Stone gate in Zagreb leads from the district of Kaptol to Gradec. Medieval Gradec was a part of the city for craftsmen and workers, while Kaptol was for the clergy. Built into the medieval wall of the city, Kamenita Vrata (Stone Gate) was one of the 4 ways to get into Gradec. In the Middle Ages, the gate was wooden, making it a massive fire risk. The gate subsequently burnt down in 1731 and all that was left standing was the painting of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus that hung above the gate.
This was seen as a miracle by the people of Gradec. The people came together and rebuilt the gate but in stone, so it could never burn down again. When the gate was rebuilt in 18th century, it became a site of pilgrimage due to the miracle picture of Zagreb's patron saint. As such, just within the gate, a chapel was built.
Nowadays, when you walk through stone gate, be respectful as it is still a chapel where people are praying, pews and all. The painting takes centre stage in the chapel, with small crowns placed above the heads of both mother and son. The painting is also surrounded by ornate decorative metal work. The walls are covered in engraved marble tablets, thanking and praising the Virgin Mary for miracles that have happened in the lives of people across Croatia.
Those with a keen eye will notice a mace above the roof of Kamenita Vrata and a few other buildings in Gradec. These were used to deter witches from entering homes in the area...
There will be more about this beautiful city on the website in the future.