Boasting a rich cultural heritage dating back to medieval ages, Zagreb has remained a delightfully alluring historic gem and modern economic hub. The city’s ancient cobble stone streets, magnificent ruins, beautifully landscaped promenades and stately architecture can attest to a past distinguished by the accomplishments of the Roman empire, centuries of the Venetian rule and influences of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ban Josip Jelacic Square, complete with the equestrian statue of Ban Jelacic (created by sculptor, Antun Fernkorn, 1866), is generally a starting point for taking in sites and touring through Zagreb’s three historical parts: the Upper Town (Gornji Grad), the Lower Town (Donji Grad) and Kaptol.
Gornji Grad is a more current name for the medieval town that was chartered in 1242 (by the so-called Golden Bull).The town obtained its status as “the free royal town on Gradec Hill of Zagreb”. Gornji Grad rests on a slope set between walls constructed around the mid-13th century. At one time the town had four gates.
Of the previous four gates, the only preserved one is The Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata), representing the entrance to the Upper Town. First mentioned in the Middle Ages, its present character dates back to 1760, the year when the Baroque chapel of the Mother of God had been constructed around an old painting by a local master that had survived the fire of 1731.
Within the center of the Upper Town is St. Mark Square, the main square of the former Gradec. The charming town parish church of St. Mark was constructed around the mid-13th century. Another of the Upper Town squares is, Catherine’s Square which is overlooked by the prominent Baroque church of St. Catherine, the most beautiful in Zagreb. It had been constructed by the Jesuits between 1620. and 1632.
The Gothic Cathedral, built between the 13th and the end of the 15th centuries, was completely renovated following the earthquake of 1880. During this time the neo-Gothic fasade, adorned with two high bell towers (105 m), which have become the symbol of Zagreb, was built. The central city cemetery, Mirogoj, which was opened in 1876, can be found outside the heart of the city. Within the mortuary, impressive and picturesque arcades (created by architect H. Bolla, 1883-1914) in particular, as well as tombs, within which notable personalities were buried, in addition to monuments and lush greenery make Mirogoj a truly distinguished monument depicting the culture and history of both Zagreb and Croatia.