Croatian cultural evening.
Dances, live music and singing from different regions, delicious food and wine.
It is our pleasure to show you a part of the rich cultural heritage of Croatia with this programme. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a show filled with some of the most beautiful dances, songs and music from the rich heritage of Zagreb and its surrounding area.
The gastronomic experience including traditional meals prepared following the recipes from our grandmothers’ cookbooks, as well as presentation of some traditional customs and crafts included in the programme guarantee an unforgettable event that is sure to remain in your memory as a vivid reminder of your visit to Zagreb!
What we do?
Tourists can learn all about folklore tradition as well as traditional gastronomical specialities at the new Etnosphere… Etnosphere tourist programme will be regularly…
Art of any given era cannot be perceived without any elements of folklore. Peak achievements in music are, more or less, based on elements of folklore, the fact being more than obvious today with frequent ethno festivals.
All the characteristics of a people, such as the environment, natural phenomena, speech, rhythm, songs and dance are all present in its unique folklore that is patiently waiting for an artist and his imagination to perceive it through his eyes and ears and transform it into a new work of art. Folk melody resounding somewhere in the countryside brings a part of the local atmosphere it is linked to and expresses in its particular way. If you seek to experience an area emotionally and recreate it through music, you should study its unique atmosphere and customs of the people who inhabit it. Folklore does not impose norms and rules; it offers the artist complete freedom in creation and interpretation.
Music has been used as means of promoting national and political ideals in Croatia since the 19th century, which gave birth to the idea of creating national music based on elements of folklore. This was mainly realized by using melodies of popular songs created in towns (the so-called old-town songs) and through work of choirs and tambura orchestras that were formed as first amateur music societies during the National Revival period in the second half of the 19th century. The 20th century, the period between the two world wars in particular, national music becomes the traditional music of the Croatian peasantry. Croatian regions have various historical and cultural heritage and are located on the meeting-point of mid-European, Mediterranean and Balkan cultures, which resulted in diversity of music repertoire, performance styles and folklore instruments.
If you strolled down the streets of Zagreb during the 1950s, you could still see peasant men and women dressed in particular costumes arriving into town from the neighbouring villages.
Men wore trousers and shirts made from home-made white linen. The shirt was held tight by a leather belt and they wore silk scarves around their necks. They wore red linen vests (lajbek) over the shirts and they had small round hats (škrlak) on their heads. In winter they would wear a short wool coat (surka) and boots.
Women wore linen garments as well and their costume consisted of a blouse (opleće), skirt (rubača) and apron (fertun). The chest and sleeve ends of their blouses had particular stitching and embroidery decorations that were also found on the apron. In formal and special occasions, women of the Prigorje area wore a silk scarf arranged in triangle above their aprons, choral necklaces (kraluži) around their necks and short leather vests (kožulec) or short linen coats over their blouses.
A special trait of these particular traditional costumes were leather peasant shoes, the so-called opanak, made of short strips of yellow leather, which were worn over white cotton socks tied under the knees with red ribbons. Both men and women liked taking a characteristic red colour umbrella with them (ambrela) even if it wasn’t raining.
The Croatian House is furnished as a peasant house dating to the late 19th and early 20th century. Croatia was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, which was the largest manufacturer and exporter of agricultural products in the world and the only European super-power that invested in rural and agricultural development rather than into the development of its army. This was probably the last era in which Croatian agricultural workers were not only wealthy, but highly praised for their skills and knowledge.
While men worked in the field and managed their farms, women were mistresses of their houses. Some of the older generations visiting the Croatian House might spot, among other exhibits, everyday objects that were still in active use in their grandmothers’ homes.
Some of the most significant exhibits include weaving loom used for the production of linen cloths used for making clothes, soft furnishings and festive robes, a millstone used for manual grain grinding, traditional pedal pottery wheel used for making clay dishes, a somewhat more ‘modern’ Singer sewing machine, scales with weights and brass bowls, various mortars and sieves.
The Croatian House is also a venue for various ethno workshops which aim to demonstrate the traditional manual weaving of linen cloths, embroidery work, knitting, making the well-known Lepoglava lace, production of jewellery, gingerbread (licitar) hearts, pottery and other traditional souvenirs.
Interior of HRVATSKA KUĆA where ETNOsphere program is held
TAMBURA is a string instrument similar to musical instruments found in other countries. There are various interpretations regarding the origin of the word ‘tambura’, one being that it originates from the Persian word ‘Tn’ meaning string, while others relate it to the Persian word ‘denbar’ and Arabic ‘tambur’.
The southern regions of Croatia have different words for the same instrument, such as pandora, pandzora and pažora. There are other legends related to this particular instrument: one states it was developed from a string instrument used in ancient cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt. There are drawings of an instrument with a long neck and small pear-like corpus carved into stone blocks dating back to the 3rd century BC. There are also artistic monuments depicting a similar instrument called lute found in Thebes and Egypt.
Tambura is first mentioned in Croatia in 1551 in the works of N. Nikolaj, a travel writer who visited the region as an escort to the French consul while traveling to Turkey. The oldest known tambura, dating back to 1847, is preserved in a museum in Osijek.
Gingerbread (licitar) is colourfully decorated cake made of honey dough traditionally produced in parts of central and eastern Croatia. Although it is entirely made of edible ingredients, its primary purpose is to bring joy to the eyes and soul. They are traditionally bright red and come in various shapes and sizes: smaller ones (hearts, birds, mushrooms, horseshoes, horses) are an all-time favourite Christmas tree ornaments in Croatian homes, while the larger ones are often used as gifts on special occasions.
The custom of giving a gingerbread heart as a token of love and affection is deeply rooted in the Croatian traditional culture.
The tradition of licitar production dates back to the Middle Ages, reaching its peak in the 16th and 17th century when elaborately decorated cakes were produced in numerous European convents by using wooden moulds. This type of cake production turned into a separate craft in the eastern Alps region, spreading onto other central European regions, reaching the Pannonian region of Croatia. Licitar manufacturers became highly esteemed craftsmen in Zagreb, Karlovac, Koprivnica, Samobor, Varaždin and other Croatian towns in the 18th and 19th century.
These cakes are known as lebkuchen or lebzelter in Austria and Germany (hence the Croatian variant licitar), perník in the Czech Republic, medovník in Slovakia, lect in Slovenia, etc. Although all of them share a common origin, the licitar hearts of north-western Croatia have acquired particular and unique traits over the centuries, such as their bright red coloured glazing and elaborate decorations. It should come as no surprise they have become a symbol not only of north-western Croatia, but of the whole country.
From 2010 they are part of UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the world.
It’s made of two simple symbols which together tell the story of ETNOsphere. Location of the pin and the fork together form a simple shape which presents local food and richness of our national cuisine.