Christmas time is always a very special time of the year. It is celebrated in both Western and the Eastern world as a joyful event symbolizing the birth of a new light. In nature we can see this as the first day of Winter when days grow longer in length, and in religious sense it is represented by the birth of Jesus. This puts the entire month of December in a special atmosphere, where people tend to be in a gentle and more caring mood, as in the rest of the world, so too in Croatia.
Because Croatia is predominantly Catholic country, a lot of emphasis is put on celebration of Christmas. For decades both public and private places are decorated with trees, joyful glittering lights, and the tranquil song of the carols, which during Christmas time one hears in many places across the country. In her ancient past, Croatia shared religion with other Slavic nations, and one of the larger celebrations of the year was for the Winter solstice, where the coming of the new light and consequent rebirth of nature was ascribed to higher forces. Because of that, in some places in the country the traditional Chrismas celebration is combined with ancient traditions that have their roots in pre-Christian era.
The month of December, the time of Christmas and the New Year, is highly esteemed by majority of Croats. Especially in bigger cities a lot of emphasis is put on decoration of the public places and to setting up of appropriate events. Zagreb being the capital and by far the largest city in Croatia, the Tourism Association and the city of Zagreb have done a great job of turning the historical part of the city into a traditional Adventic space where people of all age and various nattionalities come to relax, have fun, and in a modern way feel the sacredness of this time of the year.
For the past two years Zagreb Christmas Advent Market was awarded as the best one in Europe. The reason for this is probably because of the layout of the historical part of the city and the integration of the market within it. The former consists of the Upper Town (medieaval hill), and the Lower town (19th century buildings and squares). The downtown of Zagreb is quite spread out place with many pedestrian zones, and so the Christmas market inside of it makes it for a whole-day experience with a lot of content to be visited and experienced.
This year Zagreb Christmas Advent Market will cover places such as the King Tomislav Square, where people will be able to enjoy ice skating in front of the picturesque Art Pavillion. The walk from there towards the main square is adorned with lights and Christmas decoration, with old palaces surrounding the visitors. The Zrinjevac park is another place with the market stands, in the center of which is the 19th century Music pavillion where various Christmas shows will be featured.
As always the market will also be on the main square of Josip Jelačić, but perhaps one of the most interesting parts will be next to the cathedral, where live nativity scene is arranged and actors employed to entertain fellow citizens and visitors alike, taking them into the spirit of Christmas. The Upper town will have its own Christmas charm, especially around the Lotrščak tower and the church of st. Katarina. Both of these places offer spectacular views of the city of Zagreb. There is much more to be seen, including a large Christmas-decorated tunnel that goes through the hill on which the Upper town of Zagreb is situated.
At Sunlands we have a very special Christmas tour of Zagreb, where besides guiding people to the main sights of the historical parts of Zagreb and of the Christmas Advent, we also aim for you to experience the deeper spirit of Christmas. Additional to places already mentioned, we aim to take you to a few churches with their own nativity scene, where the quiet atmosphere reminds us what this time of year is all about.
December can indeed be a special time of the year, and we hope to see you in Zagreb.