The story of the old part of Zagreb, the so-called Upper Town, begins at the Stone Gate, one of the most recognizable symbols of Zagreb. The Stone Gate is also the ideal place to start a walking tour of the Old Town, and is an excellent photo opportunity which has been captured by the cameras of many tourists who have passed through it and were smitten by the beauty of the site.
The Stone Gate is part of the remains of the city walls that once stood around the old town. Although it was first mentioned in 1429, it is assumed to have been built in 1266. Throughout the city's long history it has undergone many reconstructions and was devastated by fire more than once. The last such fire destroyed much of Gradec on 31 May 1731, burning down houses that were close to the Stone Gate. The Gate displayed a painting of the Mother of God, which was miraculously undamaged by the fire. To commemorate the event, grateful citizens built a chapel within the arch of the old Stone Gate. The chapel, which still houses the painting of the Mother of God, has since become Zagreb's biggest shrine and is regularly visited by people who come to light a candle and thank the Lady for protecting them. The 57 by 47 cm painting on canvass depicts Our Lady with a gold crown, which was added to it on 31 May 1931, on the 200th anniversary of its miraculous salvation from the fire.
On 31 May 1991, the 260th anniversary of the shrine, the archbishop of Zagreb, Franjo Kuharić, declared the Mother of God of the Stone Gate the patron saint of Zagreb, and the date is now officially celebrated as the Day of the City.