Zagreb Heritage in Zagreb
Ban Josip Jelacic Square, with the equestrianstatue of Ban Jelacic (made by
the sculptor Antun Fernkorn, 1866), is the usual starting point for sightseeing
tours through the three historical parts of Zagreb: the Upper Town (Gornji Grad),
Kaptol and the Lower Town (Donji Grad).
Gornji Grad is a more recent name for the mediaeval town which was chartered in 1242 (by the so-called Golden Bull) and thus obtained the status of "the free royal town on Gradec Hill of Zagreb". It lies on a slope between the walls constructed around the mid-13th century. The town used to have four gates.
Pavle Radic Street (former Duga Ulica), a merchant street with two-storey houses
constructed during the 19th century, runs uphill from Jelacic Square. The small
street Krvavi Most, named after the bridge over the Medvescak brook which used
to be the site of brutal clashes between the citizens of Gornji Grad and Kaptol,
branches off to the right.
Distinguished buildings close to the top of Pavle Radic Street are the palace of the First Croatian Savings Bank, at number 10 (architect Janko Grahor, 1880) and the classicist palace at number 32 (built by Bartol Felbinger around 1830). The statue of St. George is situated at the intersection with Kamenita Street.
The Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata), the only preserved city gate, represents the entrance to the Upper Town. It was first mentioned in the Middle Ages, and its present aspect dates from 1760, when the Baroque chapel of the Mother of God was constructed around the old painting by a local master, which survived the fire of 1731. The shops near the Stone Gate have preserved their original aspect from the 17th century. The niche in the western front accommodates the statue of the Goldsmith's Gold (made by Ivo Kerdic, 1929), representing the girl named Dora from the famous novel by August Senoa bearing the same title. The pharmacy at Kamenita Street 9 is another example of the continuous apothecary tradition from the mid-14th century, and the memorial plate on the building shows that the grandson of Dante, author of the Divine Comedy, worked in Zagreb as a pharmacist in 1399.
St. Mark Square is the centre of the Upper Town, the main square of the former Gradec. The town parish church of St. Mark was built in the mid-13th century. Three naves, separated from each other by thick columns of circular ground-plan, as well as a window discovered in the southern wall and the base of the bell tower originate from the Romanesque phase of construction. The Gothic vaults and the sanctuary were built in the second half of the 14th century. The construction of the southern portal with 15 statues in the niches, some of which were carved by the Parler masters from Prague in 1420, probably began at that time and was partly finished. The church of St. Mark was reconstructed in Gothic style by the architect Herman Bollé between 1876 and 1882. The picturesque roof featuring coats of arms of the Triple Kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia, and the city of Zagreb date back to that period. The refurbishment of the interior was undertaken between 1936 and 1938 by the sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and the painter Jozo Kljakovic. Mestrovic's works include: the big Crucifixion above the main altar, the Pieta and a silver cross in the northern apse, a peasant woman featuring Madonna in the southern apse, and several reliefs. Kljakovic painted the church walls in fresco technique, depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament, and the side chapel of Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, which features scenes from the Croatian history.
St. Mark Square was and still is the centre of many important events in the Croatian past and present because it accommodates the highest Croatian state bodies. The Banski Dvori (Vi-ceroy's Palace - St. Mark Square 1) used to be the residence of Croatian viceroys between 1809 and 1918; Viceroy Josip Jelacic resided and died there. Connected with the neighbouring Baroque palace (St. Mark Square 2), the Palace is now the seat of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. The palace of the Croatian Diet (built 1908-1910; architect Lavoslav Kalda) is on the eastern side of St. Mark Square, at the site of the former Baroque palace in which the Croatian Diet had been headquartered since 1737. The memorial plate reminds of the print shop of the writer Pavao Ritter Vitezovic who was a member of the Croatian Diet. The parsonage of the church of St. Mark (St. Mark Square 5) stands on the northern side. The building of the Constitutional Court leans on it. From the building at number 9 situated in the inner yard at the southern end of the square, the first radio station in this part of Europe started to broadcast in 1926, and the memorial plate on the façade reminds of the mediaeval mint in Zagreb. The Zagreb City Hall has always stood at the corner of St. Mark Square and Cirilometodska Street (at number 5). The memorial plates on the front quote the most significant events from the period when the building housed a theatre (1835-1895): the first drama of the more recent Croatian literature (Ivan Kukuljevic Sakcinski, Juran and Sofija or The Turks at Sisak, 1839) was performed there, the first Croatian opera (Vatroslav Lisinski, Love and Malice, 1846); the historic sessions of the Croatian Diet (1848 and 1861), etc. The bottom of the street between the City Hall and the Viceroy's Palace (Banski Dvori) reveals the front of the most beautiful Baroque palace in the Upper Town (Matoseva Street 9). This is the palace of the noble families and counts of Vojkovic-Orsic -Rauch, built in 1763, now the Croatian Historical Museum.
A Baroque palace is at Cirilometodska Street 3 (housing the Croatian Museum of Naive Art), the church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the neo-Byzantine style (architect H. Bollé, 1880) rises near it, and the two-storey corner house (Cirilometodska 1) of the Uniate seminary (1768-1774). Ljudevit Gaj (died in 1872), the leader of the Croatian national revival, lived and managed his print shop in the house on the opposite side of the street (Cirilometodska 4).
Catherine's Square is another square in the Upper Town, dominated by the church of St. Catherine, the most beautiful Baroque church in Zagreb. It was erected by the Jesuits between 1620 and 1632. This one-nave church has six side chapels and the sanctuary terminating in a plain wall. The chapels accommodate five wooden Baroque altars dating from the second half of the 17th century and one marble altar from 1729 (sculptor Franjo Robba). The vault and the walls are decorated with rich stucco (A. J. Quadrio, 1732). The sanctuary features a low main altar in front of a big fresco painted by Kristofor Andrija Ilovsek (Jelovsek) of Ljubljana. The front of the church was recon-structed after the earthquake of 1880. The church served to the Collegium of the Society of Jesus, a building erected by the church in late Renaissance style in the mid-17th century (Jezuitski Trg 4, today's exhibition complex Klovicevi Dvori), and to the students of the grammar school opened by the Jesuits in 1607 in the building at Catherine's Square 4 which houses a grammar school even today.
The northern part of Catherine's Square is closed by the long Kulmer Palace (accommodating the Museum of Contemporary Art). The Town Palace Dverce (former Vraniczany-Buratti Pa-lace), by the grammar school, is in the southern end of the square. The small town gate Dverce, defended by the Lotrscak Tower, a part of the city fortification system dating back to the mid-13th century, used to stand there. The Strossmayer Promenade extends below the tower and the remains of the south town walls (Southern Promenade, 1812), offering an attractive view on the Lower Town, and from the east to Kaptol, with the Cathedral and the church of St. Mary. There is the monument of the poet and writer Antun Gustav Matos (made by the sculptor Ivan Kozaric, 1978).
Palaces of the prominent 18th-century citizens line behind the palace of the Croatian Diet, parallelly with the east town walls in Opaticka Street. The most distinguished among them are the palaces at number 8 (built by Matija Leonhart, 1756) and number 10, the latter reconstructed by Izidor Krsnjavi, the eminent head of the Department of Theology and Education of the Croatian Government between 1893 and 1895, decorated with the works of young Croatian painters and sculptors of that period. The so-called Golden Hall is the gallery of the Croatian art from the end of the 19th century. The so-called Revival Hall in the palace at number 18, the People's Home - centre of the Croatian national revivalists, today owned by the Croatian Academy of Arts and -Sciences, was designed in 1845 by the Zagreb architect Aleksandar Brdaric, author of the corner building on the opposite side of Opaticka Street (at number 27).
The buildings at 20-22 Opaticka Street include: the former monastery of the Poor Clares, erected in 1650, the neighbouring Popov Tower from the mid-13th century and the former elementary school (built by Bartol Felbinger, 1839). They all represent the exhibition complex and offices of the Museum of the City of Zagreb, founded in 1907. The permanent holdings of the museum feature all per-iods from the history of Zagreb. The finds from the Neolithic Period below the foundations of the former monastery, bearing evidence of life on the hill of Gradec in ancient times, represent a special attraction. The Observatory of the Croatian Society of Natural Sciences (founded by Oton Kucera, 1902) is on the top of the Popov Tower. The bust of the poet August Senoa (a work by Emil Bohutin-ski, 1940) decorates the front of the former school building. The Northern or Opaticka Gate (collapsed in 1837) used to stand at the end of Opaticka Street. After that, the Vraz Promenade (originally the Northern Promenade) was laid down, with the coffee bar Palainovka (1844). In the centre of Illyrian Square (former Kipni Square), below the Promenade, the small neo-Gothic chapel stands, a work by H. Bollé (1895).
The building of the Historical Archives of Zagreb (Opaticka Street 29, the part facing the street dates back to 1835) and the houses in Demetrova Street were built on the western town walls. The Old Slavic Institute "Svetozar Rittig" is accommodated in the house dating from the 17th to 18th century, with an old well preserved in the yard (Demetrova Street 11). The palace at Demetrova Street 7 (1756, built by Matija Leonhart) was property of Baron Magdalenic, then owned by the Draskovic counts, who had the classicist porch built (around 1830), to pass finally in the possession of the Viceroy's brother Duro Jelacic and his descendants. The palace in Demetrova Street 1, in which theatre plays were performed (the so-called Amadeo's Theatre) between 1802 and 1835, was used as early as 1866 by the Croatian Museum of Natural -Science, which is famous, among other exhibits, for the well-known prehistoric man of Krapina.
The former house and studio of the sculptor Ivan Mestrovic in the nearby Mletacka
Street 6-8 are now open to the public as a museum (Mestrovic Atelier).
Mesnicka Street descends to the Lower Town. Memorial plates on some of the house fronts remind of notable personalities: August Senoa, the most popular poet and novelist of Zagreb, lived and died 1881 at number 34; the eminent Croatian historian Tadija Smiciklas, lived and died in 1914 at number 35; the founder of the Party of Rights and ideologist of the Croatian national identity Ante Starcevic lived between 1871 and 1873 at number 19 (at the corner with Streljacka Street). The large two-storey house at Mesnicka Street 1, with its mildly rounded front ornamented with a line of allegoric figures, is a masterpiece of historicism in Zagreb (built by Franjo Klein, 1867). Where Mesnicka Street meets Ilica, the statue of the most read Croatian poet, member of the Franciscan order, Andrija Kacic Miosic (made by the sculptor Ivan Rendic) was erected in 1895.
Bakaceva Street ascends from Ban Josip Jelacic Square to Kaptol. Kaptol is the oldest historical part of Zagreb. The Zagreb diocese was first mentioned already in 1094, which means that the Cathedral with the bishop's seat must have existed even before that. The canons lived near the Cathedral. The Cathedral with the Archbishop's Palace and the canonical curiae are the most representative features of this part of the town, although the present objects were built over the centuries at the location of the original ones. In fear of the Turks, Kaptol was fortified in the last quarter of the 15th century. The Southern and Northern Gates as well as several smaller side gates (the Skalinska Gate) enabled access to the town.
The Southern Kaptol Gate used to stand at the intersection of Bakaceva, Pod Zidom and Vlaska streets up to 1862. Here is now the tower called Nebojan, a special fortification in the area of Kaptol, built to defend the Cathedral against imminent attack by the Turks who were approaching Zagreb. This most massive fortress in south-eastern Europe was built between 1512 and 1520 in early Renaissance style (six low round towers, two square -towers with walls). One of the towers, the so-called Bakacev Tower, with the wall in front of the cathedral's front was levelled in 1906, opening the view on the Cathedral.
The Gothic Cathedral, built from the 13th to the end of the 15th century, was renovated after the earthquake of 1880, when the neo-Gothic façade with two high bell towers (105 m), which have become the symbol of Zagreb, was built. The reconstruction was carried out according to the plan by the architect H. Bollé between 1880 and 1902, and the interior was also decorated according to his design (neo-Gothic altars, lights, etc.). The Baroque marble pulpit (1699), the small Baroque marble altars of St. Lucas and the Last Supper (1703), the sepulchral slab of Viceroy Tomo ErdÂdy (1621) as well as four intarsiate Renaissance stalls (1520) date from the pre-earthquake period. The tomb of the Servant of God, the Zagreb archbishop and cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, is behind the main altar, while the northern bell tower accommodates the small chapel of Bl. Augustin Kazotic, the Zagreb bishop from 1302 to 1322. The mortal remains of the Croatian noblemen Petar Zrinski and Krsto Frankopan, with the busts (made by the sculptors Marija Ujevic and Sime Vulas, 1971), lie in the Cathedral. The sacristy features preserved frescos dating back to the times of the bishop Timothy (1263-1287), the cloak of King Ladislas (end of the 11th c.), and the altar adorned with the Golgotha by Albrecht Dürer (end of the 15th c.).
The impressive Baroque-style (arch)bishop's palace was erected between 1729
and 1730 within the fortress surrounding the Cathedral. It has a Gothic chapel
of St. Stephen the Protomartyr from the mid-13th century with frescos dating
back to the 14th century.
The statue of Mary with four angels (design by F. Schmidt, sculpture by A. Fernkorn, 1878) rises in the middle of Kaptol Square. Curiae of Zagreb canons located at numbers 1 to 28 were built from the end of the 17th to the mid-19th century, and display predominantly Baroque features, with gardens and inner yards. The most notable curiae are: the so-called prepostija at number 7, the oldest of them (16th c.), situated in a large garden with the Biedermeier garden fence, the curia at number 8 with an effective Baroque rounded projection, the one at number 13 with the memorial plate dedicated to the historian Franjo Racki (died in 1894), the 17th-century curia at number 15 in front of which the Northern Kaptol Gate used to rise (collapsed in 1876), the "youngest" of them at number 21 dating from 1885 (architect H. Bollé), the curia at number 28 with the prominent central part of the harmoniously shaped façade dating from the turn of the 17th/18th century. The big three-storey building at Kaptol 29 is the hall of residence of the Theological Seminary and the Catholic Theological Faculty. The memorial plate on the front, featuring the coat of arms of Maksimilijan Vrhovac, the bishop of Zagreb, bears witness to his generosity due to which the small curia was reconstructed into a large building in 1827.
The legend has it that the Franciscan monastery (Kaptol 9) with the church of St. Francis is among the canonical curiae on Kaptol ever since the time of St. Francis of Assisi, i.e. from the 13th century. This Gothic one-nave church with shallow side chapels was reconstructed in Gothic style after the earthquake of 1880 (architect H. Bollé). The windows are ornamented with stained glass painted by Ivo Dulcic (1960 - 1964). The present aspect of the monastery was finished at the end of the 17th century. The monastery chapel of St. Francis, richly adorned with Baroque stucco and 24 mural paintings featuring the life of St. Francis, is by the main entrance.
Passing by the Franciscan church one reaches Opatovina, the former civil part originating from the end of the 15th century. A Kaptol tower, the so-called Prislin Tower, rises at the end of the park in Opatovina, in front of which summer open-air performances are staged. Opatovina comprises a row of various houses, among which the old and restored tradesmen's gabled houses and wagon entrance are most representative. The monument to the folk hero Petrica Kerempuh and the hanged man (galzenjak) (sculptor Vanja Radaus, 1956), rises at the access to Opatovina from the south.
The Dolac quarter used to represent a continu-ation of Opatovina, levelled
in 1925 to make room for the central market place - Dolac. Picturesque shopping
on the roof of the market hall is extremely attractive, in particular for Zagreb
visitors. The parish church of St. Mary, a Baroque building from 1740, erected
on the site of the earlier Cistercian monks' church of the same name, has been
on Dolac ever since the beginning of the 14th century.
The way from Dolac downwards leads to Tkalciceva Street, situated in a small valley through which the Medvescak brook used to run, once the border between Gradec and Kaptol. Most of the old houses on the banks of the former brook have been turned into coffee bars and restaurants.
The Lower Town (Donji Grad) is a part of Zagreb spreading over the plain below the Upper Town and Kaptol. It gradually developed south of the Ilica and Ban Jelacic Square, first spontaneously and since 1865 based on the first physical plan of the city of Zagreb, according to which the streets intersect at a right angle, so that the regular pattern of the streets, squares and parks is the main feature of the Lower Town.
Praska Street leads from Ban Jelacic Square to a sequence of park-squares, the most beautiful part of the Lower Town: Zrinski Square, Strossmayer Square and Tomislav Square. They are bordered with representative four-storey houses, built at the end of the last century in various historical styles. Zrinski Square is enhanced with the music pavilion (1895) and fountains, and the Archaeological