The Croatian National Theatre (HNK – Hrvatsko narodno kazalište) is the highest artistic institution in Zagreb. It is the place where Zagrebers go to enjoy world class dramas, operas and ballets.
The building was finished in 1895, when the official opening ceremony was attended by the emperor Franz Joseph I.
The building dominates The Republic of Croatia Square, and its beauty is enhanced by the sculpture opposite its main entrance, “The well of life”, a work by the world famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
The interior is just as captivating. If you are very lucky, you may get the chance to see its most valuable item, the famous curtain “Croatian revival”, painted by Vlaho Bukovac. It is on display very rarely, on special occasions, such as the visit of the Pope.
What I like the most about HNK is its great repertoire, especially the winter ballet “Nutcracker”. Tickets are hard to come by, but I was lucky to see it twice and I recommend it always, for adults and children alike. I like sitting in private boxes (there is room for five people in each one), as it gives extra privacy for enjoying the show.
In case you come in warmer times, by far the most enjoyable thing for me is to use the break to stroll out on the balcony and enjoy the vista of the town. I always feel like stepping into a real 19th century ball as I walk the magnificent halls and emerge on the almost always crowded terrace.