Zagreb – Cathedral and St Francis Chapel

November 2018

I started my walk as always, at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Avenija Dubrovnik, my favourite indoors attraction. I make a straight line from there, over the motorways and the River Sava (past the statue, the National Library, the concert hall and bus terminal, through the 3 main squares until ever such a slight right to the Cathedral. It takes around an hour and a quarter if you don’t stop too many times to take photos!

The shute at the Museum of Contemporary Art was open today – a great way to get kids here at an early age. Made by Carsten Höller, it is a piece of cunning engineering and great fun by the looks of it too


With the sky blue and the sun shining, I could not resist walking into the city. There in the far distance are the Medvenica mountains, possibly even Sljeme, the best known peak and sometime ski station

Zagreb Cathedral is right in front of those hills – I can see it getting bigger as I get nearer but the camera cannot – and it was gleaming white on this, my second last day in the city. I am not sure why I left it until now to see the famous monument.

The concert hall where Fura dels Baus are playing in December. I saw them in my Cardiff days and would have loved to go again
The bus terminal and the back of the train station with you know who emblazoned across the lot

It was so warm that I was glad to get to the city square for some shade.

The Christmas lights were going up round the bandstand built in 1891 (trg Nikole Zrinskog)
… and the trees ready and waiting
The last of the leaves curling at the edges made a satisfying shush as I waded through
It was Sunday afternoon and everyone seemd to be out and enjoying themselves, having picnics and playing hide and seek
Fontana kralja Tomislava and the elegant buildings around the square
This four-sided highly attractive meterological weather station shows the temperature and barometric pressure and much more besides. It is in the trg Nikole Zrinskog (north side)
Before the kids arrived, there was a couple standing there and the man was telling the woman the story of the famous canon, how Zagreb asked for help to protect themselves from Austria and got only the one canon. Strategically they put it at the top of the tallest tower and let it off. It was loud enough to send the invading army away and that is how, he concluded, the city survived. It is fired every day at noon like our own one in Edinburgh Castle (1pm).

Zagreb was first mentioned in 1094 when it was made up of two settlements Kaptol and Gradec.

Zagreb Cathedral looking very bonny against the azure sky
I really do not mean to be disrespectful but I have seen these same tiles are in all the best churches. Like pub decorations, maybe there are warehouses where you can get suitable ones wholesale
Main door, Zagreb Cathedral, recently cleaned and sparkling
Along the sides are the tallest thinnest windwos I have seen in a Cathedral, but these beauties are above the altar, Zagreb Cathedral
The tomb of Archbishop Stepinac, ‘place of constant prayer and listening’
I recognise the Glagolitic script here in the gloomy corner

The Cathedral suffered terribly in the earthquake of 1880 and has been under repair, more or less, ever since.

The clock stopped just after 7pm.
The ultimate golden lady. The Holy Mary outside the Cathedral in Zagreb
Next I crossed the road and entered a passageway finding the St Antun bookstore, photographed through the door as it was closed

The Zagreb coat of arms in brass on the street and in flowers
Here is Gulliver, beautifully depicted on the wall of Opatovina Park, incongruously lying next to a pile of books, the top one of which is Bridget Jones Diary (not in the photo)

And opposite the entrance to the park is perhaps my favourite of the churches, the quiet chapel of St Francis.


There he is at the top with the creatures of the earth, chapel of St Francis, Kaptol, Zagreb
Inside with a beatific smile, chapel of St Francis, Zagreb
Under a starry ceiling, chapel of St Francis, Zagreb
and here tending to the fish of the oceans too (bit blurred), Franciscan

It has amazing stained glass, some at least by the Croatian artist Ivo Dulčić whose work was so groundbreaking that it sometimes incurred the wrath of the church authorities of the time. The windows, which he made in 1960, depict scenes from St Francis’ song “Canticle of the Sun”.

The garden of the Franciscan monastery in the hidden courtyard, Zagreb

I somehow could not find St Mark’s with its famous roof but here is the spire

Then I found all the other) tourists. They were sitting in the cafes with English and German names on the little streets behind the market and jostling to take photos with their phones on sticks.

There was a statue of a Marija Juric Zagorka with a sun dial behind her and a children’s bench which is a nice idea
Tourist alley
I missed the market at Dolac (Zagreb) for the second week running. Here are the empty fish slabs
Outside a man was looking bored sitting in a mini vehicle hoovering up the rubbish, ‘Kumica Barika’ statue, Dolac, Zagreb
And another view of the Cathedral, Zagreb
This gorgeous fresco is on the Catholic church, St Mary at Dolac (stube kralja Ladislava)

Not a little footsore, I set out for Booksa to sit and drink tea and write some.

It was a picturesque end to the day.

There are better photos than mine of the interior of the St Francis chapel here.

There is so much else to see:

The Shrine of the Mother of God of Kamenita vrata (the “Stone Gate”), the patron saint of the city of Zagreb, is a place where people go to pray before a picture of the Virgin Mary which survived a great fire in 1761. The most important day here is the day when Zagreb remembers its patron saint and holds its annual town celebrations, 31 May.

Also, don’t miss the chance to see the south portal of St Mark’s Church in Gornji grad (Zagreb’s “Upper Town”), which dates back to the 15th century and depicts the saints in stone and wood. In the church’s interior you can also see typically powerful works by the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.

The two above paragrpahs are from this website on Religious Toursim.

Zagreb 2 – Museum of Contemporary Art

Halloween 31 October 2018: Museum of Contemporary Art, the permanent collection.

Spirit, Body installation, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb.

Not to be confused with the Moderna Galerija which is a Baroque building, Vranyczany Palace housing art works from the 19th century and after, the Museum of Contemporary Art is (during the day time anyway) a modern block of uninspiring concrete in Novi Zagreb, at the crossroads of Većeslava Holjevca and Dubrovnik Avenues. Do not be put off! It has a modernist interior with sharp, clear lines and is beautifully designed to show off its collection of post 1950s performance and Retroavantgarde art.

Reflection of the stairs in the perspex, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb.
Somewhere to sit in the sun and contemplate, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb.


I got carried away by the red line theme.

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The red neon is in the foyer of the Museum; the red tube which starts on one floor and hooks over the edge of the next level up is Red Line by Ivan Kozaric, 2011; the block with a thin horizontal line (part of a bigger work) is Circles between Surfaces by Dalibor Martinis; and the drawing is part of the presentation for the 32nd Venice Biennale in 1964.

I am currently writing about death so was not surprised to find a number on that theme.

Jan Fabre’s I Spit on My Own Tomb (though the spitting was not working).


There was an interesting ‘sculpture’ in the Gradski Park – photographer Romeo Ibrisivika has been ‘pulling the wrecks out of the environment’ (dragging rivers, that sort of thing), and then there was a sculpture in the Museum which reminded me of it.

There were two which took a Scottish theme: a video Midges by Dorothy Cross (2000) and these two photos (from a series of three).

Aran Miljenko Horvat (1965).

I seemed to be picking up on a theme of doorways – what is behind? what will come through?

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.. the lip of light beneath a sill.

Women Who Run With The Wolves, Bluebeard commentary Claudia Pinkola

There was a twisted two-slide shute which must be really fun and doubles up as an art work (which was not working). Then everywhere I looked were coils of metal and chrome.

A poster I saw in Padua reminded me of Lea (before she changed her hair colour!) whose hospitality here in Croatia has been amazing, and the art work in the gallery – Untitled by Antun Motika (1943-44).

A very moving series about women in a safe house, most of whom had been abused and fled the men who caused it. Women’s House Sanja Ivekovic (1998-2002).
A hanging light installation. Changes by Mirjana Vodopija (1994)
New York, New York by Dalibor Martinis (1984) shows two screens of waves, the wake behind a boat and reminded me of standing on the ferry from Ireland to Wales.
Zlatko Kopljar’s Compassion (2005), from a series of him kneeling in front of national monuments.
Orange Extension by Jesus Raphael Soto (1968-70).


Annette Messager’s Woman and Drawing a series of three (1972).

Shots through windows.




Even the toilet door signs were related to an artwork!

Tiles like this one are in all the lavatories.


Back outside.

The Wu Chi again – the un-manifest aspect of the Tao. See Picardy 4


Free admission for all visitors on the first Wednesnday of the month!