If you need to meet someone in Zagreb, the best place for that is Ban Jelačić Square since all the locals know the meaning of “Wait me at the Clock“. It is the central square of Zagreb, located just below old city cores Gradec and Kaptol, so you can start your sightseeing from there – it is the good starting point. And the good news is that the main and richest marketplace in Croatia is just fews steps away, so take the opportunity and buy organic groceries at Dolac Market. Since the square has a big and famous clock, you can really make it your meeting point in Zagreb.
The Ban Jelačić Square has existed since the 17th century, but it was called Harmica then. Later it was renamed in honor of the viceroy (“ban“ in Croatian) Josip Jelačić. The statue of this noble politician and his horse was installed on this square in 1866 and it represents one of the best known statues in this country. Unfortunately, in 1947 the Communist government of Yugoslavia denounced Jelačić as a “servant of foreign interests”, removed his statue and renamed a square to Republic Square.
In 1990, during the breakup of Yugoslavia and the creation of state Croatia, Jelačić’s historic role has again been considered positive and the statue plus the name were returned to the square. So, you can see that the historical importance of this square and its statue is really important, as well as its buildings that belong to different architectural styles ranging from classicism, secession and modernism.
The Ban Jelačić Square is also known after its fountain called the “Manduševac”. In the past, it was a natural water source which legends tie to the founding of the city. Today, you can see high school graduates swimming in it – of course, this is formaly forbidden, but noone will bother you if you wet a toe to refresh yourself! 😉