“We will leave the memories that are created with the great festival that befits our jubilee for some safer times, and now in this holiday season, we want to celebrate in a small circle, with ‘our generation,’ clubs, and institutions celebrating 100 years and more. They are all mostly considered symbols of Split,” said Daria Schirmann, director of the cult Hotel Park before the start of the dinner, which symbolically started at 19:21.
Friendly and business cooperation, exchanging experiences, and mutual support and assistance are just some reasons why the meeting of Split centenarians at Hotel Park will become a traditional event.
“This idea is great, and I’m glad we got together for the first time. Gusar is one of the largest sports clubs in Croatia and the world. The club is a hotbed of talent, and what determines it the most is the upbringing and development of young people, most of whom graduated from college. When they grow up, they always return to their club and help,” said Ivica Botica, president of HVK Gusar, which turned 107 this year.
Emin Sarajlić, president of the Cultural and Artistic Association Jedinstvo, which has existed for 102 years, said that the first 100 years were challenging. Then a pandemic caught them and limited their work: “We have a bright future ahead of us, we had a ban on rehearsals and performances for almost nine months, but when everything opened, on the first day of June, 70 members came to us for that first rehearsal, and we were thrilled. Young people are full of enthusiasm, and that is why we can say that Jedinstvo, like Hajduk, lives forever,” said Sarajlić.
One year younger than KUD Jedinstvo is the Jadran Sports Association. President Srđan Kovačić pointed out that Jadran has finally returned to where it belongs, considering that it has been playing in the Champions League for the last few years, and reminded of the upcoming anniversary of the first European gold medal in Croatia: “In two months it will be 30 years. The first European medal in Croatia was in February 1992, when we won the European Championship, and Croatia was recognized a month before that,” he said.
At the first joint gathering of Split’s ‘institutional’ centenarians, HNK Hajduk was represented by a member of the Management Board, Ivan Matana, who, after congratulating Park and wishing to remain a recognizable symbol of the city, expressed hope that Split’s centenarians, including sports, will bring a lot of joy to Split. “Next year, Hajduk will celebrate its 111th birthday. It is a symbolic number; there are a lot of units, so we’ll see, maybe that means something,” Matana answered the question about the chances of Hajduk winning the championship next year.
In the company of centenarians is Photo Club Split, boasting 110 years, whose president Maja Prgomet pointed out the merits of great colleagues and a team of people who volunteer on numerous projects for the end of this and next year.
The club of proud centenarians from Split, whose representatives took part in the gathering at the Hotel Park also included the Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum in Split, the Croatian National Theater, and the County Chamber of Commerce, whose official year of foundation is 1852.
The construction of Hotel Park in 1921, according to the project of architects Vjekoslav Ivanišević and Fabjan Kaliterna, coincides with the time when Split became a sought-after tourist destination, and even then, the hotel was an unavoidable place for social events. It has maintained this status and is part of the collective memory of generations of Split citizens. Numerous historical events and meetings have taken place at Hotel Park in the last 100 years, the most famous being the signing of the capitulations of fascist Italy in 1943.
The first meeting of Split’s institutional centenarians is undoubtedly an event that will mark the hotel’s history.
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