Kamenita Vrata | Stone Gate naturally with an Asian tourist posing in front.
The stone gate is also a chapel and the pews are located on the left corner behind the candles.
Stone Gate – Passage – Chapel
The stone gate serves as a street passage but history detailed that in 1731 a fire destroyed this area of town, burning everything down. However the said stone gate which had a painting of Mary and Jesus was miraculously saved, undamaged from the fire.
In order to protect the painting and its miraculous religious symbol the locals built a metal grill and converted the stone gate passage into a chapel as well.
Technically, the stone gate is a passage and a chapel. There are not many open-air public places such as a working street where people stop and pay their respects to their god. They commune together in worship and offer their prayers in silence whilst other people are going about their normal daily lives passing through the stone gate - street passage - chapel en-route to their destination.
It’s like the whole scenario just froze back in time during the medieval ages.
Croatians (in fact, most Eastern Europeans) are staunch Catholic followers. If not for the European fortification medieval surroundings, I would have probably been brought back to the Philippines.
The painting of Mary and Jesus that miraculously survived the fire in 1731 is protected behind this metal grill.
Nuns man the chapel passage and people often stop to light a candle, sit on the chapel pews, pray in the corner or kneel in front of the painting.
View from the other side of the gate - passage - chapel.
This is the view when you enter the stone gate - passage - chapel. Those doors lead to the office of the nuns and on the right are a few pews and candle container.
I am not sure what these plaques on the walls of the stone gate chapel but if my Croatian is correct, they are tokens of appreciation to Mary the mother of Christ. Hvala ti Majko means Thank You Mother. Hvala is pronounced as 'Quala/Kwala'.
A step back into history
When Yugoslavia split up in 1991, the whole region was marred with political, religion and tribal differences that resulted into mayhem, massacres and ethnic cleansings. It was one of those bloody years and depending on where you live, your race and what your religion is, these will be the determining factor of your survival.
And if you step back 60 years before that during the World War II, a Croat fascist organisation rose to fame called Ustase. Interestingly they were fanatically Catholics, as well a puppet arm of Nazi Germany. This terrorist organisation was responsible in annihilating Serbs, Jews and Romas on the base of ethnic and religious cleansing.
It makes you wonder what really is the point of organised religion.
It’s been 20+ something years ago since the Yoguslavian split and 70 years since the World War II. I wish peace has finally come to this region (although neighbouring Ukraine is going through its own struggle). I hope the wounds have healed and people have learned that absolute fanaticism on a certain ideology and religion can be detrimental.
Travel Period: March 2014
Destination: Zagreb, Croatia
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