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Zagreb (zäˈgrĕb), Ger. Agram, Hung. Zágráb, city (2011 pop. 790,017), capital and largest city of Croatia, on the Sava River. Zagreb is Croatia's largest industrial, manufacturing, and financial center and, prior to Yugoslavia's disintegration in the early 1990s, was also Yugoslavia's largest. It has industries that produce machinery, machine tools, electrical and metal products, and chemicals. It is also the cultural center of Croatia, with an Academy of Arts and Sciences (founded 1861), a university (founded 1669), an institute of nuclear physics, an observatory, and several fine museums and art galleries. Zagreb is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop, an Orthodox Eastern archbishop, a Protestant bishop, and a grand rabbi.

The ancient Roman town of Andautonia was southeast of the modern city, which developed from 2 nuclei: Gradec and Kaptol. It was made an episcopal see of the Western church in 1093. In 1242, the year of a Mongol invasion, Gradec became a free royal city and later in the 13th cent. became the chief city of Croatia and Slavonia, which were then joined with Hungary in a personal union under the Hungarian crown. Although the Ottoman Turks attacked Zagreb in the 16th cent., they never conquered this part of Croatia. The bishopric of Kaptol and the city of Gradec merged in 1850. During the 19th cent. Zagreb was a center of the Croatian nationalist movement. With the formation of the dual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1867, the city became capital of autonomous Croatia. It has since been, successively, capital of an Axis-controlled Croatian puppet state (during World War II), the constituent republic of Croatia in Yugoslavia (1945–1992), and the independent Republic of Croatia (since 1992).

A fine modern city, Zagreb has its historic center in the old Kaptol district, with the Catholic cathedral (begun 1093) and the Catholic archiepiscopal palace (18th cent.), and Gornji Grad [upper town], with its baroque palaces and churches. An earthquake in 2020 damaged many historic buildings in the city.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in Yugoslavia; capital of the Socialist Republic of Croatia. Second largest and most important city in the country (after Belgrade). Located on the left bank of the Sava River, at the foot of a spur of the Medvednica Mountain Range. Population, 566,000 (1971; with suburbs, 850,000). Junction of railroad and motor-vehicle routes extending from Western and Central Europe to the Adriatic Sea and the Balkan Peninsula; there is an airport.

Zagreb is the industrial center of Yugoslavia (10-12 percent of the country’s industrial production; 90,000 industrial workers). It has a well developed heavy industry, producing machine tools (the May Day factory), electrical equipment (the Zagreb Rade Končar factory), and equipment for the chemical and food industries and for light industry. There is also a considerable chemical industry (the large OKI chemical combine), as well as printing, building-materials, wood-products, paper, textile, leather footwear, and food industries. The city has major publishing houses and is the scene of annual international fairs (in April and September). The Yugoslav Academy of Sciences, the University of Zagreb (founded in 1669), an institute of nuclear physics, numerous institutions of higher learning, and several theaters are located in the city.

Zagreb was first mentioned in sources in 1094 as the center of the bishopric. In 1242 it became a free crown city. In the mid-16th century it became Croatia’s main city, and in the first half of the 17th century it became the residence of the ban (royal vicegerent). From 1526 to 1918, under the German name Agram, it was part of the Hapsburg Empire. In 1918 it became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (since 1929, Yugoslavia). From 1941 to 1945 it was the main city of the puppet (fascist) “Independent Croatian State.” It was liberated in May 1945 by the forces of the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia.

The districts of Kaptol and Gradec (the Upper City), situated on hills, constitute the oldest part of Zagreb; there are remnants of fortifications from the 13th to 18th centuries, a cathedral (13th to 15th centuries; neo-Gothic western facade, 19th century), the Gothic Church of St. Mark (14th and 15th centuries, reconstructed in the 17th and 19th centuries; the interior contains works by the sculptor I. Meštrović), the baroque Church of St. Catherine (1632) and the bishop’s palace (c. 1730-19th century), with the chapel of St. Stephen (mid-13th century), and palaces in the baroque and classical styles. Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, a new center of the city took shape to the south, with regular blocks and imposing structures in eclectic and neoclassical style (the Yugoslav Academy, 1880; the Croatian National Theater, 1894-95; and the Stock Exchange, 1923-27). Since the second half of the 1940’s, public buildings (the City Hall, the Worker’s University, the airport, and pavilions for the international fairs), new residential districts with multistory towered structures (Trnsko, Zaprudje, and others), and sports complexes have been constructed. The museums of Zagreb include the Museum of the People’s Revolution, the Gallery of Old Masters (the Strossmayer Gallery), the Modern Gallery of the Yugoslav Academy, the Gallery of the City of Zagreb, the Museum of Arts and Crafts, and archaeological and ethnographic museums.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Croatia, on the River Sava; gothic cathedral; university (1874); industrial centre. Pop.: 685 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005