While working in Croatia, I became great friends with another intern who was my exact age. Ironically, she had done a study abroad in Michigan so we had a lot in common! One day after work she mentioned Mirogoj Cemetery and asked if my roommate and I had been there. After responding “no,” she drove us to the cemetery and told us it was a “must-see” in Zagreb!
We arrived a few minutes before it closed but the nice attendant at the front opened the gates for us and let us stay after closing!
This cemetery is one of the most well-known cemeteries in all of Croatia, and the final resting place for some of Croatia’s most influential and important citizens. Besides the famous tombs, the cemetery is also home to many memorials and monuments including the Monument to Fallen Croatian Soldiers in World War One and the Monument of the “Voice of Croatian Victims – Wall of Pain” (to Croatian victims of the Croatian War of Independence).
One of the most famous people buried in Mirogoj Cemetery is Franjo Tuđman. Nicknamed the “father of Croatia,” he was the first president of Croatia and credited to leading Croatia away from communism in the 1990s. Although he ruled during a turbulent time in Croatian history, he is a much beloved figure by the Croatian citizens.
Henry Kissinger reflected on the legacy of Franjo Tuđman and stated:
“Mr. President, like all the great people during life you will not wait enough for the proper interpretation of your merits for the nation, it will be done only by future generations, but believe me it will be done. You’ll be a great man of Croatian history, but not during your life, but when ratings will be made with cool heads.”
The colors in Mirogoj Cemetery are pretty spectacular at sunset with the mixture of blues, greens, and pink intertwining with the lighting around the cemetery. It was nice coming at this time because we were the only people in the cemetery. I probably should have used a tripod because some of my pictures came out a bit shaky/blurry, but I’m glad I was able to at least photograph it before leaving the country!
These vines definitely take the cake! I’m so glad my friend was able to show me this important piece of Croatian history and recommend you all check it out next time you’re in Zagreb!