The Story of Jarun – One of Zagreb’s Most Beautiful Neighbourhoods

If there was a beauty competition among Zagreb’s neighbourhoods, Jarun would definitely be a winner!

Well, you should be aware that there isn't a neighbourhood in Zagreb that has so many beauties as Jarun has. First of all, Jarun neighbourhood is right next to Lake Jarun which is often called Zagreb’s Sea. As you can guess, the neighbourhood got its name after the lake. Lake Jarun is the best-known lake in Zagreb, as well as the park and facilities surrounding it. When you ask Zagrebians to tell you some of the Zagreb's lakes, Jarun will always be the first lake to come to their mind. It’s quite fascinating as it is a perfect place for recreation and relaxing. But, what’s the story behind Jarun neighbourhood and lake?


Image Credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Zagreb Above and Beyond


Let me tell you a story

This part of Zagreb has been mentioned in records back in the 18th century. As a village, having only two streets, Jarun has been marked on Zagreb’s topographic map in 1728. Back then, Jarun lake wasn’t a lake by a definition, but merely an extension of Sava River. It was used for irrigation as local population planted corn around it, as well as other vegetables. But, Sava River is a mighty river today and it has been also back then. There was a great danger from floods which led to the Great Flood in 1964. That flood destroyed a lot of Zagreb’s territory and caused the city authorities to finally decide to make sure that never happens again. So, it was decided to build the embankment through Sava River’s entire length.

Because of Sava’s embankment, Jarun pond became separated from the river. During the construction of Sava embankment, people needed a lot of gravel. Jarun pond was full of it so people started to dig deeper and deeper to collect it enough for building the embankment. And that’s how Jarun pond became a lake! As the time passed by, nature did its job and made the lake look like it looks like today - big and majestic.

In 1980s Jarun neighborhood development grew rapidly due to construction of sports and recreational center that hosted the international sports event Summer Universiade in 1987.  During the construction of sports and recreational centre, lake also got its modern look. During that time, Sports Park Mladost, University Campus Stjepan Radic and Faculty of Kinesiology were also built which led to overgrowing interest of people to live there. A mass construction of residential buildings came to realization. Because of this, Jarun neighborhood was divided in numerous parts -  Staglisce, Vrbani, Gredice, Gajevo and Horvati.


Image Credit: Marko Vrdoljak, Zagreb Tourist Board


What to see & do in Jarun neighborhood

Jarun neighbourhood is a peaceful oasis of Zagreb, as it is a little bit further from the main and central part of the city. It is important to say, though, it is well connected with other parts of Zagreb, so you can reach it easily by car or public transport. Take tram route 5 or 17 and you’ll be there in half an hour if you get on a tram at the main city square.  

Jarun as a neighbourhood is actually more or less like every other neighbourhood in Zagreb, but it gives a lot of opportunities for enjoying every single minute of your precious free time in the best way possible – with recreation. Near the lake, you can find sports courts for athletes or recreationists, rowing, canoeing and kayaking clubs as well as sailboat clubs. There is also a skate park, sculpture park, a small botanical garden and playgrounds.


Image Credit: P. Macek, Zagreb Tourist Board


Lake Jarun is divided into three parts - a big lake, a small lake and a lake for rowing, canoeing, and kayaking. Several islands can also be noticed. These islands have their own names - Universiade Island, Tresnjevka Island, Rowers’ Island, Island of Croatia’s Youth, Wildlife Island, and Love Island. There is a pedestrian path along the lake and more than 2,500 meters of gravel beaches. That’s why Lake Jarun is called Zagreb’s sea, as you can swim in it during the summer time. A lot of concerts, festivals, shows, competitions, and other events are held here, especially in spring and summer. But, this is a perfect place for walking, cycling, roller skating, and playing sports during the whole year!

Image credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Zagreb Above and Beyond


Last, but not the least, Jarun can offer you an awesome night out. Jarun lake is not used only for recreation, it is also a place to go out in the evenings, as you’ll find several clubs and bars where you can have a drink or dance throughout the night.


If you are staying in Zagreb for at least a couple of days, Jarun neighbourhood and the lake is an unavoidable place to visit. Find out why Jarun is so popular amongst Zagrebians and why everyone likes to go there! Maybe you’ll bump into me, who knows?


Header Image Credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Zagreb Above and Beyond


Author: Tajana Pran