Zagreb is not famous as an ancient Roman town, as it was officially founded in the Middle Ages, in 1094. However, just south of today’s Zagreb, there was quite a large Roman town called Andautonia, which was an important spot near Sava river, on the way to the big Roman city of Siscia (today’s Sisak). Today’s Zagreb center is not far, and naturally, life thrived here, too.
Three important findings attest to that: the head of a statue of a bearded Roman man, found in Petrinjska street, a bronze coin with the motif of emperor Diocletian (who was born in Salona, near Croatia’s second largest city of Split!) found at Ban Jelačić Square, and a tombstone with an epitaph found on Kaptol hill, close to the Cathedral. Copies of all of these are on display at the very places they were found, within a few hundred meters from each other.
My favorite one is the tombstone with the Latin inscription, which (roughly) translates to: “to Aconia, daughter of Caius, such a wife that are rare”. I love this simple inscription because it shows how much a man loved and missed his wife. It shows the romantic in me that love has always been a part of Zagreb, and it will continue to be so. And it is a great reminder that Zagreb is much older than what the books tell us.