Maksimir Park and History
Maksimir Park is actually the forsest and it was opened in 1794. It was created on the place of the clearance of an autochthonous oak and hornbeam trees. The initiator of the construction of such a park was Bishop Maksimilijan Vrhovec, when he decided to give a park to people of Zagreb for the purpose of rest and recreation at the site of the old forest. Park Maksimir got its name from its founder – Maximilian’s peace or shortened – Maksimir.
The park’s present appearance in English style was formed in 1839. It is considered to be the idea of Bishop Juraj Haulik, the ultimate creator and stylist of the Maksimir park. He gathered a group of experienced Austrian artists who formed the similar parks in Laxenburg, Schönbrunn and Hetzendorf near Vienna, and was led by a classy garden architect Michael Sebastian Riedl (1793 – 1872).
Monument of Park Culture
The surface of the Park Maksimir is 316 hectares, located at a height of 120 to 167 meters, and administratively belongs to the Zagreb city district of Maksimir. Interestingly, the park is bigger than the Central Park in New York.
In 1925, in the southern part of Park Maksimir, Zagreb ZOO was opened. It was founded by Mijo Filipovic. The ZOO in Zagreb is the oldest ZOO in Southeast Europe, and on the day of opening, there were only 3 foxes and 2 owls in the the facility.
Maksimir is the first public park in southeastern Europe, but also one of the first in the World. At the time of its establishment it was one of the most important park achievements of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire. Until then, only private, inaccessible parks were erected with noble castles and royal residences.
Rich Flora and Fauna
In the park are preserved flora and fauna of lowland forests and many species of plant and animal live in it. Thus more than a 100 species of birds have been recorded in the Maksimir Park, of which the two birds are distinguished (due to the preserved centuries-old oak forests and a large number of old trees). The Dendrocopos Medius bird (woodpecker) population that you can find in Maksimir Park is one of the largest in the World, while this species is threatened in Europe. Significant number of other species of animals are associated with old forests, such as squirrels and some bats (also globally endangered animals).
Numerous Lakes and Streams
In the Maksimir Park there are 5 lakes, both natural and artificial. First lake along the Maksimirska street was formed in 1839. Maksimir’s lakes are indivisible part of the total landscape that you can enjoy. Highest aesthetic and landscape features of the lake since the time of creation also have a useful function, first as ponds and then as recreational areas intended for sailing on the small boats.
Through the Maksimir Park flow 7 streams as Bukovcak, Bliznec, Dahlia, Mirni dol, Piskornica, Stefanovec and Maksimirec.
Other Cultural Monuments
In Maksimir Park you can find numerous facilities and monuments. Some of the (most important) buildings are the Swiss House, Vidikovac called Kiosk, Pavilion Jeka and Chapel of St. George. Architectural objects in the Park are mostly works of the builder Franz Schücht (1793 – 1872).
Vidikovac or Kiosk
On the photo below you can see popular Vidikovac or Kiosk. It was built in the period from 1841 to 1843, according to the project by Franz Schücht. It represents the most prominent building in the park from which the main roads are drawn. The property has two floors and it is 17 meters high, a quadrilateral on the ground floor surrounded by a porch above which is actually the terrace. The Maksimir Public Institution restored the building in 2002.
Pavilion Jeka (Echo)
The only preserved pavilion in the Maksimir Park known as the Latern Temple was erected after 1840 according to Franz Schücht’s design. The pavilion is built in honor of the goddess Eho, because it successfully absorbs and rejects the sounds, that makes it a special attraction for the visitors. The Maksimir Public Institution restored the facility in 2001.
St. George Chapel
The St. George Chapel is the neo-Gothic monument built in the period between 1862 and 1864, when it was also consecrated. It was built at the place where the National Temple stood at an elevated place near the summer resort (thought of the Haulik summer residence). Although original architectural designs have not been found, it is clear from the preserved records that Bishop Haulik addressed the Tyrolean workshop Glasmalerei – Anstalt for project and decoration of the chapel.
Maksimir Park and Mogila
Mogila originates back to 1925 on the event of celebration of the 1000 years of the Croatian Kingdom. It was designed by Alexander Freundenreich. It was erected by the Croatian Hawk Association. Mogila was erected exactly on the same place where once stood the Umbrella Pavilion. It was built from the earth pieces of the country taken from 155 places in various Croatian regions where a significant historical or cultural event occurred during the thousand years of Croatian history.
It was rebuilt in 1994 and during the rebuilding it was enriched with the piece of earth of the Croatian country, which with its kiss blessed Pope John Paul II on September 10th, 1994 at the Zagreb Airport.
Explore more by yourself!
Entrance to the park is free of charge and you can explore it all day and night in any period of the year. On May 1st, the International Workers’ Day, you will find it overcrowded as it is an event space for unions and public speaking.
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