When the Hungarian King Bela IV proclaimed Gradec (present day Upper Town) a free royal city, the citizens of Gradec had to build fortification walls around the city in return, as means of protection against the Mongol attacks. Strong walls were erected, and the entrance to the city was made possible by building 4 main gates, one of which was the Stone Gate, which is also the only surviving gate left.
There were various fires in Zagreb throughout the centuries, but a particularly bad one happened in 1731, and, because the city was made of wood, everything burnt down, with one exception – a painting of Virgin Mary with baby Jesus. A widow who lived above the gate saw this as a miracle and built a chapel within the gates, and the painting was put on the altar of the chapel. People have been coming here ever since, so you’ll see many candles flickering in the wind and hear the whisper of prayers. There are various plates with words of gratitude on the walls, witnessing the importance of this gate in the lives of people of Zagreb.
At the time when the area around the gate wasn’t a pedestrian zone, various ideas about its demolition popped up because the passage was too narrow for carriages to pass, but citizens protested strongly and fought to keep this symbol of the city’s piety.
The oldest pharmacy in Zagreb, dating back to 1355 is located next to the gate. One of the notable pharmacists who worked here was Niccolo Alghieri, grandson of Dante Alghieri, the famous author of The Divine Comedy.
A statue of Dora Krupićeva, a character from the novel the Goldsmith’s Gold by one of the most famous Croatian authors, August Šenoa, can be found on the wall next to the gate.