Ramadan Kareem

Muslim communities around the world and in Croatia started observing the holy month of Ramadan, or Ramazan, the word we use in this part of Europe. As you probably already know, majority of our population in Croatia is Catholic but throughout history we had very close ties with Muslim communities, especially from our neighboring country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, most of Muslims in Croatia (around 2 % of total population) has some ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

dzamija 1Zagreb Mosque 2020, my photo.

The largest mosque in Croatia is in Zagreb. As you can see in the photo above, it’s quite modern. Let’s find out more about it in this Friday’s city tour.

This article is part of our April 2020 section “Zagreb Couch Guide”. Every Friday we visit one of the sights in Zagreb “on line” or share a story from the rich history of our city… This April 2020 all guided tours are cancelled, but Rilak’s Zagreb Guide is continuing online, with…

Zagreb Mosque really is quite recent. The construction started in the early 1980s and was finished in 1987 when the mosque was opened. The mosque, with its 51 meters high minaret, is actually part of a bigger complex used by the Muslim community of Zagreb. A secondary school, a culture center with a library and a restaurant are all operating within this 10 000 square meters complex.

Our Zagreb Mosque is a mix of traditional and 1980s modern architecture, an idea of the architects Džemal Čečić and Mirza Gološ from Sarajevo (capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina).

dzamija 2Zagreb Mosque, 2020, my photo.

It took almost an entire century to built it. There was an idea to build a mosque in Zagreb already in 1910s, but it was nothing more than an idea, especially after the First World War and the financial crisis that followed. During Second World War, Zagreb was the capital of the State of Croatia, a puppet-state of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. In 1944, the regime decided to open a mosque, and they did – but it was in fact a  building that was built for an entirely different purpose, an artist pavilion built in the 1930s by Croatian sculptor and architect Ivan Meštrović, that was reconstructed to serve as a mosque.

1200px-ZagrebMestrovicevPaviljonMeštrović pavilion today, Gallery of Croatian artists, photo by Daniel Nikolić.

After Second World War, the communists came to power. Zagreb was the capital of the socialist republic of Croatia within Yugoslavia. Meštrović Pavilion stopped being a mosque and became the Museum of Revolution. Only in the 1990s it continued to serve its original purpose – to be the “home” of Croatian visual artists.

And the new mosque? Well, in the first years of communism, not much thought was given to the needs of religious groups. However, the communist “grip” in Yugoslavia was quite softer than in the Soviet Union, for example, and eventually ideas about Zagreb mosque started to develop again and the Zagreb Mosque was built, with its somewhat unusual appearance of combining “old” and “new”.

This is a difficult time for all religious observances and I wish to all my Muslim readers, guests and colleagues that they find the strength in them to overcome this period.

Ramadan Kareem! Wishing a blessed Ramadan that will inspire you with courage that will help you to win every challenge of life!

dzamija 3Zagreb Mosque, 2020, my photo

GUIDED TOURS IN MAY – UPDATE: It seems the “lock-down” in Croatia will continue in some form in the month of May as well. We are all currently waiting new information from our government… Nevertheless, I am almost 99% sure that I won’t be doing any “live” guided tours for now. I am preparing new “online” tours for the month of May, some of the current sections will continue on this blog, brand new posts will appear here but on other platforms as well. Check Monday Report next Monday for more details!

This April 2020 all guided tours are cancelled, but Rilak’s Zagreb Guide is continuing online, with…



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