Saturday, August 09, 2014

Vibrant Dolac Market Scenes in Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb has many markets but this is the most famous, most central one and well-loved by the locals, the open-air farmer’s market in the old centre—Dolac Market. It is nicely located in the middle of Zagreb’s Old Centrum, between Gradec and Kaptol and at the back of Ban Jelacic Square.

Dolac Market Scene
Opening times: Monday to Friday 07:00 - 15:00 | Saturday 07:00 - 14:00 | Sunday 07:00 - 13:00
Website: Dolac Market (only in Croatian)

It is a gathering place, everyone comes here at Dolac, even the chefs of the restaurants in the city shop their produce here. It is the belly of Zagreb they say.

The restaurant I ate at on the first night, Trilogija have their menu adjusted to what were bought at the market that day. A very interesting concept. Each day has its own menu. The chef and his marketer goes to the Dolac Market in the morning and canvasses spot on site, perhaps as they browse around the stalls they form their menus in their minds and pick along the items that gets chosen for the menu of the day. Cool concept.

Mornings are the best time to visit markets because its when there’s a lot of traffic flow between vendors and buyers. It’s still winter so I did not expect a lot of outdoor goings-on but I was surprised to see quite a number of produce vendors there. I am sure during the warmer months the outdoor market scene will be lively, with lots of bustle and splashes of colour here and there.

The fish and meat sections, as well as the bakeries and a few cafes are housed in the buildings surrounding the outdoor farmer’s market square. The Dolac Market actually opened its doors to the public in 1930 after a reform made by the government (then Yugoslavia) that paved the road for country farmers to bring their produce to Zagreb.

I actually came here on my first day in Zagreb but it was mid-afternoon thus many vendors were gone or were wrapping up their stalls for the day, so I did not take pictures, instead, I checked out the bakeries and bought a few local pastries. Read it here: Burek, Fritule and Krafne

My second visit was much better. I came during the week in the morning which was not crowded at all and which gave me ample opportunities to take pictures. One of the vendors even had time to offer his free services and took a nice picture of me. The only downside was the weather, it was grey and drizzling a bit as well. You can never win them all.

I also made a third visit on a Saturday, and it was horribly packed and noisy, as if the whole population of Zagreb went shopping in Dolac. No pictures were taken except for a seafood lunch fit for a queen beside the market that I will post later.

Do enjoy the Dolac Market scene in Zagreb on a winter day in March.

These two pictures of Dolac were taken on the first day I visited which was rather late in the afternoon and the vendors were already packing up for the day. The rest of the pictures below were taken the next morning.

A somewhat greyish winter day is made colourful and lively by the beautiful produce on sale on the Dolac market square, in the heart of Zagreb. 

Just love how the vegetables were neatly placed side by side. Dutchman and I eat a lot of vegetables in our diet. How about you? 

 This is a typical Croatian food sighting in the markets: Dried figs. They are so delicious and are a must try when in the country. Great with cheese and wine.

No Euros accepted here except the Croatian Kuna (HRK) currency. Croatia is now a member of the European Union, but not part of the Schengen member states (border control) and the Euro currency. 

Thank you mister for taking a picture of me. Friendly locals here, well, he noticed I was desperately trying a (failed) selfie that's why he offered, haha.

 In Croatia, they tend to sell their salad leaves pulled out from its bunch. I have not figured out why. Grains and beans are also popular in Crotia. And oh, many older women here are always elegantly dressed, even when market shopping.

How much? I have heard that haggling is the name of the game here. But if you are a foreigner who does not speak Croat, you are better off sticking to the price advertised unless you do not mind some sign language action and a calculator as your sword.

Honey, jellies and fruit jams are also popular gastronomic items on display here at the market.

Another picture of moi. The male vendor who took my picture made sure he took two pictures of me. He told me just to make sure, and with a wink =)

Fresh cottage cream cheeses in bowls locally called sir i vrhnje. How do you want to eat, serve or cook them?

Lots of fruits were on sale, lots of apples. In the summer, new types of fruits will be available such as different kinds of berries. I will not be surprised if the fruits and vegetables here are all organic.

Europe as a whole is a potato dependent continent, although grains, beans and rice are alternatives, the potato is still the main staple. To think potato actually originated in the plains of South America, think Peru, Chile, Bolivia. When the Spaniards conquered this continent they introduced the humble vegetable to Europe.

The old lady market vendor sculpture (kumica barica) on the steps of the Dolac Market from the Ban Jelacic Square entrance. She often represents the symbol of Dolac. 

In one of the corners of the Dolac market, at the back of the arcade gallery where cafes face the market square and on top of it rests the baroque church's tower is the St. Mary's Church. This is its low-key entrance. 

I made a quick visit to the church. I am not Catholic and I am not religious, well actually I am an atheist, but I am always impressed with people's devotions, and course, of people's talent through art and architecture.

Travel Period: March 2014
Destination: Zagreb, Croatia

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