Zagreb Christmas
      Fairs Christmas Markets MapI don't believe we have lived anywhere that celebrates Christmas quite like Zagreb. Beginning the 27th of November and running through January, the city hosts Christmas fairs in nearly every major park or thoroughfare.  And they take it very seriously, winning "Best Christmas Fairs in Europe" from 2017-2019, the maximum number of times the honor may be bestowed consecutively.  It apparently was pared down a bit this year owing to either the pandemic, or a newer and somewhat more austere mayor, depending on who you talk to. The diagram to the left (which  you may enlarge by clicking on it) shows the traditional fair locations. As you can see, most of them are located in the old town, which made it convenient for us! I am not certain they are all operating in December 2021, but we will attempt to go to as many as possible and share the images here. Our tour begins close to our home and then fans out through the old town. The banner at the top shows the festivities in Ban Jelacic Square, in the heart of the city. Ho, Ho, Ho. . let's get started.

In Our Neighborhood:
Tree in
            GrskovicevaThe first evidence of Christmas was in our building where our landlady and her mother (both families live in the building) have strung lights through the entirety of the four-story stairwell, and placed holiday plants along the stairs. Walking 50 meters to the tram takes you past a small park at the base of Grskoviceva (the street we live on) and there is a metal tree lined with bulbs, offering a festive atmosphere when Tracy exits the tram in the early evening.


Trg Ribnjak:

Ribnjak ParkJust below our house was Ribnjak Park. a narrow park leading down to the Zagreb Cathedral. In the very center of the park were two metal Christmas Trees, larger versions of the one near our house. Between them was a giant Santa Claus.

Nativity SceneKaptol:
Continuing toward the city center, the area of Kaptol in front of the Cathedral was host to an elaborate Nativity Scene, replete with costumed characters. It was a well-attended nightly attraction, not surprising in this country where 95% of the citizens are Catholic.

Trg Ban Josipa Jelacica:
Advent Food
          StallChristmas WaresOf course, the heart of Advent is to be found in the main Square, Ban Josipa Jelacica. From November through January it is a hive of activity.  A bandstand is erected next to the statue of Josip Jelacic, and there are performances by traditional groups from early afternoon into late in the night.  Below are two videos, one of a traditional group performing during the daytime, and the other a Klapa singing group that included a colleague of Tracy's, Ines Situm. In addition to entertainment, there were numerous kiosks selling Christmas-themed merchandise as well as the always popular food stands, selling Croatian pastries, mulled wine (both red and white varieties) as well as every conceivable type of sausage Advent StagePosing with the Polar Bear(tragically mislabled "Hot Dogs"). There were also many vendors selling glow sticks as well as winter apparel, and photo opportunities abounded. We posed with the Polar Bear.  There is a tangible excitement from people of all ages, and it seems to stretch throughout the entire advent season.

Traditional Singers in the Square

Klapa Singers Perform at Night

Trg Zrinjevac:
              FountainsJust below the main square is Zrinjevac park, at the upper right end of the Lenuchi Horseshoe, a connected series of parks in Donji Grad, the old town's southern section. The trees lining the central walkway are strung with lights, and the walkway itself is home to the same series of small kiosks as those found on the main square. In addition to the trees and the kiosks, the park's fountains and the central bandstand is draped in lights, and nightly concerts in the bandstand make this a lively Advent destination.

Trg Tomislav
Ice Rink in
              Tomislav ParkView from AboveThe largest celebration of Advent (aside from Trg Ban Josipa Jelacica) has traditionally been Trg Tomislav at the bottom right side of the Lenuchi Triangle. Although pared down for covid, the entire square fronting the train station is turned into a skating rink. It stretches from the Art Pavilion in the north to the statue of King Tomislav to the south, although the main rink is directly in front of the Art Pavilion, with a bandstand to the right. It is a wonderful place to spend a winter evening, skating, eating, and drinking
mulled wine.  We only hope the full exhibit will return in the future.

Back to Zagreb Main Page
Return to Zagreb Main Page