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Unlocking Zagreb's Hidden Secrets

Located in the middle of the scenic landscapes of Croatia, the city of Zagreb intrigues every visitor with its storied past and hidden secrets. Beyond its picturesque streets and vibrant culture, lies a captivating history that has shaped the city into the capital it is today.

From its ancient Roman origins to its medieval splendor, Zagreb has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, the clash of cultures, and the birth of legends. It is within the walls of this remarkable city that tales of witches, underground worlds, and evil queens intertwine, creating a tapestry of intrigue that will leave you fascinated.

The Zagreb Witches      

Deep within the annals of Zagreb's history, lies a legend about the Zagreb witches, shrouded in mystery and superstition. During the Middle Ages, the city was said to be home to witches who wielded supernatural powers and practiced forbidden arts.

According to local lore, these witches were believed to gather under the cloak of darkness in hidden corners of Zagreb. Legends whispered of their secret meetings in the depths of forests, where they communed with the forces of nature and harnessed their mystical abilities.

The fear of witchcraft permeated society, leading to accusations and witch trials. The city became gripped by a hysteria fueled by paranoia and suspicion. Innocent women, often targeted due to envy or personal vendettas, were accused of consorting with demons and practicing witchcraft. Many were subjected to cruel interrogations, torture, and ultimately faced public executions and were burned at stake.

However, the true extent of the Zagreb witches' existence remains a subject of debate among historians. Some argue that the legends were born out of a combination of folklore, superstition, and the socio-political climate of the time. Others contend that beneath the surface of these tales, there may indeed have been individuals who possessed knowledge of alternative spiritual practices.

While the Zagreb witches may remain a part of the city's folklore, their story endures as a testament to the power of collective imagination and the enduring allure of the mysterious. It reminds us to explore the hidden narratives that lie beneath the surface, embracing the rich tapestry of legends and tales that shape the city's identity.

The Underground World of Grič

Beneath the buzzy streets and historic buildings of Zagreb's Upper Town, lies a secret world known as Grič. This underground labyrinth, with its network of tunnels, holds tales of intrigue and mystery.

During World War II, the tunnel was conctructed and served as a refuge space during sieges and bombings, protecting the city's inhabitants from harm. Underground hospitals, workshops, and even secret meetings were established within the depths of Grič, becoming crucial to the survival and resilience of Zagreb.

However, the first Croatian journalist, Marija Jurić Zagorka, intrigued her readers by describing the secret tunnels that were under the Upper town back in the 18th century. In her novel "The secret of a Bloody Bridge", Zagorka describes the tunnels which were located under the Upper town in Zagreb. Although her novels are mostly historical stories based on certain true events as well as fiction, Zagorka still ignited readers' imaginations about the existence of tunnels long before the World War II.

Grič's underground world is a testament to the resourcefulness and resilience of Zagreb's inhabitants throughout the ages. It reminds us that beneath the charming façade of the city, there are hidden layers waiting to be explored—a testament to the history, spirit, and secrets that lie beneath the surface of the city of Zagreb.

The Secret of the Stone Gate Fire

Located within the historic heart of the city, lies a remarkable story that has captivated generations—the secret of the Stone Gate fire. According to the legend, during the 18th century, the Stone Gate served as a vital entrance to the city. It was a bustling passageway where people would come and go, carrying out their daily routines.

In spring 1731, flames erupted the Upper town and cought the Stone Gate. The structure burst in flames while the citizens of Zagreb looked on in horror, fearing of losing their cherished piece of heritage. Within the burning wreckage, one painting remained remarkably untouched—an image of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus, known as "Gospa od Kamenitih Vrata" or "Our Lady of the Stone Gate."

Word of the painting's preservation spread rapidly, and people traveled to witness the miracle. The image was quickly preserved within a chapel built into the surviving archway of the Stone Gate, where it remains to this day, drawing pilgrims and believers seeking solace and divine protection.

The Lost Underground River

Beneath the charming streets and historic buildings of Zagreb, lies a hidden secret that has long intrigued locals and explorers—the lost underground river. For centuries, rumors of an enigmatic waterway flowing beneath the city have captivated the imagination, but the truth behind this submerged marvel remained shrouded in mystery.

According to historical records and oral traditions, the underground river once coursed through the heart of Zagreb, carrying its waters beneath the bustling streets. The origins of the underground river date back to ancient times when the area now known as Zagreb was inhabited by various civilizations. Over time, as the city grew and developed, the river was gradually diverted and channelled underground, allowing for urban expansion and infrastructure development.

Today, as you walk the streets of Zagreb, you can't help but wonder about the presence of the hidden river, coursing silently beneath your feet. It serves as a reminder that beneath the surface of our familiar surroundings, there may be untold stories and hidden wonders waiting to be discovered.

The story of the Black Queen

The legend of the Black Queen is a mysterious tale that has been passed down for generations. The story goes back many years ago when Croatia was ruled by a king, and beside him ruled the so-called notorius Black Queen, a beautiful women dressed in black, with dark hair and shining eyes.  However, her heart was filled with darkness, and her life was cruel and full of sin. It is said that the queen also had a raven which, at her command, used its claws to injure anyone who would resent her. The Black Queen at one period of her life, lived in the Medvedgrad fortress, just above Zagreb. 

According to legend, the Black Queen was early married to a king who spent most of his life fighting for the expansion of the kingdom. So, out of boredom, the queen began to practice black magic and alchemy, and her experiments were even recorded in the records of a Czech alchemist who once visited the fort. Due to the absence of the king, the queen had numerous lovers, one of them was the Transylvanian Count Vlado Dracula, who is said to have made her a vampire. Legend also says that the Black Queen threw her lovers from the highest tower when she got fed up with them. 

There are many stories and legends about the Black Queen, one of them is the legend that, in order to defend herself from Turkish attacks, she gave the Medvedgrad fortress to the devil in order to save her treasure. To this day, the Black Queen supposedly crawls in the form of a snake through the tunnels under the Upper Town where she guards her wealth.


Zagreb's history, brimming with untold tales and hidden gems, awaits those who dare to unravel its mysteries. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a seeker of the unknown, or simply a curious traveler, this capital city promises an unforgettable journey of discovery. Unlock Zagreb's hidden secrets and embark on an epic adventure while walking through the city of Zagreb.


About Sit&Meet

Sit & Meet is a project in Zagreb that includes unique walking tours where you can meet Croatian innovators and geniuses for a coffee along with seeing all the famous city sights.

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