Stroll in a cemetery that is worth a thousand pictures

Zagreb’s most surprising architectural gem…

Lovingly encased within seven acres of lush landscaped gardens, Miragoj Cemetery figures as one the top 20 must-visit places in the Croatia’s capital, Zagreb. The final resting place of 300,000 souls from diverse religions, created by architect Hermann Bollé, is one of Europe’s most beautiful cemeteries. 

A mere 10-minute bus journey from Kaptol in Zagreb’s Upper Town will take you conveniently to this remarkable landmark. The ogling will commence even as you roll along that endless, monumental brick wall draped with green-red ivy leaves. And as you cross the street towards the entrance, you will have to peel your eyes away from the 20 gorgeous onion-shaped lime-green onion cupolas crowning the wall. Be careful not to stub your toe on the sidewalk or knock over a dustbin. Indulge your eyes with the sight of the central dome of the Church of Christ the King that dominates the entryway. More drama waits to unfold inside.

miragoj.jpg

miragoj 1.jpg

Beyond the gate, for nearly a half a mile to the left and right, lies a stunning Neo-Renaissance arcade. Pause at the elegant archway visible through the thick clumps of ivy carpeting the wall and let your eyes travel all the way to the end of the arcade. Your feet will guide you further. Impossible to resist a closer look at those decorative tiled floors, fine cast-iron lanterns, carved columns and graceful statues….all classic reminders of a museum! Pinch yourself as a reminder…this is a cemetery!

As you step outside to admire the entire structure yet again, consider the miracle…all this survived the massive earthquake of 1880, when more than 1700 houses in the neighbourhood were heavily damaged!

miragoj 2.jpg

miragoj 3.jpg

miragoj 9.jpg

miragoj 7.jpg

But the real treasure of Miragoj lies in its sprawling gardens. What a stroke of genius that the city council not only acquired this stunning property from Ljudevit Gaj (Croatian reformer and poet), for use as a cemetery in 1872, but also retained and expanded the green expanses. 

Stroll along the numerous walking paths of this magnificent park to experience it in all its glory. Trace the shadows as the sun plays hide-and-seek under the tall chestnut, lime, maple and spruce trees. Find the birds that chirrup from among the dense bunches of leaves and feel the gentle breeze that ruffles your hair.

Chapels and mausoleums lie scattered around. Scan the lanes and lanes of graves, big and small, some enclosed within decorative grills, some with steps leading up, some mentioning multiple names of family members. Some graced with candles and flowers left by loving family and friends. Others as if they had been unvisited since years. You may identify tombstones of Franjo Tuđman, the first president of the Republic of Croatia, basketball player Drazen Petrovic. Many prominent citizens including poets, scientists, writers and politicians, are also buried here. 

miragoj 11.jpg

miragoj 10.jpg

miragoj 6.jpg

miragoj 8.jpg

Depending on how you look at it, the walk is calming or disturbing. You certainly cannot ignore the fact that its a burial ground. Thousands and thousands of graves, spread over acres of lovely gardens. You wonder if visitors ever get lost in here…there don’t seem to be many directions or signboards. 

When you finally exit the Cemetery gate, maybe you will encounter a hearse arriving quietly, accompanied by a procession of solemn faces. The guard at the gate will ring a rope-bell to announce their arrival. You wait for them to pass through and the overriding thought in your mind is this. Miragoj is peaceful, artistic and graceful…like the rest of the city. And why not? The deceased deserve it!

 

Pin this post for later!

Miragoj Cemetery, as one the top 20 must-visit places in the Croatia’s capital, Zagreb

 

Advertisements

78 thoughts on “Stroll in a cemetery that is worth a thousand pictures

  1. What a beautiful place to rest the departed soul! One might feel strange walking in there but I guess the sprawling lawn and beautiful architecture may pull them in ….. I loved the pic of the arched pathway surrounded by Ivy like a frame

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful cemetery! Back in Paris, we used to stroll through the Père-Lachaise and the Montparnasse cemeteries. Last year in Savannah, Georgia, we also visited and liked the Bonaventure Cemetery. So we’ll definitely visit the Miragoj when we go to Zagreb. Like you said: the deceased also deserve it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, Punita! Nice to see your post about Mirogoj, since it is my fav place in Zagreb. I am completely aware that liking cemeteries in general could sound weird to some people, but I like cemeteries because of their serenity and the stories they tell.
    xoxo, Milijana

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m yet to visit Zagreb but this cemetery looks very impressive. It reminds me a bit of the one in Milan which also has a huge garden. How long would you recommend for the visit?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We haven’t been to the one in Milan. Miragoj is just 10-15 minutes from Old Town Zagreb, so depending on how long you linger in the park, 2-3 hours should be more than enough for the trip.

      Like

  5. I like how the entire church’s wall is covered with greenery! Totally love the architecture! I do like to stroll in the cemeteries of the old churches, its such a different experience esp to see those centuries old tombstones.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not particularly in to exploring cemeteries. Probably because I spent way to much time in one as a kid – my grandparents watched me a lot and my grandma was obsessed with visiting her family members and watering the flowers multiple times a week. But I do love that one photo that looks like a tunnel overgrown with vines.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, I have never seen a cemetery like this. Amazing! Exploring local cemeteries is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. You learn so much about the local history and culture. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I do sometimes visit cemeteries when traveling, I found it interesting to see how different cemeteries look around the world and how each of them can tell a story… like this one. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been to the cemetery and I completely agree with you that it’s one of the greatest architectural gems of Zagreb. I almost didn’t go because it’s outside of town, but it’s really easy to get to, and it’s really worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve actually developed a keen interest in cemetary tourism recently – I find that they’re the most peaceful places in town – I also find that most are beautiful, artful, and come with beautiful gardens like Miragoj Cemetery – it’s often very interesting to see the architecture and artwork on tombstones dating back hundreds of years.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow this is such a beautiful cemetery, I wish we had more time when we were in Zagreb to see this amazing structure and its gardens, and not just passing through!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great writing. Interesting perspective on a walk through the cemetary. How many days did you get to spend in Zagreb? I was there so many years ago but did not have a chance to see this place. I was very young, of course shopping was much more interesting to me at the time!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It looks like a beautiful place to visit. The architecture is amazing and they are so lucky to have it. I had never heard about this place when I visited Zagreb, would of loved to have seen 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Absolutely incredible the building survived that massive earthquake. Divine intervention? I actually find cemeteries really peaceful. I used to think they were a bit scary but after losing some loved ones I began to see it as a place of respect, peace and honour. Some might think we are weird, but John and I occasionally like to walk through cemeteries even if we have no relatives or friends buried there – to observe, to see those who have lived before us, try to figure out their stories, and pay respects to those whose gravestones are damaged or run down – the graves perhaps forgotten by others.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s