is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia
. It is located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately 122 m (400 ft) above sea level. In the last official census of 2011, the population of the settlement of Zagreb was 792,875. The wider Zagreb metropolitan area includes the City of Zagreb and the separate Zagreb County bringing the total metropolitan area population up to 1,110,517. It is the only metropolitan area in Croatia with a population of over one million.
Zagreb has a special status in the Republic of Croatia's administrative division and is a consolidated city-county (but separated from Zagreb County), and is administratively subdivided into 17 city districts, most of them being at low elevation along the river Sava valley, whereas northern and northeastern city districts, such as Podsljeme and Sesvete
districts are situated in the foothills of the Sljeme
mountain, making the city's geographical image rather diverse. The city extends over 30 kilometres east-west and around 20 kilometres north-south, covering an immense area of Prigorje region.
Its favourable geographic position in the southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin, which extends to the Alpine, Dinaric, Adriatic and Pannonic regions, provides an excellent connection for traffic between Central Europe
and the Adriatic Sea. The transport connections, concentration of industry, scientific and research institutions and industrial tradition underlie its leading economic position in Croatia. Zagreb is the seat of the central government, administrative bodies and almost all government ministries. Zagreb is a global and cosmopolitan city, and one of the leading centres of Central and Southeastern Europe.
The area between the railway and the Sava river witnessed a new construction boom after World
War II. After the mid-1950s, construction of new residential areas south of the Sava river began, resulting in Novi Zagreb (Croatian for New Zagreb), originally called "Južni Zagreb" (Southern Zagreb). The city also expanded westward and eastward, incorporating Dubrava, Podsused, Jarun, Blato and other settlements. The cargo railway hub and the international airport Pleso were built south of the Sava river. The largest industrial zone (Žitnjak) in the south-eastern part of the city represents an extension of the industrial zones on the eastern outskirts of the city, between the Sava and the Prigorje region. Zagreb also hosted the Summer Universiade in 1987.
During the 1991–1995 Croatian War of Independence, it was a scene of some sporadic fighting surrounding its JNA army barracks, but escaped major damage. In May 1995, it was targeted by Serb rocket artillery in two Zagreb rocket attacks which killed seven civilians. An urbanised area connects Zagreb with the surrounding districts of Sesvete, Zaprešić, Samobor
, Dugo Selo and Velika Gorica
; Sesvete was the first and the closest one to become a part of the agglomeration and is already included in the City of Zagreb for administrative purposes.
The most important historical high-rise constructions are Neboder on Ban Jelačić Square, Cibona Tower (1987) and Zagrepčanka (1976) on Savska Street, Mamutica in Travno (Novi Zagreb - istok district, built in 1974) and Zagreb TV Tower on Sljeme (built in 1973).[according to whom?] In the 2000s, the city council approved a new plan that allowed for the many recent high-rise buildings in Zagreb, such as the Almeria Tower, Eurotower, HOTO Tower, Zagrebtower and the recently completed Sky Office Tower.
In Novi Zagreb, the neighbourhoods of Blato and Lanište expanded significantly, including the Zagreb Arena and the adjoining business centre. Due to a long-standing restriction that forbade the construction of 10-story or higher buildings, most of Zagreb's high-rise buildings date from the 1970s and 1980s and new apartment buildings on the outskirts of the city are usually 4-8 floors tall. Exceptions to the restriction have been made in recent years, such as permitting the construction of high-rise buildings in Lanište or Kajzerica.
Zagreb is an important tourist center, not only in terms of passengers travelling from Western and Central Europe to the Adriatic Sea, but also as a travel destination itself. Since the end of the war, it has attracted close to a million visitors annually, mainly from Austria
. However, the city has even greater potential as many tourists that visit Croatia skip Zagreb in order to visit the beaches along the Croatian Adriatic coast and old historic Renaissance cities such as Dubrovnik
, and Zadar
There are many interesting things for tourists in Zagreb, for example, the two statues of Saint George, one at the Marshal Tito Square, the other at Kamenita vrata, where the image of Virgin Mary is said to be only thing that hasn't burned in the 17th century fire. Also, there is an art installation starting in Bogovićeva street, called Nine Views. Most of the people don't know what the statue Prizemljeno sunce (The Grounded Sun) is for, so they put graffiti or signatures on it, but it's actually the Sun scaled down, with many planets situated all over Zagreb in relative scale with the Sun.
The historical part of the city to the north of Ban Jelačić Square is composed of the Gornji Grad and Kaptol, a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings that are popular with tourists on sightseeing tours. The historic district can be reached on foot, starting from Jelačić Square, the center of Zagreb, or by a funicular on nearby Tomićeva Street. Each Saturday, (from April till the end of September), on St. Mark's Square in the Upper town, tourists can meet members of the Order of The Silver Dragon (Red Srebrnog Zmaja), who reenact famous historical conflicts between Gradec and Kaptol. It's a great opportunity for all visitors to take photographs of authentic and fully functional historical replicas of medieval armour. In 2010 more than 600,000 tourists visited the city, with a 10% increase seen in 2011.