While exploring Zagreb as a tourist, the road will inevitably take you to Ban Jelačić Square and on to Tkalčićeva Street; the latter nowadays exudes a real cosmopolitan atmosphere. In the old days, however, these two, as well as many other locations all over the city, featured brothels where patrons could enjoy carnal pleasures. Back in the 19th century, Zagreb was one of the first European cities where citizens could indulge in sensual encounters with so-called queens of the night at numerous brothels, or seek the services of the ladies who walked the streets, the so-called corner-girls. As part of the newest city sightseeing tour named Sensual Zagreb, tourists can hear such stories about Zagreb’s past firsthand from the courtesan Margarita, played by a young local actress.
The programme was devised by the employees of the Zdenac Života tourist agency, while the themed sightseeing tours take place on Fridays, starting at 8 p.m., weather permitting. Only those over the age of 16 can partake as the tour is not suitable for all. It takes you to numerous locations in the city centre where Madame Margarita will explicitly describe all of the goings-on and offer some saucy commentary. She will also talk about the main features and outline the differences between particular brothels. Throughout the 19th century and up until the beginning of WWII, every house on Tkalčićeva Street was a brothel. The fact provided Zagreb with quite a bit of notoriety at the time. Each brothel had its set of patrons whose antics are a good source for an almost inexhaustible wealth of anecdotes. Clients in pursuit of pleasure of the flesh could do it perfectly legally in many places. There is, nowadays, plenty of evidence to that effect in the shape of the work permits many of Zagreb’s courtesans were issued for their business activity.
For example, Peter’s Baths Spa at Kožarska Street was quite infamous for the orgies it regularly organized. Clients could also discreetly accost ladies who promoted their services at Ban Jelačić Square or at the main railway station. Of course there were other possibilities, which Madame Margarita will gladly discuss, as well as share her experiences with the tour takers.
The entire tour is based on the book “Stories of Old Tkalča – The Secret Sensual Life”, and apart from the saucy guidance by Madame Margarita, it features many other witty surprises.