Saturday, 27 November 2021

2021 Zagreb Advent Features in The New York Times

November 27, 2021 - Ahead of the opening on Saturday evening, the 2021 Zagreb Advent event features in the online edition of The New York Times.

As Zagreb prepares for the opening of Advent on Saturday, November 27, the award-winning event was featured in the online edition of The New York Times through the presentation of Zagreb fashion accessories and designers, reports Jutarnji List.

The Zagreb Tourist Board (TZGZ) reported on Friday, noting that a feature on Zagreb and fashion in The New York Times was prepared by journalist Kristin Vukovic, presenting a tie, handmade bags, hats, and umbrellas as authentic Zagreb fashion accessories.

The report features statements by well-known Croatian fashion brands and designers, such as those from Croata, Ethno Butik Mara, Kobali šeširi, Kišobrani Cerovečki, and goldsmith Marija Nokaj, while Zagreb is described as a city with a style that through influences from nearby Italy and the Austro-Hungarian past, together with traditional symbols combined with contemporary design, creates a distinctive flair.

The Tourist Board points out that The New York Times is one of the most popular daily newspapers in the United States, and that by cooperating with them, as well as many other media around the world and appearing at tourism fairs and congresses, they are working on the promotion of the Croatian capital, noting that the invested funds are returned many times over through various media announcements.

The opening of Advent Zagreb on Saturday, November 27, begins with the symbolic lighting of the first Advent candle on Manduševac on the central Ban Jelačić Square, followed by the illumination of pine trees on the Gradec Plateau, and the main lighting on Zrinjevac.

Advent will be held until January 6, 2022, at multiple central locations.

Every year and despite the pandemic, the Tourist Board believes that the event will attract many domestic and foreign tourists, who are recommended to adhere to the prescribed measures at Advent locations. Note that many hoteliers and caterers in Zagreb are ready for Advent with special offers.

It is also expected that December could further improve the results of tourist traffic in Zagreb. This year, from 1 January to 25 November, it is significantly increasing compared to the same period in 2020.

According to the Tourist Board, by October 25 this year, about 555,000 tourists visited Zagreb, who realized 1.2 million overnight stays, which is an increase of 69 and 63 percent compared to 2020, with both domestic and foreign tourists achieving more overnight stays than last year, i.e., 305,000 and 920,000.

Compared to 2019, the total number of overnight stays in Zagreb this year until October 25 was at 52 percent from that record pre-pandemic year.

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

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Increase in Ryanair Zagreb Christmas Flights from Dublin, Eindhoven, Stockholm

November 17, 2021 - The Croatian capital will be busy this holiday season with an increase in Ryanair Zagreb Christmas flights from Dublin, Eindhoven, and Stockholm! 

The Irish low-cost airline is offering a number of weekly flights around Christmas and New Year on several existing routes, as well as on routes running in early December, reports Croatian Aviation.

In addition to the new lines announced for next summer, Ryanair is also preparing for increased demand on European lines around Christmas and New Year and has thus made several operational changes to the lines from its Zagreb base.

Ryanair is showing great interest in the line between Dublin and Zagreb, which will run from December 2 this year, three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. From December 20 to January 9, Ryanair will increase the number of weekly flights on this route to a total of four, operating between the two cities on Wednesdays, too!

On the new Ryanair line between Eindhoven and Zagreb, which runs from December 3 (twice a week, Monday and Friday), there will be an increase in the number of weekly rotations on this line from December 20 to January 9, totaling four-weekly flights with additional flights on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There will also be an increase in operations on two lines to Sweden, to Gothenburg and Malmö. The Gothenburg-Zagreb line currently runs three times a week and will run four times a week around Christmas, additionally on Tuesdays. From January 3 to January 9, six weekly flights have been announced, every day except Saturday.

Finally, on the Malmö - Zagreb - Malmö line, there will also be an increase in operations at the very beginning of January, and four weekly flights have been announced on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The line currently operates twice a week.

More good news: Ryanair introduced a line between Rome (Ciampino Airport) and Zagreb this summer, though the flights were transferred to Fiumicino at the end of October due to work at Ciampino. Now, Ryanair will stay at Fiumicino and will operate to Zagreb from there until the end of the winter flight schedule. This is great news for travelers given that Fiumicino is significantly better connected to the center of Rome than Ciampino.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Zagreb Advent 2021 Program is Here! (VIDEO)

November 11, 2021 - It's the most wonderful time of the year, and the Zagreb Advent 2021 program is here! 

Organized by the City of Zagreb, the Zagreb Tourist Board (TZGZ), and institutional and private partners, this year's award-winning Zagreb Advent will be held from November 27, 2021, to January 7, 2022. While respecting the reality of the current pandemic situation, on November 27, the first Advent candle will be lit on Ban Jelačić Square at 5:00 pm. And at 7:00 pm, the Zrinjevac lights will follow. 

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In addition to traditional Croatian toys that are the motif of this year's Zagreb Advent, particular emphasis is placed on cultural and musical events that will enhance the holiday mood and anticipation of Christmas. Namely, 14 music programs will be held with a total of 129 concerts, including the Zagreb Soloists, the Zagreb Chamber Orchestra, and many top Croatian musicians and promising young singers.

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Zagreb museums, including the Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of Broken Relationships, and the Chocolate Museum, are included in this year's program, and other events, such as performances at the Croatian National Theater, Gavella at Grič Tunnel, Ilica Project: Q'ART, Advent Run, Advent at Vidra, and other special programs are prepared for the youngest visitors. 

 

Zagreb Tourist Board director, Martina Bienenfeld, introduced the festive event:

"Every year we try to enhance our Advent, and I am especially pleased to announce six new programs, namely: LADO Advent, Academy of Fine Arts (ALU) Christmas Garden, Advent on Katarinac, Zagreb Jingle Mingles in cooperation with Zagreb restaurants, Advent on Prolaz Matice hrvatskih obrtnika in cooperation with our craftspeople, and Advent at Zagreb hotels with a specially designed holiday offer and decorations. I would also like to mention Advent in Zrinjevac, where 13 concerts featuring famous Croatian performers will be held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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In addition, the event will continue with last year's successfully launched augmented reality (AR) exhibition, which will use animated traditional toys as a motif for this year's Advent. This will be showcased in 10 city parks, squares, and large open spaces. Namely, Zagreb Advent 2021 and the Virtual Toys project will take visitors back to their childhood through the long tradition of handmade toys that marked our youth. Visitors will have the opportunity to play with them again with the help of smartphones. The event will also continue with the Advent Light project, where windows will be decorated on selected institutions in the Upper Town.

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In addition, the Zagreb Tourist Board promotes Zagreb Advent through integrated online and offline campaigns in more than 16 markets, following the current epidemiological situation, and has designed a special promotion within the World Exhibition EXPO Dubai. We have also established our traditional promotional cooperation with Croatia Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and HŽPP, with which we have provided special ticket prices for anyone visiting Zagreb's Advent."

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In addition, the Zagreb Tourist Board and its partners will decorate 11 locations in the Lower Town: Ban Jelačić Square, Zrinjevac Park, J.J. Strossmayer Square, King Tomislav Square, European Square, Oktogon, Croatian Republic Square, Ivan Mažuranić Square, Matica hrvatskih obrtnika, ALU, and Grič tunnel, and four in the Upper Town: St. Mark's Square, Bela IV Park, Gradec plateau, and Strossmayer promenade west.

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"We invite everyone to responsibly enjoy Advent this year, following all measures and recommendations of the competent authorities, and for those who cannot be with us, we have provided online broadcasts on our social networks. A rich cultural and musical program at various locations in the city will, of course, be held following the latest official measures and recommendations, and all programs are subject to change. Detailed timetables of all programs, as well as current information, are available at www.adventzagreb.hr," concluded the Zagreb Tourist Board. 

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For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Modest 2021 Zagreb Advent: Half as Many Holiday Houses

October 2, 2021 - The 2021 Zagreb Advent will be modest this year, with only 93 spaces for holiday houses available to rent.

The City of Zagreb has announced a tender for renting holiday houses at the upcoming Zagreb Advent, which, judging by the tender, will take place in fewer locations than before the pandemic and will be much more modest, reports Jutarnji List.

Thus, citizens will enjoy the Christmas atmosphere only on Ban Jelačić Square, European Square, Bogovićeva and Gajeva Streets, and Strossmayer Promenade. This year there will be no skating rink on King Tomislav Square or Advent on Gradec.

According to the tender data, only 93 spaces are available to rent, which is twice less than the two hundred that have been available in recent years. In addition, Jutarnji learned from the City that Zrinjevac and Strossmayer promenade would be the space of the City of Zagreb and the Zagreb Tourist Board. 

As before, Zrinjevac will be decorated and lit, and there will be a cultural program and concerts on the Strossmayer promenade. Unfortunately, food will not be available in these locations. The skating rink was too expensive and will not be set up this year, Jutarnji from the City.

The tender for holiday houses was announced on the auction principle - the starting price for a particular house has been determined, and it will be used by the caterer who makes the best offer.

This is an interruption of the current practice according to the decision of the late Mayor Milan Bandić. Namely, as the media wrote, Zagreb's Advent has so far been ruled by the "kings of Advent," a few companies that would get the right to the location and then resell that location expensively. However, according to the new tender, this will no longer be the case because only the person or company that submitted the bid can rent.

As for prices, they vary from location to location. For a 15 sqm holiday house on Gajeva, with a maximum of six high tables, the minimum is 30 thousand kuna, although there is no doubt that the final price will be much higher. They will also have to pay a daily fee of 35 kuna per square meter of the occupied area. Confectioners will pay the same daily fee, but they have smaller houses at their disposal, up to 9 sqm, with a starting price of 15 thousand kuna.

Stands for occasional sales will pay the least - the starting price is 3 thousand for stands up to 4 sqm, while the fee is 20 kuna per day.

The story is similar for Bogovićeva and Ban Jelačić Square. The prices are slightly lower for Augusta Cesarca Street - European Square and Strossmayer Promenade, where the initial prices range from 5,000 to 7,000 kuna.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Friday, 27 November 2020

Huge Zagreb Christmas Tree Arrives in Time for Advent

November 27, 2020 – A towering Zagreb Christmas tree has been placed on Trg bana Josipa Jelačića in the heart of the Croatian capital. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

A towering Zagreb Christmas tree has been placed on Trg bana Josipa Jelačića. It arrives in time for the start of the Advent season, which begins officially this weekend.

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Standing between 15 metres and 20 metres in height, the Zagreb Christmas tree is so impressive it might just rival the famous statue of Josip Jelačić himself as the most eyecatching monument on the square. By the time its lights are added, we certainly wouldn't put money on Josip for the title.

A giant Christmas tree is a traditional December sight on this main square at the heart of the Croatian capital. Although it's not the only one. There are usually around 40 Christmas trees placed in public parks and squares around the city, Zagreb doesn't do Christmas half-heartedly.

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Advent celebrations in the city usually commence with the lighting of a candle by the Manduševac water feature on Trg bana Josipa Jelačića. The appearance of this first flame is the marker for the city's Christmas lights to be turned on, including those of the Zagreb Christmas tree.

We can't be sure if the Zagreb Christmas tree that now stands on Trg bana Josipa Jelačića is exactly the same one, but it does look remarkably like a giant pine tree moved from private property on Gradišćanska ulica a couple of days ago. If it is that pine, then one local resident reckons the Zagreb Christmas tree is over 35 years old. It towered above the dwelling in whose grounds it lay. Local residents were sad to see it go. But, during a year in which Zagreb has experienced its strongest earthquake in 100 years, plus hundreds of aftershocks, it's perhaps understandable why the landowners were willing to let this giant go. Two younger pine trees remain on the plot.

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This article's final two photos were taken by © Zoran Stajčić

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Zagreb Advent 2020 Program Announced, Beginning Saturday

November 25, 2020 - Following the recommendations and decisions of the authorities, Zagreb Advent 2020, under the slogan "Advent in Zagreb, feel the light" will be held in a slightly different capacity, from November 28, when the first Advent candle will be lit, until January 1, 2021. 

HRTurizam reports that special emphasis this year has been placed on cultural events, and during Advent, there will be nine different music festivals with a total of 95 concerts.

There are three novelties this year: Zagreb nativity scene, Light of Advent, and an interactive augmented reality exhibition Virtual Christmas Windows.

"Every year we try to enrich our Advent with novelties and we have decided that this year, which is extraordinary by all parameters, will not be an exception. So we prepared the Light of Advent project where we, with 10 institutions in the Upper Town, will decorate their windows in the holiday spirit, and we invite tenants and everyone else to become part of this initiative. Namely, with this project we want to begin a warm story, bring positive emotions, create a sense of community and, ultimately, encourage our fellow citizens to get involved and thus give their contribution to Advent.

Another novelty is the Zagreb Nativity Scene, more precisely the online exhibition of photographs of Christmas nativity scenes taken from 2007 to 2020, and there is also an interactive augmented reality exhibition Virtual Christmas Windows. This exhibition will bring a touch of Christmas atmosphere using animated motifs of this year's Advent in Zagreb, and will be set in 20 locations in the city in parks, squares, and large open spaces," said Martina Bienenfeld, Zagreb Tourist Board Director. 

Virtual Christmas windows

The traditional story of Advent will be connected with modern technologies, and Advent visitors will be directed to about 20 locations in the wider area of the city (squares and parks). Following the recommendations of the CNIPH, visitors will be able to see the animated content by using the Equinox XR application through their mobile phones.

Light of Advent

Light of Advent is a project by which the Zagreb Tourist Board wants to encourage certain cultural institutions in the Upper Town to decorate their windows in the holiday spirit.

"Because of the pandemic, as well as the earthquake, 2020 was and still is challenging, and with this project, we want to begin a warm story, encourage positive emotions, create a sense of community and, ultimately, encourage local people to get involved and contribute to Advent," said the Zagreb Tourist Board and added that they invited cultural institutions to join and decorate windows with Christmas decorations and positive messages from November 28 to December 31, 2020, as an incentive to others.

The Zagreb Tourist Board and its partners will arrange three locations in the Lower Town (King Tomislav Square, Zrinjevac Park, Trg Republike Hrvatske), four in the Upper Town (Gradec plateau, Bele IV Park and Strossmayer promenade east and west), and they will decorate, with the Zrinjevac branch, an Advent wreath around Manduševac and Christmas pines on St. Mark's Square and Ban Jelačić Square.

"We invite everyone to responsibly enjoy Advent this year, following all measures and recommendations of the authorities, and for those who cannot be with us, we have provided online broadcasts on our social networks," concluded the Tourist Board.

As previously announced, this year, due to the epidemiological situation, there will be no Ice Park on Tomislavac.

News, service information, as well as details of individual programs, are available on the Advent website in Zagreb: www.adventzagreb.hr, and there is also an Advent offer of Zagreb hotels that offer special holiday benefits to all guests and visitors.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Zagreb Advent 2020 Presented: Festive Program Adapted to Epidemiological Measures

November 10, 2020 - The Zagreb Advent 2020 event was presented in the capital on Tuesday. The festive program will boast three exciting projects and all events held per epidemiological measures. 

Without an ice skating rink, but with several concerts and events, Zagreb Advent will still be held this year.

HRTurizam reports that under the slogan "Advent in Zagreb, feel the light" the event will begin on November 28, and the program will include numerous cultural events and ten different festivals.

Three new projects

At the press conference, the Zagreb Tourist Board director, Martina Bienenfeld, presented three new projects.

The first of them is the Light of Zagreb, in which the windows in the Upper Town will be decorated and lit. The Tourist Board invites all citizens of Zagreb to decorate their windows in their own way and symbolically join the project. 

The second project is a walk through Zagreb's churches and their nativity scenes while adhering to epidemiological measures. The third project that is being developed and launched on November 28 is related to augmented reality, which will be found in over 20 Zagreb locations.

Details and specific dates of events, festivals, and projects will be known in a few days, and the program can be followed live and on social networks.

Advent in Zagreb, despite epidemiological restrictions, will be the venue for numerous concerts this year as well.

According to director Bienenfeld, more than 70 concerts will be held outdoors and indoors, where the number of spectators will be limited. The most significant of these concerts will be streamed on social media.

Bienenfeld announced that this year, after consultations with the city and national civil protection headquarters, there will be no recognizable Ice Park on Tomislavac. However, she emphasized that when as many as 50 Advent events in Europe have been canceled, Zagreb will continue to be recognized as an Advent destination, ensuring they adapt to the epidemiological situation and exercise responsible behavior.

Unless there are even stricter measures and restrictions on entry from other countries, she expects this tourist year to end at 30% of last year.

According to the Zagreb Craftspeople Association president, Antun Trojnar, at the traditional location - on Trg pod vurom, there will be about 15 holiday houses where craftspeople - souvenir producers will present their products.

The President of the Independent Association of Caterers, Marin Medak, explained that the City of Zagreb has enabled certain modifications in public areas, i.e., on the terraces of restaurants of sales of mulled wine, coffee, sausages and the like.

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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

A Different Kind of Zagreb Advent 2020: Some Central Locations Announced, More Info by End of Week

October 28, 2020 - Central locations announced and the latest on a different kind of Zagreb Advent 2020. 

The most magical time of the year is approaching. As you already know, there have been many talks (and speculation) about Zagreb Advent 2020, Christmas fairs, and how jolly anything will be this year, given the current epidemiological situation. 

Whether Advent will take place at all and how it will be held in Zagreb is a question everyone is eager to be answered, and many were saddened by media reports that it was canceled this year. But that’s not entirely true. 

Namely, Zagreb Advent will be held, but not how we are used to enjoying the event, reports Journal.hr.

A few days ago, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić stated that they are still thinking about organizing Zagreb Advent this year and adapting it to the current situation. And on the official website of the event, there is a notice that more information will be known soon.

What we do know, however, is that there won’t be as many holiday houses in the city center as before, because the center will be relieved from crowds as much as possible. Instead, there is an idea to spread Advent to other parts of Zagreb. Locations in the center confirmed to spread the holiday magic this year are Zrinjevac, Strossmayer Square, and Tomislavac. At the same time, there won’t be any holiday houses on the surrounding streets where there are restaurant terraces.

The good news is that we won't have to wonder much longer. How exactly this year's Zagreb Advent will look should be known by the end of the week!

Due to the current status of COVID-19, many European cities have canceled Christmas fairs and those that have not are working on the organization to ensure that everything is in line with epidemiological measures.

Last week, it was officially confirmed that one of the most beautiful Christmas fairs in Europe - the one in Vienna - will be held from November 13 to December 26 with special measures. Visitors will have to wear protective masks, there will be a maximum of four people at the table, disinfectant dispensers will be available, and indoor activities will be canceled. The official opening of the Viennese Advent story should take place on November 13 at the traditionally largest and most famous Christmas fair in front of the town hall. Through the beautifully lit park in front of the town hall, the famous outdoor skating rink will once again be this year, and a popular tree decorated with hundreds of luminous hearts will be placed in the park again.

Apart from Vienna, the fairs in Graz and Salzburg, which will also take place this year, are very popular in Austria. In Germany, the situation varies from city to city, and the story is similar in France. Paris has canceled all Christmas fairs, and the famous Advent destination Strasbourg will not set up stands in the city center this year. London has canceled its most famous fair in Hyde Park, and there will be no fair in Budapest this year in Vörösmarty Square.

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Friday, 23 October 2020

Zagreb Advent 2020: Smaller Edition will Expand to Neighborhoods

October 23, 2020 - Given the epidemiological situation around Europe at the moment, it's hard to imagine any Christmas markets will be held this year at all. Here's the latest on Zagreb Advent 2020.

Vecernji List reported on Thursday that Zagreb Advent would be organized by Zagreb Markets (Tržnice Zagreb) and, according to the latest, the Zagreb Fair (Zagrebački velesajam).

In recent days, media speculation about the organization of the capital's biggest event has been mixed. But for now, the City administration is certain that Advent will be held, albeit on a smaller scale than previous editions. How exactly it will look, i.e., how many caterers will be allowed in certain locations and how the food will be served, is still to be decided.

"We only started discussing this topic two days ago; we will define the details at the working meetings. Advent will not be able to be at the level of previous years because there are fewer tourist arrivals and travel in general," said Mirka Jozic, head of the Office of Economy. At the meetings, it was agreed that the caterers would disperse, so Advent will be in the city center and the neighborhoods and allow counties to participate by exhibiting their souvenirs.

"The main attraction will be the area around the cable car, where caterers will also offer their products," said the City. They also note that Zagreb Fair will be in charge of the organization, allocating houses and catering, in cooperation with the Zagreb Caterers' Association and the Independent Association of Caterers, and Zagreb Markets will take over the logistics.

"We also demanded that anyone who is not a caterer be eliminated from renting houses or stalls. This should be solved by determining special coefficients based on the number of employees, income, and turnover of individual caterers," said Marin Medak, who has participated in Advent so far and is also a representative of the profession in meetings with the city administration.

Medak believes they could have an outline of the Advent organization by the end of the week. As for the allocation of houses, the caterers ask for a special committee to decide on it, including someone from the City, the catering sector, and. the Chamber of Crafts. 

If the decision is passed by the Assembly, the procedure for allocating public space will be carried out by a special commission that will have a president and four members and their deputies. Locations will be awarded through a public tender, the commission will consider the received bids, and then the most favorable will be determined and submitted to the mayor.

The most favorable bid in the public tender procedure for setting up houses is a bid that meets the conditions of the public tender and contains the highest offered amount of a one-time location fee," explains the decision that took place last summer.

A returning tenant will have the right to take advantage of the tender, but one company will not rent more than 40 percent of public space. However, locations will be allocated directly, without a public tender, if there are vacancies after the tender. The commission will also decide who will get the location directly, i.e., they will propose candidates to the mayor.

As for the organization of cultural events, for which the Zagreb Tourist Board is in charge, they will take place following the National Headquarters' recommendations, whose measures are still awaited.

"We are in constant contact with them, and we are waiting for the decision of the Assembly, so we will know in which direction everything will go. So far, we have several framework scenarios, and we will hone the detail," said the Zagreb Tourist Board.

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