Stone Gate, the eastern gate to medieval Gradec Town is the only preserved city gate of the out of four that once connected Lower town to a part of Upper town known as Gradec.
From outside, it looks like a simple passage but the stone-carved arch is more than just a gateway though – local legend has transformed it into a shrine and the adjourning chapel flickers with candles by local worshippers in honor of the Virgin Mary. The feeling is quite special: in an instant you’re no longer in the urban rush; instead, you find yourself in a calm place lighted only by dozens of candles.
In 1242, the Croatian king Bela IV gave Gradec a status of a free royal city, which automatically made the Stone gate one of the most important passages in Zagreb. The historical aspect of this place isn’t as important as the spiritual one. According to legend,original gate featured a painting of Mary holding baby Jesus and devastating fire swept through the capital in 1731, destroyed every part of the wooden gate except for the painting of the Virgin and Child (by an unknown 17th-century artist).
The artwork miraculously survived, appearing to locals like the image of the Virgin Mary was emerging from the ashes. People believe that the painting possesses magical powers and come regularly to pray, light candles and leave flowers. Today the painting is the centerpiece of the chapel built in its honor, and is now placed behind a beautiful large ornate iron grille.