Thursday, 27 May 2021

An Overview of Zagreb Summer Festivals: 5 Reasons You Should Visit in 2021

May 27, 2021 - Although Zagreb often gets overlooked in favour of some of the more famous Croatian summer destinations, the capital of Croatia deserves to be more than a brief stopover on your way to the coast. Here are the Zagreb summer festivals you don't want to miss in 2021.

  Murtić100, May 25 - July 18

Marking the centenary of the birth of Edo Murtić, one of the most influential modernist painters in southeast Europe, the exhibition Murtić100, which will feature more than 200 Murtić's paintings, takes place at Home of Croatian Artists (colloquially known as Meštrović Pavillion). Meštrović Pavillion is open for visitors every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Meštrović Pavillion (right) /Pixabay

European Short Story Festival, June 6 - June 11

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the European Short Story Festival (CroatianFestival europske kratke priče - FEKP). To celebrate the occasion, this years' festival will also have two additional locations - Hvar Town on Hvar and the town of Vis on Vis. Holding the important title of one of the first short story festivals in Europe, European Short Story Festival thus far hosted more than 70 writers from 15 European countries and served as an inspiration for International Short Story Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. This year, the Festival will connect with authors from the other side of the pond - the internationally recognized Siri Hustvedt and Paul Auster. For more details, follow the Festival's official Facebook Page.



 ZagrebDox, June 13 - June 20

This year's 17th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival ZagrebDox takes place at Zagreb Student Centre and Tuškanac Open Air Cinema. The programme is divided into 8 sections - State of Affairs, Controversial Dox, Masters of Dox, Teen Dox, Thriller Dox, and Love, along with two retrospective programmes - one dedicated to Croatian female documentary directors, the other to the Swiss theatre and film director Milo Rau. With 80 short and feature-length titles to choose from, ZagrebDox promises to give an overview of the finest works the documentary film world has to offer. 



Grič Evenings, July 1 - July 15

Lovers of classical music are in for a treat! For a whole fortnight, starting July 1,  just as the dusk begins to settle, Atrium of Klovićevi Dvori in Zagreb's Upper Town will be filled with the sounds of music commemorating the 40th Grič Evenings. We are looking forward to the programme announcement.



 Croatian National Theatre Summer Evenings, May 29 - July 3

The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb hosts an 'open-air' programme on the Republic of Croatia Square (Croatian: Trg Republike Hrvatske), right next to the Croatian National Theatre building. 

The programme will open on May 29 with a concert to mark Statehood Day and Zagreb City Day, respectively. Visitors will get a chance to watch excerpts from some of the most famous operas such as Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, as well as the ballets The Swan's Lake and Giselle, the choreography of the latter having been developed by the champion of the Paris Opera Ballet, José Carlos Martínez.


Croatian National Theatre/Pixabay 

And there you have it - there are at least 5 reasons to extend your stay in Zagreb and discover its vibrant spirit!

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

Friday, 14 May 2021

Croatian Museums Planning Several Events for International Museum Day

May 14, 2021 - Croatian Museums will Celebrate International Museum Day on May 18th alongside their colleagues worldwide.

May 18th is International Museum Day. Croatian museums will participate as well. Not only that, but they need to get creative during this era of social distancing. As tportal reports, the theme of this year’s museum day is “The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine”. It is not difficult to see why this theme makes sense nowadays. Museums have had to struggle with the inability to work properly within the last year. COVID-related restrictions and lack of visitors took a toll on these institutions. Many will join this year’s celebration offering virtual tours of their exhibits, rather than live visits.

Zagreb Museums

To add insult to injury, many Zagreb museums also suffered earthquake damages during the last 12 months. This is why Ethnographic Museum is organising a two-day conference about museum collection storages. These are crucial for the preservation of museum material in unexpected situations.

On International Museum Day, the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb is offering free entrance to the exhibition entitled “Rafael – at the Outcome of a Myth”. Museum’s social media pages will also show a video where the members of the public will voice their opinions on the future of museums.

Croatian History Museum is currently closed for the public. Still, it is setting up a new exhibition entitled “Sword – once upon a time…”. This exhibition will open to visitors on the 19th of May.

If you are looking for something a bit different try the Croatian Naïve Art Museum. They are organising a tasting inspired by the museums' exhibits. Meanwhile, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb is staging mural painting events, among other things.

Rest of Croatia

Museum of Samobor is organising a children’s workshop called “Ferdionica”.

In Opatija, the Croatian Tourism Museum is staging an exhibition of photographs by renowned Croatian photographer Toso Dabac entitled “Opatija Album by Toso Dabac”.

The Museum of Brodsko Posavlje is having an exhibition of items collected in the city of Slavonski Brod and the area of Brodsko Posavlje. The idea behind this exhibition is to raise awareness among local people about the importance of collecting and preserving traditional items of a certain area.

Museum of Koprivnica organises a bicycle tour taking the visitors along an “art route” through the city, visiting points of interest.

Museum of Sibenik will see its experts presenting future projects by live Facebook video.

These are just some of the options for museum hungry visitors on May 18th. Where ever you find yourself in Croatia, make sure to check with local museums about their plans for International Museum Day.

For more on lifestyle, 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


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


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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Drniš prsut
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


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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

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.


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.


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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Saturday, 2 May 2020

Croatia Reopens Museums, Zagreb Earthquake Creates Limitations in Capital

As Sasa Paparella/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of May, 2020, large European museums such as the Rijksmuseum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna or the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam are losing between €100,000 and €600,000 a week because of the coronavirus pandemic. Croatia's museums are reopening their doors, but the Zagreb earthquake has left traces on those here in the capital...

As museums reopen across Croatia, only three museums in Zagreb opened their doors this week: the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU), the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery and the Typhlological Museum. According to the Ministry of Culture, three more museums are expected to open on Tuesday, May the 5th: the Ethnographic Museum, the Technical Museum and Atelier Meštrović.

The recent Zagreb earthquake: There was no evacuation plan in place for the collections

In the recent Zagreb earthquake, several museums in the capital were badly damaged, and now it appears that there was no plan to evacuate their collections in place at all.

''The museums arrange evacuation of the building with their founders. In this regard, the Ministry of Culture is currently finding a solution for two museums - the Croatian History Museum and the Croatian Sports Museum - whose buildings have been marked in red, meaning it isn't possible for them to continue their operations without firstly thorough renovating the building. In addition to them, the Croatian School Museum also has a red mark on the building,'' reads a statement from the competent ministry, whose jurisdiction includes other museums which suffered damage as a result of the Zagreb earthquake.

The Zagreb earthquake also severely damaged several museums under the jurisdiction of the City of Zagreb: The Archaeological Museum, MUO, and the Croatian Museum of Natural History. Poslovni Dnevnik sent an inquiry to the City of Zagreb, but they're yet to receive an answer as to whether they had a plan in place for where the materials would be temporarily moved.

Most museums of national importance are located in Zagreb

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek made a decision this week to implement a list of the damages caused by the Zagreb earthquake to museum materials. The damage list will be compiled by museum experts in coordination with the Museum Documentation Centre (MDC).

According to data from the MDC's Register of Museums, Galleries and Collections in the Republic of Croatia, in the City of Zagreb alone, there are 41 museums (which include displaced collections too) containing 3.5 million or 57 percent of all museum objects in Croatia in 615 museum collections.

According to the Museums Act, the deadline for completing the inventory and the entry of museum material and documentation in the Register of Cultural Property of the Republic of Croatia is December the 31st, 2020.

Back in the middle of December 2019, a mere few months before the Zagreb earthquake struck, a conference on the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of the City of Zagreb in Crisis was organised by the Office for Emergency Management. The presentation then concluded that "the investment funds provided by the museum's founders are insufficient for adequate preventive protection," and that "reconstructions mainly regard cosmetic modifications but not structural reinforcements."

According to data from the MDC website, as much as 40 percent of the museum and documentation materials of Zagreb's museums are still not inventoried, and only nine percent of the total number of museum objects have been digitised. Most museum buildings are historic and not purpose built, and in the 21st century, only the Museum of Contemporary Art has been purpose-built, which already lacked storage space.

Safeguards containing the largest number of items are housed in the basements or attics of (old) buildings in adverse microclimatic conditions, at risk of flood and sewage damage, as well as fire and damage to installations.

Clearly, there will be no speedy return back to normal...

Concerning the other, global problem which is affecting the museum profession, the MDC has published the results of the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) study entitled: The Impact of COVID-19 on Museums in Europe and the World.

"According to the first results of this survey, which was being conducted until April the 17th, 2020 at 650 museums in 41 countries, it's clear that there will be no rapid return to normal," concluded the study, which included museums from all 27 EU member states and nine Council of Europe member states. Various museums from the US, the Philippines, Malaysia, French Polynesia and Iran also responded.

Most museums (92 percent) in Europe and around the world are closed due to measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection. By closing their doors to visitors, many museums have already experienced, or will feel, a drastic loss of revenue. This is especially true of larger museums, as well as those in tourist zones that have reported a financial loss in the range of up to 80 percent of their normal revenue, which is increasing every week due to the complete blockage of any tourist activities, but also because of the possibility of continued restrictions in the summer.

Some museums will unfortunately close their doors permanently.

This means that 30 percent of museums are losing up to €1,000 a week, 25 percent of museums are losing up to €5,000 a week, 13 percent are losing up to €30,000 a week, and five percent of museums are losing more than €50,000 a week. As touched on previously, large museums, such as the Rijksmuseum, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna or the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, are losing between €100,000 and up to €600,000 a week.

Private museums haven't provided any precise numerical data, but since most of their profits come directly from sales, some have already indicated that they lost their entire budget during their closure, and the fear is that the end result of the coronavirus crisis will be the permanent closure of their institutions.

For many of the closed museums, reopening dates haven't yet been solidly determined. Museums who have responded to the survey predict that they may open their doors to visitors no later than September 2020.

When it comes to other sources of revenue, the survey says many museums report that they have already accessed or will be accessing national funding programmes for this crisis situation. These programmes mostly include coverage of wage expenditures and lost income.

Museums from 12 countries report that discussions on crisis funding programmes for culture are ongoing, in eight countries such funds already exist, and museums from 15 countries state that there is currently no crisis funding programme operating in their countries. Such programmes vary from country to country - some applied exclusively to publicly funded institutions and some exclusively to freelance professions. Most museums still haven't needed to lay off staff. About 70 percent of museums report that they have modified their employees' tasks to meet the current needs, and 50 percent of museums said more than 80 percent of their employees are currently working from their homes.

More than 60 percent of museums have increased their online presence.

However, the situation is not the same for staff on part-time contracts, nor is it the same for volunteer programmes that have been completely suspended in most museums, the survey said.

More than 60 percent of museums have increased their online presence since they've been closed, while 13.4 percent have increased their budget with online activities. Most museums use social networks more than they did before, making use of hashtags and presenting individual items to their audience.

Additionally, the number of virtual tours and online exhibitions has increased. Of the museums that responded to the survey, 40 percent have noticed an increased number of online visits since they've been closed to the public. Of that percentage, 41 percent are seeing a weekly increase in visits to their sites by up to 20 percent, and 13 percent of them are seeing an increase of as much as 500 percent a week.

The most popular tools and platforms for the internal communication of museum staff working from home turned out to be Zoom or Skype for conference video calls, and for chat - Microsoft Teams and Whatsapp.

Two-thirds of museums have increased their activities on social networks, almost 80 percent of them use mostly Facebook, and almost 20 percent use Instagram as a platform. A large number of museums are considering increasing their activities in podcasts, live streaming and game creation.

Make sure to follow our lifestyle page for more.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Croatian Architect Releases Book: Andrija Mutnjaković

Famous Croatian Architect Andrija Mutnjaković will soon be ninety years old, and he is celebrating his birthday on November 29th. He has also published a new book, “Intentional Architecture”, which will be presented tonight at the Croatian Museum of Architecture at HAZU (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts) in Zagreb.

“A little girl wanted to take cookies off of my Kazalište Trešnja. That was my biggest compliment,” he recalls to Patricia Kiš/JutarnjiList on November 20, 2019.

The Narodna i univerzitetska biblioteka Kosova in Pristina, the Kazalište Trešnja in Zagreb, and the Turističko naselje Duga uvala in Puli are among the most famous buildings he has designed during his long career. He taught along with Žuža Jelinek in the 1950s and 1960s at the Radničko sveučilište in Zagreb; she taught fashion, he lectured about housing.


Domobil and Architect Andrija Mutnjaković's Book Event

The Flower

He worked with Alexander Srnec on the monument to Lenin in Belgrade, a project praised by Vera Horvat Pintarić. But he is most famous for his visionary, futuristic projects. Domobil, his most well-known, was a submission for an architectural competition in Hollywood. The project was conceived as a flower. The petals of this residential building open during the day and close by night, or when it rains.

This project also graces the cover of his new book. Why Domobil? "Because it was and remains my most famous project, which has been recognized as the most successful among the international public,” he replies. “For example, the Oxford Dictionary refers to this project as an example of kinetic architecture. I am the only Croatian architect mentioned along with Luciano Laurana, about whom I have written a book.”

“Recently, in September, I gave a postgraduate lecture at the University of Venice, where I spoke mostly about this project. Along with the lecture, I also wrote a text about why daisies are smarter than humans, to provoke the audience a little. The center of the daisy is life. Petals have nothing to do with life, they are simply a shroud which closes when it gets dark and when it rains. That's exactly what I wanted to achieve with Domobil."

Utopian Idea?

We ask our interlocutor whether this project, which was utopian at the time, could have been completed in the context of present-day architecture. "I don’t believe it was a utopian project at that time. It is a lightweight aluminum structure, like the wings of an airplane. I believed that it would be easier to build in Hollywood, where there are more people with financial resources, and that actors might have found this project attractive. At the time, they were making a lot of science-fiction films, and I believed that they would accept the project in this context as well,” he says.

Over time, he says, he has faced differing opinions regarding his architecture: “The students at Venice in my recent lecture were most impressed by Domobil. Some considered it utopian, though. I remembered one of my professors who, in commenting on my work, said to me: And an idle priest baptizes a flock. That is the principle behind my projects.” But that view is also supported by our most influential critic Vera Horvat Pintarić, and many others. "Yes, all of the art historians have supported me. But that was at a time when I hung out with actors and artists more frequently, they were more lifelike back then. When I started working there were only four architectural bureaus, and it was world of administrators. "

Have more people begun to engage in kinetic architecture over time? "Yes, over the past five or six years, ten books related to kinetic architecture have been published. In Croatian architecture, the first kinetic project had a roof which opened and closed and was designed by Josip Pičman in 1931. Even back then, they were thinking about kinetics. "

Secret to Croatian's Stamina

To the question whether Pičman was one of his inspirations for pursuing a career in architecture, our interlocutor responds. "I was also inspired by another colleague. One day we found a book about El Lissitzky's work at his father’s home. Osijek is city of town houses and there weren’t any major buildings. Flipping through the monographs, we marveled at human constructivism and magical design ideas. I was always interested in Konstantin Melnikov, and wrote an article about him recently, he had some amazing ideas,” Mutnjaković says.

So, soon he will be ninety years old. He speaks passionately about his new book, articles and his lecture in Italy. Is that why he's so full of energy, because he's been working in a profession which he has loved his entire life; is that his secret? "The secret is to drink brandy every night. Alcohol cleans out the fat, so I clean my veins every night."

Mutnjaković’s library in Pristina was on display at MOMA's New York exhibition about architecture of Yugoslav era, which was curated by Martino Stierli. Stierli, who is the Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the famous American museum, has also been in Mutnjaković's studio, which is filled with books. "He saw a photo of the Kazalište Trešnjevka and said it was the most interesting building he had seen in Zagreb," he says. 


The Kazalište Trešnja in Zagreb

The library once made the list of the ugliest buildings in the world, which was compiled by Centre Pompidou in Paris. On the other hand, at the 14th Venice Biennale, when the famous Rem Koolhaas was at the helm, they compiled about one hundred of the most important buildings over the past hundred years, each building representing one year. In 1982, his library was listed as the most important building. In any case, it is still one of the most controversial projects in Croatian architecture.

Information about Andrija Mutnjaković’s book launch on November 20, 2019 at HAZU in Zagreb can be found here.

To follow Croatian architecture and design news, check out our Made in Croatia page here and our Lifestyle page here.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Museums Outside of Museums: Exhibition on Zagreb Main Square

Museums outside of museums is an event opened yesterday at the Ban Jelačić square in Zagreb, which you will be able to visit during the next week. The idea behind this manifestation is to bring the museums even closer to the broader public, showcasing them on the Zagreb main square.

The project is the brainchild of the curators from the Natural History Museum Nediljka Prlj Šimić and Katarina Krizmanić and artist Nedjeljko Mikac, and their museum and Zagreb Tourist Board were in charge of organizing it at the square. The setup of the exhibition is that there's an wooden installation shaped like a giant bird's nest where seven of Zagreb's museums and one visiting museum will present their collections to the passers-by. Archaeological Museum, Museum of Arts and Crafts, Museum of Contemporary Art, Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, Ethographic Museum and Museum Documentation Centre and the visiting Radboa from Radoboj are participating this year. The event was organized last year for the first time, and attracted over twenty thousand visitors.

The biggest attraction of the exhibition this year is a replica of a dinosaur from Istria from the Theropoda family, which is believed to have walked the Earth 135 million years ago, as well as the models of fish and lizzards fossils from the ancient seas. The dinosaur replica was made by the sculptor Marin Marinić, helped by the paleontology experts. The Etnographic Museum presents their collection of head-covering items, titled "Hats Down!" Museum of Contemporary Arts created a program to mark the tenth anniversary of their move to their current, Novi Zagreb location, which shows more of the architecture of the building itself. Technical Museum Nikola Tesla created a program to mark the International Day of Letter Writing, showing some of the items that are usually not shown to the public, such as the automatic mechanic pencil.

Too bad that the extreme spring weather might bring down the number of visitors to the Museums outside of museums exhibition!

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Zagreb 80's, Museum Dedicated to the Eighties, Recently Opens

In Zagreb, the Zagreb 80's Museum was recently open, with the idea to show the spirit of the time that was, over 30 years ago.

It's one apartment, a place where an imaginary ordinary Zagreb family would've lived in the eighties, and it's a kitchen, a living room, a study, a bedroom and a kid's playroom. The museum is the idea of two young Zagreb entrepreneurs, Anastazija Knežević and Ksenija Babić. The idea came to them during their travels, especially to Berlin where they saw the East Germany museum, but they wanted their museum to be different. So, Zagreb 80's museum is interactive, you can touch and feel any of the exhibits, to get more of a sense what life in the eighties felt like. You can listen to the cassettes and the vinyl records, you can drive the little Zastava 750 car (commonly called "Fićo"), you can play games on the Commodore computer, use the typewriter, see the footage from the Universiade games held in Zagreb in 1987.

There are, of course, old dishes in the kitchen, and a legendary Walkman with headphones. In the living room you can find the vinyl records, magazines, comic books and even a porn magazine popular back in the day, the Erotika.

There are around 500 exhibits in the museum, and all of them are authentic, in very good condition and functional. They collected those for over a year, from private collectors to the flea market, and they are still accepting donations from anyone who has something that might belong in the museum. People gladly donate stuff to the museum, as those are things that are left by their parents, they don't want to throw them away but they have no real value today - so a museum is a perfect place for them! Anyone who donates gets free entrance to the museum.

You can also organize your event at the museum, parties, promotions, shootings. In July the Zagreb 80's Museum goes to Shanghai to be presented there, so the entire current set-up of the museum will undergo massive change during June.

Museum is located in Zagreb centre, in Radićeva street, and entrance is 40 kuna for adults.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Ferdinand Budicki Automobile Museum in Zagreb Closing Down at the End of February?

It seems that the long tale of the closure of the only automotive history museum in Croatia is coming to an unhappy end.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Museum of Reality in Zagreb

See through the illusion to find reality!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Exit Theatre Summer Nights at Museum of Arts and Crafts

The Museum of Arts and Crafts is hosting Exit Theatre's Summer Nights, June 28 - August 2.

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