Discover Rome in Zagreb: Tracing the Roman Roots of Zagreb

If you’re into history, this article is something you’ll find pretty interesting and cool

Although during the reign of the Romans, which lasted nearly five centuries, Zagreb was not a particularly important place, many exciting remains from this period have been found in the city’s immediate and wider area.

For example, the coinage of Emperor Hadrian was found in the area of St. Duh Street, the coins of Emperor Domitian were found in Mletačka and Matoševa Street in Upper Town, and the bronzes of Germanicus, Titus, Vespasian, Probus, and Crispus were discovered in Tkalčićeva Street, during the regulation of the Medveščak stream.

While digging the foundations for a house in Ban Josip Jelačić Square, at a depth of several meters, a bronze of Emperor Diocletian was found, and a large bronze of Emperor Hadrian was discovered on Zrinjevac.

In Nova Ves, an iron axe with a long blade was found, corresponding to the type of Roman axes of the time.

Workers found a Roman oil lamp during the construction of the Parliament building in Upper Town. While building the foundations for a house in Banjavčićeva Street, workers found a patinated bronze statue of the god Jupiter, who holds a thunderbolt in his right hand and a scepter in his left.

A little further from the very center of Zagreb, in Trnava, a small bronze bust depicting a Roman was found; at the intersection of today’s Vukovarska and Savska Streets, several Roman vases and a preserved amphora were unearthed.

During the construction of a machine house for the city water supply in 1896, workers at a depth of five and a half meters found a wooden barrel that belonged to a Roman well. The Romans placed a barrel at the bottom of a well to prevent it from being filled and keep the water clean.

One such well was also found in Matoševa Street, at today’s Croatian History Museum site.

Workers found a wooden barrel three meters below the foundation, in which there were several Roman vases.

A similar well was found in Petrinjska Street, where a white marble sculpture depicting Roman’s head was located. It is assumed that this sculpture was made in Roman Siscia, the artistic center of the entire area.

Several Roman graves have also been found in the Zagreb area. In 1869, during the construction of the Žakanj railway, workers in the field under the former slaughterhouse dug up several Roman graves with numerous objects left by the Romans for their deceased.

Also, one of the most exciting finds from the antiquity of the Zagreb area dates back to 1958 and 1959 when workers, while digging foundations for the construction of an industrial school in Držićeva Street, found remains of an ancient cemetery from the time of the Roman Empire.

During the research, several graves and foundations of two more monumental funeral structures – mausoleums were excavated.

In the garden on Mirogoj Road, in the spring of 1947, at a depth of half a meter, an oil lamp was found – an object carrying early Christian characteristics.

Also, it is essential to mention one of the most important Roman finds in this area, and that is the marble statue of Icarus dating from the first half of the 3rd century. The statue was excavated in 1892 in Vugrovec, where the Roman road passed.

Hi! My name is Ivan, and I'm an author of I have been photographing and exploring Zagreb for more than 15 years, and if you want to know more about me and, read the Introduction articles by clicking here.

Read more

Stock Exchange Palace: A Landmark in Croatian Architecture

The corner semi-enclosed four-story building was constructed from 1923 to 1927 based on the competition project by Viktor Kovačić from 1921. The construction was...

Guardians of Zagreb: The Evolution of Gradec’s Medieval Fortifications

In the construction of Gradec, after King Bela IV granted the municipality the Golden Bull, typical features of medieval city architecture emerged, along with...

Rebuilding History: The Dawn of Zagreb’s New Era with the 16th Century City Hall

In the 16th century, Zagreb and Croatia were significantly impacted by the Hundred Years' Croatian-Ottoman War. The century concluded with a major earthquake on...

The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb: A Beacon of Art and Culture

Nestled in the heart of Zagreb stands the Croatian National Theatre (HNK), a majestic beacon of culture and history. This architectural marvel, officially opened...