Park Maksimir is a unique object of park architectural
heritage of City of Zagreb and Republic Croatia. It was raised
on the final southern foothills of Medvednica at the end of 18
th and the first half of 19 th century. Clearing autochthonous
forest of common oak and hornbeam formed it. It is the first public
park in southeast Europe, and one of the first in the world.
At the time of forming it was one of the most important park accomplishments
of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Until than only private parks were
formed, which were located next to noblemen's castles and royal
residences, and not accessible to general public.
Park Maksimir's founder was Zagreb 's Bishop MAKSIMILIJAN von
VRHOVAC DE EHRENBERG ET RAKITOVEC (1752. - 1827.).
/ Maksimilijan Vrhovec, source: Croatian Historical Museum /
In 1787, after becoming Zagreb 's bishop, he decided to grant
citizens of Zagreb with a park for rest and recreation on the
place of an old bishop's forest. Bishop Vrhovac had an idea to
form the park in a baroque (French) stile, which is witnessed
by three radial paths, shaped as a duck's foot, that were made
during his time, which was one of baroque characteristics of
a park. Paths constructed by Bishop Vrhovac can still today be
seen in the Park, and one of them is the main straight axis of
the alley from the main entrance (portal) all the way to the
bottom of Vidikovac. Park Maksimir was ceremonially opened for
public in 1794, by which the end of its primal renovation works
was celebrated. It was named Maksimilian's peace or Maksimir
for short, after its founder. When Bishop Vrhovec was accused
for masonry and connection with Hungarian Jacobinism, he was
reproached for spending too much money on raising a huge park.
For that reason, further renovation of the Park was terminated.
After the death of Bishop Maksimilijan Vrhovec, Bishop ALEKSANDAR
ALAGOVIÆ (1760-1837) continued with the work on forming Park
Maksimir, which abandons the initiative idea of forming the park
in baroque stile and begins with works on opening and forming
meadows and individual park complexes. Beside the fact that Bishop
Alagoviæ performed few works on adaptation of Park Maksimir,
he gave the basis for forming a landscape park, which Archbishop
Juraj Haulik masterfully completed and formed.
Archbishop JURAJ von HAULIK DE VARALLYA (1788. - 1869.)
/ Juraj Haulik, source: Croatian Historical Museum /
become Zagreb 's bishop in 1837, and already a year later continued
with works on forming Park Maksimir. He hired a group of expert
Austrian artists, which formed emperor's parks in Laxenburg,
Schönbrunn, Hetzendorf near Vienna. Head of the group was an
expert landscape architect of emperor's gardens MICHAEL SEBASTIAN
RIEDL (1793-1872), and beside him other artists were: Franza
Schücht, Leopold Philipp, Franjo Serafin Körbler, Joseph K äsc
hmann, Antun Dominik Fernkorn, Anton Kothgasser and at that time
young architect Bartolomej Felbinger.
FRANZ SCHÜCHT (1793 - 1872) has designed garden pavilions, as
well as other buildings in Park Maksimir. During that period
constructed were Umbrella pavilion (today on it's place we can
find Mogila), Bellevue pavilion, Public temple (today on it's
place we can find St. Juraj's chapel constructed in 1863), Glorieta
pavilion, Echo pavilion (the only preserved pavilion in Park
Maksimir constructed in 1840), Fisherman's cottage, Peaceful
cottage, Dutch cabin, Swiss house (1842), Gatekeeper's cabin
(1847), Gazebo (Kiosk, constructed in 1843), and Tavern (today
“Maksimilijan” restaurant constructed around 1860).
In 1839 Park's name was changed to Jurjaves in the honor of
Archbishop Haulika 1839, and after his death Park got its old
name Maksimir back.
/ Entrance portal and Equestrian statue of
St. Juraj, source: photo I. Standl,
Park Maksimir is designed in the stile of English park at the
time Romanticism appears in Europe, and the elements of new
stile are applied in the new special composition of the Park.
Natural difference of terrain altitude in Park design composition
was skillfully used to emphasize its plasticity, as well as alternation
of vast meadow areas with forest belts, and decorative plantations,
which is its exceptional design value and characteristic.
/ Zornberg's map of Park Maksimir from 1846,
source: MGZ /
The first protection of Park Maksimir dates since 1948 when
it was proclaimed natural curiosity, together with the area
of grange, arable land and forest in total area of 316 ha, by
a Resolution of former Ground institute for protection of natural
curiosities in Zagreb.
Today Park Maksimir, for its exceptional value, benefits a double
protection. It is protected as a monument of park architecture
by the Nature protection law and as a cultural asset by the Law
on protection and preservation of natural assets, and is registered
in the Registry of cultural assets of Republic Croatia.