While Zagreb, Croatia is an amazing city in and of itself, in the northern part of it lies a cemetery called Mirogoj. The cemetery was built in the late 1800s. We spent hours wandering around it, but truly just walking into it would have satisfied my appetite to “get away” from the hustle and bustle of the city.
One of the gems in Mirogoj cemetery is a beautiful domed structure, most likely a tomb, chapel or mausoleum, colored cyan and banana. At each of the four corners of its plot sit small braziers, each holding a set of plastic flowers. I’m sure on the dreary days they bring some much-needed color, but today the building and surrounding foliage provided the scene. A priest circled around it, mumbling something to himself. It was all so quiet…
Most of the graves in Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb were plain slates of gray and black, once you walked far in enough to get past the fortunate dead. Despite its grandeur reminiscent of generations before, this grave, newly laid with rotting plant matter, reminded me that families still use it. Candles were still lit throughout. Lone grandmothers wandered.
As part of an agreement fashioned in 1996, Croatia offered a parcel of land in Mirogoj cemetery for the use of German war graves for fallen soldiers. The land now stands almost as much a piece of art as it does a memorial. But one can also sense the discomfort: German war graves in one of their WWII allies. I guess any soldier’s sacrifice is something worth remembering. Even if it is in the back of the cemetery.
The four of us got lost in here…wandering, picture taking…just lost in the quiet beauty. It was breathtaking, especially through some of the nooks and crannies.