The Zagreb Observatory – a place with the most beautiful view of the sky and the stars above Zagreb
Visit the Zagreb Observatory in the Upper Town. If you’re interested in stargazing, make sure to visit a very special place in Zagreb – the Zagreb Observatory in the Upper Town, at the top of Opatička Street, in the Priest’s Tower. According to legend, the goddess Hera sent a giant crab to distract Hercules in his fight against the nine-headed snake Hydra. The crab pinched Hercules on the heel, but he managed to crush it and kill the Hydra. In a fit of anger, Hera sent the crab into the skies forever more. This is believed to be the genesis of the Cancer constellation. It is known for the pale light of its stars. Why is that? The cancer is ashamed of his defeat and he’s trying to hide from view… Even though this is just a myth, the story is pretty interesting. Cancer is one of 13 Zodiac constellations – a part of the visible sky where the Sun, the Moon and most of the planets of the Solar System seem to move. And what are constellations? According to the definition, constellations are imaginary shapes in the sky, groups of stars linked to one another by imaginary lines.
Are you intrigued by the mysterious Universe?
These are the basic concepts used for explaining the complex system of our planet, the Solar System and the world surrounding us. Even if you’re not an astronomy enthusiast and the exploration of the Earth and the sky, of the planets and the objects of the universe, the satellites, asteroids, comets, meteors, stars, deep space, galaxies, etc. isn’t really your cup of tea, you may have tried to count all the stars in the sky, visible on a clear summer night. Did you manage to count them all? Ancient astronomers, led by Ptolemy, counted more than a thousand stars looking at them only with the naked eye. Their contemporaries counted 6,000 stars. Doesn’t that seem too few? One of the most important astronomical tools, the telescope, was invented in the 17th century and has led to fascinating discoveries and incredible numbers: 7 + 22 zeros. It’s a number that’s hard to even imagine and yet there are many stars whose light cannot be caught by contemporary telescopes…
A special star According to a rough definition, a star is a celestial body consisting of large quantities of gas, mostly hydrogen, with its own source of energy, very high temperatures and enormous mass. To us, they look like small yellowish and sometimes colourful dots twinkling in the night sky. They seem to be moving around and falling towards us, all because the Earth revolves around its axis. Even though the best possible telescopes cannot provide detailed pictures of the stars, as they are still always too far away, there is one star we can study more thoroughly, even with the naked eye. But only during the day. That’s our wonderful Sun, whose inner core reaches the temperature of an incredible 15 million degrees. And the Sun is among the smaller stars. The largest stars can outsize even the entire Solar System!
A star in our proximity…
The star that is closest to planet Earth is called Proxima Centauri. It is 4.2 light years away from us – a light year stands for the distance which light crosses over the course of one year, amounting to approximately 10 thousand billion kilometres. Are you still wondering why we can’t see these incredible celestial bodies that light up the sky? The stars group together into galaxies of which there are several hundred billion. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way, also known as the Great Sky River or the Silvery River, and the Earth is one of its planets. The mass of the entire galaxy amounts to about one trillion more than the mass of the Sun and contains from 200 to 400 billion stars. Its pale trace can be seen in the night sky!
Reach out and touch the stars
If you’d like to explore the Milky Way in more detail and see inside it, there’s a special place in Zagreb where you can do just that. This place features the most beautiful view of the sky and its tiny twinkling guardians – the Zagreb Observatory in the Upper Town, at the top of Opatička Street, in the Priest’s Tower. The tower used to be a part of a defence system of the medieval town of Gradec. Part of this ancient fort from the mid-13th century has been preserved to this day.
It was named after a bishop from Zagreb who owned the building. In 1903, another floor was added to the tower, dedicated for space enthusiasts, lovers of the night sky and those who have yet to become ones. The impressive dome featuring a telescope for stargazing attracts large numbers of visitors on a daily basis and is the first observatory in this part of Europe!
A crystal-clear view of the vastness of space
The long and interesting history of the observatory mentions August Kopff, who discovered a new planetoid in 1906 and named it Croatia to honour the Zagreb Observatory. The observatory is situated high enough to provide the most stunning and the clearest view of the sky and it is often referred to as the hub of new ideas. It is also a venue for various exhibitions and lectures, and stargazing sessions featuring professional guides. The state-of-the-art telescope will fly you to the moon and beyond in no time… How are stars born? How do they fall, how do they die? Do they twinkle? Do they change colours? What do the Sun and other celestial bodies look like from a close distance? How close to them can you come? When and why do comets fall? What causes eclipses? What are the other secrets of outer space? How has it evolved, what are the different scientific theories and findings in astronomy? And that’s only a part of the overall experience at this attractive location in Zagreb, the true symbol of cultural life in this city.
Visit Croatia’s tallest hotel
If stargazing from the centre of Zagreb at one of the most beautiful locations in the city doesn’t sound appealing enough, there’s another place where you can embark on a sky-high romantic journey: Croatia’s tallest hotel – Panorama Zagreb, Croatia. This hotel is unique not only because of its excellent service and accommodation but also because of its beautiful panoramic view of the whole city, Mount Medvednica and other impressive urban vistas.
Choose from 228 rooms and 51 suites, with functional design, modern amenities and stylish details. The accommodation units include everything you might need for a carefree stay in Zagreb. Visit the hotel and take advantage of its many benefits. Visiting Zagreb and its miraculous sky is a truly enriching experience.
Hotels in Zagreb
Hotel International, located in the heart of the business district of the country’s capital, is an excellent choice for business guests, as well as anyone visiting Zagreb as a tourist. With king-size beds and large bathrooms, the modern rooms offer comfort to make you feel at home. The largest Deluxe suites on the 10th floor of the hotel with a terrace overlooking Zagreb will satisfy even the most demanding guests, whether they are on holiday or on a business trip.
The modern Bed & Breakfast Hotel Jadran enjoys an excellent location in the centre of Zagreb, just a short walk from the central Ban Josip Jelačić Square, the Zagreb Cathedral, the Dolac Market, and all the attractions of the Upper and Lower Towns. With comfortable accommodation in 49 modern en-suite rooms, start the day with a great hotel breakfast. Free Wi-Fi is also available.