St. Mark’s Church in Zagreb is one of the oldest buildings in the city, which is evident from the Romanesque elements found on its facade. The interior is divided into naves with four massive round columns. The entrances are in the west and south portal. In the north-east side of the church there is a bell tower with a square ground plan. The church was built in the 14th century in the form of a three-nave hall and it operated as the parish church of the Gradec settlement. It boasts a lovely portal, in front of which in the past there was a pillar of shame, where people used to be tied and punished in accordance with the decisions of the city court. The church is specific for its colourful bell tower and roof, where tiles are laid so they represent the coats-of-arms of the City of Zagreb and the coat-of -arms of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, as well as the Baroque arch and the beautiful south facade, featuring the figuratively richest Gothic portal in the region. In his time, the King of Hungary and Croatia Béla IV allowed for St. Mark’s Square and the area in front of the church to be used as a fairground. Many historic events took place there; for instance, Ambroz Matija Gubec, the leader of the Croatian-Slovene Peasant Revolt, was publicly tortured there and forced to wear a red-hot iron crown. The basic structure of the Old Town in Zagreb was created in the 13th century, but due to a fire and an earthquake that part of town was rebuilt from its foundations several times, so today it is very difficult to determine its original appearance. St. Mark’s Gothic revival facade is the result of reconstructions which took place in the last quarter of the 19th century (1876 —1882). This was when its famous roof was constructed, made of glazed tiles and featuring the above mentioned coats-of-arms on its both sides. The church’s interior was renovated in the period between 1923 and 1924. The church is also famous for its sculptures by Ivan Meštrović. Some of the most beautiful frescoes are the work of Jozo Kljaković, and the paintings, oil on canvas, are the work of Ljubo Babić. Due to its ageing construction, the church was last renovated in the 1990s.
Photo © Turistička zajednica grada Zagreba. Photo by Julien Duval.