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Tkalčićeva Street: The history of Zagreb’s buzzing strip  

Tkalčićeva street (Photo: Julien Duval/Zagreb Tourist Board)

Tkalčićeva Street (Photo: Julien Duval/Zagreb Tourist Board)

From the lively alleys of El Born in Barcelona to the bustling lanes of New York’s SoHo, the world is full of famous strips and streets that are jam-packed with bars, cafes, and restaurants that attract tourists and locals alike. 

In Croatia’s capital Zagreb, Tkalčićeva Street has for years been that street, giving a unique glimpse into the local coffee culture and a popular spot to party, grab a bite to eat or simply just people watch.

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Tkalčićeva Street (Photo credit: J Duval/Zagreb Tourist Board)

Located just a stone’s throw from the main Ban Jelačić Square, Tkalčićeva Street is often a meeting place for locals and tourists alike.  

“Let’s meet in Tkalča,” locals will often say. 

Tkalčićeva Street: The history of Zagreb’s buzzing strip

‘Tkalča’ as it is nicknamed (Photo credit: Julien Duval/Zagreb Tourist Board)

No matter what day of the week, or time, ‘Tkalča’ has a buzz about it. The street is not only lined with cafes, bars and restaurants, but there are also local boutiques and traditional shops.


Tkalčićeva Street was once a creek called Medveščak. The area was the center of industry in the city, with watermills that helped to develop cloth, soap, paper, liquor, and animal skin factories. However, feuds between the twin cities of Kaptol and Gradec led to a peace treaty in 1392, which prohibited the construction of new watermills along the shared city border. 

The creek was eventually covered in 1898, creating a new street named Ulica Potok.

Most of the houses on Tkalčićeva Street were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the street was surfaced with gravel from the Sava River in Trnje. In the 20th century, the street was modernized and paved with asphalt, and the creek-based industry was transformed into small businesses and stores. 

Tkalčićeva street (Photo: Julien Duval/Zagreb Tourist Board)

(Photo: Julien Duval/Zagreb Tourist Board)

The name of the street was changed to Tkalčićeva Street in 1913 in honor of Ivan Tkalčić, a historian from nearby Nova Ves.

At one time, prostitution was legal in Zagreb, and Tkalčićeva Street was the main center for brothels. To open a brothel, the owner had to register at the town hall and receive a license. The women working in the brothels had to have a twice-weekly medical examination. Brothels were not allowed to advertise their presence, but a discreet, uncommonly colored lantern was allowed to be placed outside. 

The most well-known brothel on the street was Kod Zelene Lampe (Green Lantern’s). The brothels continued to operate until World War II.

Today on Tkalčićeva street you will also find the statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka, a famous writer and the first female Croatian journalist.  The statue is along side the sundial, which is also a famous symbol of the street.

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A statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka in Tkalčić Street in Zagreb (Photo: Silverije/CC BY-SA 4.0)

How to get to Tkalčićeva street

If you’re on foot, just head north from Ban Jelačić Square, staying left after your pass the steps to the famous Dolac Market. 

The closest parking garage is at Kaptol Center, which is only a few from the top of Tkalčićeva Street.

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