Free city tours for Zagreb’s citizens and guests

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On May 31st, the day of the City of Zagreb, which coincides with the holiday of Our Lady of the Stone Gate, the patron saint of Zagreb, the Zagreb Tourist Board is organizing free sightseeing tours for citizens and their guests, starting at 10 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. An attractive changing of the guard of honour of the Cravat Regiment is scheduled to begin exactly at noon, while Kaptol and Gradec will be full of costumed characters representing famous people from Zagreb’s past. Visitors will be entertained by street musicians between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Zagreb’s history spans a thousand years. The written evidence of its founding is tied to the establishment of the Kaptol Diocese in 1094, while an important event in the city’s history occurred in 1242, when King Bela IV proclaimed Gradec a free royal town. It was united with Kaptol in 1850, which was the foundation for the development of a new central European city. Nowadays, the story of the historic centre of the Upper Town (Gradec) begins at one of its symbols – the Stone Gate. It is the starting point for all Upper Town sightseeing tours, but also one of its main landmarks and a popular photo motif for numerous tourists.

The Stone Gate is a remnant of the wall which once surrounded the old town. Although the gate was first mentioned only in 1429, it was most likely built in 1266. Throughout history, the gate was frequently rebuilt, having been affected by several fires. During the last big fire at Gradec, on May 31st 1731, one of the few things that remained undamaged was the painting of Our Lady above the town gate. In the aftermath, a chapel was constructed within the Stone Gate as a sign of gratitude. The chapel now houses the aforementioned painting and it is one of Zagreb’s most popular shrines. The painting was done on a 57 by 47 cm flax canvas, and it represents Our Lady, who was crowned with a golden crown on May 31st 1931, 200 years after its miraculous survival of the fire. On May 31st 1991, on the 260th anniversary of the shrine where people light candles in gratitude to their patron saint, Zagreb’s archbishop Franjo Kuharic proclaimed Our Lady of the Stone Gate as the patron saint of Zagreb. The day of the City of Zagreb is marked on the same date.

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