This year, Zagreb’s Botanical Garden is celebrating 125 years since its foundation by the Zagreb University back in 1889. It still belongs to the University today, and it is the oldest university garden in Croatia. When it was first developed, it was located on the outskirts of town, which back in those days numbered only 38,000 inhabitants. Most of the garden was decorated in the so-called landscape style, with freely planted clusters of trees, meandering paths and symmetrical flower beds. As it has belonged to the Zagreb University since the day it was founded, the Botanical Garden has always played a significant educational, as well as cultural and historical role. Therefore, it was protected under the law as a monument of horticultural architecture in 1971.

The Botanical Garden is part of the so-called Lenuci’s Horseshoe, whose green squares and parks form the monumental frame of downtown Zagreb. The garden spreads across a surface of 4.7 hectares, and it consists of an arboretum, flower beds, greenhouses, three stone huts and two lakes, which were frequent inspiration for renowned Croatian painters, including the great water colourist, Slava Raškaj, whose water-lily themed paintings are nowadays considered to be among the greatest watercolours of Croatian art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Botanical Garden nowadays features more than 5,000 different plans. Among them are almost three hundred protected species of Croatian flora, including two of the best known Croatian endemic plants – Velebit Degenia and Dubrovnik Centaury, which can occasionally be obtained in the garden. Therefore, the garden is often a venue for various exhibitions and educational events, as well as garden parties, organized every September by Zagreb University to mark the beginning of the academic year.

Its relaxing atmosphere also makes it a popular destination for numerous citizens of Zagreb as well as an increasing number of tourists. The main celebrations of the anniversary will be organized on June 8th, the day when the garden opened exactly 125 years ago. To mark this occasion, the garden’s greenhouses will be renovated and opened to the public as they once used to be. Apart from that, the garden should soon also get an eastern entrance. The June celebrations will be attended by thirty representatives of national botanical gardens from EU member states as well as Switzerland and Norway, who are also members of the European Botanical Garden Consortium.

The Botanical Garden opens to the public every year on April 1st, and admission is free of charge.

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