Zagreb Cathedral is the largest and one of the most coveted sacral buildings in all of Croatia. Its history dates back to the 11th century when King Ladislav established the Zagreb diocese. It is unclear if this means that the construction of the Cathedral started at the same time, or if another existing Church was used as a Cathedral.
The first saved image of Zagreb Cathedral dates back to the 13th and 14th century
and it is found on the Kaptol’s – one of the two boroughs that later founded Zagreb – stamp and official seal. Two tower forefront dominates the image along with the basilical body of the Cathedral. The Tatar invasions marked the end of the building as it was devastated in the mid 13th century during one of their rampages through the area.
Zagreb Cathedral wasn’t renovated for a while after the damage the Tatars caused. Next renovations were on making the Cathedral follow the hall typology that it still follows today. The windows were heightened along with columns and buttresses on the outside of the Cathedral. The 15th century also marked the beginning of the Ottoman threat in the larger Zagreb area. Due to this, the Bishop of Zagreb ordered that the Cathedral should be fortified. Some of this fortification is still standing today.
Zagreb Cathedral was again severely damaged in 1800
when an earthquake struck Zagreb. During the earthquake, the main nave collapsed along with the main tower of the Cathedral. The notable Croatian architect Herman Bolle lead the restoration efforts and during this time the Cathedral was made to look as it looks today. The restoration process was undertaken in a neo-gothic style, which highlights this marvel of sacral architecture. Bolle raised two spires on the western side of the Cathedrals. These two spires are under restoration as of right now, as a part of the effort to renovate the entire Cathedral.
When you are facing the entrance of Zagreb Cathedral
it is 46 meters wide and the spires reach the height of 102 meters. Along with the spires, the most notable feature of the Cathedral is the relief of the Blessed Archbishop Stepinac places alongside a figure of Jesus Christ, which was made by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
Zagreb Cathedral is also a resting place of Croatian notables
such as Petar Zrinski, Fran Krsto Frankopan – who are considered Croatian heroes for their role in the Croatian uprising against the Habsburg monarchy, and their subsequent torture and execution in the Wiener Neustadt – Eugen Kvaternik, Alojzije Stepinac and others.