The best part of the church is its fanciful tile roof, which makes it look like it belongs in a fairy tale. On the left is the coat of arms used for the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia from 1848-1852, and on the right is the coat of arms of Zagreb:
The Gothic doorway is considered the most valuable part of the church. Dating to the late 14th century, it was created by Prague artisans and contains fifteen figures in eleven stacked niches, an unusual composition.
A walk around the perimeter reveals the changes the building has gone through over the years.
The front entrance isn't quite as fun as that side entry, but it's still pretty:
This one, holding a disc with the image of a lion on it, must be St. Mark:
The bell tower was built in 1871, a date weirdly emblazoned in turquoise-colored numerals on the roof. It's a mighty tall tower, and I expected Rapunzel to toss her long braid out of that top window at any moment:
Yup, definitely a fairy tale church:
On the other hand, the relative darkness made the stained glass windows really shine:
The baptismal font shows John baptizing Jesus:
Every now and then, some dim lights came on to illuminate the murals painted in the arches. The lights were on for about 30 seconds, and then they were off again for several minutes. Even with the light, it was difficult to see the paintings well or take adequate pictures. Here is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead:
Overall, it was a gloomy little church that didn't live up to its glorious exterior. We were there on a pretty dreary day, which probably didn't help matters. It would benefit from some more illumination, but no doubt the lack of artificial lighting is part of the preservation plan. I guess it also gives us tourists a better feel for what a church service in the 14th century might have been like.
The square in which St. Mark's Church is located adds to the general fairy tale feel of this old church. Important Croatian government buildings, including the Parliament, the seat of government, and the constitutional court, form a protective perimeter around the church.
|The official seat of the government of Croatia|
Coming up: Atelier Mestrovic