Opatija Becomes First Tourist Destination in World with Free Reading Zone

Daniela Rogulj

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For the next 15 days, everyone in Opatija can enjoy a free reading zone!

“Welcome to Opatija, an open virtual library – the first tourist city in Croatia and the world that, on the occasion of World Tourism Day, has become a FREE READING ZONE,” says the “new” slogan of Opatija, which is directly positioned through the culture of reading books, reports HRTurizam on September 27, 2017. 

Last December, Croatia was the first country in the world to become a free reading zone, an open virtual library accessible to everyone. This unique pilot project and tourist story are led by a visionary group under the auspices of an organization that launches free reading zones worldwide. The aim of the project opens the idea of free reading for all.

This September, the next chapter in the Croatian story of free reading zones continues in the city of Opatija, within whose borders is the virtual library called ‘Opatija Reads’. As the value of the project lies not only in culture and education but also tourism, the citizens of Opatija and its many tourists can read free of charge in many of languages, including Croatian, over the next two weeks.


All users need to do is download Opatija Reads for Android, iOS, or Windows smartphones and tablets. Libraries can be accessed within the zone through the website.

Many institutions and organizations have recognized the mission and vision of the project in Croatia through the Croatia Reads pilot. Among them is the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Opatija, who has lent the funds needed to launch the project and whose Ika building today reads the FREE READING ZONE logo. 

“We want to contribute to the development of the local community through real activities and be an active partner in promoting content that enriches the tourist offer of Opatija. Although books are used by university teachers and students who are involved in the learning and teaching processes every day, we would like to promote reading as an excellent choice for leisure time, both for tourists and the local population. For this reason, we have decided to sponsor this project. We wish you all a pleasant time with a good book,” says the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Opatija.

The No Shelf Required Project in Opatija was used as an opportunity for the entire FREE READING mission to gain an influential and highly creative new visual identity. Today, Opatija has become a recognizable destination as an open reading zone with the logo visible at various locations within the city. If you go by Opatija’s Market Hall, citizens and visitors will find an installation that symbolizes the mission and vision of the project – networking knowledge and linking human thoughts and ideas, today in Opatija, tomorrow in New York, to Aleppo. 

“Opatija becomes an example for other cities because it shows that tourism can also be transformed with the help of technology. Technology today, the thing we consume every day, has no beginning and end. It breaks down the prejudices and has long since crushed almost all barriers. We have created inextricable relationships with it. Through it, we see pictures in a museum, watch movies, and listen to music. More and more content is available free of charge. Why would the book stay in the darkness of inaccessibility?” highlights No Shelf Required.

Apart from large posters and city installations, the city has also introduced leaflets with the message: “The books are served. Bon Appetite!”

This new tourist project can further develop Opatija and continue to position the city as a destination for culture. With a focus on theatre, literature, and poetry, Opatija has now become a cultural, artistic, and creative industry of tourism, integrating much more into their tourist offer than ever before. 

Opatija’s story now continues as an ideal city for reading books, while all writers of the world are invited to choose Opatija as a place for peace and inspiration.

Translated from HRTurizam 


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