Trakošćan in winter1/3
© Zlatko Zalec
Pula Carnival2/3
© Pula Tourist Board
Festival of Lights3/3
© M. Mihaljević

Great things to do in Croatia this winter

From music and theatre events to carnivals, exhibitions and film festivals, there are lots of great things still left to do in Croatia this winter

By Marc Rowlands
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Croatia's famous Christmas markets may have just ended, but the country's special Advent celebrations are far from the only reason to visit Croatia in winter. As the season progresses, more likely than not, Croatia's castles and national parks will be covered in a magical shroud of snow, giving them their most impressive, annual outfit. It's the start of a thrilling year of events in Rijeka as the city assumes its title of European Capital of Culture 2020 and its thrilling carnival takes place, like the one in Pula, this winter. Zagreb's stunning Festival of Lights is one of the capital's most spectacular events of the year, let alone winter. And, from visiting pop and rock bands, techno DJs and opera events to art exhibitions and film festivals, there are lots of great things still left to do in Croatia, making the country one of the best options in Europe for a winter break.

Great things to do in Croatia this winter

© Pymouss

Sinéad O'Connor

Music Rock and indie

In a colourful career which has seen her several times embroiled in controversy and campaigning, if the dust ever truly settles, it will be for her music that Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor will be remembered. Her version of the Prince song 'Nothing Compares 2 U' is the definitive rendition and was a worldwide hit, topping the charts for weeks in the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and all over Europe in 1990. Following its release, in tandem with her solo career, O'Connor took part in several high-profile collaborations to produce work which was every bit the equal of her big hit, most notably with Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, Jah Wobble, Terry Hall, Moby, Bomb The Bass, U2, The The and members of Pink Floyd. This visit to Zagreb is a rare occurrence, with only 1200 tickets on sale and could be considered a dress rehearsal for the substantial American tour she embarks on immediately afterwards.

Davor Rostuhar - Croatia. Full of color.
Davor Rostuhar - Croatia. Full of color.
© Davor Rostuhar - pisac i fotograf

Davor Rostuhar: Croatia, full of colour

Things to do Exhibitions Franjo Tuđman Airport, Zagreb

Just arrived in Zagreb by plane and wondering what all those wonderful pictures are hanging in the baggage claim area? Well, it's an exhibition entitled 'Croatia, full of colour' by well-travelled, Zagreb-based writer and photographer Davor Rostuhar. Welcome!

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Croatian Baroque Ensemble
Croatian Baroque Ensemble
© Croatian Baroque Ensemble

Croatian Baroque Ensemble: Father, son and godfather

Music Classical and opera

This performance is very much a family affair, featuring the music of he music of Johann Sebastian Bach, his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Carl's godfather Georg Philipp Telemann. Featured players on the occassion include Andreas Helm, oboe and art director, Stjepan Nodilo, oboe, Manuela Mitterer, oboe, Laura Vadjon, violin and Tanja Tortić, violin.

Rijeka
Rijeka
© Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture

Inauguration of Rijeka as European Capital of Culture 2020

Things to do

A huge 24-hour party takes place throughout Rijeka to mark its inauguration as European Capital of Culture 2020. Festivities start on Friday 31 January and continue well into Sunday 2 February (and, indeed, throughout the forthcoming year), but the main day of events and celebration of this inauguration period is Saturday 1 February. Street artists, dancers, open-air exhibitions and street theatre will line the routes of the city centre throughout the day and there will be a soundtrack of music provided by live bands and DJs throughout the day and night. The day begins with a get-together at Skradin bar and guided city bus tours, followed by the official inauguration at the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc Rijeka in the afternoon at which members of the European Commission, diplomats, government officials, 16 EU culture ministers and representatives of previous and future European Capitals of Culture will be present. The central event of the inauguration ceremony, Opera Industriale, symbolises the city and combines sound, music, performers, art and noise and will include more than 120 participants. The gathered crowds will also be asked to join in. It takes place at 7pm at Rijeka Port. More than 70 additional events will take place as part of the inauguration, at over 30 city-centre locations, with some 500 performers taking part. Rock, pop, jazz, punk, electronic and blues performers will play on outdoor and indoor stages with local stars like Jonathan, Parafi, Fit and

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Fabian Knecht, Rasparivanje, 2013
Fabian Knecht, Rasparivanje, 2013
© Fabian Knecht 'Rasparivanje (decoupling)', 2013

Collection for the future - MSU acquisitions

Things to do Exhibitions Museum of Contemporary Art, Novi Zagreb

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art existing in its new building, the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art will showcase over 200 artworks collected through donations and buyouts. Among the inclusions are 'Fitting Abstraction', which in 2014 represented Croatia at the Venice Biennale of Architecture and 'City ǀ Data ǀ Future - Interactions in Hybrid Urban Environment'. The museum was founded in 1954 as the City Gallery of Contemporary Art and since then has been researching, collecting, documenting and presenting to the public works that represent styles and phenomena of contemporary art. Over the last decade, the museum has increased its holdings by over 3000 works, over 200 of which will be displayed here.

Surogat
Surogat
Youtube/ screenshot

From imagination to animation: six decades of Zagreb Film

Things to do Exhibitions Museum of Contemporary Art, Novi Zagreb

Founded in 1953, Zagreb Film is a Croatian film company known throughout the former Yugoslavia for its animation work. They have produced hundreds of animated films, as well as documentaries, television commercials, educational films and feature films, their most famous characters being Professor Balthazar and Inspector Mask. This multimedia exhibition will showcase the studio's successful history and many of the authors and artists who have worked on its animation from 1956 until today. A selection of over 200 animated films, documentaries and live-action works makes up the sizeable exhibition.

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Zlatko Keser 'Znak Prizivanja' (sign of summoning)
Zlatko Keser 'Znak Prizivanja' (sign of summoning)
© Peter Kainz / Klovićevi Dvori archive

Zlatko Keser

Things to do Exhibitions Galerija Klovićevi Dvori, Upper Town

Zlatko Keser is a member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, an academic and an artist. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1967 and has been teaching there since 1982. He was admitted to the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2004 and in his formative years was partially mentored in the workshop of renowned Croatian naive artist Krsto Hegedušić. He is a painter of imaginative, colourful scenes and is sometimes associated with a purposefully infantile inclusion of handwriting, sharply contrasting colour schemes and, at times, erotic references. In addition to his painting, he works in graphics, book illustrations and on public murals, two of which can be seen in Koprivnica and Zagreb. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Vladimir Nazor Lifetime Achievement Award.

©Imre Szabó

Up Close and Personal: War in Croatia

Museums Military and maritime Image Of War Photography Museum, Zagreb

Over 100 images taken during Croatia's War Of Independence are presented in Up Close and Personal: War in Croatia, the first official exhibition at the Image Of War Photography Museum. The exhibition holds not only the work of professional Croatian, Serb and world-renowned photographers such as Peter Turnley, Dragoljub Zamurović, Ron Haviv, Christopher Morris, Romeo Ibrišević and Matko Biljak, but also photos donated by the public. Alongside the photographs are the testimonies of those who were caught up in the conflict. The exhibition depicts not only the actual conflict and those who took part but also the aftermath and the people who existed within that environment. Photographs of disturbed and injured participants in the war stand next to those of the distraught and grieving, plus those of children who make a playground in the scorched earth, destruction and rubble.

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Museum of Broken Relationships
Museum of Broken Relationships
© Ana Opalić

The Museum of Broken Relationships

4 out of 5 stars
Things to do Exhibitions Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb

Starting as a playfully ironic art installation and subsequently an international touring exhibition, the Museum of Broken Relationships has become one of Zagreb's most unusual and most popular museum attractions since opening in 2010. Housed in one of the Upper Town's finest Baroque mansions, the thematic display takes visitors through a series of different emotions associated with a break-up, illustrated by objects donated by members of the public. An electric toaster donated by a jilted American is accompanied by the laconic comment: ‘When I moved out, and across the country, I took the toaster. That'll show you. How are you going to toast anything now?’ Many exhibits are captioned with the kind of surreal narratives that frequently flow from fraught emotional states. Funny, tragic, fascinating, it was named 'most innovative museum' at the European Museum Awards of 2011.

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