Receive an e-mail
when these pages
Flags of the World
Page created: 12th November 2006|
Last updated: 28th January 2018
The FAME is a site devoted to the systematic and scientific study of flags and coats of arms. Such symbols often bear strong political and other messages. Inclusion of those symbols here does not mean that the author supports or approves of the ideas they may stand for.
|This site is harvested for the NSK digital archives.|
|Map of the City of Zagreb. City districts: 1. Donji Grad, 2. Gornji Grad - Medveščak, 3. Trnje, 4. Maksimir, 5. Peščenica - Žitnjak, 6. Novi Zagreb - Istok, 7. Novi Zagreb - Zapad, 8. Trešnjevska - Sjever, 9. Trešnjevka - Jug, 10. Črnomerec, 11. Gornja Dubrava, 12. Donja Dubrava, 13. Stenjevec, 14. Podsused - Vrapče, 15. Podsljeme (Šestine - Gračani - Markuševec), 16. Sesvete, 17. Brezovica.|
The oldest settlement in the region of the city of Zagreb predates the Roman era, but
they are located mainly along the Sava River. The first settlements on the southern slopes of
the Medvednica Mountain were made on the hill of Gradec (also named Grič) with the arrival
of Croats in the 7th century.
At least since the 9th century, there are traces of the first settlements on the nearby hill latter known as Kaptol (the Capitol of Zagreb). There the Croato-Hungarian king Ladislaus (Ladislav) I established a diocese in around 1094, as is known a document from 1134 named Felitian’s charter (Felicijanova povelja), in which the Esztregon (Ostrogon) bishop Felitian recounts on the first Zagreb bishop Duh. This is also the oldest preserved mention of the name Zagreb. Beneath Kaptol, south of it, a settlement of foreign (initially Italian) merchants was created in 12th century under the name Vicus Latinorum (Latin Street, in Croatian Vlaška ulica, still bearing the same name) under the auspices of the bishops of the Zagreb’s Kaptol.
The merchant’s city of Zagreb on the hill of Gradec was granted the privileges of the Royal and Free City by the Golden Bull issued by the Croato-Hungarian king Bela IV in 1242, for the services rendered in his retreat from the Tatars hordes. Also on the north side of Kaptol, a settlement was granted free community status in 1344 under the name Nova Ves (i.e. New Village), under the diocesan auspices.
These four communities were united in 1850 into the Free and Royal Capital City of Zagreb. It began growing into a modern capital including more and more surrounding villages in the plains towards the Sava River and beyond. The oldest parts of the city built on the hills are today referred to as the Upper Town (Gornji Grad).
After the World War II the city of Zagreb was administratively divided into communities with several administrative changes over the next years, so in 1964 Zagreb was composed of 14 communities as basic units of local self-government.
After Croatia attained independence in 1991, the territorial structure of the state was changed in 1993, and the 14 communities were united into a single capital city with the status of a county. For a short period after 1995 Zagreb gets sepcial status within the Zagreb County, but since 1997 it is again independant unit with the status of a county.
Zagreb is divided into 17 city districts, which do not have any symbols of their own.
The coat of arms of Zagreb is based on the arms of Grič community from XIIIth century, picturing a three-towered city with opened doors on a hill, followed by a star and a crescent. Until the end of 18th century it was used with the red background. After the unification into the modern city in 1850, in 1896 the new blue coat of arms was adopted.
The city of Zagreb adopted in 1999 a new modernized artistic redention of the coat of arms based on the 1896 model, and finally prescribed the blue flag with these arms proper in the middle. As the current legislation regarding coats of arms require those cities that have historical coats of arms to adopt them in the same form as the historical examples, but only the shield, without any additional elements, the modern coat of arms of Zagreb does not include the crown. Also, the modern legislation require the city flags to have entire coat of arms in it, including the shield, so the long tradition of the banner of arms of Zagreb was changed.
The design was approved for use by the heraldic commission of the Central state office for administration on 4 May 2000, the rescript approving it bear the date 12 May 2000.
The city flags are manufactured and used with the coat of arms shown shown white only, and
there are several variations of the actual design, some showing outlined elements, others with
white filled elements, some with and some without the shield. It seems that most of the
manufacturers still have such flags in their stocks. A difference in the background colour is also noticable ranging from very dark blue to very light blue colour of the city trams.
It may happen that these shall
gradually be replaced with the official pattern, as they wear out.
The flag as prescribed by the Statutes of 1999 is used today as a rule only by the institutions of the city administrations, although even there one may still find other variations. Most of the city companies hoist such variations on their seats as well.
The oldest preserved flag of Gradec - the merchant city core of the modern city - is made in the first half of the 18th century. It was made of dark red damask silk textile in shape of a rectangular flag with split tongues. On its obverse is painted the city coat of arms in a cartouche: gules on a hill vert three towers argent between a crescent and a star. The reverse pictures the black Habsburg double-headed eagle displayed, topped with a crown and holding a sword and
a sceptre, bearing an escutcheon azure with a cipher C or - for Carolus VI, the Croato-Hungarian king Charles VI (Emperor Charles III). The worn-out tails of the flag were renewed with red damask in 18th century. [Premerl], [Leksikon]
This flag was kept in the City Hall on St. Marcus Square, although it seems not always with the best care. Namely, in 1896, when it was discovered in some odd corner of the Hall, it made quite a sensation in the local journals. [Laszowski] It was then again given a place of honour in the City Hall, where it stood until 1907. [Premerl] This flag was hoisted in ceremonial occasions. In processions it was carried in front of the representatives of the City Council. It is noted that in some ceremonial circumstances it was hoisted from the belfry of the Church of St. Marcus – where from it was also displayed from when the city was to be defended from enemies [Leksikon].
It is not clear weather it is the same flag that is mentioned in a receipt from 1740 where the city tax officer Franjo Fabijanec notes on expenditures: “I have ceded – with the knowledge of the lord captain – 10 pennies to the silversmith who repaired the finial of the town’s flag.” [Horvat]
Today is preserved in the Museum of the City of Zagreb, MGZ Inv. br. 5430.
Borošak-Marjanović (p.26) writes: "The first mention of the flag of the city of Zagreb is connected with the descriptions of the civic government from 15th century (1422) by I. K. Tkalčić in the Historical monuments of the Free and Royal City of Zagreb, on page L: The civic flag vexillum communis - it is the flag of the municipality under which, in ceremonies is gathered civic council. It was hoisted as a sign in time of armed conflicts on a belfry of the church of St. Mark. It was coloured red, but regarding the design we can only guess."
With the Imeprial Patent of 7 September 1850 the previously individual communities are united. The Art. 1 of the Patent states: "The Community of Zagreb is composed of previous Free and Royal City of Zagreb and 4 neioghbouring communities: Kaptol, Nova Ves, Laška ulica and Horvati" [Čengić] and a "Temporary Community Order for the City of Zagreb" as a transitional statutes was adopted, remaining valid until a new one was adopted only in 1882, determining a red coat of arms for the city arms to be used in the city seals. However, at the cover page of the printed statutes a coat of arms with vertical heraldic hatching was shown (meaning blue i.e. azure tincture). The same is repeated in the new 1896 statutes. A city flag is not mentioned.
After the unification of the previous independent communities of Grič, Kaptol Nova Ves and Vlaška ulica
into the single city in 1850, considerations about the new symbols
The city leadership contacted Bojničić to prepare proposals for the coat of arms and this was forwarded to the Croatian parliament and government at the time lead by Ban (viceroy) Khuen-Héderváry. As noted in the city council proceedings [Zapisnik, 1896], on August 3rd, 1896, on the session of the City Assembly of the Free and Royal Capital City of Zagreb chaired by the City Mayor honourable Mr. Adolf Mošinski, a member of the City Council Hudovski read the response from His Excellency Ban of the Kingdoms of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, informing the City Council that, based on the research lead in that issues the coat of arms of Zagreb, is established so:
“A shield painted blue depicting on a green mount a silver city with three towers, followed on the right with raising silver moon and on the left a six-pointed golden star. The shield is topped with a golden crown.” (i.e. Azure issuant from a mount vert a city walls argent with three towers embattled of the same and in chief to dexter a crescent increscent also argent and to sinister a mullet of six or. Atop a crown massoned with five embattlements or.)
This response was duly noted and accepted, and based on it the article 6 of the City Statutes was amended to include these determinations. Since then the official colour of Zagreb becomes blue (although this was not explicitly stated anywhere, of course).
Dr. Bojničić prepared a drawing of this coat of arms, today preserved in the MGZ and in spite of all formal changes to follow; it still serves as the most frequent model for the depictions of the city coat of arms.
After the adoption of the coat of arms, for the flag one had to wait some more years. The City Council begun considering a new flag and in 1901 required from the Royal Land Government to establish the design of the city flag. Ban Khuen-Héderváry again soon answered it by forwarding a report prepared again by Dr. Bojničić containing two proposals for the flag. Bojničić obviously preferred one of them, as he names one of the two “heraldically better and based on the good old heraldic principles” and the other “newer and less good version”. The first proposal is a monocoloured flag with elements of the coat of arms (i.e. without the outlining shield – the banner of arms!), or according to Bojničić description: “The flag is of the same blue colour as the shield of the city coat of arms, and one both sides have the city coat of arms without the shied and the crown, followed in the right with a silver raising crescent and in the left with a six pointed golden star”. The second proposal was blue-white horizontal bicolour with the full coat of arms in the middle. [Horvat] The Council, on the session held on May 5th, 1902 [Horvat], apparently readily followed Bojničić’s advice favouring the “old and better” version and it seems that the second proposal was not even discussed. However, a member of the Council Stjepan Timet was proposing that a red and white thin stripes be added vertically along the hoist to highlight the national element, but this was not accepted. After a proposal by a Council member Dr. Ljudevit Shwartz, Bojničić was granted with a formal appreciation and the city award. The Council allotted 1000 crowns for the manufacture of the flag. The city flag and the Shwartz’s proposals were adopted in the Council with 26 votes for and 8 against. [Zapisnik, 1902] A drawing of the flag was prepared by painter Branko Šenoa in cooperation with Bojničić, the original drawing being preserved in the MGZ. [Premerl]
However, the flag was not manufactured immediately, and we may only speculate
why. It was on the occasion of the coronation of the Emperor and the King Charles I (Karlo I)
in Budapest in 1916 that a richly produced ceremonial city flag was made according to the
1902 decisions. [Leksikon]
As was noted on a piece found sewed in the flag when the flag was being renovated in 1994, the flag was produced in the time when mayor was Janko Holjac, and it was manufactured by Sisters of Mercy Kvirina, Germanika, Tomislava and Trojana after the design by Branko Šenoa. The flag was carried in the coronation by City Council member Josip Radaković. [Premerl]
Thus established symbols remained in use since and they were not changed even when the Austria-Hungary collapsed and the new Kingdom latter to be known as Yugoslavia was established. They were not changed in the period of the Independent State of Croatia that was formed during the World War II.
The first mention of the city symbols after the World War II in the official documents
is to be found in 1947, when the Executive Council of the City People’s Committee in Zagreb
(Gradski narodni odbor u Zagrebu) adopts the proposal of the chairman Vouk [Zapisnik
“The coat of arms of the City People’s Committee in Zagreb is composed of a blue field in which on a green curved ground is standing a silver city with three embattled towers with semicircular entrance with half-portcullis and with opened doors, each tower having a keyhole-like loophole; to its right a sic-pointed golden star and to the left a half-moon raising. Above the shield is set a red five-pointed star.”
(Grb gradskog narodnog odbora u Zagrebu tvori u modrom polju na zelenom oblom tlu srebrni grad s tri kule s kruništima, oblim ulaznim vratima s polurešetkama i otvorenim vratima, svaka kula imade po jednu ključastu puškarnicu; s desna se nalazi šesterokraka zlatna zvijezda, s lijeva polumjesec u rastu. Iznad štita nalazi se crvena peterokraka zvijezda.)
So, the previous crown atop the shield was replaced with a star. Although the blazon clearly states the colours, it is not know if the coat of arms was ever used in colours; the preserved examples are mono-coloured. A flag is not mentioned; although it may well be that this was the decision that led to the adding of the star in the old flag.
Namely, after the liberation of Zagreb and introduction of the new political system, someone sewed a red five-pointed star to the 1916 flag. This flag was apparently used as such for some time, to be soon stored in the MGZ. [Premerl] The star from the flag was removed in 1994 renovation, although the stitching in form of five-pointed star is still clearly visible.
The new Statutes adopted in 1955 have mention of neither coat of arms nor flag. [Statut, 1955]
The Statutes to follow, from 1964, introduce a new description of coat of arms and the flag in its Article 12 [Statut, 1964]:
“The city of Zagreb has its coat of arms and its flag. The coat of arms of Zagreb is its historical coat of arms: shield coloured blue, in which is depicted on a green mound a silver city with three towers, a raising silver crescent to its right and a six-pointed golden star to its left.”
The flag of the city of Zagreb is also “blue as the shield of the coat of arms of the city of Zagreb containing on both sides the coat of arms of the city of Zagreb without the shield.”
There are no elements (crown, star) above the shield now. The coloured versions were, again, apparently avoided, so is the one shown on the covers of the Statutes. The flags were, apparently, also produced with such white outlined depiction of the coat of arms in "Bojničić's tradition".
Namely, in the second half of the 20th century a trend of “modernization” of heraldic symbols according to the graphical design trends in the world in general is apparent. So, the coat of arms of Zagreb is used in simplified and stylized versions, most often as white silhouette of the shield only. The flags are now industrially – mass produced, to be hoisted not only over the buildings of the city administration but also by the city owned companies, they are hoisted as holyday decorations on the street light poles, they are flying on prominent positions in the city during the important events, such as is the Zagreb Fair, on places like the Marshal Tito Square in front of the National Theatre and the plateau in front of the Lisinski Concert Hall. The ceremonial city flag uniquely produced is no more.
The Statutes of 1968 only mention (in Article 9) that the city has a coat of arms and a flag, but that the details would be prescribed by the City Assembly [Statut, 1968], however, only some months latter a correction to the Statutes was published, amending the reading of the Article 9 to the text of the 1964 Statutes with additional provision that “The use of the coat of arms and the flag is prescribed with a decision of the City Assembly.” [Ispravak, 1968]
The 1971 Statutes repeat the previous determinations literally. [Statut, 1971]
The 1975 Statutes introduce rewording in the blazon of the coat of arms, but it does
not change its contents. However, now the flag is changed with the addition of a red star in
the canton. The same is repeated in the 1982 and finally 1988 Statutes (Article 6) [Statut, 1988]:
“The coat of arms of the City of Zagreb is consisting of a blue field in a shield shape. In the middle of the filed on a green hill is set a city with three towers and opened city gates. In the chief part of the field on the left is a six-pointed star and on the right is a crescent. The city with towers and the crescent are silver, while the city doors, the six-pointed star and the shield border are golden. The flag of the City of Zagreb is blue. In the middle of the flag on both its sides is the coat of arms of the City of Zagreb without the shield. On the flag of the City of Zagreb in its top left corner is set a red five-pointed star. With a decision of the City of Zagreb is determined the mode of use of the coat of arms and the flag of the City of Zagreb.”
(The mention of the green colour where golden should have been in the 1975 text was an obvious typo, and was corrected in the subsequent statutes.) So, the colour of the doors is now explicitly mentioned. The flag is amended with a defacing red star in the canton, although it still contains the coat of arms elements without the shield outlining them.
This coat of arms variation is also often used in mono-coloured depictions, and due to its simplicity and elegance it is quite popular today as well. The flag defaced with the star was used only in very official circumstances, e.g. hoisted in the Assembly Hall, while the previous versions of the flag without the star were onwards used in general, even as newly produced flags (weather due to inertia or ignorance of the flag maker and/or his clients or due to intentional disregard of the new defacement?) The flags with the red star were relatively seldom hoisted on the streets. Although it is nowhere mentioned, these flags were, as a rule, produced so that the coat of arms elements were shown in white only.
The variants in the design of the coat of arms were noted frequently, here a few are shown that were noted in use in the city assembly.
The coat of arms of the community of Dubrava in Zagreb showed in a blue outlined white shield a stylized blue rose composed as a scheme of a new modern pentagonal settlement, with 21 rectangular element symbolizing 21 local commnities, subdivisions of the community, in its core a red pentagonal filed containing white inscrption "19.X" (the day of the communty, commemorating the 5th Land Conference of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1940) and at the top a five-pointed red star and in base a letter V (also reffering to the Conference). The shield is topped with the three white towers, thus symbolically connecting it with the coat of arms of Zagreb. No flags were reported, the flag of the city of Zagreb of the period was used. The coat of arms was designed by Petar Čimbur, designer and journalist from Zagreb who designed a dozen of other coats of arms in 1970's and 1980's, including few other communities of Zagreb and some other places in Croatia and former Yugoslavia.
The coat of arms of the community of Susedgrad pictured in a blue shield a ruined tower on a green mount from which are criculary issuing thunder arrows within a blue cog wheel, topped with a red five-pointed star. The name is inscribed below across the mount and the shield is bordered silver. The tower represents the ruins of the old city of Susedgrad under which the modern stlement of Podsused was florishing, the lightning arrows symbolise the electrical and the cog wheel other industry in the modern community. No flags were reported, the flag of the city of Zagreb was used.
The coat of arms of the community of Trešnjevka showed a cog wheel into which are composed three towers from the coat of arms of Zagreb and the revolutionary red banner, as Trešnjevka was, as workers' suburb, the core of the revolutionary movement in Zagreb. In the chief is inscribed the name of the community. No flags were reported, the flag of the city of Zagreb was used.
The 1992 decision determines the same description of the coat of arms as previously, while the flag is described without the red star. The exact design was last to be determined with a subsequent decision.
On April 15th, 1993 the Temporary statutes of the City of Zagreb were adopted replacing the symbols determined with the 1988 Statutes. [Privremeni statut, 1993]. The Article 4 determines that the coat of arms “has the shape of a shield coloured blue. In the filed of the shield is set city with three towers fortified with walls and city gates. In the chief on the left is a young moon and on the right an eight-pointed [sic!] star. The city walls, the towers and the young moon are silver; the eight-pointed star is golden. The hill beneath the tower is green.” Further on it is determined that the flag is “coloured blue. In the middle on both sides is set the coat of arms of the City of Zagreb.”
This decision was obviously made hastily and contains several inconsistencies. It is not know weather a graphical depiction of this design was ever actually made, but it is certain that the older (star-less) versions were in use abundantly. In 1992 the City of Zagreb donated its allegedly official flag to the collection of the MGZ, however that flag, that is currently on display in the Museum certainly does not match the 1993 nor any previous determinations – the coat of arms in that flag is white depiction of the 1896 Bojničić’s design, together with the shield outline and the crown – the most notable difference being the star that is still, of course, six-pointed and not eight-pointed as prescribed. These irregularities were resolved finally with the adopting of the 1999 Statutes.
Receive an e-mail
when these pages
Flags of the World