Zagreb in History: Temporary Zoo on Jelačić Square

Total Croatia News

Zagreb zoo 4

The beloved zoo had a summer vacation in the city centre back in 1928

If you had to make a list of 10 most popular places in Zagreb, park Maksimir would probably be one of them – along with the zoo it houses.

Zagreb ZOO was opened on June 27, 1925; it has a fascinating history full of ups and downs, but it always attracted a large number of interested visitors. Looking back on the first couple of years, we could call them a sort of a trial period for the zoo, as the institution was forming somewhat haphazardly: the site was expanded gradually, and there was no systematic financial plan such a large-scale project should have entailed. Instead, animals were procured and their dwellings built with funds donated by citizens and enthusiasts who advocated for such an institution opening in the metropolis.

Here’s a stunning vintage photo from 1926 depicting the zoo after it celebrated its first birthday:

Zagreb zoo 4 

We won’t dig deeper into the story of the Zagreb zoo today, but there’s a certain moment in its history not many people know about. In 1928, the zoo was relocated from Maksimir to the city centre, to the spacious courtyard of a palace situated on the southern side of the Jelačić square. That’s not just the centre of the city, but its actual core. Imagine a zoo at the main square in any European capital today!

The zoo was moved so it could attract more visitors during the summer of 1928 and thus raise more funds for further development of the site in park Maksimir. Architect Otto Prister, the owner of the building on Jelačić square, made his courtyard available for free, so the animals got a proper summer vacation along with a delighted audience. The only preserved photo comes from Zagreb City Museum:

Zagreb zoo 5 

Source and photo credit: Muzej grada Zagreba


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment