St. Mark’s Square (Trg svetog Marka) is the heart and soul of Zagreb’s Upper Town. It was named in honor of Venice’s patron saint , as many Venetian builders and stone masons moved to Zagreb in the Middle Ages to help build its fortification walls. Since Zagreb became a free royal town in 1242, St. Mark’s Square has been the place where everything happened: it was an open market twice a week, a place where public proclamations were made, a place where a pillory stood, a place of worship and, as the ban’s (viceroy’s) headquarters, a place of power.
The latter two still hold until today: the beautiful Romanesque-Gothic St. Mark’s church dominates the square; with its famous colorful roof it is a famous landmark of Zagreb. Surrounding it, there is Banski dvori, the seat of Croatian government, on its west side; the seat of Croatian constitutional Court on its northern side; and the Croatian Parliament on its east side — supposedly all three branches of power watching over and being watched over by the other two.
The first Zagreb printing house was also located here, as well as the first theater and the first radio station. The first grammar school and apothecary are just around the corner. Zagreb’s most famous tower, Lotrščak, is in close proximity, visible from every part of the square.
This is one of my favorite spots in Zagreb because it’s beautiful, it’s quiet, and no other place in Zagreb holds so much of its rich history.