Bridges of Zagreb
For centuries, people crossed the Sava by rafts. Thankfully, today, crossing the river to get from Zagreb to Novi Zagreb (and the other way around) is as easy as taking the public bus, hopping on a bike or having a walk. Not only that they are functional but some of them are also visually appealing, making them a great place for urban themed photo shoots.
The Sava river flows along Zagreb’s coast for about 30km (about 18 miles) and there is a dozen of bridges you can go over. Starting from West to East, here are the most prominent bridges listed below.
Jankomir Bridge isn’t a tourist spot but just so you know it is called after a neighbourhood you see in the distance. Jadran Bridge (Adriatic Bridge) is a busy bridge for trams, cars and buses but you can also cross it on foot. Sava Bridge was actually the first pioneering bridge to be built in 1938 and it is opened for pedestrians and bikes. This is the way to Arena shopping centre from Sava turnstile if you are going by bike. Hendrix Bridge (also Railway or Green Bridge) is a cult steel bridge which will be mentioned later. Most Slobode (Bridge of Freedom) has a unique note to it because parts of it are made out of stone from Brač island which means every stone part was specially built on the island. Most Mladosti (Bridge of Youth) has an awesome space underneath it and makes a cool spot for pop culture events. Domovinski Most (Patriotic Bridge) is the newest one built.
Image credit: Sitana Omer, zagreb.info
A view with the wind in your hair
What I love the most about Zagreb’s bridges is the view. Whenever I am crossing one, I have the urge to just stop and admire the view reaching as far as you can see until the picture gets blurry. It is surprisingly calm to stare at the water though there are so many cars rushing behind you, you feel the rush of the city and busyness of Novi Zagreb.
I often cross Most Slobode by bike when I am running some errands in the other part of the city. As I pass some of the busiest streets on my way from work or faculty, there is a slight change in the inclination of the road, enough to make you sweaty on a warm summer day. Then I reach the middle of the bridge and the refreshment hits me – a light breeze making all my worries go away for a minute. I feel like I’m in a slow motion music video or a commercial, oh heck, sometimes I even feel like Beyoncé when my hair is flaunting in the wind! The wind muffles the noise and plays with your hair while you stare in the distance. Now, that is what I call a short city break. No seriously, that moment right there brings the poetic side of me so I am wondering if the other bike riders I pass look at my zoned out facial expressions.
Image credit: Love Zagreb, Kristina Mandić
The legendary Hendrix Bridge
Hendrix Bridge is definitely my favourite one because of many reasons, one of them is due to its blueish-green colour. In fact, this rail bridge is in the process of changing its name from Green Bridge to Hendrix’s Bridge. The reason everybody calls it Hendrix is the mysterious non-pompous graffiti which stood there for years until it was repainted during the repairing. Opinions were parted. Mostly older generations hated it, considering it as vandalism. However, one night the graffiti reappeared as a subtle form of rebellion, making a nostalgic comeback as the symbol of urban cultural heritage. Even GoogleMaps recognises it as Hendrix’s Bridge! You may think of it as damaging public property, but it’s still better than Kiki & Micko graffiti.
Once known for its series of heart-breaking love stories of suicides and teenage runaway hang-outs, the bridge is nowadays under surveillance to prevent any accidents that may occur when climbing. So, no recreating Spiderman scenes or recreating the lyrics by "dancing the tango on the top of Hendrix's Bridge".
Image credit: Branimir Butković, vlakovi.hr
Ideas for exploring
As there aren’t many bridges, you can make a plan to incorporate one bridge a day when sightseeing.
For Most Mladosti, I would recommend going on Sunday. That way you can experience Zagreb’s unique flea market Hrelić, take a cool photo on the graffiti stairways of the Most Mladosti and enjoy nature in Bundek, all in one go. Admire Hendrix’s Bridge while having a drink in an underground bar Brazil Brod na Savi that is actually a stranded boat.
You could ride a bike or go jogging on the embankment which is also a popular recreational trail. That way you can take breaks and cool yourself on every bridge. The possibilities are endless and they make a special way of exploring Zagreb.
Header image credit: Branimir Butković, vlakovi.hr
Author: Karla Knezevic