Webcam Stats: Most Attended, Socially Distanced Za Krizen Ever?

Total Croatia News

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April 24, 2020 – The final word on Za Krizen 2020, as the webcam stats show how truly international this year’s attendance was – the most popular, most socially distanced Za Krizen of all time?

The final chapter in TCN’s extensive coverage of the 2020 Za Krizen religious procession on Hvar – the attendance report, with some clues from the webcam stats of two cameras installed for the procession. 

In 1943, this 500-year-old UNESCO procession almost did not take place due to the wartime occupation of the Italian fascists. In 1944, it took place in a refugee camp in the Sinai Desert in Egypt. The biggest threat to the continuity of a procession which is almost part of the genetic makeup of the people of Hvar came in 2020, however – coronavirus. 

As already covered on TCN (check out the Za Krizen reports here), permission for the procession to go ahead was given for just 15 people per procession, a far cry from the hundreds if not thousands who traditionally follow each of the six Maundy Thursday processions through the night in Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirce, Vrbanj and Vrboska. 

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And the Hvar police made sure that the procession would go ahead with strict controls. As one of the few people fortunate enough to get a permit to cover the event, I tried to capture as much of the evening as possible for others – and my eye-witness account was very different to second-hand reports that appeared elsewhere in the media – you can learn more in Za Krizen 2020, Croatia Not Wuhan & Cabin Fever Perspectives

It was a very strange night, but help was at hand for those who could not attend this year’s procession, in the shape of a charismatic Hvar postman and an Austrian sitting at home in Graz. 

TCN regulars will be familiar with Tomislav Zupan, my favourite postman on Hvar, who gave a legendary insight into life as a postman on a Dalmatian island a few years ago. It remains my favourite interview on TCN.

Tomi is blessed with the best terrace in the world to watch events on the main square in Jelsa, and he was very kind to keep the beers cold for the 2Cellos concert a few years ago. No doubt over a cold one, he came up with the idea to put some webcams in on his terrace and in the main Jelsa church for Za Krizen, together with his lifelong friend Jean-Pierre from Austria, who has visited Jelsa every year since 1974 – even during the war – and already operates two webcams in Jelsa.  

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And so it was that at 22:03, the time that Za Krizen was about to start, Tomi and Jean-Pierre’s webcam recorded the rather unusual sight of a totally empty main square. 

Except for me. 

So how many people tuned in to Za Krizen 2020? It was announced through various channels, and TCN FB carried it live with a pinned post. The answer is that we don’t quite know the full story, but what we can report from the webcam stats from the church as the procession was starting was that there were 7,356 people watching when the server crashed. 

To put that number in context, there are normally between 1,000 and 3,000 people taking part in the Jelsa procession. 

But in the weird year of 2020, with only 15 participants and 4 journalists recording the event, it was attended virtually by a record number of people. 

And the webcam stats show us just how international this year’s event was. 

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Here are some stats from the church on the Thursday night from a 3-minute period. 

Quite an international gathering, isn’t it?

I asked our webcam heroes if they had a more detailed breakdown of the number in Croatia to give us an idea perhaps how many people from Jelsa had stayed home and were watching via webcam. The breakdown was interesting. 

Zagreb – 2,430

Split – 786

Jelsa – 697

Zadar – 235

Sibenik – 232

Hvar – 124

Rijeka – 123

Other – 284

It should be remembered that these stats were for a 3-minute period in the church on Thursday night. 

By Friday morning, the main square webcam had recorded more than 46,000 visits. 

And here, if you missed it, was the dramatic ending. 

Tomi, Jean-Pierre, MANY thanks for your great efforts. It meant a lot for so many people all over the world, and you truly delivered the most attended, most socially distanced Za Krizen procession in its 500-year history. 

To learn more about Za Krizen, check out the dedicated TCN section dating all the way back to 2011.  


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