Las Vegas chandeliers in Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb cathedral, photo by Matko M. Švarc


Did you know that the Zagreb Cathedral is decorated with chandeliers that once adorned a casino in Las Vegas?

 The expensive chandeliers arrived at the cathedral from the Las Vegas casino.

It’s a gift from a Croatian family; interestingly, they used to hang from the ceiling of a casino in Las Vegas.

As part of the multi-year renovation of the Zagreb Cathedral (Zagreb Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), new lighting arrived in Zagreb in November 2001 and was erected in December of the same year. Three large gilded pieces were placed on the cathedral’s ceiling, and the fact that they came from Las Vegas aroused interest.

Zagreb Cathedral, photo by Matko M. Švarc

The chandeliers came from Gold Coast casino owner Michael Gaughan. Croatian emigrant Stefan Stankić, who worked at the casino, at the suggestion of his mother, asked Michael if he wanted to donate chandeliers to the Zagreb Cathedral. They were taken down during the remodeling and were to be auctioned off.

Michael Gaughan, the owner of the Gold Coast casino in Las Vegas, decided to donate all three chandeliers and only asked for photos after they had been installed. The first chandelier was erected above the main altar on December 7, 2001, before the evening Mass.

As opinions about the new chandeliers were divided, and a larger space for sample mounting could not be found, it was decided to temporarily place the chandeliers on the ceiling of the Zagreb Cathedral. No damage was done to the cathedral during the installation, as existing openings were used, and no nail was required, or a new hole was drilled.

Zagreb Cathedral, photo by Matko M. Švarc

However, the question arose as to whether the huge gilded chandeliers should stay in the Cathedral at all. Experts and believers were invited to express their opinion on the appropriateness of the new chandeliers in the cathedral.

Until then, the cathedral had lighting boxes from the time of Hermann Bollé that were insufficient for lighting. Besides, the cathedral was constantly renewed from alms and donations of the faithful, and people started to like it…

They proved to be practical because they obscured the view of the almost black ceiling that was then awaiting renovation. In the meantime, they were able to renovate it.

Zagreb Cathedral, photo by Matko M. Švarc

Chandeliers are easy to maintain. There is a button that is pressed to lower the chandeliers.

But they must close the cathedral for a while when they change the light bulbs. So they decided to get frugal LED decorative bulbs with a longer shelf life.

This investment has paid off because they spend less energy and do not have to close the church for all who come to pray. Still, not everyone was happy with the origin of the chandelier. They say they are kitsch and have no place in the cathedral. Despite the criticism, Kaptol did not change them but invested money in numerous works to restore the church.

When you go to Croatia – see The Cathedral in Zagreb.

Zagreb Cathedral, photo by Matko M. Švarc

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