

Zrinjevac is part of the so-called Lenuci Horseshoe, which consists of seven squares and the Botanical Garden arranged in a ‘U’ shape or horseshoe.

A music pavilion, installed in 1891, stands at the park’s heart and is the most recognizable symbols of the park. The pavilion was installed on February 6, 1891, as a gift from the merchant Eduard Prister. The pavilion quickly became a recognizable venue where many concerts are held during all events in Zrinjevac Park and is one of the central motives in most photos of the park. Upon its registration in the Register of specially protected natural monuments in 1970, the highest standards for interventions in the park were set, including potential restoration, and the Music Pavilion was renovated in 1992.

Several government institutions surround Zrinjevac Park: The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia is on the north side, the Archaeological Museum on the west, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts on the south, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the County Court are on the east side.

On the south side, opposite HAZU (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts), there are busts of famous Croatian historical figures: Julije Klović, Andrija Medulić, Krsto Frankopan, Nikola Jurišić, Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, and Ivan Mažuranić.

On the other side, north of the park, a meteorological pillar was installed in 1884 as a gift from military physician Adolf Holzer. The post is made of Istrian marble, the meteorological parts were procured in Göttingen, the clock is the work of Zagreb watchmaker König, and the entire structure was built according to the designs of the architect who “built Zagreb,” Hermann Bollé.

The park’s “offer” is enriched by three fountains: the famous “mushroom” designed by Hermann Bolle (northwest of the music pavilion) and two pools (one southeast and the other southwest).

In addition to its architecture, Zrinjevac Park is vital in downtown Zagreb. Both the Lower Town and Upper Town are rich in architecture, an integral part of the city’s character, and Zrinjevac shows how even in the past, there was a belief that the city center needed to have “green lungs” where all citizens and tourists could enjoy, who are present throughout the year today.

Zagreb is a city that can boast beautiful green oases in the broader city center. One of the most well-known of these parks is Ribnjak Park.

The park is located behind the Zagreb Cathedral and stretches along the east walls of Kaptol. The park got its name from the fishponds in the area until the 19th century, when it was transformed into an English-style park with waterfalls, exotic plants, and decorative statues. The park was designed at the initiative of Bishop Alagović in 1829. Today, Ribnjak Park spans almost 40.000 square meters in area, and it is home to a thirty-year-old yew tree, an old specimen of Atlas center, and many magnolias and sweetgums.

During the day, it is popular for its children’s playground since it offers plenty of shade. It is also a great place to walk your dog in the city center, as it is one of the few city center parks that accept dogs.

We’re going to be pretty close to the next green spot.

Bishop Stjepan II’s Park, better known as Opatovina Park, connects Opatovina Street and the popular Tkalčićeva Street. This place was declared a monument of park architecture in 2010, but its real treasure is a green paradise just next to one of the most famous beating veins in the city center – Tkalčićeva Street.

Two contrasts within a 100-meter radius. Love it! Also, there are cool street arts in Opatovina Park.

The next beautiful green space is located in the Upper town. I’m talking about Bela IV Park, its official name, but many people call it the Vranyczany Meadow (Croatian Vranicanijeva poljana), by the street next to it.

This is a small area above the Strossmayer promenade, between the Lotrščak Tower and the former Hydrometeorological Institute, which is currently renovating for the Croatian Historical Museum.

This place is nice because it is located in the oldest part of the city where you have many interesting things to see, so you can rest your legs here and enjoy a nice view of Zagreb.

Now we’re going to the west.

A slightly “tougher” climb from British Square gets you to the Rokov Perivoj, whose greenery and tranquility provide the perfect combination for a break from the hustle and bustle and concrete just a few hundred meters to the south.

Rokov Perivoj is a unique historical city ensemble of high urban, architectural, and park values. Ilica Street, British Square, Dežmanova Street, Vladimir Nazor Street, and Ivan Goran Kovačić Street surround it.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, it territorially belonged to Gradec (today known as the Upper Town), and throughout history, it has been remembered by several names, the most famous of which is Penezna Gorica.

During the Middle Ages, the area of Rokov Perivoj was home to vineyards, orchards, gardens, and pastures owned by the inhabitants of nearby Gradec, and the first written record of a building dates back to 1579.

The city’s center has more nice green places, but let’s leave something of the future articles!

Hi! My name is Ivan, and I'm an author of discoverzagreb.com. I have been photographing and exploring Zagreb for more than 15 years, and if you want to know more about me and discoverzagreb.com, read the Introduction articles by clicking here.

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