Zagreb & _Balkan Ghosts_ updated

Arriving at Zagreb by train, as did Kaplan, one finds the way through the train station…

Zagreb Railway Station

…I’ve just returned from a very fast visit to Zagreb. Afterward, I told Joanna: “Zagreb was, without a doubt the cleanest, most orderly, prettiest city I have seen outside of Budapest. I would like to go spend more time there. Budapest is to New York what Zagreb is to Washington.”

In preparation for this whole 6 week trip, I have been re-reading Balkan Ghosts by Robert Kaplan and the first chapter of thus excellent book is about Zagreb, so Jeremy and I went on the Balkan Ghosts hunt… This post can be the illustrations for chapter one of the book.

Tomislav the traveler in front of the train station

Directly across from the railway station is King Tomislav (10th c.) who was Croatia’s first free king.

King Tomislav

Next, we sought the Esplanade Hotel, now The Regency, which Kaplan described as next to the station… well, not really, it’s about a block up to the left… they were kind enough to turn the fountain on for this shot… I returned the next morning, while Jeremy was dutifully writing, for a coffee…

Esplanade Hotel, had coffee there on Tuesday

Our next find was Bishop Josip Strossmayer who is looked up to by many who seek the reconciliation between peoples of all backgrounds…

Bishop Josip Strossmayer, seeker of unity

Then up the hill to the cathedral…

Zagreb Cathedral

To the scene of Calvary that Kaplan mentioned… I couldn’t help but notice the thief on your left (Jesus’ right) who is staring with intensity at Jesus… we surmised that, in the artistic rendition of the scene, this is the unbelieving thief… I think that perhaps, once Jesus told the one who believed “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” the believing thief died soon thereafter… the unbeliever was left to stare and wonder what had just occurred…

Calvary - life size

…and then Kaplan found and noted the relief of Cardinal Stepinac who was (and seems to remain) as divisive as Strossmayer was a seeker of unity.

the blessing of the cardinal

Then we found the cardinal’s tomb…

the cardinal's tomb

On our way our I was informed that above Jesus was an example of “Old Slavonic”

Old Slavonic

All in all it was a fast and great visit… I will return.

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