A large map of Zagreb, issued by the state office and printed on three unjoined sheets, shows the city the second year after the WWII, with renamed streets.
The map captures the entire city during what was its historical apology. The ovoid outlines of the medieval city are still clearly visible. Until the middle of the 19th Century, Zagreb was largely confined to this small area, being nothing more than a regional centre with population of barely 17,000 (in 1851). However, beginning in the 1850s, spurred by the Croatian National Revival, Zagreb grew steadily in population and wealth, expanding beyond the old town. The railway arrived in 1862, the gasworks were established in 1863 and a modern water system was created from 1878. This spurred industrial growth, and the formation of the new working-class and industrial districts to the west and south of the old city. It also saw improvements to the large plazas extending out of the old city, as well as the construction of grand public edifices, in the Austro-Hungarian style. Indeed, Zagreb acquired monumental architecture, arranged along massive open spaces, akin to Vienna and Budapest. Most notably, the era also saw the re-development of Ban Jelačić Square, to this day, the heart of Zagreb.
While World War I was the death of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it saw the birth of Yugoslavia, making Zagreb the second city of new, large Slavic county. The 1920s and ‘30s saw unprecedented growth, as the city’s population increased from 109,000, in 1921, to 186,000, in 1931, a jump of 64%! This saw the expansion of the city eastwards into the new bourgeoisie neighbourhoods around in the vicinity of the future Meštrović Pavilion (itself constructed 1934-8), featuring magnificent examples of Art Deco and Bauhaus architecture. It also saw the creation of the affluent suburbs rising up the slopes of the Medvednica Mountain, to the north of the old town.
While Zagreb’s social fabric and economy suffered terribly under the rule of the Fascist Ustaše regime during World War II, the city was largely spared of physical damage. A profound sense of civic pride amongst the city’s residents allowed most of the Zagreb’s pre-WWII historical architecture to be preserved during both the Yugoslav Socialist era and the period since Croatia’s independence in 1991. Mercifully, unlike the situation in many other cities, tasteless and monstrous modern developers have been relegates to the city’s outskirts, largely preserving the Zagreb that is here showcased to the present day.