grey marble

November 9, 2010

Zagreb II

I rose early and walked to the Cathedral. A mass was underway and so I took my leave, walking north from the square to Mirogoj cemetery. Designed by Herman Bolle in 1876, the majestic walls boast cuploas that shade a beautiful interior arcade. The effect is imposing rom the outside, but serene once you enter the grounds. I wandered the tree-lined paths as workers used leaf blowers to clear the promenade.

Back in the upper town, I followed the guidebook past the stone arch (now a shrine after a fire burned the church that once stood there, leaving only a portrait of the madonna and child) and into the Markov Trg. Flanked by the country's parliament and presidental palace, the centerpiece is St. Mark's Church, with its tiled roof depicting the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia on the left, and the emblem of Zagreb on the right.

The church was closed and so I wandered a side lane to the Mestrovic Atelier, the former home of the Croatian artist and now a musuem of his work. A docent poinsted out various works, noting to a Spanish visitor one in particular as a study for a statue in Split. Throughout the morning, we would leapfrog each other, each of us with the Lonely Planet in hand. She followed me to the Museum of Naive Art, and then I saw her exiting the Galerija Klovicevi Dvori, where I had paused to view exhibits of Greek art, the paintings of Robert Auer, and a survey of the avant-garde collective known as Biafra.

At the Lotrscak Tower, I finally introduced myself. Bianca was from Barcelona. She had just graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering, 'Planes,' she explained, and was debating what to do next. She had an internship in Split, but her professor was away for the weekend and so she took the opportunity to see some of the country. She was returning that afternoon.

The tower offered commanding views of the town and I circumambulated the small walkwaz to gather it all in. Every day at noon a canon is fired from it and the attendant invited us to return the next day to witness it. Legend has it that a canon was fired at the Turks during one of their occupations across the river. The ball struck at a rooster and that act so demoralized the Turks that they never attacked.

Bianca took her leave of the tower first. She had little time left and a lot to see. As we parted I told her that Split was my final destination before returning home and that perhaps we would run into each other again. She paused as if contemplating an idea, then thought better of it. She smiled and descended to the street.

Posted by eku at November 9, 2010 4:02 PM

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