Neighbor's Guide

Mirogoj Cemetery: The Peaceful Oasis as an Eternal Home for Zagrebians

While driving in my school bus, I got the best impression of how big Mirogoj is. The first thing I saw during that ride was the crematorium whose pyramid on the rooftop always reminded me of the pyramid of the Louvre museum.

Photo Credit: Sanja Magzan/ Gradska groblja Zagreb

Whenever I went to a new location or a town with my aunt, among other things, she always wanted to see the cemetery. Later on, I had a girlfriend who also wanted to see the cemetery, whenever we traveled. Although I never realized why people find cemeteries interesting, I must say that the Mirogoj cemetery is something entirely different from what you might be used to seeing at the cemeteries. If we put the dark side of the whole concept aside, Mirogoj is a beautiful place. What makes it unique are the massive outer walls covered in moss and other foliage. 

A museum in the open

Photo Credit: Sanja Magzan/ Gradska groblja Zagreb

Mirogoj is more than the final resting place of many. It's more of an open-air museum. The peaceful atmosphere is simply mesmerizing. Its maintenance is a never-ending job that's done without compromise to achieve a sparkling clean surrounding. Another proof of how nature-oriented are the people working at the Mirogoj cemetery are electric cars used for transportation of the deceased. Those same electric cars are also used for the transportation of seniors since they are the most frequent visitors of the cemetery, and it's entirely free for them. 

Keeping up with technology

Photo Credit: Sanja Magzan/ Gradska groblja Zagreb

Over the last couple of years, a large number of visitors started visiting the Mirogoj cemetery. So the subsidiary of the city cemeteries in cooperation with the Zagreb Tourist Board came up with a project. They designed a tour guide for smartphones. This application is a personal guide to cemetery history and famous people buried there. People who prefer listening over reading or they have problems with vision can use the reading system integrated into the app. The application is divided into several sections:

  • Meet the history
  • Significant Croatian authors, artists, painters, musicians, etc.
  • Some of the famous Croatian sportsmen are also buried at Mirogoj - recall their historical successes
  • Important persons and monuments of the Croatian War of Independence

The last topic is covered through a museum in Zagreb I've already written about. You can read it here. While using the application, you are also able to enjoy some scenery and beautiful corners of Mirogoj transitioning in the background. 

Photo Credit: Sanja Magzan/ Gradska groblja Zagreb

Mirogoj from my perspective

I went to school near Mirogoj. I remember driving on the bus number 226 alongside its impressive walls. Although its route along Remetska cesta was significantly longer than it was needed to reach my school on Šalata, near Ruđer Bošković Institute, I never minded the bus ride. While driving on that very bus, you get the best impression of how big Mirogoj is. The first thing I saw during that ride was the crematorium whose pyramid on the rooftop always reminded me of the pyramid in the Louvre courtyard. The cool thing is that, when you pass there by bus, you can see that rooftop in your line of sight, but you can't see much else. But when you step out of the bus, you stand in awe right after looking down. At that moment, you can get the first impression of how big Mirogoj is, and also see the space around it, all covered with woods and nature. At the next stop, I always turned my head towards the cemetery lantern stalls and some stonemason shops where monuments are created. Finally, at the penultimate stop, you can feast your eyes on the fantastic Mirogoj bulwarks, I was already talking about. Here is the main entrance to Mirogoj, and a nicely decorated roundabout, creating the complete impressive image of the main entrance to the main Zagreb cemetery. The last stop of the way is just at the end of Mirogoj and is another proof of how big it is. There is also a small entrance for people whose loved ones are buried on that side of the humongous cemetery. 

Photo Credit: Sanja Magzan/ Gradska groblja Zagreb

See it for yourself

My family is mainly buried in the areas nearby Zagreb, so I'm not a frequent visitor of Mirogoj, but on those rare occasions that I was there, I must confess that I was awestruck every time. The application I was talking about earlier is also a great way to meet some of the most prominent Croatian people that marked our history. I think it's pretty cool that you can see their eternal homes and their tombstones from all sorts of different areas. All in all, Mirogoj is a beautiful place worth seeing. And it wouldn't be fair if I revealed everything you can see there. I merely suggest you go there yourself, and you won't regret it. 

Photo Credit: Sanja Magzan/ Gradska groblja Zagreb

Header image credit: Sanja Magzan/ Gradska groblja Zagreb

Author: Tibor Trupec