Zagreb, Croatia

Mirogoj – Europe’s Most Beautiful Cemetery

Forrest Mallard

Once heralded as one of the star attractions of Zagreb, the Mirogoj cemetery north of the city center, has all but vanished from the local tourism brochures.

Location

Aleja Hermanna Boolean 27

Directions

Take bus 106 from the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tags

Inscription on entrance: To the King of Ages Whom Everything Lives

Maybe it is too far away from the core area of tourist attractions? Maybe it isn’t commercial enough? This is all to your benefit if you would like to go though, as it will assure you a more peaceful visit without mobs of tourists.

I opted to walk there (twice, actually). Thirty minutes through shaded, leafy streets to arrive at what is said to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe. I had pre-packed a bottle of sangria and a sandwich, and on both visits, I spent hours wondering the cemetery and admiring the architecture of the buildings as well as the multitude of sculptures on some of the locally famous tombstones.

If you enjoy fantastic art with a bit of peace and quiet, and you don’t mind the company of countless silent, maudlin, and forlorn angels and cherubs, then this cemetery is for you. (What a strange sentence to write.) But it is true. After a couple of hours of strolling the grounds, I sat on the steps of one of the buildings and had some sangria with my sandwich, and continued to admire my surroundings. I had all of this amazing art round me, created and installed with the sole purpose to give comfort to the dead.

Mirogoj Cemetary was designed in 1876 by Austrian-born architect Herman Bollé, who created the most iconic buildings all around Zagreb, including both the St Mark’s Church and the Zagreb Cathedral.

Unlike the older cemeteries, which were church-owned, Mirogoj was owned by the city, and accepted burials from all religious backgrounds. You will see different areas for Christians, Jewish, and Muslims made evident by the headstones.

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