In the Footsteps of Saint George: Uncovering the Legends and Monuments in Zagreb

As I walked through the streets of Zagreb, I found myself reflecting on Saint George, one of the most celebrated Christian martyrs of both the Eastern and Western Churches. His veneration stretches across Europe, with many even honoring him as a patron saint. In the 4th century, churches dedicated to him were built in Syria, while Cyprus boasted 60 sanctuaries and Egypt 40 churches and three monasteries in his honor. Intriguingly, even the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great erected a church for him in Constantinople, and Georgia is named after him.

Choosing the name George in ancient times was symbolic, believed to offer protection from attacks and instill bravery, a reason for its popularity in Croatia.

In Croatia, Saint George is invoked for protection against various dangers, and customs associated with his feast day have evolved into more noble forms over time.

In Zagreb, two monuments stand in tribute to Saint George. One is near the Stone Gate, and the other is next to the Croatian National Theatre in Republic of Croatia Square. Additionally, a chapel dedicated to him graces Maksimir.

St. George near the Stone Gate

One of the most famous legends of Saint George, which has always captivated me, is his victory over a dragon. The legend tells of a dragon that terrorized a town, emerging periodically from a lake. In fear, the townspeople sacrificed sheep and later children to appease the beast. When it was the turn of the king’s daughter, Saint George heroically arrived on horseback and saved the princess from the dragon’s clutches. The monument in the Republic of Croatia Square immortalizes this tale.

St. George on the Republic of Croatia Square

Walking through Zagreb, I felt a deep connection to these stories and monuments, reminders of the rich tapestry of history and legend that envelops this city.

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.

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