Discover Zagreb’s Two Neighbouring Areas: Folnegovicevo and Savica
In most big cities, there are parts of town where everybody goes to because those are usually neighbourhoods with lots of tourist spots such as monuments, museums, galleries or historical findings. Furthermore, there are parts of each city that people think poorly of for many different reasons. And last, but not the least, each city has two neighbourhoods that always argue which one is the best one. It’s not unusual that people living in those areas feel competitive over people living in other areas. It’s just that kind of local-patriotism that we attach to a place we call our home, where we grew up or raised a family. If you have many pleasant memories related to a particular neighbourhood, it’s normal to feel protective of it when someone talks bad about it.
Zagreb has a few neighbourhoods and people living there get along with their neighbours from other areas just fine. Obviously, there are some who think their neighbourhood is the best one, but there is rarely anyone (especially young people) who spends their entire life in just one part of Zagreb. Some move when they go to university, some when they get married, others for various occasions. But one thing is for sure: no matter which neighbourhood you choose to live in Zagreb, there will be good and bad aspects of it – just like anywhere else, for that matter.
Personally, I’ve lived all over Zagreb since I moved here a few years ago. I’ve lived in the centre of the city, which for many is the best part to live because everything is close to you. Also, I’ve lived in remote neighbourhoods where I needed some time to adjust. To be honest, I've always preferred living in areas a bit further from the city centre to living in the centre because there isn't so much noise, it isn’t crowded, and it feels more like home for me since I’m originally from a small town.
One of my favorite neighbourhoods where I lived is called Savica. Located just two tram stations from the Main Bus Station in Zagreb, Savica is very well connected with the rest of the city, and you can get anywhere in no time. Another reason I love Savica is that it’s full of greenery due to its many parks and closeness to Sava river embankment.
Why I Love Savica
When I first moved there, I already knew what to expect. A few of my friends lived at Savica and told me what kind of neighbourhood it is. Everyone spoke very highly of it and it made me sceptical. I mean, no neighbourhood could be THAT great, right? But it turns out, they were right. I did love it as much as everyone said I would!
Image Credit: Paula Bracko
Savica is just north of the river Sava, yet west of Folnegovicevo – actually, they are across the road from each other just like proper neighbours. Marin Drzic Avenue is the only thing that separates them. Most of the old buildings here share those old socialist-architectural elements, since this urban area started to develop and grow after the Second World War. Those old socialist buildings are very well built because the architects thought that this neighbourhood should achieve the purpose of being a city inside a city. Any possible day-to-day need could be met within the area so Savica inhabitants wouldn’t feel left out from the rest of the city. At the time, Zagreb still wasn’t that much populated across the river Sava so anyone who decided to move to Savica might have a feeling they lived on the edge of the city. Obviously, today Zagreb is much wider, and Savica feels like any other neighbourhood in a broader city centre area.
This old architecture works well with newly built apartment blocks and houses. Everything is nicely blended with thick tree crowns and flowery bushes since Savica inhabitants love their parks. I can’t remember a single day passing through the neighbourhood without seeing at least one person in the park. Day or night, you can be sure to find someone walking their dog or feeding the pigeons at Savica park. With Sava embankment being so close, many citizens like to go for a jog in the morning or late afternoon, while others (like me, for example) just like to put on earphones and walk while admiring sunset above the river. Also, it helps that so many people like to walk their dogs there and I've made some great four-legged friends that way.
My evening walks would sometimes take me some place else besides the river embankment. Depending on a day and mood, from time to time, I'd end up in Folnegovicevo across the avenue.
Story of ‘Folka’
South of the Slavonska Avenue and east of Marin Drzic Avenue, Folnegovicevo neighbourhood or Folka, as locals call it, became populated during the 50s in the last century. Since this area had been almost entirely planned out before they started building there, it looks very organised and urban. Still, just like at Savica across the street, it’s impossible to escape the socialist look of buildings even though they were restored and modernised throughout the years. Folka has more than ten well-kept playgrounds and dozens of green meadows. In addition to playgrounds, you can find four concrete and five grass field football pitches, four concrete basketball courts, three outdoor tables for table tennis, and there was even some talk about the construction of tennis courts in the neighbourhood.
Image Credit: Paula Bracko
Just like at Savica, Folka also works well as a city inside a city since you have everything you need within reach of a hand. It’s an old-fashioned neighbourhood where local kids still play catch outside of their buildings in the park or dodgeball at playgrounds while their parents look after them from a bench nearby.
It’s not uncommon that locals from both neighbourhoods spent time together, greet each other at the market and have a small talk in public transport. There’s no bad blood between two neighbouring areas like in some other towns. Savica and Folka love each other dearly and often wave each other from across the street. It’s a tale as old as time… or at least, as old as these two neighbourhoods.
Header Image Credit: Paula Bracko
Author: Paula Bracko