Oldest Public Theatre in Europe to Reopen on Hvar on May 1

Total Croatia News

Sven Veronek

March 28, 2019 – Another boost for tourism on Hvar as the oldest public theatre in Europe will reopen in May after almost two decades of restoration.

Some 417 years after its first opening, the oldest public theatre in Europe is once more set to entertain theatre goers, as the town of Hvar has announced that the first performance in the newly restored Hvar Public Theatre will take place on May 1. 


The theatre, which originally opened in 1612, has been an important part of Hvar cultural life over the centuries, and it is one of three historic buildings set to reopen after refurbishment this year, further boosting Hvar’s image as an island of culture and heritage. 

The theatre sits on the top floor of the imposing Arsenal, which guards entrance to the majestic main square of Hvar Town. The Arsenal itself has undergone its own upgrade, which was somewhat delayed after the remains of Roman civilisation were found beneath its floor. 

Across the historic square, Dalmatia’s largest at 4,700m2, another heritage chapter will unfurl its latest chapter this summer. Last year Hvar celebrated 150 or organised tourism in Europe, the first destination to offer it with the founding of the Hvar Health Society in 1868. The location of the first accommodation has undergone quite some change over the years, most recently as the 2-star Hotel Palace. 


(Photo Hrvoje Bakovic)

Add a few stars and a major investment into quality, and the 5-star Palace Elisabeth boutique heritage hotel is set to open its doors at the first 5-star hotel on Croatia’s premier island. Imagine staying in the location where organised tourism in Europe began, then having a pre-theatre cocktail on the terrrace overlooking Dalmatia’s largest square, then crossing the square for a performance at the oldest public theatre in Europe. And some think Hvar is just a party island. You can learn more about the new hotel owned by Suncani Hvar Hotels – it is destined to be a major hit as guests to the exclusive island seek out quality. 


(Hotel Palace will reopen at Palace Elisabeth hvar heritage hotel)

The Hvar authorities have announced two performances to take place at the Hvar theatre as part of the 46th Days of Hvar Theatre, on May 1 and May 2, with more events set to be announced. These are:

May 1 – “Ova lipost uzorita grihota bi da se stara” performed by Forani forskemu teotru 

“Judita” performed by Ensemble Dialogos

Looking for a sneak peak inside the oldest public theatre in Europe?


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