Category: Magazine

Croatian playwright Tena Štivičić Wins Prestigious Award in New York

teatreCroatian playwright Tena Štivičić has won a prestigious award in New York…

Štivičić won the 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, which is the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights, for her play 3 winters. As well as taking home the award, Štivičić was presented with 25,000 USD and a signed and numbered print by artist Willem de Kooning at a ceremony in New York on Monday.

Štivičić’s 3 Winters, which won the award ahead of 140 plays, is set in Zagreb between 1945 and 2011 and follows the life of a family held together by four generations of women living in one house. The play premiered at London’s National Theatre. Štivičić was born in Zagreb and studied at the Academy of Drama Art. She completed an MA in Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Based in New York, Houston and London, the 2015 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was celebrating its 37th edition this year. (photo /

Croatia’s Tisno Festival Named in Top 10 Most Breathtaking in the World

eeOne of the world’s leading monthly music and entertainment digital magazines has named the Electric Elephant festival held in the Croatian of Tisno in its Top 10 Most Breathtaking Music Festivals…

Electric Elephant, which will be held this summer from 9-13 July, was third on the list, behind Worldwide Festival in the Swiss Alps and American festival Sasquatch! which is held at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington.

“Electric Elephant, Croatia: Just outside Tisno, Croatia’s sleepy fishing village, Electric Elephant attracts some of the biggest DJs in house music to its various venues, which include a boat cruising the Adriatic Coast. The festival runs from July 9-13 this year and features Todd Terry and Lindstrom,” wrote Paste. (photo / electric elephant)

[VIDEO] Virunga Wins Main Award at 11th ZagrebDox

Virunga_Andre_With_Gorilla_Virunga_National_ParkA film which tells the dramatic story of four characters fighting to protect the Virunga National Park, a Unesco world heritage site, which is the home of many of the world’s last 800 mountain gorillas, has taken out the main award at the International Documentary Film Festival ZagrebDox, which has been held in the Croatian capital this past week.

Virunga, by Orland von Einsiedel, won the Big Stamp award for the best film in International Competition at a ceremony on Saturday evening.

Marcell Gero’s ‘Cain’s Children’, a shocking and touching story of the boys who killed their loved ones, won the award for the best film in the Regional Competition, whilst the Little Stamp award for Best Film of a Young Author up to 35 Years of Age was won by Dénes Nagy’s Another Hungary.

11th Zagrebdox winning authors

11th Zagrebdox winning authors

A total of 150 films were shown in the past seven days during the 11th edition of ZagrebDox.

1,000 Things to do in Croatia…Number 228

Croatia is not just about the beaches. There are plenty things to do in the spectacular country, well at least 1,000 things, according to photographer Tim Ertl, who explains with the help of his camera via his popular blog ‘1000 Things to do in Croatia – A journey through Croatia in 1,000 pictures‘. We have featured a number of Tim’s stunning suggestions. Here is number 228.

#228 – Glide down the soft hills of Zigante vineyard near Grožnjan while the last last sun rays are touching the Mirna valley.


Zagreb Street Food – Something Old and Something New

kskBy Andrea Pisac

Zagreb street food revolution?

On the last Saturday in September Zagreb got its first organised street food event – Klopa s klupa [food from a bench]. At 6pm the whole Dolac farmers’ market transformed into an open-air eatery. Top Zagreb restaurants cooked. 5.000 people showed up. I showed up.

To my utmost delight, I scored my favourite childhood dessert: Kaiserschmarrn (or the Austrian-style shredded pancake). It’s one of those things you can rarely find in a restaurant, but a thing of the little Madeleine magnitude.

If that wasn’t enough to turn me into the event’s fan, I also found Lebanese aubergine dip mutabbal. I devoured it with some flat bread.

Klopa s klupa promises to be back every month following its inauguration. With some luck, we might even have weekly events at Dolac. But is this really street food? Or the colourful and cheap food that Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico or Morocco are famous for?

Brussels made it to the top 10 world’s best street food cities with only fries and waffles. So why not try simple Zagreb street food that has been around for as long as the city can remember? After all, street food is what local people like to grab on their way to work or as they stroll around with friends.

It’s the kind of food that needs no tourist advertising to become popular.

If you want to sample delicacies from top Zagreb restaurants gathered in one place – then look out for Klopa s klupa events. But this should not stop you from enjoying Zagreb real street food available every day.

zstZagreb street food tradition

– Corn on a cob in the summer.

– Roast chestnuts in autumn and winter.

– Burek and a host of other pastries from a local bakery all year around.

– Sausage in a bun with mulled wine during Christmas festivities.

– Ice-cream (believe it or not – all year around).

These delicacies exhibit all the elements of street food around the world.

– They are simple and simply prepared.
– Most are healthy – what can be healthier than fruit picked in a forest?
– They are cheap – you can get any of these for around 15 Kn (2 Euros) and they’ll make for a light meal.
– Buying corn and chestnuts from street vendors supports local economy, helping people who are out of jobs to  make a bit of money.
– You can eat these traditional street delicacies while walking – but you can also take them to a coffee shop. No one will mind. In fact many people buy their breakfast pastry in a bakery and eat it in a cafe.
– Doing what locals do makes for a wholesome experience of the city – believe me, you’ll never forget the warmth of roast chestnuts on your fingers on a cold and foggy autumn day!

Zagreb street food: what you should expect

I can’t wait until the next Klopa s klupa event takes place at Dolac. For one thing, top Zagreb restaurants really know how to whip up mouth-watering food. But Klopa s klupa is not the kind of street food you see around the world. And here’s why:

#1 It’s catered by high quality restaurants and not street vendors.

Why is this a problem? Street food has a special economic value for a city. It creates jobs for food providers and offers less expensive meals to those who can’t afford restaurant prices. Historically, street food economy has supported the growth of many world’s largest cities.

#2 Some food is not prepared on the street but brought along from a restaurant kitchen.

Recently many world top chefs have tried their hand at street food. The main aim is to strip down a traditional delicacy from complex culinary techniques while using fresh high quality ingredients. It allows artisan food to be cooked at a stall. This was by and large missing at Klopa s klupa.

#3 The food is not really affordable.

Remember that street food originally developed as a way to feed poor people, some of whom didn’t even have a kitchen in their houses. I paid 30 Kn (around 4 Euros) for a small dollop of mutabbal and 2 triangles of flat bread. While I waited to be served I was seriously elbowed by a group of elderly hungry people. They brought along their own spoons and polished off all the free samples. It was a very sad scene to behold.

#4 There was both traditional and international food.

This was warmly welcomed by those who have travelled widely and often complain of a lack of international cuisine in Zagreb. But ethnic food served on the streets of large cities around the world is usually a reflection of their multicultural population. In Zagreb, this was more a reflection of the city’s wish to follow global trends in food and tourism.

Zagreb street food for travellers

Klopa s klupa undoubtedly livened up the city atmosphere. We do need more of it. So if you’re around for the next event, come along.

But I also urge you not to overlook the simple, understated, and yet so delicious traditional Zagreb street food. Get your fingers dirty as you peel off those hot velvety chestnuts! The season has just started. (photo / klopasklupa)

Franz Ferdinand to Open Zagreb’s INmusic festival

Ff04Popular Scottish band Franz Ferdinand will open the 10th INmusic festival in Zagreb in June…

The Glaswegians, who been nominated for several Grammy and BRIT music Awards since bursting on the scene in the mid 2000’s, were announced as the latest headline act in the jubilee edition of Croatia’s largest open-air festival last night. The band, who have been guests before at the Zagreb festival, will perform with American band Sparks, whom they are collaborating with.

Kate Tempest, Paolo Nutini, Placebo, Eagles of Death Metal, We Are Shining, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, La Roux, and Frank Turner have already been confirmed for this year’s festival.

INmusic festival, which was nominated recently for a European Festival Award, will be held from 22 – 24 June 2015 on the Island of Youth at Zagreb’s Lake Jarun, while the even bigger and better festival camp site will be located on two adjoining islands at lake Jarun – Tresnjevka Isle and the Univerzijada Isle. More acts will be named over the course of the next few months in the lead up to the jubilee festival. (photo / wikimedia)

Billy Idol to Perform in Croatia

Billy_IdolEnglish rock legend Billy Idol will headline the first Zagreb Calling festival in Croatia’s capital in July…

Zagreb has been added for the first time to the ‘Calling’ festival route, a franchise event held in a number of cities around the world. Idol, who has had huge hits such as ‘Cradle Of Love’, ‘Dancing With Myself’, ‘White Wedding’, ‘Rebel Yell’, ‘Eyes Without A Face’ and ‘Flesh For Fantasy’ over a career spanning more than 40 years, will be the main attraction at the festival which will be held at Šalata stadium on 14 July.

It will be his second visit to Croatia, after he performed a concert in Zagreb in 2010. (photo / Latics Wikimedia)

Tickets will go on sale from tomorrow at all Eventim outlets or at

The Zen of Visiting Zagreb – 5 Tips to Have a True Experience

Visiting-Zagreb-ZenBy Andrea Pisac

Travellers visiting Zagreb meet 5 challenges to having a true experience. But where’s challenges, there’s also solutions. Exciting, isn’t it?

#1: Zagreb is not a touristy city

Paris – the city of light, New York – the city that never sleeps, Rome – the eternal city, Tokyo – the city of the future, Zagreb – you tell me.

Zagreb is not a touristy city – it doesn’t even have a proper nickname recognised by travellers. Sometimes it’s called Little Vienna, but this description doesn’t give it due credit. Zagreb can be an interesting 3-day city break but its obvious tourist sights are not as famous or instantly recognised as those of London, Berlin or Moscow. If you judge it on first impressions, you’ll be disappointed. Because Zagreb is a city that needs unravelling.

An American expat working in the American International School of Zagreb said that

‘Zagreb’s main attraction is its attitude — a sophisticated laid back cool that puts life on pause in favor of friends and family […] if Zagreb has taught me one thing, it’s how to relax.’

Nickname that fits Zagreb best is the slow city. Visiting Zagreb for longer than a typical 3-day break will make you slow down. It could be a challenge at first, especially if you’re used to rushing around. Or if you’re the kind of traveller who simply must see everything. But after covering ‘things to see’ and ‘places to be’ from guidebooks, you’ll realise that the best things are not packaged here. It’s a similar philosophy to the slow food movement, which teaches us to know where our food comes from. Zagreb highlights will come to you from the people you meet, much less from travel guides.

SOLUTION: come to Zagreb to rest; forget a tourist itinerary, don’t burden your downtime with ‘to do’ lists

#2: Zagreb guides don’t capture the whole picture

It’s a valid plan to read a guidebook before visiting Zagreb. What could be wrong with it? Nothing particularly, it’s just that official guidebooks have a copy-paste model they apply to cities universally. 10 best restaurants, 5 must-see places, you know the drill. They categorise your experience into formulaic chunks – for example sights, nightlife, cuisine – making you believe this is all there is to a place.

Well researched guides to Zagreb (Zagreb in your pocket, Timeout Croatia, Rough guide to Croatia) can help you enjoy established places. But well-known is not always the most interesting. There are also online guides revealing what Zagreb locals love and do, sometimes before these sights become the city’s must-dos. Check out these 2: Zagreb like a local, Zagreb spotted by locals. I’m a huge advocate of picking a local’s brain for the best time in Zagreb. I do fault the approach some of these ‘tourism through locals’ brands have: they start in one place and soon clone to encompass the whole world. Personally I don’t believe a city’s local knowledge is formed and spread in the same way globally.

Then there’s useful tips from expats living in Croatia. There aren’t many but a few write really interesting blogs. Check out these 3: Zablogreb, Chasing the donkey, Frank about Croatia. You’ll get good suggestions about what to do and where to go. Their biggest value? Their insights relate to what you as a foreigner could experience in Croatia. What might be a cultural shock to you, how to interpret what appears as weird Croatian behaviour, etc.

Taste of Croatia is my favourite local knowledge source. Run by a group of enthusiasts – food bloggers, chefs in their spare time and most of all Croatia connoisseurs, it’s a treasure box of everything you can taste in Croatia. Be sure that a restaurant they recommend has nothing to do with paid advertising and everything to do with the best locally sourced food prepared with love. Connect with them and you’ll learn about food and wine events and venues before they enter official guides. It’s a Croatian culinary pop up.

View from Zagreb train station

View from Zagreb train station

SOLUTION: explore different types of guides – official, local, expat – and keep an open eye for things that aren’t yet listed.

#3: Zagreb hotels are overpriced

Majority of Zagreb hotels are not the best value for your money. You might spend around 100 Euros a night for a room that looks the same in every city. OK, it comes with breakfast, but you can always buy pastry around the corner and have it in your local coffee shop. Until a couple of years ago Zagreb was only a place you’d pass through on the way to the Croatian coast. Today, it’s become more of a tourist destination in its own right.

So the private accommodation offer has increased. Zagreb Tourist Board has around 900 listed apartments. This is 60% more compared to last year. While the number of tourists to Zagreb rises all the time, vacation apartments offer is still larger than the demand. I’d always recommend renting privately, but how do you choose from thousands of great looking places? Booking, Flipkey and Airbnb feature amazing apartments for as little as 30 Euros a night – all centrally located. Many of these properties have been turned from long-term lettings into tourist apartments. I believe that whoever chooses tourism as a serious job needs to create a service that offers more than a place to sleep. I’d always recommend Airbnb as a rental agency because you can find out a lot about a person you’re renting from. Look for someone who shares your interests.

Read people’s biographies. If you’re into art, a host with similar interests will give you great tips about the Zagreb art scene – even if they are not a professional tourist guide. Rental agencies also list Zagreb hostels. There is now a large number of them and they are very affordable. The biggest advantage of staying in a hostel is that you meet fellow travellers who’ll share tips someone else shared with them. Make the most of the word of mouth knowledge about Zagreb. Check out Frank’s comprehensive guide to the best accommodation in Zagreb, including: hotels worth staying at, best private apartments with an added value, and funky hostels offering private rooms.

Zagreb's flower square

Zagreb’s flower square

SOLUTION: private apartments are the best value for money, even more so if you find a host who is a good ambassador or the city.

#4: Zagreb is not an authentic place and that’s a great thing

You’re visiting Zagreb and you want to find out what’s authentic there. Food, drinks, crafts – I know where you’re coming from. But your search for the authentic might confuse you a bit. The best thing about Zagreb is that most that’s authentic here has been influenced by different cultural heritages. The great-tasting apple strudle dates from the Austro-Hungarian times. If you tried cevapi, you’ll recognised the Turkish kofta kebab as its sibling. Lightly steamed vegetables seasoned with olive oil, garlic and parsley – a staple food in Dalmatia – is a yummy offspring of the Italian cuisine. And medjimurska gibanica – a delicious filo pastry cake with 4 fillings – is also recognised as a Slovenian national dish.

There certainly are authentic Croatian dishes (strukli, purica s mlincima, soparnik), but the point is something else. Zagreb, and Croatia as a whole, offer such rich varieties of all kinds of culinary influences. You’ll enjoy most when you start recognising how these influences have been adapted locally. Just take filo pastry as an example. Zagreb is the place where you can find both Central-European sweet strudel and Turkish-style savory burek – both made with the same dough. Delicious!

SOLUTION: enjoy the global influences that mix and match in Zagreb. It’s the place where East meets West.

#5: Zagreb customer service sucks but Zagreb friends make up for it

When you travel, you are basically a customer – at least most of the time. Visiting Zagreb could become a true challenge, because customer service is not a very developed concept. Here you’ll really need to keep your Zen.

Last year I visited the Zagreb Christmas fair. Among many colourful goodies, I decided to buy a horseshoe-shaped chocolate. I paid the saleslady and while I was still stuffing the change into my wallet, she handed me the bag with chocolate. I took it clumsily and immediately dropped it to the ground. ‘Could I have another one, please’, I showed her the broken pieces. She replied: No. ‘But you could easily mould it back together’, I reasoned with her. “It fell from your hand, not mine’, she grunted and turned to the next customer.

Many foreign travellers experience Croatians as rude. I agree. The way that saleslady treated me was rude. But Croatian people are not really rude by nature. They just haven’t been taught basic customer service principles. In Western countries the way products are sold has been just as important as what is being sold. A successful sale is mostly based on whether the customer is made to feel good. Which is why smiling and the ‘customer is always right’ attitude are part of every salesperson’s education.

If you encounter abrupt and stroppy salespeople in Croatia, know that they haven’t been taught to treat you otherwise. It’s one of the remains from how things functioned during socialism – a time with little competition. But if you approach a stroppy waiter, for example, in a friendly and personal way, expect change. The moment you cross the line from being a customer to becoming a friendly face, you’ll experience a different side to most Croats – they’ll walk an extra mile in order to help you.

Remember this: Croatia is a country where many exchanges are not monetised. For example, what I’ve been used to paying for as a service in the UK is often done as a personal favour in Croatia. In London I’d pay for a cat-sitting service, whereas in Zagreb I have friends do it as a favour. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover how much your Zagreb friends can help you. (Photo / Pogled by Er-vet-on – Wikicommons)

SOLUTION: Keep cool in cases of shitty customer service; approach stroppy salespeople in a friendly way and see how they transform into helpful strangers.

Annual Charity Concert in London to Support Young Croatian Scientists

LondonThe UK’s very active Croatian community have been busy recently organising a host of various charity events. The latest charity event, organised by the United Kingdom Association of Alumni and Friends of Croatian Universities, is in aid of young Croatian scientists set to be. If you find yourself in London next weekend here at the details:

Annual Charity Concert – in support of Awards for Croatian Young Scientists
A night at the Opera – Two flutes – Piano
Snježana Bosotina Budesa, Andrea Jelavić, Vesna Podrug Kossjanenko
Highlights include: Rigolletto, Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, William Tell, Eugene Onegin
Followed by drinks and canapés
When: Saturday 28nd February @ 7.30 pm
Where: 33 Frognal, London NW3 6YD
Courtesy of Tony and Gabrijela Suchy
Tickets: £25
RSVP with cheques payable to AM HaywAC UK to:
Dr Mira Malovic-Yeeles, 30ard Road, Oxford OX2 8LW

Croatian Model Turning Heads at New York Fashion Week

abIt is the week in New York when all the major international designers are in town presenting their latest collections. New York Fashion Week, one of four major fashion weeks in the world with Paris, London and Milan, came to a close last night in the Big Apple, and it was a 22-year-old Croatian model who was in demand by creators…

Ana Buljević, from the Dalmatian city of Split, modelled collections from a number of notable international designers this week, including Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang. Buljević’s unique facial aesthetics and 180cm frame has seen her become one of the most sought-after models since moving to New York two years ago.

“I was not that impressed that at the New York Fashion Week I shared the catwalk with Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian’s sister. More important was that I modelled collections by Alexander Wang, Thakoon, Public School, Tanye Taylor, Monique Lhuillier, Wes Gordon… ,” Buljević said to Jutarnji list, who says life in New York is going good.

“I have been living in America the past two years, and I love New York a lot. I feel at home in that city, and I think it is one of the factors of my success,” said Ana.

Ana, who was nominated as one of the three most successful models at last year’s Elle Style Awards, will also work at the London, Milan and Paris Fashion weeks this year.