Croatian National Theatre (HNK Zagreb)
A popular stop on many Zagreb sightseeing tours, the theater is one of the city’s most ornate buildings, featuring spired towers on each corner and a massive patinated copper dome. In front of the theater sits a vast sculpture titled “The Well of Life” by 20th-century Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The interior is equally opulent—a riot of marble, gilded columns, and frescoed ceilings interspersed with busts of famous composers and opera singers. Many leading Croatian and international singers, dancers, and actors have graced the stage of the 800-seat auditorium, which hosts a wide range of performances throughout the year.
Things to know before you go
- Tickets can be purchased in advance online, though the theater website is only in Croatian.
- Purchasing tickets at the HNK Zagreb box office is usually the easiest option for tourists.
- Ticket prices—event for the best seats—are considerably lower than those in Western European countries.
How to get there
The Croatian National Theatre is located in Marshal Tito Square (Trg Maršala Tita) in Zagreb’s Lower Town (Donji Grad). It is within walking distance from most attractions in the historic center; tram line 14 stops right at Marshal Tito Square.
When to get there
The theater’s exterior can be admired day or night, but a ticket to a scheduled performance is required to see the gilded interior. Last-minute tickets can be purchased at the box office 1.5 hours before curtain time.
An Art Lovers Guide to Zagreb
The HNK Theater is the crown jewel in Zagreb’s lively and ever-expanding arts scene. If a performance here leaves you craving more, there are plenty of other ways to get cultured in the Croatian capital. Wander seemingly endless art-filled galleries at the enormous Mimara Museum or Modern Gallery—the latter housed inside a 19th-century palace. Admire the work of Croatia’s most revered artist at the eponymous Galerija Miroslav Kraljević, or, for more avant-garde tastes, check out the Lauba cultural space or the Museum of Contemporary Art.
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- Mimara Museum (Muzej Mimara)
- Zagreb Botanical Garden
- Museum of Illusions
- Lotrscak Tower
- Zagreb 360 Observation Deck (Zagreb Eye)
- Strossmayer Promenade (Strossmayerovo Setaliste)
- Ban Jelacic Square (Trg Bana Jelacica)
- Museum of Broken Relationships (Muzej Prekinutih Veza)
- Zrinjevac Park (Nikola Subic Zrinski Square)
- Lower Town (Donji Grad)
- Croatian Museum of Naive Art (Hrvatski Muzej Naivne Umjetnosti)
- Art Pavilion
- Dolac Market
- Upper Town (Gornji Grad)
- Stone Gate (Kamenita Vrata)