Kamenita vrata (Stone Gates) were one of six entrances to a fortified city called Gradec, now the oldest part of Zagreb also known as Upper town. Built in 1262, they are the only gates left from that period.
The gates are so famous in Zagreb that we have a saying about Kamenita vrata we use very often. If you get a sudden stroke of luck or get an easy way out of a difficult situation, we say: go and light a candle at the Stone gates! No matter if you are religious or not, it’s a good reminder to be more thankful and humble in daily life.
These old gates are also home to Zagreb’s patron saint, Saint Mary of the Stone Gates. It all started in 1731, when a big fire broke out and the Stone gates were caught in the flames. After the fire, only the picture of Saint Mary was found undamaged. Soon, the gates were renewed and became a chapel where you can see the saved picture and many words of thank you to the patron saint on the walls inside.
If you look carefully, here you will also find a small statue of Dora Krupićeva, one of my favorite characters from Croatian literature by writer August Šenoa. He wrote some of most famous history novels about Zagreb that are still popular today. Kamenita vrata are embedded in Zagreb’s history and soul, surviving fires, earthquakes, plague, floods and much more. If only the stone walls could talk…