Former Zagreb Military Hospital Building to Become Home for Musicians

By 4 September 2018

A breath of new musical life for one former military hospital building located on Zagreb's Vlaška.

If you've spent any time at all in Croatia, you'll have noticed (aside from the stunning scenery and sparkling Adriatic, of course) a rather uncomfortable abundance of derelict, neglected, or simply downright ugly buildings standing precariously in amongst the newer buildings, and the ancient ones which have been lucky enough to have continued to recieve the proper care over the years. 

Often smack-bang in the middle of the regular humdrum of every day life, these eye-sores are more often than not the mere shells of their former glory, or at the very least, of former significance in one way or another.

Either damaged by war and left to rot, or abandoned because the inheritance tax was too high to tackle, very many of these buildings are left to an unenviable fate of succumbing to the harsh elements and the cruel tests of time as court hearing after court hearing for ownership disputes go back and forth between private individuals and sometimes even the state itself, and these now needlessly empty shells are doomed to never have any of their former glory reinstated again. A sad sight, and an unfortunately all too common one, even along the yacht-filled glitz of the Dalmatian coast.

It doesn't always have to be so bleak, though, and Lice Grada (The Face of the City) brings us an unusually uplifting story of the building that once played the rather unnerving role of a former military hospital taking on an entirely different purpose. A musical one, no less.

Within the old complex of the former military hospital located on Vlaška 87, there is a building which was once an integral part of the former military hospital complex. The building itself was constructed back in 1833 according to the project work of architect Anton Stiedla. The overground barracks are themselves listed as protected cultural heritage in the Republic of Croatia and are located within the area of ​​the historic urban areas of Zagreb.

The very end of August this year saw the beginning of the works which will transform this old military hospital complex into a home for music and musicians. To get better aquainted with that, we need to first look at the Elly Bašić music school which belongs to the art(s) schools of the City of Zagreb and represents an educational institution that works according to the curriculum and a functional music pedagogy program, verified by the Ministry of Science and Education.

Since the very founding of the school back in 1965, this institution has resumed various status changes and as such, it has accordingly changed its name. It has been holding its present name since 1998, named after the founder, Elly Bašić, the author of functional music pedagogy. It combines music education for children and young people of various ages: preschool, elementary school, and high school.

Since as far back as 1965, the Elly Bašić music school has been using a building located at Mlinarska 25, and today it boasts not only a considerably high number of classrooms, but also a 50-seat concert hall.

The school is currently attended by 140 pre-school age children, 530 elementary school students, and 125 high school students.

From stagnation to music, it isn't a bad turn of events for this neglected Zagreb building.