Magento provides facilities to get the Image URL from a category by using the catalog/category model.

However, by default, it doesn’t provide the facility to get the thumbnail category image. You’d expect to be able to use getThumbnailUrl(), but, you can’t.

In order to enable this functionality, you need to make some modifications to Magento.

The file you need to edit is /app/code/core/Mage/Catalog/Model/Category.php. Due to the nature of Magento, you’d be best copying this to /app/code/local/Mage/Catalog/Model/Category.php before amending the file. Once copied, you can edit this new file.

Around line 481, you’ll find the getImageUrl function. Below this, we’re going to add a new function. This function is slightly modified from others I’ve seen, where you can pass it a parameter to get just the file name, or get the full path if you’d prefer.

Image Credit: Back, and to the left