March 4, 2019 – One of the great charms of the old towns of Croatia is are the secrets behind every corner, as I discovered with the opening of Break Time Zagreb.
Croatia has some incredible history, and the number of ancient buildings is breathtaking. So too, are the number of surprises which await you around every corner, alley and courtyard.
Take last week for example. A trip down to Split for the opening of the Bagatin Clinic had a colleague and I sharing a room in the old town close around Diocletian’s Palace. My colleague suggested the room as he had something he wanted to show me. At 20 euro for the night, I was not going to argue, and we went to an unassuming address and entered an equally unassuming room. Nothing too spectacular so far.
“And you also have use of the terrace,” said the landlady before leaving.
And what a terrace it was! For there in the middle of a very spacious courtyard with no public access whatsoever was the remains of a half-constructed historical building, one I had never heard of. I consulted the man, who knows everything about Split, the excellent guide Ivica Profaca, who was surprised at my lack of knowledge.
“It was supposed to be a Serb Orthodox church, but it was never finished. Some chap called Ivica Profaca wrote an article about it for a site called Total Croatia News a few years back.”
Fast forward a week and I found myself in Zagreb on business, but wanting also to pop in to say hello to Romanian friends who were opening their fifth store in four years in Croatia. The guys from Break Time nautical bracelets are a real inspiration to many, proving that you CAN come to Croatia and succeed as a foreign entrepreneur. Here is an earlier TCN interview with Mirela on that very subject.
Ilica 14 was the address, just two minutes from the main Ban Jelacic Square, and yet not somewhere I would normally find myself wandering. Looking for the shop, I came across a rather impressive entrance, home to Hotel Jagerhorn, which I was told was the oldest hotel in the capital.
Entering the courtyard under through the impressive arch on Ilica was a delightful little courtyard called Lovacki Rog, The Hunter’s Horn, a very pleasant spot with a couple of cafes and several boutique shops.
And then, when I walked through, I remembered that I had been here before, the imposing steps to Upper Zagreb await those who want to continue through the courtyard.
But what a pretty little courtyard, and one where the local businesses were made to keep to certain rules. In order to preserve the authenticity, signage is restricted to black and white, and the effect works very well. A nice collection of stores and the cafes also looked very pleasant.
As for the Break Time Zagreb opening, it was a busy day, as Mirela told me when we popped in:
“We have been looking for the perfect location for a Break Time shop in Zagreb for almost two years, and we are now happy that we did. We love the vibe of the Jagerhorn passage, we love that we are just opposite Cvjetni Trg and just 30 seconds away from Trg Bana Jelacica. And in regard to our opening day, we were overwhelmed by the love and support we got from the media and also from our Zagreb fans. We got to meet quite a few in person today and it was nice to put a face to a name we only saw on Facebook or Instagram while they were liking our posts. We also got so many messages on social media from people that were happy we are finally in Zagreb and they can actually see our jewellery and not have to order just online. And last, but not least, we were very honoured by the presence of H.E. Constantin Grigorie, the Romanian Ambassador in Croatia, who came to wish us luck.”
They are – to their knowledge – the only 100% Romanian-owned company in Croatia.
And business was brisk on the first day, with Ruzica, above, the star customer, taking home no less than 8 bracelets.
A nice little entrepreneurial success story tucked away in a picturesque Zagreb courtyard.
So next time you are wandering around an old town in Croatia, follow your curiosity – you never know what you might find.
To learn more about Break Time nautical jewellery, visit the official website.