🎊🎉 Today we are celebrating a birthday of our beloved city of Zagreb, as the feast of the patron saint of Zagreb is celebrated each year on the 31st of May. It means that today is the feast of Our Lady of Stone which is related to the City of Zagreb Day! Do you know why we celebrate it today? Well, it is related to one legend - a legend of the Stone Gate.
Well, in our turbulent history, the city remembered many important events and has plenty of great stories and trivia. The first recorded appearance of the name Zagreb dated back in 1094 when Hungarian King Ladislaus founded a diocese of Zagreb. Later, in 1242, Tatar attacked the city as well Hungarian king Bela IV gave to Gradec (one of two historical parts of the city of Zagreb) a Golden Bull, which offered its citizens exemption from the country rule, autonomy, as well as own judicial system. In 1355 in the city was established the first pharmacy by Niccolo Alighieri, a grandson of Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Also, a lot of other events, as well as a lot of misfortune, has befallen the city throughout history as such as earthquakes (the greatest ones in 1880 and 2020), flood (1964), plague (1647, 1682) and fires (1645, 1674, 1706, 1731). It's just the fire in 1731 is significant for the feast and the celebration of the City of Zagreb Day!
Photo: Ben Harrison/Flickr
🔥 On the night of 30th of May 1731, a great fire started in the historical part of the city known as Gradec and by 31th of May it spread up to neighboring parts called Kaptol. Many houses and other buildings (82 in total) were destroyed by fire and the city and its citizens needed a miracle to survive. One of the buildings that were destroyed was the Stone Gate, but inside the building the painting of Virgin and baby Jesus (named ''The Virgin and Child'') pulled through without a scratch. Only a wooden frame was damaged but the painting remained intact. The painting was located in the apartment on the first floor of the Stone Gate and it was owned by a widow Ms. Modlar. As she luckily survived the fire, she founded the painting a few days later in the ashes of his apartment and decided to build a small altar to the Virgin Mary at her own expense.
🙏❤️💒 It was believed that Virgin Mary saved many lives in Zagreb, not only Ms. Modlar's life and that's how she started the tradition of the oath to the Virgin Mary. Very soon the Stone Gate became the most significant oath site in the city where pious find comfort and hope, light candles as a token of gratitude or prayer. That's why you can still hear people in Zagreb saying: ''I will light a candle in the Stone Gate'', even in the times when praying publicly was forbidden as such as in communist Yugoslavia.
🎊🎉On May 30th, 1991, in the city was celebrated 260th anniversary of this event and archbishop cardinal Franjo Kuharic named the Virgin Mary of Stone Gate the protector of Zagreb. From that moment we started to celebrate that day as well as the City of Zagreb Day. How we celebrate it today?
💞🥂🎼In recent years, we are celebrating the City of Zagreb Day all around the city with a rich cultural program. Usually, there is a concert of some famous Croatian singer, as well a procession with candles with the painting of the Virgin from Kaptol to the Stone Gate. Also, there are many other ''smaller'' cultural events that you can find in the city, as well all the city is decorated with blue flags and the coat of arms of Zagreb. The pride of the city, the Zagreb trams, are specially decorated in this way. So, if you want to experience Zagreb during the Feast, you are welcome. Zagreb & Travel agency Servus are always happy to welcome you.