The old lady - Mrs. Funicular

From the Lower Town to the Upper Town with the shortest railway in the world.

Connecting Lower Town and the Upper Town

Zagreb's funicular is one of the most famous symbols of the city, and even if it was not the original intention, with time, it has become a must-see tourist attractions of the city.

Funicular to Upper Town is the oldest organized public transport in Zagreb. It connects the Lower Town with the Upper Town every working day, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 6:30am to 10:00 pm! Departure is every ten minutes, and the cost of one ride is 4 kunas. If necessary, passengers can book even an emergency ride that costs 20 kunas. Monthly, annual, and individual tickets can be purchased for a funicular ride. The lower station is located on Tomićeva Street and the upper station on Strossmayer promenade, at the foot of the tower Lotrščak.

Compared with other railways that are used for public transport, with the 66 meters long stripe, it is the shortest railway in the world.

It fully kept its original exterior appearance of the building and construction, and most of the technical characteristics so that's why Zagreb's funicular is legally protected as a cultural monument.

Image credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Marko Vrdoljak

History of the funicular

The idea of building a funicular came to a building contractor DW Klein. He was watching the frequency of pedestrian traffic. After analysis, the entrepreneur has concluded that the majority of people use Tomic street to reach the Upper Town, and not, for example, Mesnicka street or Radiceva street.

The financial viability of the project was unquestionable, so the construction of the shortest railway in the world has started.

It was opened to traffic on the 8th of October 1890 in the then Bregovita Street (today Tomiceva). At first, it was a steam-powered and in 1934 it was replaced with the electric one.

After being put into circulation, the funicular has enabled a fast connection between the Lower Town and the upper part of Zagreb, which was at that time the political, administrative and religious center.

Both cabins were divided into classes - sections of the first and second class. Except in comfort, the difference was also in price - driving a one-way first class was three coins and driving one-way second class was two coins. Over the next years, due to frequent breakdowns, the passengers had to get out of the funicular and push.

In 1929, the City of Zagreb took the ownership of the funicular and the technical and financial affairs were taken over by ZET. The old wagons were replaced with new ones - cabins got larger windows and lost the sections of the first and second class. By removing cabin partitions, cabins were more spacious, with more air and light, in which the passengers felt more comfortable. And in case it stops, the passengers could exit wagons easier by using the safety stairs.

In 2004, the funicular got hydraulic lifting platform for easier access for people with disabilities, and in 2005, before the 115th anniversary, the funicular was completely renovated and modernized.

Image credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Marko Vrdoljak


Funicular today

Today's funicular has 16 seats and 12 standing places, the maximum speed is 1.5 meters per second, and the trip lasts 55 seconds.

The old lady, as respectfully is called in Zagreb,  is celebrating its 125th birthday this year. In more than a century ride there were no accidents, no deceased passengers so it is convincingly titled as safest public transport.

You should definitely try the popular Zagrebian ride with the famous funicular, the little part of Zagreb's history.

Header image credit: Zagreb Tourist Board, Marko Vrdoljak

Author: Nina Klarin