hidden europe 23


by Kelly Schierman


Many European capital cities have a nearby space of open country that is cherished as a place to escape from the city. For Zagreb, that space is Medvednica. Kelly Schierman explores the mountain of the honey eaters.

From my car window, I glimpse the shoulders of the mountain. Rounded, supple, wreathed in morning mist they rise like islands from the sea. Behind me, Zagreb churns under a sky of brass. Before me, the mountain rises green and still. Behind me the city shouts, loud, cacophonous, slip-covered in grime. Before me, I embrace the silent mountain and fall in love.

Medvednica is the name of a nature park, a forest, and a mountain, all of which occupy roughly the same territory. Medvednica is far from bring Croatia's highest peak, but at just over one thousand metres, her modest summit at Sljeme towers over the river-bound capital which clings to her feet. Not quite a part of the Dinaric Alps, which sweep away northwest and southeast, Medvednica springs silently and suddenly from the surrounding plain.

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