The Croatian National Theater in Zagreb

For a small city, Zagreb has its fair share of museums, galleries and theatres. Amongst the most prominent of cultural landmarks here is the Croatian National Theater, a magnificent yellow and white, neo-baroque structure that dominates the Marshall Tito Square. Surrounded by beautiful lawns and artwork, the theater exudes the kind of royal opulence that one expects from the buildings of Vienna.

Zagreb has a long and rich tradition of the performing arts; the first recorded productions were during the 11th century, with performances held across town squares, in churches and schools. It wasn’t till 1840 that the first theatre dedicated to music and drama was established in the city. However, this was a small structure, and it couldn’t hold the growing popularity of the theatre for long.

As a result a new, bigger, more lavish theatre was commissioned. The new building was to be based on blueprints designed by Austrian architects, Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer, both well known by then for their work across Austria and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


The new theatre was inaugurated in 1895 by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph. Since then the theater has been playing host toCroatian National Theatre Zagreb, performing opera, ballet and drama. The theater boasts of a rich program all year round.

If the theatre isn’t your cup of tea, come visit the surrounding park. At any given time of day, you’ll find locals and tourists gathered here, around the benches, across the grass, next to Mestrovic’s famous ‘Well of Life’ sculpture. This is a nice place to meet people and to spend the afternoon with friends.

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