Saturday, 6 August 2022

Need A Tourism Break? Five Ways to Escape the Summer Crowds in Split

August 6, 2022 - If you're looking for a break from the summer crowds in Split, we don't blame you. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to escape. 

Split tourism has been a bit... different this summer. With crowds larger than ever (it seems) and very little control over them in the UNESCO-protected center (you can read more about that here), the Split tourism bomb has well and truly gone off this season, and we still have a ways to go. 

With travel returning after the pandemic and a season that started earlier than ever, it's felt like summer in Split since Easter - with sunny and warm days to boot. But Split's historic core isn't necessarily adapted for hordes of tourists (we don't think Diocletian had this in mind), making the center almost unbearable at times as swarms of sweat-drenched travelers make their way through narrow cobblestone streets. 

Fortunately, Split is much larger than its Old Town, and if you want a break from the buzz, we have you covered. 

So, how to beat the crowds in Split?

Marjan

Okay, we know this is a foolproof answer, but that green hilltop known as the city's lungs actually serves a great purpose for those looking to stretch their legs in nature. Best in the early morning for a hike up the hill, followed by coffee with Split's best view from Vidilica, or at sunset for a swim at many of its beaches, Marjan has always been a go-to for locals looking for a slice of peace during summer tourism chaos. Rent a bike to ride around, strap on your walking shoes for a sunset stroll, or post up at Bene beach for the day surrounded by pines and the buzzing of cicadas. 

 

Shopping malls 

Did you know that Split has 3 (air-conditioned) shopping malls, all a short drive outside of the city center? We know that shopping malls might not necessarily be high on your list when you're here to visit a 1700-year-old Roman masterpiece, but if you're looking for a break from sightseeing and need a minute to cool off, Split's shopping malls are not a bad place to be. Joker is the closest to the city center, about a 15-minute walk (which we don't suggest in this heat) or a 5-minute taxi ride. Mall of Split and City Center One are a bit further outside the center but still less than a 15-minute drive. Not only does each shopping mall offer an array of brands, but you'll find extra-air-conned cinemas, content for kids, and fun food courts. Again, we know it isn't the best option, but desperate times call for desperate measures when it's 35+ degrees Celsius. Treat yourself. 

 

Bura Line - Slatine 

My favorite getaway this summer is hopping on the 9:30 am Bura Line and heading to Trogir for the day. But only because my parents live nearby. Trogir is no better with crowds this summer, but one stop on the Bura Line is still a safe haven this summer - Slatine on Čiovo Island. A 30-minute boat ride from Split to Slatine has you on the beach in no time - and for only 30 kuna! This small fishermen's village and low-key tourist resort located on the northeastern side of the island doesn't have too much to offer. However, it boasts several stunning beaches, the most beautiful of which is Kava, just 1 kilometer from Slatine town. The Bura Line offers four connections daily in the high season, allowing travelers to comfortably spend the day away from Split. 

 

Museums

Tourists may not take enough advantage of Split's museums, and there are many to explore. Split's most prized museum is undoubtedly the Meštrović Gallery, located around the bend from Sustipan park and conveniently behind Ježinac, allowing visitors to mix the work of 20th-century sculptor Ivan Meštrović with a swim. And if you are looking for something more central? Don't miss the interactive and immersive Museum of Illusions, or stop by Split's oddest institution - Froggyland. Who knows, you may discover a new love for taxidermy frogs? Pro tip: If you're looking for a quick but unmatched Virtual Reality experience of Split and its fascinating Roman history - you'll need to set aside 15 minutes for Diocletians' Dream!

 

Day trips 

We know you're here to visit Split, but its surroundings are spectacular and shouldn't be missed. If you want to keep it local, head to the ancient ruins of Salona in the town of Solin, easily reachable by Promet bus from HNK (to Širina) or taxi (both around 15-20 minute ride depending on traffic). Klis Fortress is also just 12 kilometers outside Split and reachable by local bus or taxi. Open every day from 8:30 pm to 10 pm, don't forget that your ticket price also includes a visit to the Interpretation Center at Mejdan Square and the Stella Croatica ethno-agro park, where you can taste homemade olive oil and local traditional products for a 'multi-sensory experience of Dalmatia’s heritage.' And should you get really hungry? The Stella Croatica tavern offers local Dalmatian dishes served in the courtyard of the estate’s central square! 

 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Museum of Illusions Moving Headquarters to Atlanta, USA

July the 11th, 2022 - The famous Zagreb attraction which draws crowds from all over each and every year, the Museum of Illusions, is set to move its headquarters across the pond to the USA.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the City of Zagreb's much loved Museum of Illusions, a Croatian creation that received an additional spring in its step in terms of global expansion with the entry of the venture capital fund Invera Equity Partners, is moving its headquarters across the Atlantic Ocean to the USA.

Although in the business of selling (optical) illusions according to a successful museum-style formula, according to which their network today consists of 37 museums across the world in 21 countries, business logic demands its own set of rules. They want to be perceived as a company and not merely a museum, which is why they're opening an office in Atlanta in order to achieve better valuations once the time comes for the exit of the aforementioned capital fund and the eventual payment of returns to its investors.

"We belong to the entertainment industry, the ''mid-way'' segment of the market that refers to attractions lasting up to two hours for which visitors are willing to pay between 20 and 70 US dollars, it's a concept quite similar to that of Madame Tussauds,'' illustrated Invera partner Slaven Kordic. Invera Equity Partners is otherwise currently the only venture capital fund present here on the Croatian market that sought its lucrative investment in the entertainment industry segment.

"Croatia could have many more such investments, there are homegrown ideas with similar potential when it comes to spreading to Western Europe and all the way over to the USA. We have five more target companies with whom we're talking about potential investment," Kordic revealed. How much they've actually invested in Metamorfosis, the company behind the project of the Museum of Illusions, since July 2021 - he didn't discuss.

It was the completion of that particular investment, which saw the capital fund acquire a majority share of 65 percent, that the venture capital fund industry recognised as the best private equity investment of the past year. It's worth mentioning that the competition was quite fierce because Provectus' investments in Keindl Sport, Adria Dental Group and the Aiva polyclinic, Prosperus' acquisition of Neos and Rohatyn's sale of Pet Network International, which includes Pet Centre, all competed for the title.

Despite the move of the Museum of Illusions' headquarters across the pond to Atlanta, the service centre, i.e. the "brain" of the operation, will remain at home in Croatia.

"Zagreb will be a global hub where people from all over the world will work with the ''know how'' of running a museum, creating exhibits and marketing, while the management functions will be moved to the USA," said Kordic. The head of the company since October has been American Jonathan Benjamin, a renowned manager from the USA who honed his experience in the development of the business of Altitude Trampoline Parks and Briggo Coffee, who, alongside the team in Atlanta, is focused on making strong step forward for the Museum of Illusions on the American market.

Unlike, for example, entrepreneur Mate Rimac, who fiercely branded all segments of his business (despite all expectations and bets) here at home in Croatia, where he was supported by strategic investors, Kordic says that the circumstances of venture capital funds are somewhat different, as there is a huge emphasis on ensuring eventual financial returns for investors.

"It's less important where they're from and who runs the business, the key is that the majority of employees will remain here in Croatia. We want to achieve a situation in which the company is perceived as American in order to achieve better returns one day when it comes to those payouts,'' explained Kordic. The perception of an "American" company in practice is very specific, the return could reach 15x EBITDA, while a Croatian company would have to count on far less than that.

The investment time horizon of Invera EP is five years or less, and this is the period in which the fund wants to transform the business by taking it to a higher and more secure level. Their ambitions are great, but so is the potential, according to investors, so the initial projections for the eventual investor exit have been corrected to a massive "200 million euros plus".

"We've already received two offers for sale from Europe, but we rejected them because we believe that there's a lot of great potential with investments and development,'' said Kordic, adding that they want to achieve this with strong names in management, among which are Teo Sirola at the head and Ivan Stipancic in charge of finances. Co-founder Roko Zivkovic, without whom the idea of ​​the Museum of Illusions and all of its accompanying optical illusions and puzzles around the world wouldn't even exist, is still within the company as an advisor to the Management Board.

Croatian wisdom

The largest investors in the fund are the European Investment Fund with 30 million euros, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with 10 million euros, and three domestic pension funds, Raiffeisen, Erste and PBZ CO, cumulatively supporting it with 14.5 million euros. Among the investors is also the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Fund with 4.5 million euros, while partners Slaven Kordic and Kemal Sikiric and their employees invested another 1.5 million euros.

Receiving the award for the best private investment of the year, Roko Zivkovic said on Wednesday in Zagreb that when they started the Museum of Illusions project, they never dreamed that such an expansion of a project made entirely in Croatia could happen, pointing out that in addition to the 37 current locations of the museum around the world, another 12 locations are currently under construction.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Museum of Illusions Opens Its Doors in Budapest, Milan, and Tel Aviv

December 15, 2021 - In the last few months, the Museum of Illusions has opened its doors in new attractive locations around the world: Budapest, Milan, and Tel Aviv. Thus, this Croatian franchise has expanded to 22 countries on as many as four continents.

One of the largest Museums of Illusions in Europe opened in Budapest

One of the largest Museums of Illusions in Europe has opened its doors in the heart of Budapest. Although we are used to the fantastic exhibits in the Museum in Ilica, where it all started, the new museum in Budapest is already falling off its feet. With eight themed rooms, dozens of installations, unique holograms, a Vortex tunnel, unique logic development games, and many amazing illusions, visitors to the latest museum in the Hungarian capital can learn and experience how human perception and brain work. Remember in the Museum of Illusions nothing is as it seems, and optical illusions will delight everyone from the youngest to the oldest. An ames room where all the walls are trapezoidal and nothing is as it seems will disturb your perception of who is actually how big. You can take photos in an inverted room where everything is turned 180 °, and in an endless room where mirrors cover every surface, you will not find a way out so easily. In a world of fun and fascinating tricks, everyone, from small to big, can figure out why we see things our brains can’t comprehend. We can learn a lot about perspective, optical illusions, and the wonders of science and the human brain.

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Photo: Museum of Illusions (Budapest)

Along with Budapest, new locations: Milan and Tel Aviv

An incredible entrepreneurial story from Zagreb's Ilica has traveled all over the world, and now all major world capitals want to have one copy of the Museum of Illusions. Thus, museums were recently opened in Milan and Tel Aviv. Milan has thus become the 34th city in the world with such an interactive museum that offers an interesting visual and educational experience. Inside, you're allowed to laugh, scream, run, paint and do anything that is not allowed in other museums. The Museum of Illusions is not static, it is a space that allows people creativity and entertainment and that is why visitors around the world adore it. The museum collection consists of more than 70 attractions covering science, mathematics, biology, and psychology. The Tel Aviv Museum is one in a series of attractive world locations. Israel thus got a museum that will work seven days a week, and which will change the exhibition every season, by supplementing it with new exhibits. Visitors there can learn a lot about perspective, optical perception, the human brain, and science through unconventional exhibits to present and learn why our eyes see things that our brain does not understand.

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Coordination from Zagreb

The Museum of Illusions is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world. Budapest, Milan, and Tel Aviv have joined the impressive list of 35 world cities such as New York, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Shanghai, Dubai, Paris, New Delhi, Athens, Cairo, Vienna, Madrid, Stuttgart, Belgrade, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, and many others where you can visit the Museum of Illusions. It is a true 21st-century museum, which at the same time entertains, fascinates, and challenges your senses. The whole story started in Zagreb, from two friends and founders of the company Metamorfoza, Tomislav Pamuković, and Roko Živković. This year, the story continued in the form of a change in ownership structure. Namely, Invera Equity Partners, a private equity fund management company, has finalized its investment in Metarmofoza. Invera thus acquired a majority (65%) stake in the company and undertook to increase the company's capital in the amount of EUR 3 million. The goal of the partnership is to further expand in the world, through franchising, but also through a business model in which Metamorphosis would open and manage museums in all major cities around the world. The company's headquarters are still in Zagreb, where a team of about 20 people is working on the further development of the company, from design, engineering, and construction of new museums, to the development of new exhibits and further expansion of the concept of the Museum of Illusions.

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"From our goal to provide Zagreb with a place that combines entertainment and education, an idea was created that conquered the world. We have become the largest chain of private museums in the world and this is a story that has a serious future. We believe that the concept of "edutainment" has finally received the attention it deserves because it is easiest for everyone to learn and adopt new information when we have a good time. With the opening of museums in Budapest, Milan and Tel Aviv, this list of cities is only expanding, which makes us incredibly happy.”, said the founders Tomislav Pamuković and Roko Živković.

"We are pleased to invest in this concept, which has already left a big mark on the global level, and we believe that an even brighter future awaits it. Although the company is relatively young, their great and innovative concept of ‘edutainment’ has a great future and we are sure that it will develop more and more. We look forward to future projects.”, said Slaven Kordić from Invera Equity Partners.

Find out more about the Museum of Illusions here. You can also follow the Museum of Illusions on Facebook, Instagram, and TripAdvisor.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Museum of Illusions Prepares Step Forward Thanks to Cash Injection

July the 24th, 2021 - The wildly popular Museum of Illusions which placed the Croatian capital of Zagreb on the museum map for very many people, is set to make yet another international breakthrough owing to a very welcome cash injection.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Invera Equity Partners (IEP) private equity fund management company has finalised an investment for the company Metamorfoza, which is behind the well-known educational and entertainment Museum of Illusions concept.

This business model is based on the franchise and is present across twenty countries, in 34 cities on four continents, including the likes of New York, Paris, Toronto, Vienna, Dubai, Shanghai.

The concept was developed by the company's founders and current shareholders Tomislav Pamukovic and Roko Zivkovic, launching it back in June 2015 in the heart of Zagreb, where it immediately experienced great success and from where it quickly began to spread around the world.

The investment in Metamorfoza is the first transaction financed by the Invera Private Equity Fund, and was supported by the European Investment Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Raiffeisen Mandatory Pension Fund, the Erste Blue Mandatory and Voluntary Pension Fund, the Decommissioning Financing Fund (NEK) and the PBZ Croatia Insurance mandatory pension fund. The IEP thus acquired a majority (65 percent) stake in the company and undertook to increase its capital by a massive three million euros.

"We're delighted with this new partnership and believe that this is a great way for the Museum of Illusions concept to grow and continue to be a global leader in this segment," said Pamukovic and Zivkovic. IEP will continue to develop Metamorfoza and strengthen its partnerships with the company's founders.

The company is focused on further expansion across the world, primarily through franchises, but also by turning the business model in which Metamorfoza would open and manage museums in all major cities around the world.

“Creating a new idea and turning it into a marketable product is in itself a great success. Creating a new idea and turning it into a globally recognisable brand on four continents and more than 20 countries within 6 years is truly remarkable. It obviously took a unique combination of the founder’s creativity, vision, and perseverance to bring Metamorfoza to this level. We're proud that Roko and Tomislav gave us their trust and joined us at this stage,'' said Kemal Sikiric, an IEP Executive Partner.

For more, follow our business section. For all you need to know about Zagreb adapted to 2021, check out Zagreb in a Page.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Museum of Illusions Becomes World's Largest Chain of Private Museums

February 10, 2021 - Museum of Illusions has become the largest chain of private museums in the world! 

HRTurizam writes that today is another historic day for Croatian tourism and Croatia in general.

Namely, the Museum of Illusions opened its 30th franchise, this time in New Delhi, and thus became the largest chain of private museums in the world.

Europe is still closed, while the American and global markets are slowly opening up and becoming more active, points out Roko Živković of the Museum of Illusions.

“The partners we work with throughout the project have continued to build new museums. Europe is all closed, and this is where the expansion of the franchise cares most about the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, the American market is very active, and soon, through the franchise model, the Museum of Illusions will open in Miami, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Washington, as well as in Cairo and in the capital of Saudi Arabia - Riyadh," says Zivkovic, and concludes how happy they are that in this crisis, the franchise is expanding and developing all over the world, especially because people from Croatia are working on the project.

Interestingly, Roko Živković and his business partner Tomislav Pamuković got the idea for the Museum of Illusions by watching the popular BrainGames series on National Geographic. Six years after the first museum in Zagreb in 2015, today, the Museum of Illusions has become the world's largest chain of private museums.

"Museum of Illusions offers interactive, immersive, and fun experiences for children, parents, couples, grandmothers, and grandfathers – a perfect, unusual, and exciting place for all generations. Amusing and awesome tricks will teach you about vision, perception, the human brain, and science, so it will be easier to perceive why your eyes see things which your brain cannot understand," reads the Museum of Illusions website.

It is important to emphasize that this is a Croatian tourist export product, which includes a Croatian team, and all exhibits are more or less produced in Croatia.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Split Receives Museum of Illusions with 70 Exhibits and Attractions

May 27, 2020 - New York, Paris, Shanghai, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, and thirteen other attractive locations around the world, are now connected with Split by one thing - the Museum of Illusions.

HRTurizam writes that the importance of quality, authentic and different content in our tourist destinations is paramount, and the city of Split is now richer for exactly that. Namely, the Museum of Illusions opened its doors in Split on Monday at Andrija Kačića Miošića 2, with more than 300 square meters and 70 exhibits and attractions. 

Thus, the people of Split and all their guests will witness the realm of illusions, unusual rooms, vortex tunnels, interesting holograms, and other exhibits that are mostly produced in Croatia.

"The concept was designed in Zagreb in order to be the first Museum of Illusions of this kind to achieve great success. And then, through the franchise, it expanded to 18 world locations. Split is the third Croatian, it has just opened, and we already have a lot of guests. People have heard of it, and now they have the opportunity to see the attractions, of which about 20 are presented for the first time in the city under Marjan," says Mario Braovac, co-owner of the Museum of Illusions in Split, for Slobodna Dalmacija

“A sincere smile, helping visitors with all the important information, i.e., caring for the end user are just some of the reasons why most of our visitors come back several times. This is a fact that we consider being the greatest indicator of our success, perhaps more than the incredible number of franchises opened worldwide. In the last few years, Split has been the bearer of the flagship of Croatian tourism, a kind of capital of the Croatian coast. The cheerful spirit of its inhabitants makes it a perfect host. The Museum of Illusions will only further complement its already generous cultural and entertainment offer not only to the residents of Split and its surroundings but also to all its guests," points out the Museum of Illusions.

The Museum of Illusions is also equipped with a smart playroom based on the Dilemma games didactic program, approved by the Ministry of Education and Science.

An excellent tourist story and quality entertainment and tourist content is proof of how the business model of private museums can work. 

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Croatian Peruvian Returns to Homeland Starts Design Business

Dragitza is a brilliant young Croatian Peruvian who decided to seek a better life in her homeland. She started her own business, has a stand-up comedy act and is a finalist on a popular TV cooking show.

Founder of Puro Amor Design in Zagreb

You may not have heard of Dragitza Rastegorac yet, but you have probably heard of the brand Puro Amor Design, which has been selling cups with wacky and personalized labels for a while. This 29-year-old was born and raised in Peru, but her Croatian roots brought her back to the region her family came from. She recently spoke to Veronika Švob/SUPER1/Telegram about life in Zagreb, her first job, stand-up comedy and her current business over coffee at Cogito Café on Deželićeva Ulica.

Dragitza was born and spent 26 years of her life in Lima, the capital of Peru. Her father is originally from Kupres and her mother is from Bugojno, so when she turned nine, she had the opportunity to spend two years in Croatia before returning to Peru again. After graduating from high school and college in Lima, Dragitza decided that she no longer wanted to live Peru and decided to come to Croatia.

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Puro Amor Design | Facebook

Left Corruption and Poverty in Peru for Better Croatian Life

"After graduation, I didn't even look for a job there, but came to Zagreb. The people of Lima most often go to Argentina to look for work or further education, but I did not want to go that route. Something drew me to Croatia.”

She claims that it was not because of the people and adds that the Peruvians are very warm and know how to socialize with others, but Lima is a very unsafe place to live.

"There is so much poverty, and corruption which does not benefit people at all, and I simply felt that I did not belong there. While I was growing up, we often spent time in Croatian emigrant social circles. Most of those Croats had arrived in Peru after the Second World War and were already third generation. I am second generation, for example.”

“I studied communication science, and the course of study is quite different than that in Croatia. I learned a lot about advertising and graphic design. After I completed my degree, I applied for a scholarship in Croatia, which was not difficult to get, because there are plenty of openings. I think the goal is to encourage Croatians to eventually return from abroad. Not all of them stay, of course, and some only come for a year or two.”

She first came alone, lived in a dormitory on the Sava, and met a lot of people from Peru, Argentina and Canada at that time.

Studied Croatian As Scholarship Student in Croaticum

“I studied Croatian through the Croaticum program at the Filozofski Fakultet (Faculty of Philosophy) and it was quite challenging, but I believe it is currently the best program for learning Croatian. It was not my first contact with the Croatian language because I came here at the age of nine and went to school here for two years.”

She spoke Spanish all her life, but what she had learned as a child helped her a lot. "The Croatian language is very difficult, it is really demanding, especially when it comes to the cases. I can't compare it to Spanish at all.”

She speaks Croatian very well today, adding that she still messes up the cases sometimes. After her classes ended, she stayed in Croatia for another month before returning to Lima. But then she came back to after half a year and knew then that she wanted to stay Croatia. "I had a great roommate from Slavonski Brod and met a lot of foreigners, somehow it all fell into place."

First Job as Manager at Museum of Illusions

"My first job in Zagreb was at the Museum of Illusions. I saw an ad saying that they were looking for someone who spoke English and that Spanish was an advantage. I applied for this job thinking that I would be the guide in the museum, not run the whole museum. However, it turned out that I became manager of the museum and stayed there for about a year.”

She points out that it was no problem for her to get the job, and that she rejected as many as two offers in the meantime.

"Many thought I got the job through a relationship, but I really didn't. After a year at the museum I was working on another project for them, but it didn't work out very well and I was glad when I got fired. Everyone around me was amazed to see that I kept a smile on my face, but I just had to.”

She had her own business plan in mind by then, or rather she had just begun thinking about it, but hadn’t done anything yet.

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Puro Amor Design | Facebook

Created Business Plan Out of Love for Collecting Cups

She first came up with the idea of making cups because she collected them. “I was constantly searching for cups with Croatian inscriptions and could not find them anywhere. Now there are several cups, but at that time I couldn't find anything interesting.” It occurred to her to start making them herself, so she began with drawings, and was somewhat inspired by the Spanish brand Mr. Wonderful, which does similar work in all languages. "So, I started and showed my friend some ideas and she really liked them.

"My dad lent me money to print the first 250 pieces, I opened a Paušalni obrt (or lump sum business – I still don't know exactly what that means, but I am a lump sum) and started the business.”

After she reached out to the Instagram profile @zagrebfacts as it offered her a lot of Zagreb slang expressions; people started inquiring. "That was two years ago, I remember that I had sold almost a hundred pieces in just a few days. That early success fueled my motivation to continue. "

After that, she bought her first printer, then a second and third. She started her business in a room in a rented apartment and eventually moved it into the living room. "My emphasis is on personalized mugs, and I offer customers five options to choose from. Then Mother's Day came, and the business simply swelled to such an extent that shops started contacting me with their orders.” Then the media became interested and there were competitions. She even tried to work with Croatian influencers, but that did not progress. However, she had the great fortune of opening a showroom in on Jurišićeva Ulica.

Opened Puro Amor Design Shop on Jurišićeva Ulica

"I am here alone most of the time. My best friend helps me, and everything goes from production to sale here." Although she started with cups, she began producing canvas bags and feathers last February, and next February she expects to continue with t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts. Now she is making a decent living. "I do not expect to make a fortune, but I think something like this was needed in Croatia. At least that’s how it turned out for now.” You can follow Puro Amor Design on Facebook and Instagram.

Moonlighting as Stand-Up Comedienne at Studio Smijeha

She also took acting classes in Peru and was part of an acting ensemble, Dragitza has a few plays behind her. "This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to America after college. I even auditioned for the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, which is quite demanding but too expensive, so I gave up. It was a good confirmation to me that I have talent, so when I came to Zagreb, I enrolled in Studio Kubus, but realized that it was quite difficult for me to act in Croatian.”

Shortly after, she found a stand-up workshop at Studio smijeha (Studio of Laughs) and decided to go there.

"Marina Orsag told me that I was very endearing, that I had a super accent, and advised me to write some text. She soon asked me when I was planning on performing on open mic, and although I was excited, I didn't tell anyone I was going to do it. The show turned out great, and the crowd was roaring with laughter. The topics revolved around my parents, life in Zagreb, about being told that I’d never find a job here, and about some of my observations as a foreigner."

She also draws his inspiration from her love life, which she says is totally chaotic. "Well, I borrow stories from girlfriends, funny down-to-earth stories but I'm pretty focused on women's topics. From PMS to the gynecologist.” She doesn't write as often as she would like but hopes to hold a new performance every month. "A lot of people come to listen to stand-up, it's brilliant to realize that you can make people laugh. I'm an optimistic person and see good things in everyone. I'm a positive person by nature."

In her free time, she goes to Praćka for karaoke, while she chooses Katran for dancing. "Well, that was a bit of a shock to me. In Peru, you dance wherever you go but there’s nothing here. It's so hard to get people to move around here. And at first, I went to Latin American dance events, because I missed them so much.”

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Dragitza Rastegorac | Facebook

Made it to Semi Finals on Popular Cooking TV Show

She loves to cook, mostly Peruvian cuisine, and her mom sends her spices regularly to make those dishes work. "We eat very spicy foods, and prepare meat for a long time, and coriander and yellow chili are my favorite spices." She admits he does not excel in preparing fish. In Peru, raw fish, known as ceviche, is one of the most famous dishes. "From Croatian cuisine, I love pate, beans and greens and Istrian specialties which my roommate’s mom sends." Dragitza also recently made it to the semi-finals on the TV show Kuhan i pečen (Cooked and Baked).

"She likes the pace of life here. Zagreb is not that big of a city and I can get everything done in one day. The only sad thing for me is that Croatians want to leave the country and they often tell me that I won’t stay here for very long. I don't think they appreciate what they have, but I don't know. And it wasn't that easy for me to start this adventure. There were days when I only sold one or two cups, but if you are persistent and if you work hard, there is no door that won’t open. Croatians do not consider the option of starting their own business after graduation, while that is common practice in Peru. If you don't find a job, you can figure out one out for yourself. I have a dozen more ideas, but don't have time for everything.”

Well, Dragitza is a good example of commitment all the way to the finish line, and nothing can stop her. She's truly inspirational.

Follow our Made in Croatia page and Diaspora page to keep updated on Croatia returnees, their business ventures and successes.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Popular Zagreb Museum of Illusions Opens First Location in China

An idea born in Zagreb has now made its mark all over the world. Thanks to a franchise model that has pushed Croatian innovation outside the borders of the country, the Museum of Illusions has opened its doors in China.

At the prestigious location near the famous Shanghai waterfront promenade ‘The Bund’, the Museum of Illusions opened its doors on July 13, 2019. The latest Museum of Illusions is the largest of this franchise yet - and after impressive locations opened in New York and Kansas City last year, the Shanghai Museum of Illusions is the 16th in the world and the first in China, reports HRTurizam on July 16, 2019.

Just four years after opening in Zagreb, the Museum of Illusions has gained international popularity and has quickly become one of Croatia’s finest tourist export products. Recall, today, the Museum of Illusions can be found in Athens, Belgrade, Berlin, Dubai, Hamburg, Kansas City, Kuala Lumpur, Ljubljana, Muscat, New York, Shanghai, Tbilisi, Toronto, Vienna, Zadar, and Zagreb.

The Shanghai Museum of Illusions began work three months after the cooperation was signed between the founders of the Museum and the Chinese partner, a long-time promoter of the Croatian-Chinese economic cooperation, on the margins of the Dubrovnik 16 + 1 Summit. The Chinese partner intends to offer Croatian products in the Museum of Illusions' souvenir shop as they will become available on the Chinese market.

The Croatian media is continually pointing out the interest of Chinese investors, strengthening the link between Croatia and China, and placing Croatia's services and products on the Chinese market. Thus, opening the Museum of Illusions in China is one of the concrete economic successes that is the result of the favorable climate between the good relations between Croatia and China.

Furthermore, the year of culture and tourism between Croatia and China will be marked in Shanghai on November 2 at the China International Import Expo. Croatia will have a presence in Shanghai with representatives of the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. The friendly cooperation between Zagreb and Shanghai will mark its 40th anniversary.

The Museum of Illusions' franchise plans to expand to Amsterdam, Bruxelles, Dallas, Doha, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Madrid, Miami, Paris, Riyadh, Rome, Stuttgart, Taichung City, and Rhodes. 

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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Zagreb's Museum of Illusions Opening Franchises Worldwide

ZAGREB, September 30, 2018 - A little over three years since its opening in Zagreb, the Museum of Illusions has opened nine franchises around the world, from the United States to the United Arab Emirates, and there are plans to open another dozen.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Museum of Illusions in Zagreb Celebrates 3rd Birthday

Happy birthday to one of the most popular museums in the town.

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