Last week I wrote about the LotrÅ¡Äak Tower in Zagreb. Today, Iâ€™m writing about another local landmark situated just a few paces from the tower, the Stone Gate.
Locally known as Kamenita Vrata, this is the only surviving medieval town gate in Zagreb. It was once part of the old city walls, connecting the Upper and Lower parts of the city. But it isn’t this historical fact alone that makes the Stone Gate a local landmark; Stone Gate is also one of the city’s most visited shrines.
Stone Gateâ€™s spiritual avatar is closely linked to its history. The original structure was built around the 13th century. However, given that the area was constantly plagued by fires, the Stone Gate underwent reconstruction from time to time. The last of these devastating fires broke out in 1731, destroying houses and other structures.
The area was reduced to ashes. And it was amidst these ashes, on the floor of the Stone Gate, that citizens recovered an undamaged painting of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. While the frame was burnt, the painting itself was undamaged by the fire. Citizens took this as a sign. A miracle. And to commemorate this miracle they built a shrine within the Stone Gate. That picture stands on a raised altar in the Stone Gate, behind an intricate iron grille even today.
A few benches are placed in the archway. On the wall a number of marble plates are nailed, one next to the other, each thanking the Virgin Mary for answering their prayers. Close to the altar, believers light candles, expelling darkness from the stone passageway.
Best of Zagreb Tips
You’ll find lot of ideas for things to do in Zagreb in our Best of Zagreb collation post.
More Tips for Things to Do in Croatia
We’ve lots more tips on what to do in Croatia on Europe a la Carte.