Saint Mark’s Church

The Saint Mark’s Church is a parish Roman Catholic church which is located in the old part of the capital city of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb. Being one of the oldest buildings in Zagreb, it is located on the Saint Mark’s Square, however, it is easily recognizable by the colorful roof it has.

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Even though there are no official proofs of the time of construction, it is estimated that Saint Mark’s Church was built as early as 13th century, however, it was radically reconstructed in the second half of the 14th century. The real evidence of the construction is the Romanesque window which is found on the south façade of the small church, together with the semicircular ground plan of Saint Mary’s Chapel, which later was altered.

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The striking feature is the colorful tiled roof that was constructed in 1880, which has actually the medieval Coat of Arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left side, while on the right side is the Emblem of Zagreb. The Old Town of Zagreb was destroyed many times with the numberless city fires and earthquakes, so the church was turned in a late Gothic church of the three-nave type with its radical reconstruction of the 14th century.

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The massive round columns support the heavy ribbed vaults that are cut in stone and an air of peace and sublimity characterizes the church interior in its simplicity. The South Portal which dates from the period of Gothic renovation, is the richest looking Gothic portal in Croatia that consists of 15 sculptures, out of which 11 are stone Gothic sculptures and 4 are wooden baroque sculptures in 11 niches.

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All these were a masterpiece of the Parler Family from Prague, the Czech Republic. On the exterior, on the northwest wall of the church lies the oldest Coat of Arms of Zagreb with the year 1499 engraved in it, however, due to the importance the symbol, the original nowadays is kept in the Zagreb City Museum.

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Still, the interior of the church was redone several times during the 17th and 18th century, and at that time the church got its stone pulpit, place for choir, tiling, several altars and other furniture. Together with the old Coat of Arms of Zagreb, part of 18th century altars are too exhibited in the Zagreb City Museum.

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Even though there were mentions of demolition of this impressive church, so that bigger cathedral would be built, this, luckily, did not occur and there was a restoration in 1876. It was started by Friedrich Schmidt and continued by Herman Bollé, whereas the Neo-Gothic appearance is mainly a product of Schmidt’s idea, while the interior was probably done completely by Bollé.

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Being one of the most impressive structures in the city of Zagreb, there are many people who are simply thrown to the ground from its pristine beauty, which is something unique and it definitely should be preserved for the future generations to marvel at it.

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