Saturday, 5 March 2022

Hundreds Gathered in Ban Jelačić Square in Support of Ukraine

March 5, 2022 - A gathering was held in Zagreb today as a show of solidarity and support of Ukraine, nine days after the Russian invasion started. A large number of people were present in Ban Jelačić Square, waving Ukrainian and Croatian flags. The Ambassador of Ukraine spoke at the gathering with an emotional message.

As an expression of solidarity and support of Ukraine and Ukrainian people due to Russia's aggression against that country, a rally organized by the Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) and the Union of Ukrainians of the City of Zagreb began in Zagreb's main square in the presence of several hundred citizens, reports Ukrainian Ambassador Vasily Kirilich spoke at the gathering, who spoke through tears about Russia's aggression against his homeland, especially emphasizing the attack on the largest European nuclear power plant, Zaporozhye.

"It's not a war anymore, it's genocide. I ask NATO to stop this devil. If we do not stop today without being late tomorrow, I am asking Europe, the world, and NATO to close the skies in Ukraine and save thousands of lives. No time to think and make statements. It is time to act.", Kirilic said. The Ambassador thanked the Republic of Croatia, the Government, and the Prime Minister. Gathered citizens greeted his speech chanting: "Ukraine, Ukraine."

Several banners were seen at the gathering. On the fence in front of the stage on Ban Jelačić Square on the Ukrainian national flag is the message "I stand with Ukraine", "#stoprussianagression", and songs by Ukrainian bands are played on the loudspeaker. More citizens who came to express their support for the attacked country came to the Square in robes or carrying Ukrainian and Croatian national flags.

Some of them carry banners written in Croatian, Ukrainian, and English, which read, among others, "Glory to the Heroes of Ukraine" and "Glory to Ukraine", "Let's Help Ukraine", "Help Ukraine to save Europe, establish no-fly zone!", “Stop the war in Ukraine!”, “Pray for Ukraine”, “Stop Putin, stop the war”, “Stop the war, save Europe”, “Ukraine is the heart of Europe”.

A leaflet printed in Croatian and English was distributed to those gathered, which reads - We want freedom! Help us realize the dream of our freedom. Russia is just brutally bombing our cities. Putin denies and denies the existence of the Ukrainian nation, we just want freedom and live as free people. Please support Ukraine and our people.

Announcing the rally in Zagreb, Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) President Ivan Zvonimir Cicak on Wednesday called on leaders of other cities and counties to join in supporting Ukraine with their rallies, which will take place in several cities - Split, Vukovar, Rijeka, and Pula.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Zagreb Cener 2021: Golden 10th Edition, Applications Open Now!

September 27, 2021 - Marking the 10th anniversary of this famous night marathon, the Zagreb Cener 2021 will be the most epic edition of this race yet. Register to participate and get your legs moving in the City of Zagreb on November 7.

After being cancelled and switched ''to virtual'' due to the pandemic in 2020, the popular night marathon race, Zagreb Cener 2021 is back to normal and will be held on November 7.

This year is the round 10th edition of the race, and so it is only suitable, as Trč writes, that the opening of registrations started on September 23 at 10:10 AM. And it's not too late to register for participation yet either.

''Over the last ten years, this race has become popular due to its atmosphere, a straight and fast track suitable for achieving a good record and a route that goes through Zagreb's centre allowing runners to check out nice surroundings during the race. Over the years, Cener was full of sportsmen, recreational runners and average citizens, and many famous people, athletes and racers from abroad have also come and participated,'' writes Trč

This year's special ''Golden edition'' of the race will include a ten-kilometre race. Under the motto of ''Heads up'' to honour the struggles of 2020, the starting line, for the first time ever, will be at Ban Jelačić square, the central square of Zagreb.

''Road traffic and trams will be completely stopped from 19:00 to 20:15,'' says the official Zagreb Cener 2021 website. This will ensure a safe race that will be organised in two laps.

The first lap goes through following streets: Ban Jelačić Square – Jurišićeva – Palmotićeva – Boškovićeva – Držislavova – Victims of Fascism Square (with running around the square itself implied) – Račkoga – Jurišićeva – Ban Jelačić Square – Ilica – Krajiška – Gjure Deželića – Republic of Croatia Square– Masarykova– Teslina– Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square – Amruševa – Palmotićeva– Jurišićeva – Ban Jelačić Square.

The second lap goes through: Ban Jelačić Square – Ilica – Krajiška – Gjure Deželića – Republic of Croatia Square – Masarykova– Teslina– Nikola Šubić Zrinski Square kolnik) – Amruševa – Palmotićeva– Jurišićeva – Ban Jelačić Square.

The race has had its male (Mitja Krevs, 00:31:17) and female (Matea Parlov, 00:34:55) records set back in 2018, and those who manage to beat this and set a new record will be rewarded with a 1,500-kuna-worth card to spend at the Hervis sports store.

Additionally, this year's race has a team racing option.

''After the standard registrations, ten or more people can register as a team one week before the race begins. By their selected name, the ten fastest from each registered group will be put in competition for the champion title of the team race that will take home a special trophy,'' explains Trč“.

With the pandemic situation becoming much better but still requiring caution, the organisers have warned that covid certificates may be required (depending on the number of infections at that time), and epidemiological measures will all have to be respected. In the event of bad weather or a worsened epidemiological picture, the race may be postponed to a later date.

Due to the limited number of participants that can register due to the ongoing situation with the spread of coronavirus in Croatia, the race also still has a virtual option.

''Quite simply, run for ten kilometres and send us a screenshot of the app you used to measure your time and the length of your run,'' explained Zagreb Cener's official website.

The virtual race will last from November 7-14, and all the times at ten kilometres in length will qualify for the virtual champion title.

Whether you choose to go for a real-life or virtual event, registration fees must be paid before your application gets accepted. For the regular race, the price is 180 kuna, while the virtual race requires a 130 kuna fee. Pay the fee, get your welcome package, and then let your legs do the rest.

Learn more about sport in Croatia in our TC guide.

For more about marathons in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE Comes to Zagreb's Ban Jelačić Square for EURO 2020!

June 11, 2021 - Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE will come to Ban Josip Jelačić Square in Zagreb for the duration of EURO 2020!

The official fan club of the Croatia national football team Mi Hrvati is organizing the largest and most attractive fan zone, Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE, on Ban Josip Jelačić Square in Zagreb for the European Football Championship (EURO 2020) to be held in 11 European cities this summer, reports

Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE 2021 is the largest fan project in this part of Europe and the most important sports and cultural event of the year. This year's fan zone will be more special than ever before because Croatian fans have been prevented from entering Great Britain without the obligatory ten-day quarantine due to epidemiological measures. Thus, fans will be able to experience the ambiance of the stadium in the country's central football hub - the fan zone on Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb.

Organizationally and production-wise, this year's fan zone will be at the highest level, through a superbly equipped and designed space for outdoor production and activation zones.

All visitors will have the opportunity to watch all European Championship matches on a large LED screen of 40m2. An interesting entertainment program with numerous Croatian performers, a diverse accompanying program, and a rich catering and shopping offer are additionally provided.

Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE will be held, of course, with absolute respect for all current epidemiological measures.

On Friday, June 11, there will be a grand opening of the EURO in Rome, and the Croatian FANS Embassy ZONE in Zagreb, with the performance of Učiteljice from 19:30. An even bigger spectacle will take place during Sunday's match between Croatia and England with entertainment guaranteed thanks to the Zaprešić Boys starting at 14:00.

The fan zone will bring life to the capital city for one month, from June 11 to July 11, 2021.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Monday, 22 March 2021

VIDEO: Zagreb Earthquake 2020, One Year Later

March 22, 2021- On the Zagreb Earthquake 2020 first anniversary, TCN reporters Ivor Kruljac and Jose Alfonso Kusijanović took to Zagreb's streets to see how locals feel one year later. 

6:24 AM March 22, 2020. It was Sunday, but sleep was as light as it was a workday full of obligations. Zagreb's citizens were awakened by a horrible sound followed by walls shaking, the ground trembling and things falling all over the place. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, at the very end of the first week of the first lockdown where it was advised to stay indoors to prevent the spread of the virus, there was no choice but to rush out of the house, discombobulated and without a clue of what exactly is the damage that 5.5 magnitude earthquake did. Individuals, couples, and entire families were outside but at a distance from one another, and just after the first aftershock, it started to snow. If you didn't leave the very center of Zagreb, the first sign of damage was the cathedral, whose top of the left tower collapsed, and only later you started to see the images of the center, which many compared online to Beirut. The Covid-19 National Response Team expressed its condolences on TV but warning everyone to keep the distance due to corona. Emergency services rushed to the city, later followed by the army. People who lost their homes were taken to student dorms and other locations with free space in the following days. Sadly, a 15-year-old-girl was fatally injured during the earthquake and passed away at Klaićeva's Children Hospital.

One year later, citizens of Zagreb still have mixed feelings about the event. Here are their answers in our short interview.


Shaking the memory

Senior citizen Ljerka was walking around European Square. Her home survived the quake, and the aftermath was books that fell from a shelf and broken bottles and jars in her pantry.  She learned about that damage after a few days when she returned home from her sister's because she was too scared to be alone. The memory of last year still gives her the chills. „I jumped out of bed and lost my head; you have no idea where to go. You don't know what to do. I quickly grabbed something, half-dressed, rushed to the street. People were standing outside confused who didn't know where to go or what to do, nothing“, she said. Describing herself as an optimistic person, the scary experience is still stuck with her even one year later. „You remember it from time to time, but you can't forget it," said Ljerka.

A young guy named Dejan Jakovljević was casually walking around a crowded Dolac market, carefully with a mask to respect the measures in the crowds. He handled the earthquake pretty well as he lives in a new building with lots of concrete and reinforcement. 

„It woke me up, but I knew it was an earthquake. It didn't scare me. I just waited for it to be over“, said Dejan. Responding to how he feels about it one year later, he briefly acknowledged that he „honestly forgot about it. “


Borna Filic / PIXSELL

The same can't be said for American-born Stefanie Mikac from New York. We met her while she was walking her dog in Zrinjevac park. Her home was badly damaged. „I was in the bathroom dancing left and right. I didn't think it was an earthquake, I thought 'what is it, the devil had come!’ and there was smoke“, remembered Stefanie. When she realized it was an earthquake, she hid under the door, and when it passed, she searched for her dog that hid in the apartment before finally escaping her flat. On her trip to Hawaii, where earthquakes are quite frequent, she accepted that there is not much you can do against mother nature. Despite her bad experience, a year later, she feels safe in Zagreb. „Very secure, safe. You know, you have to take things as they come, “ said Stephanie sharing her positive attitude.

We spotted Mira Francem walking on Jelačić square. Her house was built following all the construction demands and proved to be earthquake-proof. Still, the rocky feeling isn't something that she liked. „I personally felt terrible. I had a feeling the whole world was collapsing, and in the end, that feeling of losing the ground under my feet is an instinct, you know?”, said Mira adding that even though her house is fine, the trembling ground was awful. When asked if there is still anxiety over the last year's event, she resoundingly repeated, “yes.”


Borna Filic / PIXSELL

Mladen Habuš was standing on Vlaška street that connects European Square with Kaptol, where the City's cathedral is located.

“My home was okay. The earthquake surprised everyone at first, but fortunately, they don't last, so you stabilize psychologically”, said Mladen calmly, as if it didn’t really leave an impression on him.

“I already forgot about it because it's not as frequent as in Glina or Petrinja, whereas they say, it shakes every five minutes,” he emphasized, and that the key is to remain relaxed. 

December – another round, another rumble

The second earthquake with a 6.4 magnitude that hit Petrinja and ravaged Banovina / Banija didn't damage Zagreb as it did to the southern part of central Croatia. Still, it was certainly felt, and many agreed it was stronger than the one in March.

„Jesus Christ! That one was even worse!“said Ljerka the second I mentioned the Petrinja earthquake. She learned that Zagreb is situated in a seismic active area, and earthquakes are something people in Zagreb need to learn to live with, but March didn't make her welcome the December tremble with more ease. She ran out of the house, not knowing what when her niece, who also lives in Zagreb, called her.

„I asked her if there was another earthquake in Zagreb. I didn't get anything. She said, 'no, that's the aftermath of Petrinja.' We are really close to Petrinja“, said Ljerka.


Nikola Cutuk / PIXSELL

Stephanie was walking her dog during the Petrinja earthquake. She witnessed bricks falling and was relieved nobody was passing underneath at the time. However, when she returned home, she entered the mess, and the damages that were still not fixed from March intensified. „All the cracks are wider now, and everything will need to be taken down to get to the healthy wall,” said Stephanie.

When asked if the December quake was easier or the same to handle for her, she laughed, acknowledging that it was actually worse.  “We repeated the reactions from the first earthquake, you know? It's a very unpleasant feeling even today when a tram passes or something buzzes. I think something is trembling, and we are quite tense”, shared Mira. She said that no matter how rational you are, consequences as emotions are different from rationale.  “I'm really sorry for those people. My house isn't damaged, but I was scared and lost, and I can only imagine how those people felt. It's a huge catastrophe on which we cannot influence,” said Mira with empathy.

Dejan felt the December quake was stronger but feeling safe in his building; he wasn't too worried. “I instinctively rushed to save the TV. Everything else was irrelevant”, recalled Dejan with gentle laughter underneath his mask.

Despite Mladen being relaxed after Petrinja, anxiety crept up on him too. “You start listening; someone starts a car, you raise your head to see what's going on. You are expecting another earthquake”, said Mladen. Still, he added that “you get used to it.”  


Insurance vs. safe building

As revealed earlier this year, 85% of Croatian households don't have earthquake insurance.

Dejan doesn't know if the building had insurance but given his building proved safe, he didn't seem too concerned with that question.

Mira also didn't have insurance, but her investment in the safe building certainly paid off.

Stephanie's home was badly damaged, but she pays 1200 kuna annually for insurance and says it isn't too expensive in Croatia. However, regarding the walls in her home that need to be fixed, there was a bit of an issue. „The insurance company actually secured only the furniture, but then through a lawyer, we made a deal to cover half of it. Something is better than nothing“, said Stephanie.

Ljerka complemented her landlord and how she manages things. Her building received a green sticker but chimneys needed to be removed. Insurance helped there a lot. „We took down the chimney ourselves, and we got the money back, I think 3000 kuna, “ said Ljerka. The roof was renewed a year or two ago, but the same couldn't be said about the terrace residents have in the back of the building. Insurance didn't want to cover it, and a loan was needed to be taken for the fixture.

City officials to the rescue! Or not?

Both the country and international community, not to mention companies and individuals, rushed to help Zagreb, and the now-deceased mayor Milan Bandić found himself challenged to return Zagreb to its old glory and shine as fast as possible. The situation even called for a Zagreb reconstruction bill on the parliament level as the government took the lead in rebuilding the city. In the meantime, Bandić passed away, and with local elections coming up, the city's repair remains a topic for all the candidates that hope to take the lead chair of city politics in May.

Regarding the response of the city officials, Ljerka isn't happy.

„What did the city do? Nothing. It was all ruins. Look at what Zagreb looks like now after the earthquake. How long has passed, and nothing is done. Nothing. Only the houses that people renovated themselves, but the city gave nothing”, commented Ljerka. She did, however, add that the city doesn’t have money and that she understands that.

Mira shares Ljerka's opinion that the situation is better for those who organized repairs privately. Still, when it comes to the city authority response, she says, „it should have gone faster, better, and more organized. “


Borna Filic / PIXSELL

„I see a lot of my friends who live in the center. It's all at a standstill. For those who engaged themselves privately, it is better, but otherwise, it is prolonged. It needs to be better, more active, more engaged to ease the people and make them stronger."

Dejan also thinks that the authorities' response was not good and that “they should help people.“

When asked to comment on the city's response to the earthquake damage, Stephanie was hesitant at first. She feared many people would disagree with her opinion and her different way of thinking because she lived in the US.

“Over there, we have asbestos insurance and insurance for everything. If you have a bank loan and the bank has input on the house, you have to have insurance”, explained Stephanie asking me if it is fair for her to pay the insurance while others don’t and later demand the city to pay for everything. “Imagine if the city would fix apartments for everyone and secure the buildings. Nobody would ever do that anywhere. They may give you a percentage, but that's it,” concludes Stephanie.  

Mladen is happy with the city's response.

“I think the city, to my knowledge and how much I followed, was the only one that jumped to help those who lost their homes and put them in free spaces,” Mladen pointed out. He also reminds us that the government took over the rebuild and the city is involved with 20%. When asked if it’s good for Zagreb that the government took the lead over the city, a resounding yes was the final answer. “The city doesn't have enough money, so the government needs to jump in," concluded Mladen.  

Steady ground wishes above all

Being the biggest and the capital city of Croatia, which attracts people from everywhere in the country and beyond, Zagreb streets offered truly diverse answers to Jose and me. There was more or less fright on March 22, 2020, and different levels of anxiety today. Different views on insurance and the city’s response. We can only guess how differently they will vote in May. But one wish is the constant for the Purger's hearth - the wish to see Zagreb as a safe city where you only get awakened by an alarm clock.   

 For more about the earthquake in Zagreb, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Traditional Slavonian and Baranya Food Cooked on Ban Jelacic Square

September 26, 2020 - If you are a fan of a bit spicy, and a dish rich with various meat, you should try traditional Slavonian and Baranya food cooked on Ban Jelacic square.

And if you are not, don't worry! As reports, there will be many tastes of Slavonia and Baranya like beans with sausages and bacon and sauerkraut, Kulen, cheese, Rakija, honey, cakes... 

Homemade desserts prepared according to traditional family recipes can be tasted from 8 am to 8 pm on Jelacic Square as part of the Days of Slavonia in Zagreb, opened for the seventh time, and will run through Tuesday. The products were exhibited by 75 members of the Association of Veterans of Pannonia, which organizes the event. 

"Exhibitors come from all over Croatia, but the emphasis is on Slavonian and Baranja products. There would be more stands, but we had to respect epidemiological measures, ie, the prescribed distance of one and a half meters that must be between them," explains the secretary of the association Nenad Kracun. 

Visitors to the Square also have the opportunity to learn how to make Slavonian gold embroidery, ie, the technique of making decorations with a special thread. "And the trade of Ruza Prelcec from Valpovo is in charge of that," says Kracun.

Cobanac, he adds, is prepared by theirs, as they call him from miles away, Slavonian Nadalina, ie, chef, defender, and member of the 5th Guards Brigade Antun Tićac. For the dessert, Family Farm Madjarica from Nova Gradiska is in charge.


Baranya Food | Photo by Romulic and Stojcic

The scent of dried meat products attracts people to its stands, for example, the Veterans' Cooperative Donji Grad from Osijek and the craft of Pava Baotic from Bosnjak, and the family farm Delic from Gornji Tucepi exhibits cosmetics and soaps made from olive oil. And speaking of liquid gold, the Sinkovic oil mill also exhibited a pumpkin version that interests visitors every year. Branimir and Ksenija Knez from Koprivnica offer, among other things, their famous fruit Rakija, and liqueurs made from chokeberry, walnut, carob, fig, cherry, and hazelnut are wildly popular.

From the farm in Siskovci near Vinkovci, where they have hundreds of hives, the Knežević family brought flower, forest, acacia, and chestnut honey, and bee products are also presented by the Vrljic family farm from Slavonski Brod. In addition to various types of honey, their balms and creams are also on offer.

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Monday, 27 January 2020

VIDEO: Thousands Welcome Croatia Handball Team at Ban Jelacic Square in Zagreb

January 27, 2020 - Thousands of handball fans and Croatian citizens gathered at Ban Jelacic Square in Zagreb on Monday to welcome the Croatia handball team after taking the silver medal at the 2020 European Championship.

After a surprise welcome at Zagreb Airport, where 500 fans gathered to greet the team at 1 am, the party continued to the capital’s central square on Monday, where a reception was held for the Croatia handball team to congratulate them on a job well done at the 2020 European Championship.

Just after 12:30 pm, the team was announced on stage, followed by the coach and crucial members of the staff and federation.

Coach Lino Cervar was the first to address the crowd. 

"Dear citizens of Zagreb, I am proud to have led our team with passion and immense love. I am grateful to all the generations and this team that has shown incredible unity. I look forward to seeing many children and many young people here. That's why I say, parents guide your children and help them when it is difficult for them. And I also ask the children for their endless gratitude to their parents so that you can say thank you to them. No one will take away our family, as the family is the cradle of life. And these guys showed how to fight when it's the hardest.

I wanted to say something else.

We have fewer and fewer children in our country. That is why we need communion, every day. To go into the future, universal values must be respected, namely truth, righteousness and love."

Igor Karacic, a member of the All-star team at the Euro, was the next to take the microphone.

“This is beautiful. I think that in these 20 days we delighted our people, and it was wonderful to be a Croat in those moments. It’s a shame that we just missed it, but when we see these people, we are happy and we can move forward. The worse team didn’t lose, but that’s sport. We were all together, as one, and the team breathed like a family,” said Karacic.

"I'm not a talker like Lino, but I’m sorry that we made you guys so nervous. Thank you on behalf of the whole team. We hope this is not the last reception,” the MVP of the European Championship and Croatia captain Domagoj Duvnjak concluded.

You can watch the reception in its entirety below.

Source: HRT

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Handball Fan-Zone Tent on Zagreb Main Square

Now that January is very much upon us, and the celebrations of another extremely successful Advent season are also subsiding, Zagreb’s Ban Jelačić Square hasn't had a lot of time to be empty...

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ban Jelačić Square