Monday, October 15, 2012

September 28th: The Streets of Zagreb

This was my first weekend in my new place and also the first weekend I was going to be alone. Amy returned to Karlovac, the city where she is teaching English for the year.*After spending Friday cleaning my apartment and making some dinner, my new friend, Jenn, stopped over to have some wine before we went to explore the town. Jenn is another Fulbrighter that came to Zagreb to do dissertation research like I did. She is a PhD candidate at Penn State who studied Croatian at Pitt in the summers, so we share a Pitt connection (Ljiljana!). Anyways, I'm sure there will many more mentions of Jenn in the future.

Venturing out into the Zagreb nightlife meant that we continued our exploration of all that this city has to offer for socializing, relaxation, and general procrastination-things PhD researchers are very good at when in the field. This particular Friday marked the first night I experienced the night life of Tkalčićeva Ulica. This street is just next to mine and  is connected to it by this stube ( the Croatian word for stairs).

As a native speaker of English, the pronunciation of Tkalčićeva presents a bit of a challenge-even wikipedia doesn't offer phonetics for it's pronunciation. Therefore, I will try my best at my own: ta-kal-chi-cheva. The best explanation I can offer to explain the "ch" sounds in Croatian is that the č is a hard sound, like the English church, while the ć is a bit softer, like chess. It may never be distinguishable in my speech, but I'll keep trying :-) In case you are curious, the "c" in Croatian is like our English "s" when it is enunciated. Ulica is then pronounced with a long "u" and hard "s" as ooh-li-sa, with a sa like in sauce. I should offer a disclaimer here that I am not a linguist so my apologies if you are and the phonetics I'm making up here are horrendous .

Anyways, to get back to the task of the post. These complicated (for English speakers) names come from the use of famous name for streets in Zagreb. Many, if not most, of the streets in Zagreb are named after historically important figures in Croatian History. Like Trg Bana Jelačića and Ulica Nikola Tesla  Tkalčićeva come from the name Ivan Tkalčić, who was a Croatian historian of the city of Zagreb and its diocese, as well as the librarian at the academy of arts and sciences.** The street itself has many cafes and bars, a few restaurants and shops. Here is a photo of me having coffee at one of them.

The street is now a pedestrian zone and probably a place where I will spend a considerable amount of my time. It is in the historically preserved part of the city, which can be seen in the picture below or some of the shops and more cafes. The bell tower in the background belongs to St. Mary's Church. I can heard bells from my place all the time, but I haven't figured out where they come from yet.

I also live on a street named after another famous Croatian, Stjepan Radić. Radić was the founder of the Croatian Peasant Party in the early 1900s and was an advocate of Croatian autonomy throughout the existence of the first Yugoslavia (1918-1941), also know as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes during its first several years. Radić remains an important figure in Croatian history today; hence the name of my street Radićeva.** Radićeva has many more shops than Tkalčićeva but less coffee shops. Most of the shops on this street are jewelry shops. Including one where I recently bought a bracelet and a pair of earrings for about $10. I have a feeling I will be visiting this particular shop quite often. There is also a small bakery (pekara) where I have been purchasing  fresh bread every few days for 6 Kuna (Croatian currency), which is a bout $1.00.I certainly do not miss spending nearly $4 for fresh bread at my grocery store in Pittsburgh. For pictures of Radićeva, you can visit my post about Gornji Grad and my new place. The most famous image from the street is most likely the horse statue that is somewhat near my place and has a few cafes around it where I often have coffee.

*If you would like to also follow Amy's adventures, there is a link o her blog under my information-it's a link titled "Amy's Blog."
** This information comes from I don't just know this stuff of the top of my head. Info on  Radićeva and Stjepan Radić is straight from Wikipedia. It takes me long enough to write these. If I had to do any more research than this, I would give up entirely :-) 

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