Jurjevsko cemetery is a part of old Zagreb’s legends & scary stories. Today, it’s a forgotten place and many city folk don’t even know about it. And most of those who do know about it will tell you that it’s haunted and to stay away. But there are always history enthusiast like me, who find places like this exciting and worth visiting.
In the old days it was called Rokovo groblje (Roko’s cemetery), after the chapel of Saint Roch that was built there in the 14th century. The cemetery is first mentioned in the early 16th century and was in use until the late 19th century when Zagreb built another, beautiful cemetery, Mirogoj. When the burials stopped, the remains of some prominent citizens were relocated to Mirogoj. Most beautiful old tombstones were transferred to Ilirski square.
Today, the chapel of Roch guards the old graves and those few tombstones left, hiding and resting for centuries. I personally find this senescent graveyard romantic, with a hint of nostalgia and mystery. On some tombstones you can read about loving wives grieving for their husbands or young daughters saying the nicest words about their fathers. Other have some symbols like skulls and crossbones which make you wonder what they’re about: some dark secret or a symbol of a secret society?
Romantic or haunted, it’s for you to decide. You can visit any time of day or night and I recommend walking there from the center through Rokov perivoj. It’s old Zagreb at it’s best!