For most of its history, Zagreb was a small town to which big things happened. It has been ruled by Hungary and the Habsburg Monarchy, threatened by the Ottomans, and absorbed into Yugoslavia. Today it is the capital city of the newly independent Croatia. In Zagreb: A Cultural History, Celia Hawkesworth guides us through a modern city that reflects all the important trends in Central European culture, architecture, and fashion. We visit the city's center, a beautiful "green horseshoe," graced with trees and public gardens, and lined with imposing buildings. Hawkesworth explores this central core and the atmospheric old town on a rise above it, finding a mix of old and modern buildings, a rich cultural tradition, and a vibrant outdoor caf life. She describes the many statues in the streets and squares, commemorating those who have contributed to the city's unique inner life. She also examines the legacy of outside invasion, fire, earthquakes, and political strife, pointing to the street names that reflect Zagreb's turbulent past. Zagreb illuminates the artistic side of the city, discussing the sculpture of Ivan Mestrovic, the unique collections of paintings in the Strossmayer and Modern Galleries, and the novels and plays of Miroslav Krleza. A perfect book for armchair travelers, Zagreb takes us on a captivating tour of one of Eastern Europe's leading cities.
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