More from Zagreb: the cult of death and a Jesuit mosaic master
A huge cemetery, Miragoj, stands at the edge of Zagreb. It’s so big that there are actually more people buried inside the cemetery than living in the city! The place is absolutely gorgeous – perfect for a final resting place, or for a Sunday visit to your deceased friends and family. Outside the cemetery stands sell flowers and candles, and a majority of the graves were decorated with one or the other, or my favorite, a cross formed of wild fallen chestnuts. In the eaves of the cemetery wall, early city founders and notables, like famous poets and sculptors, rested in large sometimes ornate family tombs. In the lawn all kinds of tombs, from old limestone carved numbers to modern marble marvels were set in a park-like area. People frequently visit, so for a graveyard it was a quite the friendly, beautiful place.
So from final resting places let’s switch gears to a place of great inspiration for the living. At the University of Zagreb’s Theology Institute, a Jesuit priest, who is also a master mosaic man (I’m not sure what the official word for that is, obviously) designed a beautiful wall of art for the parish church. Right now the church is incredibly simple, and I think when it’s done this mosaic will be all the decoration necessary to leave all visitors truly awe-inspired.
When we visited, the artist and his sister were well into their second year of installation and sixth year of work on the project.
Seeing a mosaic artist at work was a really incredible first for me. The whole scene, with the scaffolding, the pounding of the chisel and ducking fallen chunks of stone just blew me away. Most impressive, however, was the artist himself – I even got to shake his dusty hand!