Arguably the prettiest single street in the city, pedestrianized Tkalčićeva preserves a neat ensemble of the one- and two-storey, steep-roofed nineteenth-century houses that have largely disappeared elsewhere. There’s a smattering of boutiques and art galleries tucked into the street’s low-ceilinged mansions, although most of these are now occupied by the youthful café-bars that have transformed Tkalčićeva into the city’s prime area for drinking on warm summer evenings. In the first half of the twentieth century the whole area had a somewhat darker reputation, when Kožarska, the alleyway which runs parallel to Tkalčićeva to the west, served as the city’s red-light district, “reeking of debauchery, adultery, crime, drunkenness, and promiscuity”, in the words of diarist and novelist Miroslav Krleža. It was so popular with Hitler’s soldiers in World War II that the city authorities had to put up signs in German banning military personnel from entering. Also leading off to the west of Tkalčićeva is Krvavi most (“Bloody Bridge” – a reminder of the often violent disputes between Gradec and Kaptol), a street that links up with Radićeva, offering a short cut up to Gradec.
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