On the Road with Domovina Birthright Program: Zagreb

Total Croatia News

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July 12, 2019 – As previously reported on TCN, the first Domovina Birthright Program is taking place in Croatia at the moment, an initiative between the American Croatian Association of Professionals, and the Croatian Government.

The idea of the program is to take the young adults of Croatian descent (ages 18 – 30), who wish to learn about their heritage, explore Croatia, connect with their Croatian identity and meet other young Croatian adults on an amazing trip to Croatia.

Kristiana Banđen is one of the 34 initial participants in the program, and she has kindly agreed to document her journey as she explores the country of her heritage. Over to Kristiana:for Day 4-5:

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Day 4 into the Domovina Program, we headed back to Zagreb to spend two days exploring the capital. Even though our initial meeting place was Zagreb at the beginning of the trip, we did not spend any time there. Before leaving towards Zagreb, we stopped at Borovo shoe store, where Startas shoes had generously offered every participant to receive a free pair of the Croatian made shoe. A big thank you to Startas from the Domovina group!  

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Upon arrival in Zagreb, we enjoyed a mouth-watering lunch at Apetit City Restaurant and Bar. Located on Masarykova street in the city centre, it is one of the restaurants in Zagreb awarded with a Michelin star. We were spoiled with another three course meal, which included prosciutto and cheese, strukli (a traditional Zagreb cheese dish), lamb as the main course and a chocolate mousse cake for dessert. None of us are complaining about the amazing food, that’s for sure!

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To walk off our meal, we had a private tour through the old and new part of the old city centre. Visiting the historical monuments including the Ban Josip Jelačić statue, the cathedral (along with viewing cardinal Stepinac’s burial site), St. Mark’s church, the parliament buildings and the stone gate. All of these sights have interesting history that I enjoyed learning about and should be on everyone’s list to research and visit when exploring Zagreb. We finished off our walk at Katarina’s square and were welcomed into the Dverce Palace  by members of the government for a reception with appetizers and drinks. We ended our first night in Zagreb with a night out like true Croatians.  

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Day 5 fell on a Sunday in which we had the option to enjoy mass in the morning followed by some free time to do some shopping for souvenirs and enjoy coffee like locals. It has been really great connecting with everyone on this trip, so it was also nice to spend some free time outside of the excursions to further connect!

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A group of us stayed behind with our leaders to explore Lenuci’s horseshoe walk, a U-shaped area of seven landscaped town squares and a botanical garden in the city. Along the way, we admired many statues, parks and buildings. Another great walk to add onto a visit in Zagreb.  

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Lunch was enjoyed at the University of Zagreb followed by a presentation from the dean and two students. The University of Zagreb has so many great opportunities to study abroad with a semester or even to consider a full degree. The university is always open to speaking to potential students about the opportunities. If you are interested or know anyone who may be, the university is very welcoming!

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Our send-off from Zagreb was dinner at the Croatian Heritage Foundation building.

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To follow the latest news from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section

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