Although the oldest settlement in the urban area of Zagreb was a Roman town of Andautonia, now Šćitarjevo, the real beginnings of Zagreb today could be found in two medieval settlements. The smaller and eastern Kaptol, inhabited mainly by clergy and housing Zagreb Cathedral, was founded in 1094 when Hungarian King Ladislav (1040 – 1095) had established the Zagreb Diocese. The larger and western Gradec, inhabited mainly by farmers and merchants, was proclaimed a free and a royal city by the Golden Bull of King Bela IV in 1242 as a sign of his gratitude to its inhabitants for o ering him a refuge from Tatars. Gradec (the Upper Town) and Kaptol were united in 1851 by Viceroy Josip Jelačić (1801 – 1859), who is accredited for this and also for the naming of the main city square, Ban Josip Jelačić Square. There is a legend of how the city was named: on a sunny day, a brave governor, exhausted from a battle, asked a girl named Manda to ladle him out (“zagrabiti” in Croatian) some water from the spring (Manduševac) and the city became Zagreb. In the second half of the 19th century the town spread its borders southward and the new centre was created – the Down Town: from Ban Jelačić Square in the north to the railway in the south and from the West Railway Station to the Drašković Street in the east. The most representative part of the town between Petrinjska and Savska Street, is made of series of squares, called Green Horseshoe due to abundance of plants. Important cultural and scienti c institutions of the town were placed there. The position of the town enabled the growth and Zagreb soon started to spread. The area between the railway and the River Sava witnessed a new construction boom after the World War II. New residential areas south of the River Sava were built (The New Zagreb) and the town expanded westward and eastward.
Today, Zagreb extends over 30 kilometres (19 miles) east-west and around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north-south. It is the only metropolitan area in Croatia known for its high quality of living and that makes Zagreb more interesting to the foreigners who are more than welcome to enjoy and spend some quality time in the town with million hearts.