Zagreb, Croatia

The Goldsmith Treasure – First Historical Novel of Croatia

Forrest Mallard

One of Croatia’s most famous books and it took place right on the location we were standing, near the old ‘Stone Gate’ of Upper Town Zagreb.






I had so much fun yesterday, stalking a bunch of street entertainers as they walked through Upper Town Zagreb in historical costumes so that I could take their photos. Every one of them was incredibly charming, and a few of them met me for beers after they were finished, and I promised to send them the photos.

I have taken the Free Walking Tour of Zagreb, so I knew the basics about the history of the city and some of its more famous buildings, but these actors, as historical characters, were even better guides. They were able to answer every question I had, quite thoroughly and of course it is better to get the history directly from the source, and these characters could talk about the events like they were there.

Two of my favorite characters were from Croatia’s first historical novel, Zlatarevo Zlato (The Goldsmith’s Gold) by August Senoa. It is considered to be ‘the Croatian Romeo and Juliette’ as it is a tragic love story set in roughly the same time.

The story revolves around a young and honest girl, Dora Krupiceva. She was the daughter of the town goldsmith, hence, she was his own ‘treasure.’

Dora fell in love with Pavao, a young man who saved her life from a horse stampede. Yet, their love came to face numerous challenges, as the evil-minded barber Grga, angry that Dora refused his marital offer, plunged the pair into his world of traps and intrigue.

Pavao and Dora managed to avoid their doom many times. But their end was far from happy. Dora’s life was ended by poison. The evildoer paid his due, but the Croatian love story ends in tears.

According to Senoa, Dora lived in the first house left of Kamenita Vrata. In order to commemorate their famous heroine, the residents of Zagreb constructed her statue on Kamenita Vrata’s left wall. It is the work of Croatian sculptor Ivo Kerdic.

Thank you to all of the actors in The Zagreb Time Machine, I will try to post more of your stories in the coming days. I’ll also be doing the final edit of all the video I shot of you guys when I return to Dubai.


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