A look at Zagreb’s Main Cathedral

Zagreb’s main cathedral, The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, is one of the city’s most impressive architectural and cultural landmarks.This neo-gothic structure rises high above the city. During my first few weeks in the city I used the spires as a route marker. After a day of exploring, it was the church spires, visible from so many different locations, that guided me home.


The cathedral complex, situated close to the main square, is an eye-catching attraction. At the heart of the courtyard, a white marble column shoots towards the sky carrying a golden statue of the Virgin Mary. A little closer to the ground four golden angles glint in the morning light.

Around the column a soothing fountain entertains kids and tourists, and on the benches that are spread out along the edges of the courtyard, the city’s young and old gather.


The cathedral’s history is as rich as the art (paintings, sculptures and frescos) it holds inside. The present day structure stands on the site of a much older cathedral that was razed to the ground in 1242. A phase of reconstruction followed and the 15th century saw the addition of a fortified wall system, a safeguard against the invading Ottomans, around the cathedral.

The cathedral’s history is marked by constant repairs due to a series of fires and finally a devastating earthquake in 1880. An elaborate restoration and extension process followed the quake. The cathedral’s main nave and tower were reconstructed, and two spires were added to the original structures. Today these very spires dominate Zagreb’s skyline.

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