Croatian National Theater: HNK Zagreb (including 2024 program)

HNK Zagreb, the most prominent theater in Croatia
HNK Zagreb, the most prominent theater in Croatia

UPDATED: 24.1.2023.

The history of theater in Croatia dates back to the 11th century with liturgical drama. Today there are about 100 theater houses in Croatia, but only five theaters have the status of a national theater, including the one located in Zagreb.

Zagreb’s imposing, bright yellow Hrvatsko narodno kazalište (HNK) is designed in a neo-baroque style and welcomes residents and tourists walking by the center of Zagreb.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

History of Zagreb’s Croatian National Theater

Hrvatsko narodno kazalište – HNK (Croatian National Theater) in Zagreb is located on the Trg Republike Hrvatske (Republic of Croatia Square). Prior to the building of the theater, this location was a marketplace where livestock and fresh produce were sold.

Hrvatsko narodno kazalište in Zagreb is the oldest and most central institution. However, the building and location where it is currently located are relatively new.

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Did you know?

Of the 5 national theaters in Croatia, HNK in Zagreb is the youngest.

Before the bright yellow neo-baroque building was commissioned, the original theater was situated in Gornji grad (Upper Town) of Zagreb. It was in a much more humble building on the corner of Trg Sv. Marka and Freudenreichova ulica. This theater was built in 1834.

Croatian national theater in Zagreb, Croatia
Croatian National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia

After the earthquake in Zagreb seriously damaged the old theater building in 1880, it was decided that the building no longer met the needs of the 3 ensembles operating under its roof.

It was then that the new building as it stands today across from Glavni kolodvor (main train station) was built. The building was designed by Austrian architects Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner, known for 40 or so other lavish theater buildings scattered around Europe.

[Read: Guide on train travel in Croatia including loads of discounts]

It took only sixteen and a half months to build. In the presence of Emperor Franc Joseph the 1st of the Habsburg monarchy, the theater officially opened on October 14, 1895. At the time of its opening, Croatia was part of the dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

Croatian National Theater Zagreb present days

Interior of Croatian National Theater
Interior of Croatian National Theater

At least twelve premiers are performed annually in HNK Zagreb. With an additional 20 returning titles, this theater boasts over 220 stage performances per season.

As a central national house, the HNK in Zagreb nurtures a varied program that includes the work of domestic authors as well as works of the classical and contemporary world repertoire.

The Croatian National Theater in Zagreb is part of the Opera Europa, FEDORA platform, and European Theatre Convention.

The theater is also home to three ensembles: drama, opera, and ballet.

HNK Zagreb program and schedule

The full theater program can be found here.

The full schedule can be found here.

HNK Zagreb ticket prices

Tickets for performances vary depending on the type of performance. The price list is available here.

The following groups may receive a 50% discount on tickets:

  • Members of educational institutions for purchasing 10 and more tickets
  • Students and pensioners for purchasing 1 ticket for the places of 3rd and 4th category if they show student or pensioner status
  • People with disabilities for purchasing 1 ticket for all categories of places if they show proof of disability status

In addition to visiting the HNK in Zagreb to watch drama, opera, or ballet, it is possible to tour the building, which is astonishing. View the price list here.

There is truly something for everyone.

Hrvatsko narodno kazalište (Croatian National Theater)

Contact information

Contact information for tickets:

Phone: +385 (0)1 488 8415
Address: Trg Republike Hrvatske 15, 10 000 Zagreb – view map

Full contact information for the theater is available here.

View other Croatian national theater guides

Hrvatsko narodno kazalište in Zagreb

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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