Zagreb in History: Walled Cathedral, 1905

Total Croatia News

Have you ever wondered what the two towers next to the Cathedral are for?

They’re there to protect the Cathedral, or at least that’s what their original purpose was – they used to be part of the defensive walls around the Cathedral.

The Catheral’s turbulent history goes all the way back to 1093 when king Ladislaus moved the bishop’s chair here and proclaimed the existing church as a cathedral. The building was later destroyed by the Tatars in 1242, but rebuilt again a few years later. The cathedral remained unchanged for a few centuries, but then in the 15th century when the Ottoman Empire invaded neighbouring countries and parts of Croatia as well, fortification walls were built around the cathedral for protection, and some of them are still intact.

Then in 1880 a disastrous earthquake hit Zagreb and the cathedral was severely damaged. The main nave collapsed and the tower was damaged beyond repair. The restoration of the cathedral in the Neo-Gothic style was led by Hermann Bollé, a famous architect at the time, bringing the cathedral to its present form. As part of that restoration, instead of one which existed previously, two spires were raised on the western side and the defensive walls were torn down in 1906, a year after this photo was taken.

13-Bakaceva-kula-1905-kaptolBakač Tower in 1905

The defensive structure was called Bakačeva kula (Bakač Tower) because bishop Toma Bakač initiated its construction.

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