The Quirky Side of Zagreb
- Walking Zagreb: See the landmark sights, including Jelacic Square, Dolac Market, twin-towered Zagreb Cathedral, the Stone Gate, and tree-lined Sttrossmayer promenade. Ride the Zagreb Funicular (running since 1893) up to famous Lotrscak Tower, whose cannon strikes noon each day with a boom.
- Museum of Illusions: Treat your senses to two floors of entertaining, brilliant, and even disorienting exhibits and holograms that challenge the way we perceive the world.
- Museum of Broken Relationships: Tour an award-winning "concept museum" that showcases the donated flotsam and jetsam of romance interrupted – once-treasured objects that painfully demonstrate love's fleeting nature.
About this Zagreb tour
Croatia's capital is known for having two distinct sides: cobbled, medieval Upper Town, with its narrow cafe-lined streets and Gothic landmarks; and cosmopolitan Lower Town, where squares, parks, fountains, monuments, and fashionable shops set a true world city tone. But there's also a third side to Zagreb – one that's imaginative, quirky, and typified by two museums that break all the rules.
At the recently opened Museum of Illusions, nothing is quite as it seems as a mix of mind-boggling holograms and interactive spaces challenge your perceptions of reality (and the laws of physics) in fun and fascinating ways. Like the anti-gravity room, where water flows uphill, and balls roll upward, too. Or the Ames room, where people become giants or dwarfs as they move from corner to corner in this otherwise normal-looking space. The 70-plus exhibits here are designed to blow your mind – and expand your smile.
That glee may give way to wistfulness at the first-of-its-kind Museum of Broken Relationships – now in its permanent home in Zagreb after touring the world as a traveling collection. The brainchild of a pair of artists whose own relationship broke up in 2003, this thought-provoking (and often heart-rending) collection of donated personal belongings – the poignant leftover debris of failed love affairs the world over – has expanded to over 700 objects, including one known as the Ex Axe, donated by a Berlin woman who used it to chop her former lover's furniture to smithereens.
Other intriguing donations from around globe include edible candy underwear and plush handcuffs, a despondent Snoopy from the Netherlands, an alienated Frisbee from Belgrade, a well-worn pair of Sinbad-style slippers from Zagreb, a ticket to see the Dalai Lama in Minneapolis, three months-worth of dead roses – even an artificial leg submitted with a heartfelt note saying "this prosthesis endured longer than our love."
Rites of passage of all kinds are celebrated in our culture; we say goodbye at funerals, graduation parties, pet burials, and retirement sendoffs. This museum – 2011 winner of the esteemed Kenneth Hudson Award, given to Europe's most innovative and daring museum of the year – marks an almost universally shared milestone: the end of a relationship.
Or, to look at it another way, sometimes love is an illusion all its own.
Here's the scoop
The popular legend of how Zagreb got its name tells the tale of an encounter that had at least the possibility of romance. The Mandusevac fountain you'll see in Jelacic Square sits atop an ancient freshwater spring. One day long ago, it's said that a tired, thirsty Croatian soldier returning from battle asked a lovely local girl, Manda, to scoop up some water from the spring. In Croatian, the word for "scoop up" is zagrabi – and so the town that grew up around the spring became known as Zagreb. Hey, it could happen.
Please make your way to the Josip Jelacic Square at Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, 10000, Zagreb; next to clock to meet our tour representative.
As in many cities, keep your wallet or purse secured and leave the bling behind. Flat shoes make walking on cobblestones much easier.
Plan to walk over flat and cobblestone terrain.
Family Friendly, Walking Tour, Cultural
English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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