Zagreb’s St. Mark’s Church: A Blend of History, Art, and Unique

This is a story about one of the most photogenic landmarks in Zagreb.

St. Mark’s Church is located on the square with the same name, surrounded by two “political buildings. “On the west side, there is the Croatian Government, and on the east side, the Croatian Parliament building.

This church is one of the oldest churches in Zagreb, dating back to the 13th century. The most famous thing about St. Mark’s Church is its uniquely colorful tiled roof, which was constructed in 1880 by Friedrich Schmidt and Hermann Bolle. The roof shows tiles laid to represent the coat of arms of Zagreb and the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia.

Aside from the roof, it is worth mentioning one of the most valuable parts of St. Mark’s Church which is its south portal. Why? Because it is considered to be the wealthiest and most valuable Gothic portal in southern Central Europe.

The portal is the work of sculptors of the Parler family from Prague. The Gothic composition of the portal consists of fifteen effigies placed in eleven shallow niches. On top are the statues of Joseph and Mary with the infant Jesus, and below them, one can see St. Mark and the Lion; the Twelve Apostles are placed on both sides of the portal (four wooden statues replaced the original ones, which had been destroyed).

Inside the church, you can see sculptures made by Ivan Meštrović and art by Jozo Kljaković and Ljubo Babić. Eventually, the frescos were renovated, the ceiling was gilded with 22-carat gold leaflets, and a new organ was recently installed.

Unfortunately, due to renovation because of the damage caused by the earthquake that hit Zagreb in March 2020, the church is currently closed to visitors.

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

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