The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary on Kaptol is the tallest and most monumental Neo-Gothic style sacral building in Croatia, south-east of the Alps.

It is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and to St. Stephen, the Hungarian king, its second patron. The cathedral had a long history of construction and restoration after several acts and threats of terrorism and natural disasters. The construction started soon after the establishment of the Diocese of Zagreb (about 1094) in the transitional Romanesque-Gothic style and was finished in 1217, but Tatars destroyed it in 1242. The Bishop Timothy (1263 – 1287) started the construction of the new, Gothic style monumental cathedral on remnants of the older one and the construction lasted during the 14th and the 15th century. In the 16th century the cathedral was fortified by walls and towers due to fear of the Ottoman Turks. After the threat had passed (17th century), a single bell-tower was built in Renaissance and Baroque style. During the 18th century, the cathedral fortifications on the south and east were reconstructed into monumental bishop’s palace. The cathedral was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1880. The main nave collapsed and the bell-tower was damaged beyond repair. The restoration of the cathedral in the Neo-Gothic style was led by Hermann Bollé (1845 – 1926), according to the design of Friedrich von Schmidt (1825 – 1891), bringing the cathedral to its present form with two elegant bell-towers (105 m or 344,5 ft) that became the symbol of Zagreb. Even though one tower with the wall in front of the cathedral was pulled down in 1906 in order to open the view of the renovated front, the walls remain one of the best preserved Renaissance defence walls in Europe. In front of the cathedral, at the Kaptol square, there is a statue of the Holy Virgin Mary with four angels, work of an Austrian sculptor Anton Dominik Fernkorn (1813 – 1878). The Treasury of the cathedral contains fine works of religious art and objects that, along with rich cathedral interior, represent an important cultural and religious heritage of the Croatian people.

Kaptol 31

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