Zagreb Cathedral: A Historic Masterpiece of Faith and Architecture

Zagreb Cathedral was built on one of the two towns which are very important in Zagreb’s history. In the days, Gradec (today Upper town) and Kaptol were big enemies who had fought for centuries, and in 1850 they, and a couple of more small villages/towns, united in Zagreb.

But, let’s return to the Zagreb Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus. The Cathedral has been in the same spot since the 11th century. Before the earthquake that hit Zagreb in March 2020, which damaged the Cathedral, the towers were 108,2 (north tower) and 108,16 (south) meters high. Within the towers are eight huge bells; the heaviest weighs 6,5 tons (made in 1843).

What you will see today does not represent the original construction. The first Cathedral was damaged during an enemy attack and a fire in the 13th century. Finally, it was severely damaged by the 1880 earthquake and was restored in the Neo-Gothic style by Hermann Bollé, the Cathedral you see today.

Source: Digital Collection of National and University Library in Zagreb

Though the Cathedral is closed due to renovations after the earthquake in 2020, the interior is simply beautiful.

There are baroque marble altars, statues, and the tomb of Cardinal Alojzje Stepinac. The Zagreb Cathedral Organ belongs to the line of concert organs with romantic sound characteristics. It is classified among the world’s top ten finest and top-quality organs! It has over 6.000 flue pipes, seventy-eight registers, and four manuals.

The cathedral treasury keeps priceless treasures from the 11th to 19th centuries.

Fun fact: One of the chandeliers in the Cathedral was once hung at a casino in Las Vegas.

After the mentioned earthquake in March 2020, the top of the south tower fell immediately, and the top of the north tower was in a danger of falling also, so it needed to be moved. A couple of weeks later, in a highly precise operation, the top of the tower was removed using explosives and huge cranes.

Today, the Cathedral is undergoing renovations for… who knows how long!

You can take lovely photos of the Cathedral from the Upper town: the first place is the Plateau Gradec, and the second one is the east side of the Strossmayer Promenade.

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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