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Zagreb (Zagreb County, Croatia)

Last modified: 2004-07-31 by dov gutterman
Keywords: zagreb | agram | croatia | tower | star | crescent | castle | st. marco |
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by Zeljko Heimer, 13 November 2002

See also:

The Flag

I started to notice during this summer or maybe a moth or two beofre that the flags infront of the civic office buildings (there are quite a number of those in Zagreb) are being slowly changed. The Previous old blue flags with white silhueted CoA are by now all (or mostly) replaced with new blue flag with the coat of arms in full colours.
On the official site of Zagreb at <> there are images of the CoA and the flag, and there is also link to the full text of the current Statute, text including the 1999 Statute and amendments of 2001 (which I don't kown if include any amendemns regarding the symbols): Statut Grada Zagreba, Službeni glasnik Grada Zagreba 19/99 Statutarna odluka o izmjenama i dopunama Statuta Grada Zagreba, Službeni glasnik Grada Zagreba 19/01 Statut Grada Zagreba (procišceni tekst), 19. 12. 2001
The article 8 determines the design of the CoA and the flag: "In blue field on a green hill a silver city with three towers and opened golden doors, in chief dexter a golden six-pointed star and in chief sinister a silver crescent. [...] The flag in ratio 1:2 is blue with the coat of arms in the middle bordered yellow."
Articles 9 and 10 determine the basic usage princilpes of the CoA and the flag, and articles 14 and 15 calls for the decision of the City Assembly about the details of the design layout and construction details etc. The statutes are signed by the chairman of the statutory commission, Dr. Dembitz.
I don't think that the 1999 Statutes actually introduced this particular design, but for now this is the best I have.
I belive that Janko showed this flag few years ago, possibly before 1999, but as I have noticed, it has been put in the public use only in 2002. Probably due to financial reasons, the flags were replaced only when the old ones (bought I believe in early 1990's, so dozen years old) became quite unsuitable for futher hoisting.
Zeljko Heimer, 13 November 2002

Previous Flags

by Zeljko Heimer

by Zeljko Heimer

The flag is blue with white outlined coat of arms of Zagreb - a castle on ground with three towers and opened doors followed by a crescent and a star. The arms originated at circa 13th century (they are on a stone capitell with a year 1269 (if I recall correctly), held by a lion rampart.
On images used today it is mostly uncoloured, i.e. just the outline like in the flag, but the colours used were blue background, green ground, white castle, with red doors, white crescent and golden star. Sometimes it was pictured with a red background, as one can see on the roof of St. Marko's church in the old town next to the Croatian Parliament (Sabor).
The flag is blue, that is traditionally the colour of Zagreb (trams and buses are blue, phone boots also, etc.). The castle with open doors represents that Zagreb was declared a royal free market place, open to merchants and visitors, in 1292 by the Croato-Hungarian king Bela IV which hid himself there from the Tatars attacking from east over all his land up till Zagreb. The crescent and star are ancient symbols used on the oldest coat of arms of Croatia (see the first arms in the crown of Croatian state's arms). The windows on the castle are of the type used for shooting from them, symbolizing, that tough open, it is ready for defence if necessary.
The flag is used in a few variations, without the determined proportions, most often they are 1:2. It is much more often to see it with the arms rotated 90 degrees, and hanged verically, and sometimes there is no white outline of the shield of arms.
Zeljko Heimer, 18 March 1996

Coat of Arms

by Zeljko Heimer, 13 November 2002

Zagreb Districts

Zagreb was recently divided into 17 districts. In fact the division was legally made several years ago, but the districts were never actually made. Only recently the first elections for the districts were made and they are now in process of establishing themselves. At this momnet there is no yet talk not as far as I now any discussion among legislators either, about possible symbols of those districts (nor even right of adopting some is mentioned, I believe). However, I don't doubt that eventuialy there shall be some symbols.
Since 1993 when the new administratrive subdivision of Croatia was made zagreb was functioning as "unitary" city without any subdivisions, but until that time the City of zagreb was since some time in 1960's composed of 14 communities. In fact the communities were the main "bearers" of the governmnet and selfgovernment, and the city was an assembly of those made for better functioning. Similar organization was made in other larger cities in Yugoslavia, like in Croatia Split (communities of Split, Solin and Kastela), in Slovenia Ljubljana (5 communities, now disbanded) and Maribor (6 communities, some disbanded some "independent" today), furthermore Sarajevo consisted of 10 communities (I'm not sure about the current stataus, some may be still valid), Beograd of 16 (I believe all still funtioning), Novi Sad of 7 (also) and Skopje in Macedonia of 5 to which I am not sure how are doing now. Well, in any case, the communities that Zagreb was composed of were:
1. Centar
2. Crnomerec (Ernomerec)
3. Dubrava
4. Maksimir
5. Medvescak (Medveseak)
6. Novi Zagreb
7. Pescenica (Peseenica)
8. Samobor
9. Sesvete
10. Susedgrad
11. Tresnjevka (Tresnjevka)
12. Trnje
13. Velika Gorica
14. Zapresic (Zapresia)
(names in parethesis are proper spelling with Croatian letters with hatcheks)
The communities of Samobor, Velika Gorica and Zapresic nowdays are entirely separate cities (though the latter two were incorporated, obviously "experimentally" in the "unified" Zagreb between 1993 and 1995).
As fully quailified communities each of them had right to adopt a CoA and a flag, but as far as I am aware, none of them adopted any flag ever (until 1993, that is), and only few that I am aware adopted CoA. I believe that only Dubrava, Susedgrad and Tresnjevka adopted CoAs in late 1970's, though Samobor that already had a historical CoA (same as used now) may have used it officially or traditionally without some legal confirmation.
The three that adopted CoAs in 1970's adopted designs made by Petar Cimbur, designer and journalist from zagreb, who designed several other CoA of Yugoslav cities in 1970's and 80's. He had issued a book on his heraldical expiriences. From what I remember from the book, the CoA of Dubrava was white shield with blue 20 or so rectangles set in shape of a fivepointed star, reminding on the modern blocks of flats and with a red star in the middle. The CoA of Susedgrad was also white shield with blue representation of the ruined tower of the medieval city of Susedgrad, possibly with red star or lightning, I don't remember any more exactly. Both had the name of the community inscribed in chief.
All communities used the flag of Zagreb (at that time with red star in canton, also in several variations in the shape and colouring of the shield, but that is wholly another question), and if maybe some table flags were made with the community CoAs on white background, where were purely ornamental and not flags in any sence.
As these CoAs included strong ideological symbols of the time of their adoption, it is not very porbable that they would serve as basys for the adoption of the symbols of the new Zagreb districts, even if some may share common name (territoy would surely be smaller). However, these CoAs are examples of the best heraldic design of the time (considering the artistic taste of time, of course) and however we may look at such design nowdays.
Zeljko Heimer, 5 March 2001


by Zeljko Heimer, 5 March 2001

The CoA of Tresnjevka I remember very well this being the community where I lived (and still live though there is no community of than name any more). A lapel pin I preserved helps my memory, too. The shield is white with blue cog wheel with three towers from the CoA of Zagreb being incorporated as the three topmost cogs and though it flying a red flag with golden outlined fivepointed star, in the chief is the name of the community (in black or blue?). The cog wheel represents the industry that is (or was) very strong in the community, three towers are clear connection with Zagreb. The red revolutionary banner is reminder that Tresnjevka, as workers' suburb at the time, the core of the revolutionary movement in Zagreb (it was nicknamed "Red Tresnjevka").
Zeljko Heimer, 5 March 2001