Main Railway Station And Railway Museum In Zagreb

Popular meeting point for many locals, the Main Railway Station is also a beautiful neoclassical monument in the heart of the city.

Each neighborhood has its own meeting point, a place where friends and family members arrange a meet up before heading somewhere else. In Zagreb’s city centre, there are two big meeting points all citizens know about. The first is the main square of Ban Josip Jelacic and the second one is the Main Railway Station. That big old pink building is the first thing a lot of tourists actually see if they come to Zagreb via train and it’s conveniently located only 10 minutes’ walk from the main city square. It is a protected cultural property of the city; a neoclassical monument with beautiful sculptures and decorations.


Platform of neoclassical art

The construction of the building began in 1890, but it wasn’t opened to the public until two years later when the city officials prepared a formal presentation and officially presented it to the world. The project was designed by Hungarian architect Ferenc Pfaff and Zagreb’s train station isn’t the only one he is responsible for – Rijeka’s Main Train Station is also his work of art. The building is 186,5 meters long and it was built quite solidly – that's why it wasn’t until 1986 that the city officials decided to renew it because of the Universiade in Zagreb.

Personally, my favourite thing about this railway station are gorgeous neoclassical statues that watch over you from the roof. They remind me of ancient Greece and I like to come up with stories for each statue: Who would they be if they were real people? What would they be like? Where would they live in Zagreb? Where would they travel by train from this station? To visit a friend? A lover? A mother?

Image credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Marko Vrdoljak


Another interesting fact about this station is that it was a stop along the way of famous Orient Express – a luxury long-distance passenger train which inspired Agatha Christie to write one of her most popular novels. Even though Orient Express changed its route multiple times. Originally, it ran from Paris to Giurgiu in Romania. There, passengers were ferried across the Black Sea to complete their journey in Constantinople. Later, the route changed and this time, passengers were reaching Istanbul via Zagreb, Belgrade, and Sofia. Hotel Esplanade, right next to Zagreb’s Main Railway Station, was built solemnly for the purpose of providing accommodation for passengers of Orient Express. It was built in the 1920s, and its history is connected to the train station, with equally impressive architecture and gorgeous green scenery surrounding it.


Railway Museum

Railway museum is dedicated to exactly what its name suggests – railways and trains in Croatia. It tells a story of railway development since the 1860s, when the first train track was built, until the modern times. Museum was founded in 1991 with the intent to showcase the exhibition in the workshop of Gradelj factory where they produce trains and other materials used in railway traffic. If you decide to visit it, you’ll see it has permanent lining out in the open, as well as specialised science library indoors. You can hear all about people, buildings and trains throughout Croatian history and how it affected social, political and cultural events in this region.

Image credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Marko Vrdoljak

For me, riding the train has always been an eventful experience because I get to meet different people who share a ride with me. I’ve heard some amazing life stories during those times and sometimes I still wonder where those people are today, if they have resolved their problems they’ve told me about, if I will ever meet them again… Other times, when I wouldn’t be in a mood to talk to anyone during my train rides, I’d just put headphones on and listen to music, look through the window and admire nature we’d pass by. I’d get a feeling like I was starring in a music video. It’s a great way to see the country so if you want to see as much of Croatia as you can in a short time period, then I suggest you to consider travelling by train.

Header Image Credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Marko Vrdoljak

Author: Paula Bracko