You catch the local 106 bus to Mirogoj cemetery from a stop on Kaptol, just north of the Cathedral. You pay the driver when you board. The bus will be crowded with Zagreb residents taking flowers to the graves of their dead; we did not see any other tourists when we made the trip and were content to stand for the short twisty 10 minute journey. Arrival at Mirogoj is announced by the appearance of the imposingly high cemetery wall on the right hand side of the road. There is more than one bus stop at the cemetery. Few people alighted at the first, so we carried on and disembarked at the second, which is by the impressive and ornamental main entrance gate. The cemetery is more beautiful than many parks, with mature trees and a great variety of different ornamental headstones and grave sculptures, arcade and cupolas, sun and shade, songbirds and woodpeckers. As a tourist I recommend wandering around slowly as the whim takes you but discreetly and respectfully, as others will be here for an entirely other purpose. The draw of the place, apart from its beauty and tranquillity, is its cross-section of history – the vestiges of Austro-Hungarian empire and Yugoslavian communism – the gravestones are raised above the remains of Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks, Jews, Hungarians and Austrians, Italians, communists and war dead. Even if one understands none of the languages etched into the memorials, both individual inscriptions and the humanist message become clear. This is another of the many corners of Central and Eastern Europe impoverished by the loss of greater ethnic diversity. There is also a grand memorial to Franjo Tudjman, which may or may not be to everyone’s taste, depending upon one’s politics, but which leaves no doubt as to his and the country’s perception of his importance in the state’s nation-building in the 1990s.
In Mirogov Cemetery is the impressionant monumental tomb of Franjo Tudman, the first president of the new independent Croatia. It is a black marble monument where many peoples put votives candles.