Medvedgrad: City of Bear without the Bears

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March 15th 2011
Published: March 22nd 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

In a normal circumstances, Kiki and I would come home to Bedekovcina from Zagreb at half to five every day, because that's when Kiki's office hour ends. Somewhere last week, he got this invitation from the German embassy to attend a dinner at the Movie Pub in Zagreb that was followed by a cabaret performance. We were expected to come at 8 o'clock in the evening, so we had more than three hours to spend in the city. We decided to go to Medvedgrad as we had been wanting to go there for quite a while already. It's a fortress ruin site in northern Zagreb, supposed to be halfway to the top of Medvednica Mount (or Hill?), Sljeme.

It's actually not far at all from the city if we would've taken the short way through Pantovcak Street (which we found out only when we're leaving the site), but we took the way longer route by circling the whole Medvednica (thanks to the navigation system). Although I have to say that the longer way was actually a blessing. It provided us the very beautiful early spring view with the orange sky as we were driving around sunset. Our tiny car was losing its breath as the road got really steep in some points. Neither Kiki nor I have ever been there, so we just forced ourselves to trust the man-invented technology called GPS when we started to get frustrated driving for over an hour, climbing, on one empty road.

When finally we got to Medvedgrad, the guard was closing the main gate. He told us that we were still allowed to get in and take a look the fortress, but there was this part (some kind of museum) that was closed and couldn't be trespassed. We needed to walk and hike a little bit from the point we could leave the car safely. The fortress itself was amazing. This kind of thing doesn't really impress Kiki as he loves neat beaches and fancy coffee shops or something like museum of natural history with all its hi-tech, but ruins are the truly passion of my travels. There is a restaurant in the area of the site that works during the daytime, and there is a corner with a flag honoring late Croatian veterans. There is a quite large open space that flat enough for hosting a party. In fact, a friend of mine got married there in Medvedgrad! It must have been the most beautiful wedding in history! Ruins, sunset, view of Zagreb? If I could get married in the Roman Forum in Rome, I swear I would.

About the name, Medvedgrad, it literally means the city of bear in Croatian (Medvjed = bear). I didn't have the chance to ask any local about the history of the name, but for sure there was no bear when we were there. I mean, maybe in one time there were bears! Right? But however, when I think about it, everything in Zagreb is always about the bear. Medvednica! The mountain. Medvescak! The hockey club. I think that The Bear and Zagreb is something like The Beaver and Canada.

Overal, I loved the place! That was one of the most romantic sites we have ever been in. Sunset in ruins with nobody there? Where else? I don't think that it's that well known as a touristic site to see when one visits Zagreb, but it really is worth to visit!

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