prose

Stela Jelinčić: A Weed is Just a Plant Growing in the Wrong Place

STELA JELINČIĆ was born in Zagreb in 1977. She worked as an editor in a Croatian pop-art magazine, as well the editor for Konzor Publishing from Zagreb. Korov je samo biljka na krivom mjestu is her first book, which launched her as a young author of a peculiar style. In her writings she describes the subjective reality of a generation brought up in the dawn of post communist transition, followed by war and social double standards.



A Weed is Just a Plant Growing in the Wrong Place

 

A few days after Berlin, at some party, I was drinking...

A lot. Nothing’s any fun anymore, not if there’s no drink.

And Kosta says, “Easy babe, can’t you see I’m driving.”

He’s driving and me, I’m supposed to stay sober. Like I should quit drinking because he’s not drinking... Because he’s driving... It drives me crazy, the way we end up paired all the time. Couples. I’m no lobster, I’m no parrot, I’m no salmon tied to a salmon for life.

I’m half-drunk, seductive, smiling, winking...

So how do I go about seducing some sucker? I don’t need to do a thing, it just happens. I start dancing or I just lean up against the doorjamb and... maybe, I wink. At everyone. The whole lot. At no one, and whoever it is, he thinks he’s the guy. Like when everyone in a group photo points and says “See, this guy here, that’s me”, like when everyone thinks that the woman on the billboard has got her eyeball on him and no one else.

He comes up to me again, he’s all antsy, I know I’m getting on his nerves.

“I’m gonna get going. It’s boring. The music is total crap... I’m fucking tired of this Zagreb new-wave shit...”

He’s right, it sucks... ‘Specially if you’re sober and you’re driving.

“I’m gonna stick around,” I say, pretending I’m angry because he’s leaving me all alone, though I can’t wait for him to hit the road.

Poof, disappear! – I imagine and press my finger into his chest.

Then I start seducing.

My bubble bursts when some guy invites me to lunch at his grandma’s tomorrow because he kind of thinks she might like me. Just when he’s wrapping up his story, I get sick... maybe it’s the booze...

I get to the front of my building, the day is about to break. I rummage through my bag, swear at this huge, now fashionable, useless bag... Some say you know all whatever you need to know about a woman once you look into her bag. My knees buckle, I press my hot forehead against the door and blow. I write S+K on the foggy glass... No keys. I press the buzzer. He doesn’t open. I press. And press. I buzz someone else. “Excuse me...”

The door to the building opens.

Of course he is not gonna open. He is pissed. I press the doorbell on his apartment’s door, long, then lots of shorts, press it like an idiot. Nothing. No one answers. I hear the phone ringing inside. I bang the door and scream, totally furious. I rip the name off the door. It’s been five fucking years and my name’s not on the door.

Only his.

“Well, it’s not your place,” he said once and laughed. I knew he was only fucking around with me so I didn’t press.

But now it pisses me off. I haul our doormat up to the third floor, I throw the neighbour’s down the stairs... I go down to the first floor and attack the mailbox. My name’s not on it either. I’m fucking furious. I shove my fingers into the mailbox opening and pull, yank, bang at it with my fist, make my finger bleed... I go back to the elevator and with this bloody finger write in capital letters: FUCK YOU, and then in lower letters: asshole. I rip a piece out of my fishnet nylon stocking and tie it to the destroyed mailbox, like it’s some serial killer’s signature, like he’s gonna come back for more.

I go get a cup of coffee, at a coffee shop in the building. It just opened. I got no money for the coffee... I got no credit on my cell either... The waiter looks at me, my nylons are fucked-up, my finger’s all bloody. He buys me a coffee. What’s he gonna do with me? He also lends me his cell... I call Mirna, my guardian angel. She’d never say no to me. It is just not done, loyalty is not restricted to families. When Mirna stops being loyal, when she’s got no time to comfort me, to pay for my coffee and such-like, I’ll tell her to fuck off. That’s what girlfriends are for. Crap situations like this and stakeouts, like when you like someone so you spy on him.

“And bring seven kunas for coffee... I owe it to some guy...” I say.

And Mirna gets here, still in her pyjamas. You don’t keep your fucked-up friend waiting too long. And you say nothing. Mirna knows how to play the game and that’s why she’s gonna keep quiet until we get to her apartment. I suck on my bloody finger and cry. I’m going crazy.

“He left me outside, with no keys, drunk, I’ve been waiting for him for hours, I hate him, he makes me sick, I should’ve told him to fuck off long ago. So what if he wants to go home, that doesn’t mean I have to go with him... And then he won’t open the door... Like I don’t live there, son of a bitch. He makes me sick... I’m fucking sick of this fucking bondage, this coupling everywhere around, whatever...”

I’m screaming.

Mirna keeps driving. She agrees, of course. She gets everything, my dear, dear Mirna. The whole deal.

“I shouldn’t have moved in with him... If the door was open now, if I had a key, I’d move out right away.”

There’s tears streaming down my cheeks, I lick them.

We get to her place. She lives alone, she owns her own place. That’s what I should’ve done. She makes me coffee, comforts me, understands me.

“What a bastard!” she says. “How could he leave you like that,” she says and points at my stocking, kisses my finger.

I keep calling him all the time. His cell is off. I call him a hundred times. I try to get the network to send him a message: a hundred missed calls. I wanna hurt myself, I make my finger bleed again. I want it to bleed. I don’t wash my hands. I want it to get infected. I’m a big-time drama queen. I wanna end up in hospital... So he’ll feel sorry... So he’ll have to visit me... Get down on his knees... Beg and plead... I want my finger to fall off...

We call our friends to come over for coffee and I tell them what happened. We laugh. I tell them how I broke open the mailbox, I show them how I tore my stocking. They’re happy. Guys should be put to the torture. In every possible way. We’re like a pack, bonded. They totally go along with me: whatever I decide is good.

And I decide what I’m gonna do: I’ll move out. When he calls me, I’ll tell him, “I’m moving out, l don’t need you.” In my mind I’m already packing my stuff, I know what’s in what box. The packing wears me out. Why do you always have to pack to go somewhere? If I had less stuff, things would be simpler. Then I decide not to buy anything any more. And I’ll write everything down. What’s mine, what’s his. And what, like, belongs to both of us, I’ll throw it all down the stairs. I’ll heave the TV through the window.

Like that guy from Umag. The neighbour. He threw his TV through the window because his wife pissed him off... He first opened the window, we found this funny, then he tossed the TV. That’s what I’ll do.

And the chicks around me, my dear gossipy pals, they’re laughing like crazy. I entertain them, me the revolutionary... They’ll go home and raise hell, and when all is said and done, all my girlfriends’ boyfriends are gonna get fucked over.

“And do you know what Denis did to me?” lva’s furious. “But I gave as good as I got, I fucking did. For three days l didn’t say a word. He was at some wedding, l couldn’t go with him. And so I ask him who was there. He gives me a couple of names, like, no one in particular, you know?! And then, a while later we go visit the couple that got married, to watch the wedding video. And there, you wouldn’t fucking believe it, there he is, Denis dancing with some blonde the whole evening, he’s pouring her wine, then dancing again... I went fucking nuts. ‘Why didn’t you tell me about her?’ I ask him on the way home. I barely managed to stop from screaming at him while we were still with this couple of newlyweds. But you know; they just got married, it’s all idyllic and shit, so I waited till we got out. And he, Mister wiseass, says, ‘What was I going to say since you don’t even know her.’ I almost killed him right there. The next day I cut up his shirt into tiny, little pieces.”

Finally, my cell goes off.

“Quick, look, is it him?” Mima asks.

“It’s him,” I say.

“Let it ring...” says Mirna.

“Let it ring a while, let it ring,” my chicks keep repeating like an echo.

And then, I answer the cell, so that he doesn’t give up. Screw it, I’m beginning to cool down. I’m sleepy. Tired. How’m I gonna pack up now on top of all this. And where am l gonna go on such short notice? “

A hundred missed calls ... Baby, where are you? I just got home... Are you okay?” he asks all worried.

He’s worried... He cares about me, I think... Sorry, irony is abandoning me. Then I cry, sigh, spit tears into the cell: “You’ve left me alone... And where were you? Without keys, miserable, I was cold, alone... I almost froze... I don’t have the keys, that’s my home too... I hate you... I’m bleeding...”

He comforts me... He’s sorry and he says all those sweet words. That cools me down...

“It’s all all right. Good that you broke the mailbox... But he didn’t do it on purpose, see,” says Mirna. Of course, she’s my friend. A real friend. Because friends always tell you that you are right.

And then we make up. I don’t move out. I don’t even make a list of who owns what. I feel ashamed because I badmouthed him, because I said I’d be brave, stubborn, because I said I would stand firm and then, after all, I changed my mind. Because I sobered up... I’m never gonna talk about him like that again, I think. We got to stick together, close, like a couple of dolphins, like mob guys...

Am I a coward, am I a cuckoo? Will I be able to tell Mirna next time, “Oh, he’s so brilliant, I simply adore him...” She’ll spit it right back in my face, “And what about that time he left you alone, outside in the cold?” I mean, am I that fucking cuckoo from Animal Planet, which is my favourite TV show... The cuckoo laid an egg in some other bird’s nest while the bird wasn’t looking. So little cuckoo hatched and kicked all the other eggs out of the nest. And this one bird feeds the little cuckoo who grows and grows and opens its beak wider and wider. It grows so much that the nest is soon too small... And then, it flutters away without even looking back. It even, like a real smart ass, takes a dump in mid-air.

“See, what is the instinct!” says Mirna, “the world is very simple.”

 

* * *

And then somehow, after all that, I calmed down, got cozy and all with Kosta. For a good two weeks everything was peaches and cream, but there was also some tension... On the inside... And then in three days two fights.

First I forgot our fifth-year anniversary. I wake up, I’ve got a present with a little bow on the table from him. But I got him nothing, I’m not even in the mood for a quickie...

“Do you know what’s today?” Kosta asks.

“Of course I know, but...”

“Ah, ok... It doesn’t matter, it’s all good,” he says, but then, quick as a flash, he changes his mind. “You’re really selfish, I can’t believe you, it’s not that I’m pissed because you’re not thinking about these things, but I’m just sad... This is our day. The only day of the year...”

“Right. I like spontaneity more than holidays. You know that, you know I don’t like even Valentine’s Day. I celebrate when I feel like it, not when the calendar says I should...” I try to get myself out of it.

“Ok, it doesn’t matter, you don’t get it and... you just don’t get it,” he says. He takes long pauses. Stops dead in a sentence. He’s like suffering and stuff...

I go out. I’m as hard-up as the newsie at this newsstand where I dump my coins and cuss.

“And what are you getting for your boyfriend?” peroxide newsie wants to know.

“I’m not shopping for pleasantries,” I mumble, and the mumble is left hanging in the air.

I buy an I Love You pendant, put it in this small box, and take it home.

“It’s not a ring,” I’m, like, joking. “So don’t get any ideas,” but, actually, this is my insurance so that he really won’t get any ideas, take advantage of my guilt, because when I’m tripping on guilt, I’m weak.

That’s where we cut it short, but two days later our little vaudeville act is up and running again. There’ s a game on TV, England-Croatia...

I’m watching the game and Kosta is next to me, sewing. He’s darning his damn socks. “So, you’re doing the sewing, huh?” I’m up and fucking with his mind. “And look at me, eh! the game’s on, a humdinger.”

And that pisses him off. Why? What’s there to piss him off, I think. Everything’s just the way it should be.

Hidden tension weasels it’s way out of him... From deep inside, as if we are walking a thin line.

So now what, why can’t I just stare at the TV, like, it’s not normal to watch the game? OK, it was me who started to fuck around with him, so now, instead of being happy because we won, I’m about to launch this war on home field.

“Let’s talk...” I say. “I mean, I want to solve this.”

“You wanna fight, right?!”

“No, I don’t wanna fight, I just wanna talk.”

And then, just like chicks go on about their emotions and guys pull apart the engines in their cars, we start taking it all apart...

“You’re always hiding something. You’re so full of yourself,” he says.

He lists his stuff, I list mine, like we’re still hitting above the belt, not below, but everything’s getting pretty loud. “Hold on, time-out,” I say. I’m fucking crying crocodile tears, I hate the way I tear-up. The moment my ear canal gets overloaded, waterfalls start gushing from my eyes. “I have to think about what I want to tell you, I need to digest everything you’ve said and then we’ll continue, in peace and quiet, like normal people.”

“No, we go on right now,” he says, swings his mug at me, burns his hand, and drops the mug on the floor.

I now expect hysteria, I wait for him to start screaming. Everything leads up to that. Typically. If he gets going, I’ll tell him, “Get out. If you’re so wired you don’t know how to deal with it, get out, man, and freak out in the hallway...” What if he says, “No! That’s not gonna happen,” and then closes the doors and windows so that no one hears us and starts screaming all over the apartment?

I know, he’s like a delicate pussy. But is he gonna kick-start his hysteria? Is he gonna get down and bottom-feed? That’s what I need to know. Has he hit bottom, what’s down there and how much is there? Do I know him well enough, what’s he like inside, is he hiding something? Now he has a motive, wanting to be strong, he’s got me for a witness, he’s’ even got that fucking alpha-male thing going, all the excuses, even if, after all this shit, he says: “It’s all my fault,” or, after an hour, two, three, he wants to get out of it all and say he’s sorry, it was all his fault because, like, he told me a million times, and blah, blah, blah... Will he slam the door when, beside himself with anger and frustration, he leaves the house? There’s some stupid song about slammed doors. How the fuck is this going on in my head now?

I feel strong on the inside – it’s the rat’s strength. While I imagine him taking out his frustrations on me, I feel this strength, like I could destroy him with my eyes. If he slams the door on me, I’ll ignore him when he comes back. I’ll be as quiet as a catfish, I’ve made up my mind... I won’t scare myself shitless and cuddle up in his lap... Dance around him some Iamalittlegirl-Ineedyoutotakecareofme dance. Because I know I don’t need anybody, I can do it all on my own, a fucking sewer rat is fucking zero compared to me. I’m a witch, I’ve always hung out with the boys, everyone knows I can wolf down seven cabbage rolls, I can chug half a litter of worst brandy, crash traffic lights and get away with it with the cops and no points on my record.

Kosta heads over to pick up the mug.

“Good it didn’t break, I love that mug.”

He says this as calm as calm can be.

He catches me by surprise, shames me, leaves me speechless.

But, I pretend I haven’t noticed what he’s up to because I don’t want to make myself admit that this can be anything but a quick retreat that’s got all the smell of victory about it, and it’s his. I still want to make some things clear.

“Perhaps we don’t get each other,” I say.

I say it the way you say something when you have nothing to say, the words sounding like an empty pot sounds.

“Sure, so it is this bit now: we don’t get each other, why’re we together after all. You know I’m fucking tired of your total all-day downers...” he snaps back at me.

“I’m not feeling down, not at all.”

And I’m really not. But somewhere in the back of my mind I realize he’s the one who’s not so fine and that’s all because I am, it really bothers him that I can keep a part of me to myself alone, but I’ve also got this little bit of me that I can’t share with anyone because I’m not in control of it myself, because that’s the challenge, the riddle I can’t solve. Fuck it, people change, they dream, their dreams come true, or don’t. I hardly know who the fuck I am so how can I explain myself to him? How can I share with him something I don’t have? How do I know why I’m like I am in the morning and like I am in the afternoon. And I also like to talk to myself. And it’s ok with me when he doesn’t feel like talking. Then I brood, fantasize. How to make him realize this, how to turn this into words, so it lights up in his head like an “oooho.”

“Why the fuck are you always so lost... Always thinking something... C’mon, let’s watch a movie,” he says. So he’s pissed, I see.

“You go, watch a movie, we don’t have to do everything together, can’t you see I’m thinking...”

“Thinking! Thinking! Thinking! Now you’re gonna start up with that bullshit again: You’re busting the air out my lungs! Every fucking thing is sucking the air out of your lungs.”

How am I supposed to be me and free-floating among the free when he doesn’t let me be, anchored, where we watch and don’t’ see, everything is leaking, passing, where we watch and not see, I mustn’t start thinking of escape, who knows where to or from what, how can I quit, disappear...

But... how do you disappear? How do you disappear?

Should I ask the cat? I brought that big ass cat home, I barely managed to talk him into it. I found it on the street and, like, saved it. Now it lives in our small apartment downtown. It’s fat, we feed it too much. I watch her climb up the window and meow.”

“Biska wants out. Who knows if it’s a good thing that, like, I saved it,” I whisper.

“She’s got love now. Love isn’t freedom,” Kosta says quietly.

Yes, that’s exactly what he said. Wise, like it was a verdict... like he’d won some kinda victory. He said that to me, distressed, like someone digging her own grave, walking around with a mask that tells you far more than it hides...

When I look back, these have been two hopelessly hairy, prickly, bristling months...

And then, in the end, there was that masked party.

When I woke up that morning, all rested and ready to lay this surprise idea of mine on Kosta, this plan I’ve got for a masked party, I foolheartedly praised the day. And that you don’t do to the day not yet done.

I wanted to go as this just screwed farm girl so I bought myself a wig... Nice, blonde, shiny. I looked like a transvestite in it. I just needed a skirt, socks up to my knees or just above them, I hadn’t figured that one out yet, and a pair of sandals – and the combo would at the end be great. I hadn’t had breakfast yet, but already everything is gone sour...

Kosta came into the kitchen totally upset.

“What’s this?” he asks.

Blonde hairs in his hand.

And it really hits me. I can’t remember right away.

“I don’t know,” I say.

“You don’t know? I found blonde hairs in the sink.”

His hand is shaking.

“That’s from the wig, you idiot,” I remember.

“But that was in the tub.”

“So, I combed it...”

He stands there for a whole minute, angry. He is loosing balance, like he is experiencing a knock-down right there on his feet and my triumphal silence is like referee’s count down...

He is speechless.

“... and why the fuck do I have to explain myself to you?” I scream.

“You don’t have to do anything, I’m just asking.”

“And didn’t Mima, who is also blonde, shower here?” I knock him down again.

“C’mon, don’t drag her into this. So tell me, what is this?” he says through his teeth.

In his other hand, a postcard.

“A postcard,” I say simply.

“Don’t play smart... I know it’s a postcard... But what’s this on it, and how long do you figure on keeping it next to your pillow? That’s what I’m asking... What kind of a postcard?”

“You know I got it from Gotz. Why are you treating me like I’m some kind of idiot? So now I’m not allowed to get a postcard from someone?”

“Out of all the possible postcards you get this one?”

“Which?”

“This one, with this fucking picture. An unmade bed. The best known picture of a bed in history...”

“You’re nuts! So what if there’s a bed in the picture?”

“C’mon, cut the crap. A guy sends you a postcard with the unmade bed in it, and you even keep it next to your pillow.”

“Man, what’s your problem?! An e-mail, postcard, text message, same shit. This is not your thing. Gotz doesn’t write e-mails, so he sent me a postcard.”

“Gotz this, Gotz that... For two fucking weeks I hear nothing but Gotz.”

“Fuck off with your jealousy! What’s your problem?”

“So now you will say I’m not letting you get your postcards? I’m just asking why this picture? Are you really so naive? You really think he sends unmade beds to everyone?”

It’s true, the picture is sexy. So what? Is this it now? Do I have to be careful about what gets into my mailbox? Forever?

I go completely crazy.

In a moment of weakness, I’d let Gotz get to me and my sincerity just like Inga gets her money. And now, with me being so insecure, Kosta’s brutally on my case.

Both Inga and Gotz have got this big time need to put a seal on emotion. I know it. And Gotz, with this big-time need of his, he’s gone and put his seal of approval on emotion.

Like lovers who leave their mark on you by giving you a neck hickey, like it’s their blue seal of approval. Like robbing a bank and then opening a personal savings account at the same bank with all that money you’ve just stolen and even sending them a letter saying that the marked bills have just today entered into circulation...

In the end, you lick the envelope, let them get your DNA, because you know you’re not in the database and there is nothing they have on you...

That you are a NoName Gotz. And you are letting this NoName Gotz rip you off of your emotions because you are ripping him too, except that he doesn’t know it. A thief doing a thief, fucking fabulous... You keep his postcard, like the signature of his dick, on your nightstand, and, in fact, you are the one charging interest on his income. In this three thieves threesome with two dicks and a beaver guys fuck each other in the ass. Forever...

And to NoName Gotz I’ll still stick the principal amount of money into his ass after I go down on his dearest girlfriend pink pussy.

Agreeing to exchange of intimacies means exposing yourself to filthy interest, liable not only for your own, since it belongs to you and you are the boss of what’s yours, but also for someone else’s as if though they were yours.

And here’s where we’ll get down and dirty, real mean... Whoever wants it mean, will get mean.

Gotz, Gotz, the filth, lucre’s piling up, the lucre is piling up.

 

* * *

Then I went to Belgrade after all. To see Daca. To have some fun, to get away, forget, make a decision. I raised my hand, the taxi pulled over. I said, “Novi Beograd.”

“You look kinda interesting,” the driver said.

“Oh, thank you.”

He wanted to talk. He told me he knew Željko Malnar, the well-known television personality, and that he could read people’s palms.

He looked at my palm carefully. His hands were warm. I told him everything I knew about my horoscope.

“The men in your life will fuck you over more than just once” he said. “They already did, but they’ll fuck you over even more. You had some guy who had a girl child, he fucked you up.”

He was right on the money. I had a guy who had a daughter. He got her when he was a kid, in high school. But so what, fuck... What am I supposed to do? What if he’s telling the truth? What if he’s just guessing?

“You know Željko Malnar?” he asked.

 “Yeah, I do...

“I read Malnar’s palm too. I could read his future and everything, but he wanted to keep it in his palm.”

I let him keep on guessing about me, curiosity kept my trap shut.

“There’ll be some kinda problems with your bro. Steer clear of him, he’ll bust your eye open,” he said, and looked into my green eyes like he was already feeling sorry for my busted eye.

He didn’t charge me for the ride, probably felt sorry about my fucked up life... He told me a bunch of times to be sure to say hi to Željko... He gave me his card, said I should call him if I’ve got any questions. I kept it in my purse for a long time, and then, when it was all worn out, I rolled it in a ball and threw it away.

And now I’m having a drink at Pif, the taxi driver in my head, and looking at Malnar... Should I say hi? I’m looking at Malnar and thinking...

My bro will bust my eye open by the time I turn forty. My palm doesn’t say why. There will be a reason. Future is always cloudy. The year that this happens is still a long way off, I comfort myself. But it’s also too close, I’m afraid.

I don’t care why, so long as it’ s not because of the family. As long as it’s not the same old corny family story. As long as he doesn’t find some weak, sweet little woman, someone who will look at him like he’s god.

Someone he’ll sweet-talk into marrying. Especially if she’s a virgin. As long as he doesn’t get any kids, yelling at them, grounding them. As long as he doesn’t hit them. And doesn’t treat girls differently then boys.

So his kids don’t come knocking on my door, so I don’t have to fight, call 911, the women’s distress line...

I don’t fucking want it to be because of that.

And then he’ll bust my eye open.

When I’m forty.

I’ll let my hair grow down over it, I comfort myself. Or, even better, a patch, round and black, a blot, crucified with two black ribbons around my head. Like in Kill Bill. Like Moshe Dayan.

I’ll be sitting at Pif, just like now, rubbing my palm like it was Aladdin’s lamp... And when I finish my drink, I’ll take my glass eye out of its socket and wipe it clean with my shirt tail. That will be funny.

But I’ll be surrounded by happy people... They won’t find me strange...

 

 

 

Translated by

Tomislav Kuzmanović

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Jonathon Bousfield on the Museum of Broken Relationships

Just got out of a serious relationship and don't know what to do with all those keepsakes and mementos of your former loved one? The very popular and probably most unique museum in Zagreb, the Museum of Broken Relationships, dedicated to preserving keepsakes alongside the diverse stories of relationships gone wrong, will gladly take them. Find out how the museum got started and take an in-depth look at some of its quirkiest pieces in the link below.

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The Lasting Impact of the 1980s on Zagreb

Find out how the 1980s, which saw the pinnacle of the domestic music scene, uncertain and rapidly changing political circumstances, and a more open and critical media, shaped the soul of modern-day Zagreb.

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Cool Things To Do in Zagreb

Zagreb is Croatia’s relaxed, charming and pedestrian-friendly capital. Check out Time Out’s definitive Zagreb guide for a diverse set of options of what to explore in the city from unusual museums to legendary flea markets and everything in between.

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Jonathan Bousfield on Diocletian's Legacy in Split

Diocletian’s Palace is the main attraction in Split, the heart and soul of the city. Because of the palace, Split’s city center can be described as a living museum and it draws in the thousands of tourists that visit the city annually. But how much do we really know about the palace’s namesake who built it, the last ruler of a receding empire? Jonathan Bousfield contends that history only gives us a partial answer.

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The Poetry of Zagreb

Cities have served as sources of inspiration, frustration, and discovery for millennia. The subject of sonnets, stories, plays, the power centers of entire cultures, hotbeds of innovation, and the cause of wars, cities are mainstays of the present and the future with millions more people flocking to them every year.

Let the poet, Zagreb native Tomica Bajsić, take you on a lyrical tour of the city. Walk the streets conjured by his graceful words and take in the gentle beauty of the Zagreb of his childhood memories and present day observation.

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Jonathon Bousfield's Take on the Croatian Cultural Landscape in 2018

What could possibly tie together island musicals, political thrillers, 60s Yugoslavian culture, contemporary Croatian authors, graphic novels set amongst a backdrop of urban decay, Le Cobustier inspired architecture and a classic 20th century author’s firsthand account of 1920s Russia? Proving that he really does have his finger on the pulse of Croatian’s cultural scene, Jonathon Bousfield expounds on all of this and more in his 2018 Croatian Cultural Guide, check it out in the link below.

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Jonathon Bousfield Reviews the English Translation of Krleža's Journey to Russia

Krleža, a giant of 20th century European literature, is woefully undertranslated into English. Read Jonathon Bousfield’s compelling review of the master Krleza’s part travelogue, part prose account of the time he spent in Russia as a young man in the mid-1920s, Journey to Russia, which is accessible to English readers for the first time.

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Mirogoj Cemetery: An Architectural Jewel

Going to a cemetery may not be the first idea that pops into your mind when visiting a new city. But the stunning Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb, which was designed by the renowned Austrian architect, Herman Bolle, is definitely worth a bit of your time. Read more below to find out why.

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You Haven't Experienced Zagreb if You Haven't Been to the Dolac Market

Dolac, the main city market, is a Zagreb institution. Selling all the fresh ingredients you need to whip up a fabulous dinner, from fruits and vegetables to fish, meat and homemade cheese and sausages, the sellers come from all over Croatia. Positioned right above the main square, the colorful market is a beacon of a simpler way of life and is just as bustling as it was a century ago.

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Croatian Phrases Translated into English

Do you find phrases and sayings give personality and flair to a language? Have you ever pondered how the culture and history of a place shape the common phrases? Check out some common sayings in Croatian with their literal translations and actual meanings below.

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Discover Croatia's Archaeological Secrets

Discover Croatia’s rich archaeological secrets, from the well known ancient Roman city of Salona near Split or the Neanderthal museum in Krapina to the often overlooked Andautonia Archaeological Park, just outside of Zagreb, which boasts the excavated ruins of a Roman town or the oldest continuously inhabited town in Europe, Vinkovci.

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Hollywood and Dubrovnik

The medieval city in Croatia is having a geek-culture moment as the setting for King’s Landing in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”.
Hollywood seems to have discovered Dubrovnik. Parts of The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga, also take place in the fortress town. Filming wrapped this year on a new Robin Hood film starring Taron Eagerton, Jamie Foxx, and Jamie Dornan (and produced by Leonard DiCaprio). The 25th James Bond film is reported to begin shooting in the city in January 2018.
But not everyone appreciates all the attention.

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Croatian Sites on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

A little know fact is that Croatia, together with Spain, have the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO, and Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.

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Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is one of those things which always finds its way to every visitor’s busy schedule.

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Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

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