|Preface Last Updated: 3/2/2004
A Post to Croatia combines the challenge of working and living in
a newly emerging democracy with the enjoyment of living in a
naturally beautiful country and a historically rich culture.
Croatia, located in the center of Europe, declared independence from
Yugoslavia in 1991, making it one of Europe’s youngest nations. The
capital, Zagreb, has all the characteristics of a historic and
modern central European city. Once a Consulate General in Socialist
Yugoslavia, Embassy Zagreb has grown rapidly since its establishment
in 1992. The Embassy relocated in 2003 to the southern part of the
city, and now boasts one of the most modern Embassy buildings in
Europe. The professional advantages of serving in a mid-sized and
active Embassy, combined with the cultural and travel opportunities
afforded by Zagreb’s location in the heart of Europe make for an
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:35 AM
About the size of West Virginia, Croatia covers 56,500 km2
(21,829 mi2) of mainland and somewhat less than 32,000 km2 (12,316
mi2) of sea. The Adriatic coastline, which includes 1,185 islands,
islets, and reefs -- of which only 66 are inhabited -- is 5,740 km
(3,566 miles) long, and is famed for its clear waters. The highest
peak is the Dinara Mountain at 1,831 m (5951 feet) above sea level.
The republic swings around like a boomerang from the Pannonian
Plains of Slavonia between the Sava, Drava, and Danube Rivers,
across hilly central Croatia to the Istrian Peninsula, then south
through Dalmatia along the rugged Adriatic coast. It is bordered by
Slovenia to the north and north-west, Hungary to the northeast,
Serbia-Montenegro to the east and southeast, and Bosnia and
Herzegovina to the east and south. Croatia’s geography is diverse
with its rocky coastline, densely wooded mountains, plains, lakes,
and rolling hills. In an effort to preserve its environment, Croatia
maintains eight national parks.
Zagreb’s climate is predominately continental, with hot and dry
summers and cold winters. Rainy weather, with accompanying fog, is
common in the fall from October through December. In winter, from
December to March, snowfalls are common, occasionally heavy, and
temperatures often dip below freezing. Zagreb's mean minimum and
maximum daily temperatures are -7ş / 3ş C (20ş / 38ş F) in January;
15ş / 27ş C (60ş / 81ş F) in July. On the coast, the climate is
typically Mediterranean with long, hot, dry summers and moderate but
Population Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:29 AM
According to the Republic of Croatia's 2003 Statistical Digest,
Croatia’s population is 4.44 million. The population of Zagreb is
779,000. The last census was in 2001 -- the first since independence
-- and it revealed the following breakdown of the population: 89.6%
Croatian, 4.5% Serbian, 1.3% Moslem, 0.9% Rutheno-Ukrainian, 0.4%
Italian, 0.4% Hungarian, and 2.8% "other" (including Albanians,
Austrians, Bulgarians, Montenegrins, Czechs, Macedonians, Germans,
Poles, Roma, Romanians, Russians, Slovaks, Slovenes, Turks, Vlachs
and Jews). An estimated 2.3 million ethnic Croats live abroad,
including almost 1.5 million in the United States. Pittsburgh,
Cleveland and Buenos Aires have the largest Croatian communities
outside Europe, though substantial communities also exist in
Australia and Chile.
The 2001 census also reveals that Roman Catholics account for
87.8% of the population. The Orthodox community (Serbian, Russian,
Greek, Romanian and other Orothodox faiths) represents another 4.4%,
Moslems total 1.3%, and 5.2% of the population claim to be agnostics
or atheists. The remaining 1.3% of the population includes Greek
Catholics, Old Believers, Protestants (various denominations),
Latter-Day Saints, and others.
Croatian is a South-Slavic language. Before the breakup of
Yugoslavia, Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian were officially considered
to be dialects of Serbo-Croatian. However, since independence this
term is no longer used. Croatian uses Roman script and spelling is
phonetic. Many people in Istria speak and understand Italian, and
both English and German are widely spoken as second languages
throughout the country.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:33 AM
Croatia first emerged as a nation-state in 925 A.D. and later
became a semiautonomous province of Hungary, a status that lasted
until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire following World
War I. Throughout the centuries, Croatia faced wave after wave of
would-be conquerors, principally from the Venetian and Ottoman
Empires. With the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian empire in WWI,
Croatia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
(called Yugoslavia after 1929) with a centralized government in the
Serbian capital Belgrade. In 1939, an administrative reorganization
granted Croatia some regional autonomy.
After the German invasion of Yugoslavia in March 1941, a puppet
government dominated by the fascist Ustaša movement was set up in
Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina under the leadership of Ante Pavelic.
Pavelic proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna
Drzava Hrvatska -- NDH). The Ustaša launched an extermination
campaign, murdering perhaps as many as 350,000 ethnic Serbs, Jews,
Roma and Croats who disagreed with the regime.
At the end of WW II, Croatia became one of six federal republics
of the new socialist Yugoslavia, under the control of the former
partisan leader Josip Broz-Tito. Tito built a union which, despite
unresolved underlying ethnic conflicts, lasted until well after his
In 1989, with political changes sweeping Eastern Europe, many
Croats felt the time had come to end more than seven decades of
union with the other Yugoslav republics and attain complete
autonomy. In the April 1990 elections, Franjo Tuđjman’s Croatian
Democratic Union (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica -- HDZ) easily
defeated the old Communist Party. On May 30, the new Croatian
Parliament was formally established, and on December 22, 1990, a new
Croatian Constitution was promulgated.
On June 25, 1991, Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia.
The Serb minority opposed its secession and started a rebellion,
backed by the Serbian-led Yugoslav army. During six months of
fighting in Croatia, 10,000 people died, hundreds of thousands fled,
and tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. By January 1992, when
a U.N. cease-fire was agreed to, one-third of Croatia was under the
control of the Serbs, who proclaimed their own republic of Krajina
comprising three enclaves.
Croatia was formally recognized by the European Community (now
European Union) on January 15, 1992. The U.S. recognized the new
nation on April 7, 1992. Croatia became a U.N. member in May 1992.
In August 1992, Tuđjman was elected President and his HDZ party won
an absolute majority in the Lower House of Parliament.
In two blitz offensives in May and August 1995, the Croatian army
reconquered the largest chunks of the Krajina, prompting an exodus
of Serbs. In November 1995, Croatia agreed to peacefully reintegrate
the last Serb enclave of Eastern Slavonia (located along the Danube
River border with Serbia). In December 1995, Croatia signed the
Dayton Peace Agreement, committing itself to a permanent cease-fire
and the return of all refugees.
President Franjo Tuđjman died in December 1999. The January 2000
elections ushered in a new era for Croatia with the victory of a
six-party coalition committed to democracy and the rule of law. Less
than a month later, Stipe Mesic was elected president to replace
Tuđjman. Together Mesic and the government worked to reduce the
powers of the presidency in order to guard against the type of abuse
of power that was common during the Tuđjman era. While the resulting
Constitutional changes transferred much of the president’s authority
to parliament, the president remains the head of state and
commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Since January 2000, Croatia's foreign policy has consistently
focused on ending Croatia’s isolation and integrating into
Euro-Atlantic institutions. The government has moved to implement
policies to address the legacy of ethnic war, including cooperation
with the International Crimminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
(ICTY) at The Hague.
Elections in November 2003 brought about a return to power of the
HDZ party. In a dramatic turnaround from the ethnocentric,
nationalistic practices of party founder Franjo Tuđjman, Prime
Minister Sanader has indicated that he seeks to forge stronger ties
with the U.S. as Croatia continues to work towards qualification for
membership in NATO and the EU. He has pledged full cooperation with
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:34 AM
Museums Croatia has over 200 museums, galleries, and museum
collections, as well as 60 ecclesiastical and numerous private
collections — a treasury of the cultural and natural heritage of
The Mimara, one of Zagreb’s most prominent museums, contains the
works of Rafael, Rubens, Velazquez, Goya, Rembrandt, Hals, Degas,
and Pissaro. The Mimara has 42 exhibition halls and a multimedia
center. The diverse collection also contains large sections of
glassware, sculpture, and oriental art. The Strossmayer Gallery
houses many of the Old Master works such as Boticelli, Bellini,
Tintoretto, Veronese, and El Greco. The Archeological Museum
contains one of Europe’s richest numismatic collections including
some 260,000 samples of old coins, medals, medallions, and
decorations. There are also Roman stone monuments dating back to the
period from the first to the fourth centuries B.C. The Ethnographic
Museum has collections of Croatian folk costumes, delicate pieces of
lace from the Island of Pag, gold embroidered scarves from Slavonia,
and the jewelry of Konavle. Also popular in Zagreb are the Museum of
Contemporary Art and the Croatian Museum of Naive Art.
The works of Croatia’s most famous sculptors, Antun Augustincic
and Ivan Mestrovic, are renowned beyond Croatia’s borders.
Mestrovic’s works can be seen all around Croatia. His sculpture and
architecture display a powerful classical style he learned from
Rodin. His Zagreb studio and his retirement home in Split have been
turned into galleries displaying his work. Croatian naďve art has
also gained an international reputation. The most celebrated
painters in the naive style are Ivan and Josip Generalic, Ivan
Vecenaj, Mijo Kovacic, and Ivan Rabuzin.
Performing Arts Zagreb has 20 theaters, the oldest of which is
the Croatian National Theater (Hrvatsko Narodno Kazalište -- HNK),
founded more than a century ago and built in the neo-Baroque style.
Culture historically was heavily subsidized, and admission to
operas, ballets, and concerts is still reasonably priced. Opera
tickets in Zagreb (October–May) can be purchased for USD 10-60 per
performance. Operas are presented in their original languages,
though the quality of performances can be hit or miss. Visiting
opera companies from the region perform as well. Zagreb has a
popular children’s puppet theater. Most theater is performed in
Croatian. The Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall is the favorite place
to hear the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and various holiday
Croatian folk music has had many influences. The kolo, a lovely
Slavic round dance in which men and women alternate in the circle,
is accompanied by Gypsy-style violinists or players of the tambura,
a three- or five-string mandolin popular throughout Croatia. The
measured guitar-playing or rhythmic accordions of Dalmatia have a
gentle Italian air. The Croatian folkloric ensemble “Lado” performs
lively Mediterranean dance rhythms and sing folksongs with haunting
Education Zagreb is a university center — home to some 40
graduate and undergraduate schools and over 80,000 students. Its
first secular school was founded in the mid-14th century, and the
first secondary school was established at the beginning of the 17th
century. Zagreb University is one of the oldest universities in
Europe, opened in the latter half of the 17th century. The roots of
higher education began with the establishment of the Jesuit
Gymnasium in 1632 to teach moral theology. Thirty years later, in
1662, the Academy for Philosophy was introduced. In 1669, Emperor
Leopold granted the school the right to award doctorates. The cities
of Split, Zadar, Osijek, and Rijeka also have universities.
Libraries Croatia has about 2,000 libraries: 166 rank as
scientific libraries, 5 of which are university libraries. The
University of Zagreb Library is also considered the National
Library. There are 87 faculty libraries, 57 libraries attached to
research institutes, and 1 central library (attached to the Croatian
Academy of Arts and Sciences).
Cultural Institues in Zagreb include:
The French Institute has a library and reading room. CD’s and
videos can be borrowed. Cultural activities include theater, films,
dance, lectures, and concerts.
The Information Resource Center (IRC) of the U.S. Embassy in
Zagreb offers up-to-date reference materials and advanced research
services on a wide range of U.S. topics.
The Austrian Cultural Institute sponsors such activities as
concerts, exhibitions, seminars, lectures, films, dance, and
The British Council has a large selection of books, periodicals,
reviews, and videos. The Council promotes cultural, educational, and
technical cooperation between Britain and other countries.
The Italian Cultural Institute in Zagreb has various cultural
activities including films, concerts, shows, literary meetings,
scholarships, and research assistance for students.
The Goethe Institute has a large public library with books,
magazines, newspapers, CDs, and videos. Cultural activities include
exhibits, film projections, concerts, dance and theater. The
Institute sponsors language courses in German.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/24/2004 5:24 AM
Since independence twelve years ago, Croatia has achieved
significant progress in developing a market economy and positioning
itself regionally. The main thrust of current economic policy is to
establish Croatia as a competitive market economy integrated into
larger European and global markets.
The foundation for Croatia's integration into Europe is the 2001
Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which
will enter into effect once ratified by all EU countries’
parliaments. Under an interim agreement in effect since January
2001, Croatia has established bilateral relations with the EU on
trade, transportation and certain legal matters. The EU has
unilaterally opened its market to most Croatian products. In
February 2003, Croatia formally presented its application for EU
Since independence, Croatia has had to completely reorient its
trade after the loss of markets in the southern regions of former
Yugoslavia. In 2002 almost 53% of Croatia’s exports went to EU and
58 percent to all developed countries. Italy, Germany, and Bosnia
and Herzegovina are Croatia’s largest trading partners, followed by
Slovenia and Austria. Imports from developed countries led by Italy
and Germany accounted for one-third of total imports. Major European
retail chains, such as Metro, Mercatone, Billa and Mercator are
located in various cities, though predominantly in Zagreb.
Croatia’s GDP has grown continuously since 2000 with GDP per
capita in 2003 exceeding $5,500. The average wage at the end of
September 2003 was about $650 a month. An austerity program
introduced in 1993 curbed inflation, which was running at 38% a
month. It has remained stable since and as of November 2003
inflation in Croatia was 1.5%. Prices remained relatively stable and
are comparable with costs in large, urban U.S. areas. The IMF
estimates GDP rose by 5% in 2003. In 2002, industry accounted for
19.8% of GDP, public sector services 17.5%, agriculture 6.8%, trade
10%, transportation 9.6%, construction 4.5% and tourism 3% (this
last figure only encompasses narrowly defined "hotels and
restaurants" and does not capture the true importance of tourism in
the Croatian economy). ILO unemployment in the first six months of
2003 was 14.1% down from a high in 1997 of 16.6%.
Among large state enterprises, which are privatized individually
under separate laws, most of the banks and Croatian Telekom have
been sold. Around a dozen other large industrial firms remain in
government hands, as well as hundreds of smaller, usually debt-laden
firms, often in agriculture and tourism. MOL of Hungary acquired 25
percent plus one share of the state oil company (INA) in July 2003.
In February 2003, the IMF approved a second Stand-By Arrangement
for about $146 million to support the country’s economic and
financial program through April 2004. Even though the Arrangement is
only "precautionary", the SBA is important, since it underscores
international support for the government's economic policies and
boosts the country's international credit rating.
U.S. policy supports strengthening bilateral economic ties,
particularly business relations. Investments by American citizens
are in addition covered by the U.S.-Croatian Bilateral Investment
Treaty, which entered into force in June 2001. Croatia is a member
of the International Monetary Fund, IBRD, EBRD as well as CEFTA and
WTO. Over the period 1993 - 2003 the U.S. was the third largest
investor in Croatia, following Austria and Germany. Some of the main
U.S. exports to Croatia include computer technology and
pharmaceuticals. While much progress has been made, U.S. and other
investors find that red tape and government inefficiency hamper
investment, as does a slow and non-transparent judiciary. On
Transparency International's Corruption Index, Croatia ranked 59th
out of 133 countries (with 133 as the worst ranking).
Automobiles Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:36 AM
Vehicles Personnel assigned to Croatia usually bring cars from
the U.S. or from neighboring countries. Most people ship a vehicle,
although it is possible to obtain used cars from people departing
post or through the many auto dealers in Zagreb, as well as from the
Aviano/Vicenza (Italy) military bases (a 4–5 hour drive from
Zagreb). Among American manufacturers, General Motors,
Harley-Davidson, Ford and Chrysler have authorized dealers and
services in Zagreb. European, Korean and Japanese cars are much more
popular in Croatia, and Zagreb has dealers representing Škoda,
Citroën, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lada, Renault, Fiat, Opel, Mazda,
Hyundai, Honda, Volkswagen, Volvo and Lancia, among others. The
Aviano/Vicenza military bases have excellent AAFES dealer service on
most U.S. and European cars.
Fuel Croatia has both gasoline and diesel fuel available.
Unleaded gas is readily available, making it unnecessary to remove
your catalytic converter. Unleaded gasoline sells for an average USD
1.10/liter (about USD 4.00/gallon) as of February 2004. The Embassy
has made arrangements with the large chain of INA gasoline stations
in Croatia to receive VAT and local taxes back on all gasoline
purchases from their outlets, making the final price some 25% lower.
Details on these tax refunds will be provided to new arrivals once
they reach Post.
Spare parts can be difficult to find in Zagreb for American-made
cars. Bring the usual spare parts, to include: oil, air and fuel
filters, fanbelts, hoses, headlights, windshield wiper blades, a
tune-up kit, spark plugs, and a full-sized spare tire. Spare auto
parts are available through online outlets in the U.S. or AAFES in
Aviano/Vicenza. Zagreb auto shops can usually perform service if the
employee supplies the spare parts for American-made cars.
Vehicle Shipment Personnel assigned to Zagreb should take every
precaution to ensure that their car does not arrive in Zagreb before
they do, since Croatian Government regulations require that an
employee be physically in the country in order to process the
customs clearance and importation. In some cases, the car has
arrived prior to the arrival of the employee and could not be
cleared through customs until the employee arrived at post. The car
had to remain in the customs compound in town resulting in damage
through exposure, as well as incurring excessive storage fees. To
facilitate the customs clearance when the car arrives, it is
absolutely essential that the information requested below on the
personally owned vehicle be submitted to GSO in advance of the car’s
arrival. The importation process cannot start until the Croatian
protocol issues the certificate for the personally owned vehicle, so
1. Make of vehicle, model, year, type, include number of doors,
vehicle chassis number, color, weight, horsepower (HP), cubic
centimeters (cm3), type of engine (gasoline or diesel), and other
(specify) if any; and
2. Bill of sale or registration from previous city/country (or an
invoice if newly-purchased); a letter from your previous insurance
company showing the period of time without any accident (this letter
may significantly lower your local insurance rates). If a car is
purchased in Zagreb from another diplomat or another person with
import privileges, the seller must provide the car’s Export
Customs and Licensing If your car is shipped into Croatia through
official channels, GSO will handle the customs clearance. GSO will
take care of finalizing the importation papers, and will arrange for
a safety (technical) inspection, insurance, registration, and
license plates for your car. Employees are responsible for paying
all fees related to the technical inspection, insurance and
Local Liability Insurance Croatian law requires that all motor
vehicle owners, including foreign diplomats, have locally-purchased
liability insurance. GSO will assist you in obtaining this insurance
as part of the registration process for your vehicle. The car’s
engine size determines insurance cost, at a higher rate than U.S.
rates. Most employees purchase collision and comprehensive insurance
privately through an American company.
Rental Cars The large car rental chains represented in Croatia
are Avis, Budget, Europcar, and Hertz. Independent local companies
are often less expensive than the international chains. CLO can
provide details on rental offices in Zagreb, including some offering
specials for Embassy personnel.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:36 AM
Public Transportation Zagreb boasts an efficient and widespread
public transportation system that is both inexpensive and reliable.
Tickets can be purchased singly or in booklets at most kiosks,
newspaper stands or tobacconists (6.50 kuna each); passengers may
also buy a ticket on-board the tram/bus -- at a higher price (8.00
kuna). Tickets are good for 90 minutes of travel in one direction,
irregardless of the number of transfers -- but they must be
validated upon entering the tram/bus. A day-pass (dnevna karta) good
for unlimited trips until 4 am on the day following purchase can
also be bought (18 kuna). Monthly and yearly passes (210 kuna and
2,100 kuna, respectively) are also available, but require passengers
to first obtain a public transport photo-ID. The Human Resources
Office can assist with this procedure. While it may be tempting to
ride the trams without buying a ticket, plainclothes inspectors do
randomly check passengers, and fines for riding without a validated
ticket are steep (150-200 kuna). The Zagreb public transportation
company's website, which includes tram and bus route maps,
timetables, and information on fares and hours of operation, can be
found at: www.zet.hr
Funicluar Railway Zagreb's tiny funicular railway (Uspinjaca) is
the oldest public-transportation system in Croatia. Built in 1890,
it runs 82 meters steeply uphill from the main shopping street (Ilica)
to the Medieval Upper Town (Gornji Grad). (3.00 kuna per ticket)
Taxis are available at taxi-stands throughout the city, or may be
ordered by phone (tel. 970). Taxis are safe, but can be quite
expensive. Standard meter rates are 25 kuna to start, and an
additional 10 kuna per kilometer (USD 1.00 = 6.00 kuna as of Feb.
2004). Rates are higher after 10 pm, and on Sundays or Holidays.
Zagreb Driving is defined by narrow, crowded streets, and parking
is often tight, making a mid- to compact-sized vehicle more
practical. The number of cars in Croatia has been growing steadily
over the last decade, and rush hour in Zagreb can now rival DC.
Roads are in fair shape and are maintained and cleaned regularly. In
winter, the main roads are plowed often, but secondary and side
roads are not always cleared. The twisting roads in the hills
outside the center of Zagreb are often treacherous in bad weather,
so consider bringing snowtires for your car.
Driving outside of Zagreb can be frustrating if you are in a
rush. Roads toward the coast experience heavy congestion on
weekends. Primary roads are generally adequate, but may have only
one (narrow) lane in each direction. An ambitious highway
construction plan should be finished within the next few years --
completed sections are four-lane modern highways, and have
significantly reduced travel time toward the coast in the summer. If
you travel through former conflict areas, stay on paved roads to
reduce the risk of encountering leftover mines. Emergency road help
and information may be reached by dialing 987. For additional road
condition and safety information, contact the Croatian Automobile
Association (HAK) at telephone (385) (1) 455–4433.
Domestic Bus and Rail Service Trains are not generally the most
efficient method of travel within country, since international
borders have shifted since many rail lines were built; southern
Dalamatia and the entire Istrian peninsula, for example, cannot be
reached from Zagreb without transiting another country. Other rail
routes within Croatia are infrequently serviced, slow, or more
expensive than comparable bus service. One popular exception is the
overnight auto-carrying train from Zagreb to Split that allows you
to avoid crowded highways to the coast on busy summer weekends.
Domestic bus service is, on the whole, more frequent and far less
expensive than rail service. Complete bus schedules and fares can be
found at: www.akz.hr/Eng/Time-table/time-table.html Rail schedules
are available at: www.hznet.hr/hr/index.htm
Domestic Air Service Croatia Airlines offers service to Brac (4x
weekly), Dubrovnik (daily), Pula (6x weekly), Rijeka (2x weekly),
Split (daily) and Zadar (6x weekly). Flights are often full in
summer months. The complete schedule can be found at:
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:36 AM
Train Travel From the main Zagreb railway station (Glavni
Kolodvor) there are daily international trains to Ljubljana, Vienna,
Graz, Munich, Zurich, Budapest, Belgrade, Skopje, Sarajevo and
Athens. Connecting through Ljubljana are trains to Trieste, Venice
and Milan. The Croatian Railways website, including timetables, can
be viewed at: www.hznet.hr/hr/index.htm
Bus Travel Zagreb's main bus station (Autobusni Kolodvor) has
daily direct routes to a large number of cities within the region,
including multiple destinations within Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Serbia-Montenegro, Austria and Germany. Longer-distance bus lines
run several times weekly to cities further afield, such as Budapest,
Trieste, Skopje, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid and Moscow. A complete
timetable of arrivals and departures can be found at: www.akz.hr
Air Travel Zagreb's International Airport is located 17
kilometers from the center of the city. Airlines serving Zagreb
include Croatia Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Air France,
Austrian Airlines, CSA, LOT, Malev, TAROM and Turkish Airlines.
There are frequent, direct flights available to many European
locations, including: Amsterdam (2 hrs), Brussels (1ľ hrs), Budapest
(1 hr), Frankfurt (1˝ hrs), London (2˝ hrs), Moscow (3 hrs), Munich
(1 hr), Paris (2 hrs), Prague (1˝ hrs), Rome (2˝ hrs via Split),
Vienna (1 hr) and Zurich (2 hrs). Flights to other destinations
(including Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Skopje and Istanbul) operate several
times weekly. The Zagreb Airport website, which includes an
electronic flight schedule, can be found at: www.tel.hr/zagreb-airport
Sea Travel Croatia's coastal towns and cities are well-served by
both passenger and car-ferry services. A "coast-hopper" ferry runs
regularly along the entire length of the coast from Rijeka to
Dubrovnik, and there are also links to Croatia's sixty-six inhabited
island -- though inter-island links are few. During the summer
season (late May to late September), the frequency of ferry sailings
is much greater, and fast hydrofoil services are added. The largest
passenger ferry terminals are in Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.
International lines include connections to Ancona, Pescara, Bari and
Trieste in Italy, as well as Igoumenitsa in Greece. Timetables and
fare information for the four main passenger shipping lines serving
Croatia are, in order of size and number of connections: Jadrolinija
(www.jadrolinija.hr), Adriatica (www.adriatica.it), Blue Line (www.bli-ferry.com)
and SNAV (www.snav.it/eng/index.asp).
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:43 AM
Telephone service in Zagreb is good and reliable. The Croatian
phone company (Hrvatski Telekom) is a foreign subsidiary of Deutsche
Telekom, and you should expect to pay higher user rates than you
would in the States. Long-distance calls to the U.S. are expensive
(two to three times higher than calls placed from the U.S.), and
calls to continental Europe are very expensive. International
operators can be accessed directly for AT&T, MCI, and SPRINT. Some
Embassy personnel use international call-back services, which can
reduce rates substantially. The Croatian Post Office (Hrvatska Pošta)
offers an international telegram service which is both inexpensive
All government housing units have telephone service available at
your expense. Monthly bills include a monthly service charge and a
per-call charge. To use public telephones in Croatia, you’ll need
tokens or a telephone card; both are sold at any post office. A
3-minute call from Croatia to the U.S. costs about USD 2.00.
To call the Embassy from abroad dial 00 (the international access
code), 385 (the country code for Croatia), then 1–661-2200. After
hours, dial 00-385-1-661-2400.
Telephones and Telecommunications
Wireless Service Last Updated: 2/18/2004 3:36 AM All direct-hires
are issued a cell phone. However, you are responsible for all
personal phone calls you make.
Employees will also receive a handheld radio for Post's Emergency
radio Network. Post conducts monthly radio checks to ensure the
network is functional and all equipment operational.
Internet Last Updated: 2/19/2004 6:59 AM
Internet Connections Zagreb has several Internet Service
Providers (ISPs). General satisfaction with the services is good,
though it is worth shopping around, as prices vary (even within
companies). Services offered range from basic dial-up to broadband
service (such as cable modem). Dial-up and ISDN connections are the
most commonly-used services within the Embassy community. Both have
good and bad points; dial-up is cheaper (but with a lower connection
speed), while ISDN has superior connectivity (at a higher price).
ISPs generally offer lower rates at night, usually starting after 7
Some of the local ISPs are:
CARNet tel. 0800-CARNET or 616-5616, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
HTNet tel. 491-3800, e-mail: email@example.com, www.ht.hr
GlobalNet tel. 0800-0500 or 659-9000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
ISKON tel. 0800-1000 or 600-0700, e-mail: email@example.com,
Net4U tel. 0800-444-444, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.net4u.hr
VIP.online tel. 091-7700, e-mail: email@example.com,
Internet Cafés Rather popular in Zagreb, but have anywhere from
4-10 terminals. Most cafés charge USD 2.00-4.00 per hour for
browsing, some have additional charges for printing.
@ VIP, Iblerov trg 10, tel. 091-209-1091
Aquarius Net, Drzislavova 4, tel. 461-8873
Art Net Club, Preradoviceva 25, tel. 455-8471
Charlie Net, Gajeva 4, tel. 488-0233
Cyber Cafe Sublink, Teslina 12, tel. 481-1329
Ergonet, Vojnoviceva 7, tel. 464-0901
INTER-NET CAFFE, Miramarska 36, tel. 611-2884
Iskoninternet - KIC, Preradoviceva 5/I, tel. 481-1758
Net kulturni klub mama, Preradoviceva 18 (in the courtyard), tel.
SIC, Preradoviceva 33/I, tel. 481-7195
VIP, Preradovicev trg 5, tel. 483-0089
Computer Supplies There are several computer stores in Zagreb,
but it is more affordable to buy equipment, computer games and
supplies in the United States. CDs are available for sale in kiosks
and in music stores. Computer paper, ribbon cartridges and other
computer supplies are available both at some large bookstores and at
specialty shops. Prices can be higher than in the U.S., but you can
still usually find what you need if you run out.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:43 AM
Department of State Diplomatic Pouch Post receives and sends
official mail, personal letters, medical prescriptions, and
magazines via pouch. Letter mail normally takes two weeks to reach
Post; packages may require 2-3 weeks. Incoming packages cannot be
bigger then 17 x 18 x 32 inches and cannot weigh more then 50 lbs.
Address all pouch mail as follows:
Personal Mail: Employee’s Name 5080 Zagreb Place Dulles, VA
Official Mail: Employee’s Name 5080 Zagreb Place Washington, DC
International Mail Letters sent through the Croatian Postal
Service (Hrvatska Pošta) take an average of 7-10 days to reach the
U.S., and only a few days to get to other parts of Europe. Postage
rates are currently about USD 1.40 for a 20-gram (˝-oz.) airmail
letter to the States. Most people find the service reliable. The
international mailing address for the Embassy is:
Employee’s Name American Embassy Zagreb Ul. Thomasa Jeffersona 2
10010 Zagreb, Croatia
APO/FPO Service Although Embassy Zagreb does not have local Army
Post Office (APO) privileges, you can go to Aviano, Italy, to use
the APO facility at the Airbase there.
Radio and TV Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:47 AM
Broadcast Television The vast majority of the population gets
their information from television, primarily Croatian Radio and
Television (HRT). Croatian Radio and Television currently broadcasts
on three national channels. In addition to HRT, there is another TV
station which broadcasts on the national level, Nova TV, as well as
a network of nine local TV stations, which broadcasts its daily news
program on the national level. Croatia also has at least a dozen
private, regional TV stations. Most of the Croatian channels show
many American movies and sitcoms in English, with Croatian
subtitles. Some television websites, including program listings and
Croatian Radio Television (HRT) www.hrt.hr Nova TV
Radio Croatian radio broadcasts are similar in format to Western
European stations with the music being largely Western. The stations
are diverse, playing pop (Top 40), classical, Jazz, oldies and some
rock music. The most popular radio station in Zagreb is privately
owned Radio 101. Other popular radio stations, in addition to
Croatian Radio (HR), include Obiteljski radio, Otvoreni radio, Plavi
radio and Narodni radio. Some Slovenian stations are recevied in
Zagreb as well, and a sizable portion of the population listen to
them. Radio websites, including live audio feed, include:
Obiteljski radio www.obiteljski-radio.hr Radio 101
Cable and Satellite TV American TV (NTSC) is incompatible with
the local Croatian transmission system (PAL). A PAL TV or a
multi-system TV with PAL capacity is necessary if you want to view
Croatian/European TV. It is also a good idea to have a multi-system
VCR and/or DVD player; with many video/DVD stores operating in
Zagreb there is a wide selection of recent movies. PAL or
multi-system electronic equipment such as TV, VCR, DVD player,
Satellite equipment and more can be purchased off the AAFES PX truck
that comes to the Embassy once a week, or at the Aviano AB in Italy,
where prices are lower then local prices.
Most Embassy personnel choose to have either a cable TV hook-up
or a satellite dish, allowing receipt of German, Austrian,
Slovenian, Italian, French and other channels, as well as BBC, CNN,
and CNBC. Cable TV is only available in some regions of Zagreb,
AFN Service The Armed Force Network (AFN) can be received here in
Zagreb. Most employees buy their dish locally and buy their receiver
box from the PX truck or at Aviano. The AFN system has 7 channels,
which receive popular sporting events and popular television shows
from the states. The AFN system usually costs around USD 550 for the
receiver and around USD 10-30 for the dish. Some personnel purchase
their equipment directly from families departing Post.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
2/20/2004 5:00 AM
Local Press With five daily newspapers and three influential
political newsweeklies, the Croatian public does not lack for
sources of information beyond broadcast. However, for many Croatians
the price of the dailies (6 kuna – approximately USD 0.95) and the
weeklies (between 12 and 15 kuna – approximately USD 2.00) is far
beyond what the majority can afford on a regular basis. The
circulation of most print media tends to be relatively small and the
vast majority of the population get the preponderance of all of
their information from television, primarily Croatian Radio and
There are five major daily papers in Croatia: Government-owned
Vjesnik, mass-circulation Zagreb-based Vecernji list and Jutarnji
list, Rijeka-based Novi list, and Split-based Slobodna Dalmacija. In
addition, there are three major weeklies: Zagreb-based Globus and
Nacional, and the Split-based Feral Tribune, plus a number of
specialized weekly and monthly magazines, all with national
circulation. The newspaper which reports most fully on Government
activities is Vjesnik. The highest circulation dailies are Vecernji
list and Jutarnji list. Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France
Press have offices in Zagreb.
Some useful websites for Croatian press include:
Globus www.globus.com.hr Nacional www.nacional.hr Novi list
www.novilist.hr Slobodna Dalmacija www.slobodnadalmacija.com Vjesnik
www.vjesnik.hr Vecernji list www.vecernji-list.hr
Foreign press, including newspapers and magazines, can be found
at newspaper kiosks all around the center of Zagreb. The
International Herald Tribune and USA Today, as well as international
editions of American and European news periodicals such as Time,
Newsweek, or Paris Match, are also available. Daily newspapers and
some reviews can be read in the reading rooms of the various
cultural centers and libraries in town.
Books Two English-language bookstores in the center of Zagreb
sell paperbacks, technical and educational materials, children’s
books, and computer software, all at considerably higher prices than
in the U.S. Magazine subscriptions from the U.S. by mail are more
economical, and the selection of books is much greater through
book-buying services on the Internet or a book club/catalog. The CLO
maintains a small library of used books that people donate and swap.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:50 AM
Embassy Health Unit The Embassy maintains a small Health Unit
staffed by a contract American Nurse and a Croatian
pediatrician/general physician. Health Unit hours are Monday-Friday
0730 – 1600 for the conctract Nurse, and Mondays 1000 – 1200 for the
Croatian physician. These personnel are always on call. They can
make referrals for specialist consultations; arrange for
hospitalization, labwork, and medications; and treat routine, minor
The Regional Medical Officer (RMO) in Vienna (Tel: 43-1-31339,
ext. 2255; or 6-8-872-2255 using the Embassy’s IVG lines) usually
visits quarterly. The Regional Psychiatrist (RMO/P) is also located
in Vienna and visits posts as needed (usually one-two times a year).
Scheduled visits are announced in Management Notices and through the
Embassy newsletter, the Buzin Buzz.
The purpose of the Health Unit is to provide limited urgent
health care services for employees and eligible family members. The
Health Unit can provide an initial evaluation of illness, well-baby
checks, immunizations and blood pressure checks. The Health Unit is
not intended to substitute for the services of a primary health care
provider. The Health Unit stocks some basic medications for minor
You and your family should have complete medical and dental
physicals before coming to Zagreb. Zagreb has many local pharmacies,
and some of them even provide 24-hour service. However, persons
taking medications on a regular basis should consider making
arrangements with a pharmacy or relative in the United States to
ship needed medications and medical supplies through the pouch, as
pharmaceuticals in Croatia can be expensive.
Croatian health facilities, although generally of Western
caliber, are under severe strain. Hospitals and other facilities are
often dated, and standards of appearance are lower than what U.S.
residents are accustomed to. The medical competency locally is
adequate, but not high. Embassy personnel requiring hospitalization
or consultations outside Zagreb are usually authorized travel to
Italy, Vienna, or London, depending on the problem and availability
Health and Medicine
Community Health Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:44 AM
The public water supply is considered safe in all major cities in
Croatia; the water in Zagreb is high in mineral content. Naturally
carbonated mineral water (mineralna voda) is customarily sold in
restaurants and stores. Sterilized long-life milk is available and
has a shelf-life of six months. Fresh milk is pasteurized, but
spoils quickly. Fresh fruits and vegetables are of good quality,
plentiful in season, and safe to eat using washing precautions
normally followed in the U.S. Fish, meats, and poultry should be
cooked well. Sewage and garbage disposal is adequate.
Health and Medicine
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:44 AM
Personnel should have their shot records up-to-date and be
immunized against tick-borne encephalitis, which is prevalent in the
hills and forests around Zagreb. Encephalitis shots are available
from the Embassy Health Unit. A flu shot is also recommended before
winter, and can also be obtained through the Health unit. In Zagreb,
sinus and respiratory ailments are aggravated by dry wintertime air,
and springtime can provoke allergy problems. In some areas of the
city, foxes and other small mammals are known to carry rabies.
Otherwise, Zagreb is a healthy post.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/23/2004
Dependents of American personnel interested in employment should
participate in the FLO Skills Bank Program and provide the Human
Resources Officer, before arrival, with as much information as
possible on skills and previous experience. Several positions exist
at Post which are reserved for Eligible Family Members (EFMs). These
jobs are typically secretarial or clerical in nature, and can be
full- or part-time. At present, EFM positions at Post include: GSO
assistant, RSO secretary, two CLO positions, and several security
escort positions. The Management Office tries to offer short-term
contracts to dependents, especially in cases where the dependent is
not a U.S. citizen.
Several spouses have taught or worked as teacher’s aides at the
American International School of Zagreb. Teacher certification is
required to teach at AISZ. Outside the Embassy, job opportunities
for dependents are limited. There are many humanitarian
relief/international organizations (based in the U.S. or other parts
of Europe) in town, though these job opportunities are limited,
especially now that the war in the former Yugoslavia has ended and
many organizations are downsizing. If you are interested in working
for any of these organizations, contact the organization in the U.S.
The local community offers some volunteer jobs.
Occasionally, post has summer-hire positions available to minor
dependents who are at post for a short time and want to work.
American Embassy - Zagreb
Post City Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:51 AM
Zagreb, a city of some 779,000 people (2003 data), is the
political, cultural, scientific, industrial, and commercial center
of Croatia. The city is located between the green hillsides of Mount
Medvednica in the north and the Sava River in the south. Sljeme
(3,354 feet) is a mountain park on the peak of Medvednica, easily
accessible from the city by public transportation. It has many
hiking trails and during the winter skiing and sledding are possible
when there is enough snow. Zagreb is an ancient trading center with
an old Central European look to it, reminiscent of Lvov, Prague,
Krakow and other former Austro-Hungarian provincial cities. Narrow
streets slip between the walls of former houses of 18th-century
nobility, and gardens bloom in the center. In the spring and summer
the streets are lined with outside cafes that are always full of
people enjoying coffee or a beer.
Medieval Zagreb developed from the 11th–13th centuries in the
twin towns of Kaptol and Gradec. In Kaptol, the oldest part of town,
is found the cathedral of Sveti Stjepan, the Bishop’s Palace, and
remains of the towers from an 11th century fortress. On an adjoining
hill of the upper city called Gradec, there are the ancient city
gates, St. Mark’s Church (which sports a distinctive multicolored
tiled roof), several museums, the Parliament building, and other
government offices. Historically, Kaptol was the seat of the
diocese, but Gradec was a free royal city, and the two towns often
fought one another for precedence, particularly during the 15th and
16th centuries. Fortunately, the city weathered both WWII and the
chaotic period that followed Yugoslavia’s breakup without sustaining
In the late 19th century, the city spread out onto the flat area
between the hills and river. Since WWII extensive high-rise
construction has occurred in "New Zagreb" (Novi Zagreb) across the
Sava to the south.
Security Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:51 AM
There are no specific terrorist threats against Americans in
Croatia. The city is considered safe by U.S. standards. Despite the
low crime rate, the RSO recommends that travelers adhere to standard
precautions to protect themselves. Burglaries of Embassy residences
are infrequent, averaging about two per year. Residents should use
all of the locks and external lights provided to deter burglary.
During lengthy absences from Post, employees should make
arrangements for housesitters or colleagues to routinely check on
their residence. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a low
profile. Do not carry a wallet or purse, whenever possible. If
necessary, carry wallets in front pockets, and shoulder bags tightly
agains the body with clasps facing inwards. Wear waist packs in the
front. Pay particular attention to your surroundings if in a crowd
or using public transportation, and guard your valuables when
getting on and off public transportation at train or tram stations.
Leave extra cash, credit cards and important documents at home, or
in your hotel safe. Carry copies of important documents and
passports separately from the originals. Lock your vehicle and do
not leave valuables inside, as thefts from parked vehicles are not
uncommon. A more detailed security briefing is required for all
newly-arrived Embassy personnel, and a briefing is available upon
request for TDYers or other visitors.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:52 AM
History The official American presence in Zagreb goes back at
least to 1920, when the American Consulate in Zagreb, Kingdom of the
Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, was established. The Consulate remained
open in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia until World War II began. At that
time, the records indicate that American diplomatic personnel
departed between May 1 and 14, 1941, in response to the German
capture of Zagreb, and subsequent establishment of the Nezavisna
Država Hrvatska (the fascist Ustašha government).
The Consulate in Zagreb was reopened after the war on May 9, 1946
and orignially housed in small offices near the Botanical Garden. In
1951, the government of Yugoslavia donated a building now known as
Hebrangova 2 to the U.S. government and, in 1953, the Consulate
moved into the building that it was to occupy for the next fifty
years. The Consulate was elevated to the status of Consulate General
on August 1, 1958, and the first Consul General arrived later that
On August 25, 1992, the Consulate General was elevated to the
status of Embassy after the establishment of diplomatic relations
between the United States of America and the new Republic of
Croatia. On June 2, 2003, the U.S. Embassy opened its new chancery
in Buzin on the southern outskirts of Zagreb.
Staffing Agencies represented at Post are: Department of State,
Department of Defence, Foreign Commercial Service, U.S. Agency for
International Development, Department of Agriculture, and Department
of the Treasury, as well as a Marine Security Detachment. There are
62 American and 214 locally-engaged personnel at the Embassy (as of
Workweek Embassy Zagreb has a flextime program in place, with
various work schedules possible between 7 am and 5:30 pm. The core
hours of Embassy operation are Monday-Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Additional Information The Department of State's IntraNet Post
Profiles offer a great deal of information on post management,
including lists of key officers and telephone numbers.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/18/2004 4:16 AM
Newcomers almost always occupy their assigned quarters
immediately upon arrival. If leased housing is unavailable, they may
stay in a temporary apartment or at a hotel in town (Dubrovnik,
Sheraton, and Opera are the three most-commonly used), which are all
within the per diem rate. However, few hotels in Zagreb accept pets
and kenneling can be difficult to arrange.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:52 AM
General The U.S. Government owns the Ambassador’s residence. All
other housing is short-term leased. The Embassy has a pool of
detached houses, townhouses, and apartments located mostly toward
the north of the center of town. Properties range from small
downtown apartments to large modern houses. With the relocation of
the Embassy to a New Embassy Compound on the southern outskirts of
the city, commute times for personnel now average 30-45 minutes.
Housing assignments are made by the post Interagency Housing Board
and comply with Department of State space standards. Standards take
family size and position grade into consideration. Housing units
generally contain two to four bedrooms. Any special needs or
requirements should be conveyed to your sponsor or to GSO. The
Embassy provides a Hospitality Kit containing bed and bath linens,
pillows, blankets, dishes, flatware, pots and pans, etc. You must
return this Kit when your household effects (HHE) arrive, so pack
In recent years, single-family housing has become more readily
available in Zagreb, and the housing pool is being constantly
updated. However, gardens, play areas, pet areas, and off-street
parking are not always available and cannot be guaranteed.
Room layout can seem unusual to the American eye, and room sizes,
especially bedrooms, are often small. European appliances are
smaller than their American counterparts and occasionally cannot be
replaced by American ones because of size and plumbing constraints.
Closets and storage space are at a premium. In most houses, built-in
closets are not available for storage, but rather armoires and other
pieces of furniture are used. Post has neither storage to
accommodate personal effects nor funds to pay for commercial
storage. In some areas of Zagreb, infrastructure deficiencies mean
that problems with low water pressure or voltage fluctuations often
cannot be fixed.
Chief of Mission Residence The Ambassador’s residence, a
65-year-old, U.S. Government-owned residence located on the hills to
the north of downtown, is a multilevel house with grounds and a
tennis court. The representational area includes a home office,
living room, dining room, and breakfast/sunroom. Private quarters
consist of three bedrooms and two full baths. Guest quarters located
in the lower level of the house consist of a bedroom, full bath,
living room, and small kitchenette. The uppermost level contains
another spare bedroom and attic storage area. The residence grounds
have a terrace and are suitable for large summer garden parties.
Furnishings Last Updated: 2/18/2004 4:20 AM
Chief of Mission Residence As well as basic furniture, the house
contains three freezers, four refrigerators, washer, dryer, two
dishwashers, two vacuum cleaners, official china, glassware and
utensils, linens, blender, icemaker, microwave oven, coffeemakers,
two range ovens, copy machine, table fan, two TVs, four humidifiers,
rug shampoo machine, and a stereo system.
DCM Residence As well as basic furniture, the house contains one
freezer, three refrigerators, washer, dryer, dishwasher, vacuum
cleaner, official china and glassware, cookware and utensils, guest
room linens, food processor, microwave oven, coffeemaker, one range
with oven, and one TV with satellite tuner. Outdoor furniture is
All other quarters have standard living room, dining room, and
bedroom furniture (periodically replaced on a rotating basis),
including refrigerator, freezer (space permitting), electric range
oven (sometimes the house has a European stove), table lamps/ceiling
fixtures, rugs, vacuum cleaner, microwave, and washer and dryer. The
provision of window coverings varies from agency to agency,
depending upon their regulations. All homes have contact smoke
detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. The
Mission provides each State Department unit with a set of State
Department furniture. Personnel assigned to other agencies at post
should ask their agency directly on what is and is not provided.
Dishwashers, electric overhead fans, floor lamps, stepladders,
additional wardrobes, and spaceheaters are installed/provided in
some housing. Bring your own baby furniture, tools, china, linens,
glassware, shower curtains, pillows, special office furniture
(computer desk or printer stand), small appliances (toasters,
coffeepots, irons, etc.), and kitchenware. Such items as glassware,
food containers, and small electrical appliances are freely
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:53 AM
Basic Information All quarters have heating and hot water. The
housing board policy allows for the installation of one
air-conditioner (either a split-pack or a window unit) for each
occupied bedroom. Most cooking is by electric range oven, but a few
units have gas ranges. Washers and dryers are provided in each
residence, though plumbing issues prevent the installation of
American-sized machines in some units.
Electric Standard electric power is 220v, 50 cycles. Outlets are
standard Central-European (German)type with 2 round prongs. The
Embassy provides at least two transformers per home. Transformers
are not readily available in Croatia, but Aviano AFB, Italy,
sometimes has them in stock. Adapter plugs can be found at most U.S.
military bases and travel stores in the States. Plan to bring a
supply of small transformers, dual-voltage, or 220v appliances,
since transformers are limited in quantity. (Note that 110v/60Hz
appliances such as turntables, clocks, etc., often will not operate
correctly even when used with a transformer unless other adjustments
are made. These adjustments usually must be performed by a trained
technician and can be expensive.) A power-surge regulator is
recommended for personal computers, and all other expensive
electronic equipment. Surge protectors puchased in the U.S. may not
function properly in Croatia.
Telephone Where a phone line does not already exist, Post will
pay to install a telephone in each home. Extra lines, such as for
internet service, must be paid for by employees. Service charges on
phone lines include a basic monthly fee, plus metering charges for
all outgoing calls. The telephone company sends monthly invoices to
you, but Post pays all other utilities (electricity, water, heating,
garbage removal) for all homes.
Food Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:54 AM
Local Supermarkets The Embassy community shops at a variety of
large, well-stocked stores - Metro (Austrian), Mercatone (Italian),
Mercator (Slovenian), Billa (Austrian), Getro and Superkonzum (both
Croatian) - which contain American, German, Italian, Austrian and
Slovenian and Croatian products. There are also small but
well-stocked grocery stores within a 10-15 minute walk from most of
the Embassy housing areas around the city. The larger supermarkets
all accept western credit cards.
Farmers' Markets (sing. -- trznica) are located in many parts of
the city. These markets are mostly outside, although Dolac, the
biggest of all, has some stalls in a covered building. There is
always a large selection of seasonal fresh produce, fruits, fresh
herbs, dried spices, nuts, dried fruits, “out of season” imported
fruits and vegetables, as well as “fresh from the farm” sour cream,
eggs and cheese.
Bakeries Delicious and inexpensive fresh bread is baked and sold
in numerous bakeries (sing. -- pekarna) around the city.
Preservatives are not used, so fresh bread must be bought daily, or
Larger open-air markets sell flowers, plants, clothing items and
handicrafts. For shoppers with limited or no Croatian language
skills, vendors will sometimes help you understand prices by showing
you the numbers quoted on a calculator. Payment is in kuna. Most
major neighborhoods have a nearby food market, even if it is small.
The main market, Dolac, is located right in the center of the city,
off the central square.
Besides all large grocery stores, fresh meat can be bought in
special shops (mesnica) all around the markets. Pork, beef and
chicken are the most popular types of meat; they are safe to buy,
but the selections differ from U.S. cuts. Lamb is also available,
though not everywhere. There is a large selection of sausages,
smoked meats, salamis and prosciutto (pršut), with prices comparable
to those in the States. There is also a wide variety of dairy
products, including lower-fat varieties. Cheese and yogurt are good
and inexpensive. Fresh and long-life milk is available.
As mentioned before, the American personnel at the Embassy have
privileges to shop at the military commissaries and AAFES stores in
Aviano and Vicenza, Italy, each about a 4-5 hour drive from Zagreb.
Meat is generally cheaper and of greater variety at Aviano and
Vicenza than in Zagreb. There is also the possibility to order items
from a military base in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. An AAFES PX
truck with orders comes once a week to the Embassy compound. It
carries a limited variety of health/hygiene supplies, small
electronics, computer supplies, cameras/photo supplies, canned and
frozen foods, cleaning supplies, small appliances and snack foods.
The PX in Tuzla does not carry infant, kids and pet supplies, wines
or liquors. The CLO office will assist you with placing your order
for the PX truck from Tuzla.
What To Bring With You
If you are a fan of ethnic cuisine, be prepared to bring your own
supply of spices and sauces, order (non-liquid items) through mail
order, and to buy a large amount of the basics at the U.S. military
bases in Italy. Although the spice and ethnic food selection in
Zagreb has improved recently, there is still room for improvement.
And, although the stores are stocking far more Asian and Mexican
fare, they are expensive, usually dinner kits and much higher in
sodium than you may be used to. Ethnic fare is available here,
though in many cases is a far cry from the original. If you do not
grow your own coriander, your only other source is the U.S. bases in
Italy or the PX truck, as it is has not made an appearance in the
For bakers: cake mixes, brownie mixes, prepared frostings, and
graham crackers (for pie crusts) are not available except through
the PX truck or the U.S. military bases in Italy. You can order many
essentials from King Arthur Flour’s The Baker’s Catalogue (also
on-line) and Penzey’s Spices (also on-line).
Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses might be hard to find in Zagreb.
They are available from the commissaries at Aviano and Vincenza. But
the cheeses available locally are wonderful! The local gorgonzola
and bleu cheeses are far less pungent than their original
Ziplock bags are not available locally. If you use them
frequently you might consider bringing a package or two in your
Clothing Last Updated: 2/20/2004 5:49 AM
When shopping for clothing you will find that Zagreb is a city
where the little “boutiques” abound. The little stores have a
satisfactory selection of goods, mostly imported from Italy, Austria
or Germany, and this is the main reason why the prices may vary
tremendously according to the quality and origin of the items. Many
Croatians however prefer to shop for clothing, as well as for
kitchenware, furniture, and houseware directly from Austria, Italy
and Germany since they consider the prices are lower there. Ilica is
Zagreb’s most fashionable shopping street. One can continue along
Gajeva, Francopanska, Radiceva and Vlaska streets to see more of the
same stores. There are several stores that sell brand products, such
as Benetton, Donna Karan, Osh Kosh, Max Mara, Esprit, etc.
While good-quality clothing can be found locally, prices are
generally much higher than those in the U.S.; most Embassy personnel
choose to shop on-line, through mail-order, at the U.S. military
bases in Italy, or on day-trips to Graz. Some catalogs are available
in the CLO office.
Zagreb has several very nice, but expensive tie shops with
designs which incorporate ancient Croatian motifs and symbols --
appropriate, since the cravat was derived from the scarlet bands
worn around the necks of Croatian military auxiliaries, thus
bringing the necktie into European fashion.
Men Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:53 AM
Most entertaining is informal (coat and tie) or casual. The
annual Marine Corps and Fašnik Balls are black-tie or equivalent
military dress. Seasonal clothing needs are similar to those of New
York or Washington, D.C.
Women Last Updated: 2/20/2004 6:01 AM
Most women tend to wear skirts or dresses in the summer, and
slacks in the winter. Women's suits, dress pants, and knitwear are
practical and often worn to lunches, receptions, and parties. At
least one formal dress is recommended for the annual Marine Corps
and Fašnik Balls.
If you are a woman, and larger than a size 10, you will find it
difficult to find what you are looking for in Zagreb. Many members
of the Embassy community have found it necessary to shop at stores
in Graz, Austria (a 2˝-hour drive from Zagreb) at the U.S. military
bases in Italy, on-line, or by mail order. Be advised also that 100%
cotton products are hard to come by -- and when available, they tend
to be expensive and of varying quality and performance.
Children Last Updated: 2/20/2004 6:06 AM
Children Bring a supply of children's clothes. Snowsuits, heavy
jackets, coats, hats, mittens, ski pants, and warm boots are
necessary for winter when temperatures go below freezing and snow
and ice can linger on the ground for weeks at a time. For summer
bring clothes for sports such as tennis and swimming. Temperatures
reach 35ş C (95ş F) frequently in summer, so shorts and T-shirts are
a necessity. You'll save yourself a lot of time and hassle if you
think ahead and bring special items like Halloween costumes, soccer
cleats, ballet shoes with you.
Infants If you have an infant when you arrive, bring clothing in
all sizes for the next several months and then plan on ordering the
next size immediately. There are several local stores that stock
infant and toddler clothing, but they tend to be very expensive, and
may not have what you need when you need it. A down-filled baby bag
for babies and toddlers for use in the stroller is very useful. You
can find U.S. brand-name disposable diapers in Zagreb, but they are
pricier than what you would pay in the States, so most parents find
it necessary to buy in bulk at the U.S. military bases in Aviano and
Vicenza. Children's shoes are widely available in Zagreb, of good
quality at reasonable prices. Some parents also shop for children's
items at the Toys-R-Us in Graz, Austria (a 2˝-hour drive from
Office Attire Last Updated: 2/13/2004 8:24 AM
Office attire is the same as in Washington, DC.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:56 AM
Shopping Malls The closest thing you’ll find in Zagreb to the
varied selections of an American mall is the Importanne Centar,
situated underground in Starcevicev Trg, across the street from the
main railroad station and Hotel Esplanade. There is also Importanne
Galerija, on Vlaska Street. A third mall in Zagreb is called Kaptol
Centar, is situated on Nova Ves not far from the main square. Each
of these malls includes numerous boutiques and coffee shops, one or
two grocery stores and pharmacies. There is a large new shopping
center called King Cross on the outskirts of Zagreb in the direction
of Ljubljana. It has a variety of clothing and shoes shops for
adults and kids, toys shops, a large sport department, and a big
supermarket (Ipercoop) where you can find everything from fresh
bread, meat, fruits and vegetables to garden supplies, household
appliances and clothes. Another large store, similar to a Walmart,
is Mercatone, located about 20 km (13 miles) from downtown Zagreb.
The malls in the central district have underground parking, which
makes them easily accessible by car. King Cross and Mercatone also
have huge outdoor parking lots.
Pet Supplies Pet food and litter are widely available in
supermarkets. Available brands: Lambs, Whiskas, Friskies, Pedigree,
Hill’s Science Diet, Eukanuba, Purina, Chappi. There are specialty
pet stores with large selections in Zagreb, many of which cater
particularly to dogs.
Veterinary Services Several well-trained veterinarians practice
in Zagreb, including some who make house calls. There is also a
clinic which keeps animals for extended periods of time when surgery
is necessary. The CLO can provide more information to employees
after arrival at Post.
Party Supplies In general, these types of items are all available
here—again, at much higher costs than in the States. Local
bookstores often carry charming Croatian greeting cards. Bring
“Thank You” cards, “You’re Invited” cards, “Get Well” and “Sympathy”
cards if you use them, as they can be difficult to find in Zagreb.
Photo/Film There are stores all over the city that develop film
on a few hours/next day basis. You can also buy film at these
places. Some Embassy members do all their film developing through US
mail order companies.
Children's Supplies Bring a supply of children's gifts, wrapping
paper, party supplies, and cards for birthday parties and holidays.
The local toy stores have a satisfactory selection, but they lack
educational toys, the prices are higher than in the U.S., quality
varies, and the video/computer games are made for the European
system. There is an English-language book store with some children's
books and cassettes, but most parents subscribe to children's book
clubs or order books from catalogs through the mail. Parents of
children at the American School of Zagreb have the opportunity to
order books from the Scholastic Book Club every two months or so.
Coloring books, crayons, magic markers, chalk, glue, birthday
favors and presents will come in handy. If you already have a supply
of these items, plan on bringing them with you. Again, you will be
able to find them in Zagreb, but they will be more expensive. If
your child’s (ren’s) birthday will occur in your first few months at
post, you should bring all birthday party items (such as
decorations, invitations, goodie bags and favors) in your suitcases
or airfreight. You may, however, with a little ingenuity and store
hopping, find pretty much everything available locally for a party.
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 2/20/2004 6:08 AM
Tailors, dressmakers and cobblers are available locally and offer
excellent service at fair prices. Fabric is available at bargain
prices and all you need is a picture from a catalog, and most items
of clothing can be duplicated. Local dry cleaners, beauty and barber
shops, radio and small electronics repair shops, and other service
facilities are adequate and reasonably priced. Beauty treatments are
available such as facials, waxing, tanning, massage, manicures and
pedicures by appointment.
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/18/2004 7:45 AM
Official Residence Staff In Zagreb the Ambassador is authorized
three domestic employees, in addition to gardening services. The DCM
is authorized a housekeeper and a cook.
Local Hired Help Most families at post do not have live-in
employees. Families tend to hire a housekeeper, babysitter, waiter,
or caterer on a temporary, or as-needed basis. Help for special
occasions can be recommended by the CLO or others in the
international community. There are many young university students in
Zagreb who speak English and like to baby-sit. The average wage for
child care is USD 4.00-6.00 per hour.
If employed on a full time basis (40 hours/week), the employer's
total costs would be approximately:
Maid USD 700 - 1,000 Cook USD 1,200 - 1,400 Driver USD 1,000 -
1,200 Gardener USD 1,000 - 1,200
These are gross monthly salaries. The employer is responsible for
making all social security contributions, while the employee is
responsible for reporting and paying personal income tax.
If employees are employed from time to time, or just a few hours
per week, there is no employer-employee relationship, and employees
are generally paid at an hourly rate. Hourly rates vary:
Maid USD 4.00 - 7.00 per hour Cook USD 7.00 - 9.00 per hour
Driver USD 5.00 - 7.00 per hour Gardener USD 5.00 - 7.00 per hour
Third-Country Nationals If you are planning to bring a domestic
employee to Post, the Government of Croatia requires the individual
to be declared through the local police (Department for Foreigners).
The Human Resources Office can assist in this process.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/18/2004 7:32 AM
As the rest of Croatia, Zagreb is predominantly Roman Catholic,
but the Serbian Orthodox, Lutheran, Baptist, Church of Christ,
Seventh-day Adventist, Muslim and Jewish faiths are also
represented. There is an English-speaking Catholic group which has
regular Sunday mass, and a First Communion and CCD program for the
children. Jewish services are held in the Jewish Community Center on
Friday evenings, as there is no operational synagogue in Croatia.
At Post Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:55 AM American School Presently
most of the school-age children at Post attend the American
International School of Zagreb (AISZ). AISZ accepts children from
Junior Kindergarten (must be 4 by October 1 of the year of entrance)
through 10th grade. The school should be contacted in advance to
arrange for 11th- or 12th-grade programs.
The school is located in a residential neighborhood about 10
minutes from the city center in the north hills of Zagreb where the
majority of personnel reside. The school has 12 classrooms, a
library, two computer laboratories, an art room, workrooms, a
cafeteria, and a multi-purpose room. There is a playfield and a
playground, an outdoor basketball court, and a gym is leased from
the adjoining seminary. There are 172 children (Americans, other
foreigners temporarily residing in Croatia, and Croatians) enrolled
for the 2003-2004 school year; about 40% are from the Embassy
community. The school year usually begins the last week of August
and dismisses the second or third week in June. Vacations are
comparable to those ordinarily observed in the U.S.
Parents of school aged children should contact the CLO as soon as
possible after assignment so that the Embassy can request that space
be reserved for your children. You may wish to visit the school
website www.aisz.hr, where you will find a lot of information about
the school as well as the enrollment form. Questions about the
school can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The school has increased in enrollment in the last few years and
has begun a search for a new facility in Zagreb.
The curriculum is based on that of U.S. public schools and the
International Baccalaureate in the high school. Instruction is in
English. English as a Second Language instruction is offered to
students with limited English proficiency. There is no special
education available, however a resource teacher is employed to
assist children with minor needs who can function in the regular
classroom. The foreign language program includes German and French
classes that start in senior kindergarten. Croatian is not taught at
the school, except as an after-school activity.
The children take the WrAP standardized test annually. Students
in the high school take PSATs and SATs.
Tuition and transportation costs for dependents are covered in
full by Post's educational allowance, though State Department
regulations forbid payment for field trips, including mandatory
ones. Tuition fees for Junior Kindergarten are not covered by the
educational allowance, and currently stand at USD 4,600 per year. A
Croatian bus company provides transportation to and from school.
Extracurricular activities include karate, Tae Kwon Do,
ice-skating, tennis, swimming, piano, guitar, ballet and modern
dance, and soccer. Private tutoring in various languages is also
available. The cost for children to participate in these activities
with a private instructor, or in a club, is comparable to or less
than prices in the U.S.
IB Program For high school-age dependents there is a Croatian
International Baccalaureate Program that offers the Diploma Program
in English for Grades 11 and 12 in Zagreb. The school also offers
the Middle Years program, for grades 9 and 10. The school is
officially accredited by the Croatian government and by the
International Baccalaureate Organization from Geneva, Switzerland.
The tuition is € 5200 per year – to include tuition, books, one meal
daily (for the Diploma Years) and two school trips.
Preschools and Junior Kindergartens There are several
English-speaking playschools and kindergartens in Zagreb. Most of
them are private, with a program that runs from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm;
some have a longer day (until 3:00 pm). Private programs are more
expensive than the state-run Croatian kindergartens, and tend to
have fewer children in each classroom. If you decide to put your
child in a Croatian kindergarten, be aware that as a non-resident of
Zagreb, you will be charged more than a resident.
Most preschools and junior kindergartens start enrollment in May
and charge an enrollment fee.
Away From Post Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:58 AM Some Embassy
personnel with high school-age children have chosen in the past to
send their 11th- and 12th-grade children to boarding schools in
England, Italy or Switzerland. Others have sent them to the U.S. for
schooling. Check with the Human Resources Office for eligibility and
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 2/20/2004 7:06 AM
There is no special-needs education program available at the
American International School of Zagreb. Such programs at other
schools in Zagreb are Croatian-language instruction only.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/20/2004 7:08 AM
Croatian language classes are offered at the Embassy during
office hours to interested American personnel and dependents,
subject to the availability of funds. The Embassy currently
contracts with a Croatian firms that provides teachers. Croatian
language classes taught in English are also available at the
University of Zagreb.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 2/23/2004 4:58 AM
Zagreb has a variety of recreational facilities. The following
sports are popular: skiing, ice-skating, hunting, waterpolo,
handball, basketball, tennis, soccer, and sailing. For swimming,
Zagreb has several indoor/outdoor swimming pools with lap lanes,
diving platforms, and baby pools. There are many private tennis
clubs. The cost to play once a week is about USD 150 a year; indoor
courts are available in winter at similar prices. Squash,
racquetball and/or handball courts are available at certain clubs
and can be rented by the hour. All Embassy personnel can schedule
court time on a hard clay tennis court at the Ambassador’s
Basketball is popular in Zagreb; from October to April
professional games take place at the Cibona Centar. Professional
soccer (football to the Croatians) attracts an ardent following, and
well-attended matches take place at the Maksimir Stadium.
Yoga and aerobics classes are available in Zagreb through health
clubs and private lessons.
Outdoor sports possibilities in Zagreb during winter are limited
to skiing, horseback riding, skating, and sledding. Sledding is very
popular in hilly Zagreb and its many parks. There are many natural
hot springs (Toplice) with indoor/outdoor swimming facilities; the
one most commonly frequented by Embassy personnel is at Catez,
roughly a 30-minute drive from Zagreb, just over the Slovenian
border. A day pass, including water slides, sauna and wave pool is
just USD 5.00. Skiing is popular and easily accessible on Sljeme;
however, most people drive to Slovenia, Italy, or Austria to ski.
There are excellent downhill and cross-country trails for experts
and beginners. Several ice-skating rinks offer skates to rent and
Foreigners in Croatia can hunt deer, birds, etc., as guests of
Croatians. Without such an invitation, you must belong to a hunting
club, which can be difficult to arrange as it required obtaining a
permit to own a weapon. Fishing licenses cost 40 kuna a day.
On Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, sailing, wind surfing, and other
water sports are very popular. Scuba diving certification is
available in Zagreb as well as at multiple dive centers on the
coast. The rugged islands off Croatia’s mountainous shoreline from
Istria to Dubrovnik are a yachtsman's paradise. The channels are
deep, and the winds are steady. Yacht rentals can be arranged. You
can hire a “bare boat” (no crew) for your party and set out on your
own (you must prove your competence), or join a “flotilla” of yachts
sailing along a fixed route. Crewed yacht charters are also
available. Most charters are for a minimum of one week, and sailing
yachts are more common than motor yachts. Prices start at € 800 per
week for an uncrewed 12-meter sailing yacht, and go up from there
depending on the season, the size of the craft, and crew
requirements. Motor yachts are generally more expensive.
Sea kayaking is popular around the Kornati Islands, and
white-water rafting is available on several rivers in Dalmatia and
Hercegovina during the brief snow-melt season (May-June). There are
package tours available.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:59 AM
Close to Zagreb
There are nice day-trips within a few hours' drive of Zagreb.
Zagorje, a region north of Zagreb, is known for its rolling hills,
vineyards, orchards, small villages, streams, ancient castles, spas
and health resorts.
Zagorje's Castles Trakoscan, Miljana and Veliki Tabor are the
most beautiful in this region. The scenery is reminiscent of West
Virginia's Appalachian region in the U.S. In Zagorje, Varazdin is a
pleasant little town with a few Baroque churches and a medieval
castle which now contains the municipal museum.
Risnjak National Park at Crni Lug, between Zagreb and Rijeka, is
a good hiking area in the summer. There's a small park-operated
hotel at Crni Lug with rooms at USD 20 per person. It's a nine-km, 2
1/2 hour climb from the park entrance at Bijela Vodica to Veliki
Kumrovec is the birthplace of Josip Broz (better known to the
world as Tito). His house was built in 1860 in the center of town.
Today it is a memorial museum with furniture and household
implements from the time of Tito's childhood. Around Tito's house
about thirty village houses and farm building from the turn of the
century have been preserved. They were restored and reconstructed to
form the Staro Selo (Old Village).
Samobor is a small town west of Zagreb with a tradition in crafts
and inn-keeping. It's a nice area for fishing, swimming, and
Carnival festivities. Many people enjoy shopping in the crystal
factory there. Easily accessible from the Zagreb-Ljubljana highway,
Samobor is a picturesque place to visit, boasting several beautiful
monuments, good restaurants and the famous Samobor kremsnite
From Samobor, you can continue your trip to two other nature
parks – Divlje Vode and Eko Selo. At Divlje Vode, aside from the
hiking trails, the volleyball and football courts, and the
playground, there is a little zoo and a fish farm. Seventeen kms
further away, on the same road (the paved road ends soon after
Divlje Vode) is Eko Selo. The owner of Eko Selo had in mind an
American ranch when he built his business in the hills of Samobor.
This area is very popular as it offers a good restaurant, riding,
pony trekking, fishing, great hiking.
Krapina is a small town situated in Zagorje only fifty km from
Zagreb. Krapina became famous in 1899, when the remains of an early
human settlement 30 to 40 thousand years old were discovered at this
site. Today there is an archeological park featuring sculptures of
early humans and animals.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park occupies 195 km of forests,
lakes, and meadows. There are hiking trails along the waterfalls and
lakes. The color of the lakes depends on the plankton density--they
range from a dark blue to a strikingly bright emerald color. The
park was established in 1929 and is on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
It is a nice day trip, or the hotel is reasonable if you wish to
Terme Catez, situated at about 30 km from Zagreb, in Slovenia, is
a popular water park with 9 outdoor swimming pools, waterfalls, a
wave pool, water slides, jacuzzi, pools for water massage, etc. It
is the largest thermal spring resort in Slovenia, and it has a lot
to offer, especially for children.
Water-Park Aqualuna is located on the border of Croatia and
Slovenia in the village of Potcetrtek, very close to the Terme
Olimia health resort, roughly a one-hour drive from Zagreb. Aqualuna
offers 8 water toboggans, up to 15 m high, with a total length of
480 m. Aside from the water-slides the park has several pools for
children and adults, and offers everyday programs, rich catering and
even a night program. The Park can accommodate up to 5000 people a
day. For more information check their website: www.terme-olimia.com
The Adriatic coast is famous for its Mediterranean landscapes and
climate. Istria, the peninsula just south of Trieste, Italy, offers
many lovely weekend getaways (4-5 hour drive from Zagreb). Porec,
even after the fall of Rome, remained important as a center of early
Christianity, with a bishop and a famous basilica. There are many
places to swim in the clear water by the old town. Rovinj is an
active fishing port with a large Italian community. Its high
peninsula is topped by the 57-meter-high tower of St. Euphemia
Cathedral. The 13 green offshore islands of the Rovinj archipelago
make for pleasant, varied views. The cobbled, inclined streets in
the old town are where local artists sell their works. Each year in
mid-August Rovinj's painters stage a big open-air art show. Pula is
a large commercial harbor. The old town has many well-preserved
Roman ruins such as the 1st century AD Roman amphitheater
overlooking the harbor. The rocky wooded peninsulas overlooking the
Adriatic waters are dotted with resort hotels and camp grounds.
Brijuni is a fascinating group of islands. Each year from 1949 until
his death in 1980, Marshal Tito spent six months at his summer
residences on Brijuni. Brijuni is a national park with some 680
species of plants, including many exotic subtropical species planted
at Tito's request. In Brijuni visitors can see Tito's three palaces,
the luxury hotels where his guests once stayed, St German
Church--now a gallery of copies of medieval frescoes, and an exhibit
of photos of Tito.
The Gulf of Kvarner is also a nice part of the coast for weekend
getaways (a 3-4 hour drive). South of Rijeka, between the Istrian
Peninsula and the Croatian mainland, are many islands including Krk,
Cres and Pag. Many people frequent Opatija, a fashionable bathing
resort of the Hapsburg elite until WWI. Many grand old hotels remain
from this time and the promenade along the water affords a fine
view. Island Krk is linked to the mainland by a massive concrete
arch bridge. It has many tourist hotels and many medieval churches
and walls built in the 12th to 15th centuries. Medieval Rab was an
outpost of Venice for hundreds of years until the Austrians took
over in the 19th century. Tall church towers rise above the red
roofed mass of houses on Rab's high peninsula. Places to stay in
Istria range from private rooms for as little as USD 30 per night to
hotels which can cost up to USD 150 per night. Prices will vary
according to the time of year (May to September is high season).
There are nearly 100 camp grounds along the Croatian coast. Most
operate from mid-May to September only.
Dalmatia is Croatia's most famous vacation area. Historical
relics abound in towns like Zadar, Trogir, Split, Hvar, Korcula and
Dubrovnik. These towns are framed by a striking natural beauty of
barren slopes, green valleys and clear water. A warm current flowing
north up the coast keeps the climate mild. You can swim in the sea
right up until the end of September. Unfortunately Dalmatia was not
spared the damages of ex-Yugoslavia's civil war and many historic
sights suffered shelling. The drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik takes
over 9 hours and the winding, two-lane coastal highway is scenic,
but slow going, especially if you're stuck behind trucks and buses.
There are daily flights from Zagreb to Dubrovnik for USD 100 one way
but prices vary according to the time of year. There are ferries
from Rijeka and Split to Dubrovnik as well.
Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria and Germany are all easily
accessible by car from Zagreb. Ljubljana (a two hour drive) is near
the mountain and lake resort district. Lake Bled is a resort area
which features an excellent golf course as well as the full range of
winter sports. Trieste, Italy and Graz, Austria are favorite
shopping towns--both about 2-3 hours drive from Zagreb. Budapest and
Vienna are about 5-6 hours drive away. Venice is 4 hours drive away.
From Zagreb it is easy to explore and enjoy other European cities.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 3/2/2004 3:59 AM
Zagreb is the main cultural center of Croatia. With 18 theatres
and 12 concert halls it has a very active cultural life with opera,
concert, ballet, and theatre performances presented regularly. A
monthly guide of events and performances is published by the Tourist
Association, and copies can be obtained from the Tourist Information
Center on Trg Bana Jelaćiča or from the CLO office in the Embassy.
Opera and concert seasons run from September to May offering a
wide variety of Croatian, German and Italian operas and performances
by orchestras and chamber music groups.
Movie theatres are popular in Zagreb showing feature films from
all over the world – many of them recent U.S. films. The admission
fee is about USD 4.00. Most theatres show films in the original
language with Croatian subtitles.
Zagreb is also a city of museums. There are 21 museums, 33
galleries and art collections in Zagreb. Among the finest ones are
the Mimara Museum which boasts one of the most interesting art
collections in Europe, the Croatian Naďve Art Museum, considered one
the first Naďve Art museums in Europe, the Strossmayer Gallery of
the Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the Gallery of Modern Art.
There are restaurants, discos, casinos, nightclubs, and dance
clubs around Zagreb as well.
A monthly guide of events and performances is published by the
Tourist Association. Copies can be obtained from the Tourist
Information Center on Trg Bana Jelaćiča. You can also see the
information at www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr and
The embassy newsletter, Buzin Buzz, also carries information
about different cultural and sport events in the city.
For those who can understand a little bit of Croatian the daily
newspapers Jutarnji List and Vecernji List, carry details of
scheduled events in Zagreb.
Recreation and Social Life
Among Americans Last Updated: 2/24/2004 7:55 AM The official
American community in Zagreb is small, but in addition to U.S.
employees and their families at the Embassy, you can meet other U.S.
citizens who work for humanitarian relief organizations, the
American School, the UN, as missionaries, businessmen, American
citizens married to Croatians, and journalists.
Among American personnel assigned to the Embassy, most
entertaining is informal, revolving around dinners at home, monthly
CLO-organized "Ladies' Nights Out," barbecues in the summer, and so
on. The Marine Guard Detachment hosts parties for the community at
The annual Marine Ball, held in the fall, and the Fašnik Ball,
held in the spring, are both formal affairs popular within the
Recreation and Social Life
International Contacts Last Updated: 2/20/2004 8:28 AM A friendly
and active international community exists in Zagreb. Frequent social
events revolve around the various embassies represented here, but no
one has special facilities. The American International School of
Zagreb has annual picnics and holiday parties for families as well
as spring and Christmas programs which the children present for
The International Women’s Club (IWC) is open to wives of business
and diplomatic personnel, as well as Croatians. It is useful for
making contacts with people outside the Embassy and in the host
country. The IWC sponsors tennis, yoga classes, nights at the opera,
a mother and baby group, book discussions and craft circles. The IWC
also supports many charities. Their major fundraising event is the
annual Christmas bazaar. Monthly meetings are held to exchange news
and views over coffee at the Sheraton Hotel.
The active Zagreb chapter of the "Hash House Harriers" gathers
for a run and barbecue every month or so, and have an Adriatic
cruise "hash" in the summers. The Harriers, founded originally by
British diplomats in Kuala Lumpur, are popular all over the world.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 2/23/2004 5:00 AM
Official functions are similar to those at posts throughout
Europe — receptions, cocktail parties and buffet dinners — usually
informal. Lunches are the most common type of representational
event; black-tie dinners are exceedingly uncommon. Senior officers
may expect a fairly steady schedule (three or four invitations a
week for the Ambassador, one or two for others), but
representational obligations for junior officers, depending on the
position occupied, are considerably less. Contact between members of
the diplomatic corps and host government officials is frequent.
Guests usually present flowers, candy, or a bottle of wine to the
Many Embassies hold large national day receptions to which some
of the staff are invited. Most receptions are in the evening, and
sometimes spouses are invited to attend. Most of the
representational allowance is used to take contacts to lunch during
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/18/2004 8:32 AM
Officers may wish to bring an initial supply of about 300 calling
cards with them. Informal cards are useful for invitations,
reminders, and thank-you notes. Invitations and calling cards can be
printed in Croatia, but at higher than U.S. prices. GSO can also
provide blank caradstock with the Department Seal for you to print
your own cards using an Embassy laser printer.
Special Information Last Updated: 2/13/2004 6:48 AM
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/18/2004 8:56 AM
Routing Personnel flying from Washington D.C. and New York
usually fly United Airlines (in conjunction with Lufthansa or
Austrian Airlines), in compliance with the Fly America Act. The main
gateway cities for Zagreb are Frankfurt and Vienna, though some
personnel arrive at post via Paris or London. Multiple flights are
available daily from Frankfurt and Vienna, less frequently from
other cities. Total transit time is from D.C. to Zagreb is about
Arrival Information Provide the Management Officer as early as
possible with your arrival date, mode of travel, names and ages of
dependents, and any special needs. Your sponsor will meet you at the
airport. The airport is only a five-minute drive from the Embassy.
Once on the ground, the baggage claim and customs are rather easy
and not too time-consuming, as it is a small airport. New arrivals
are assisted with customs formalities and escorted to temporary or
permanent quarters. Your quarters will be stocked with food to tide
you over until you get to a local grocery store. Once you go to the
office, general in-processing begins and you will meet Embassy
colleagues. An Embassy duty officer is available through the Marine
Security Guard at all times. After arrival at post, you will have
detailed administrative and security briefings. The CLO is a good
source of information as you and your family settle in to your new
HHE and Air Freight Transit time for surface freight shipments
from Washington is around two-three months. Consider this fact when
deciding what to pack in your accompanying baggage and air freight.
As noted previously, welcome kits are available until your HHE
arrives. Bring baby supplies and food with you or ship in air
freight. Air freight transit time is about 2-3 weeks. If air freight
is shipped ahead of time, it should be in Zagreb upon your arrival
or shortly thereafter. It cannot be received until you are
registered with Croatian Protocol. The Embassy GSO will coordinate
with local Croatian Customs authorities and will have it delivered
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/18/2004 8:50 AM
All personal effects, including airfreight, car, and HHE must
await your arrival at post and your registration with the Foreign
Ministry before customs clearance can be begun. Therefore, plan
shipments to coincide as closely as possible with your arrival to
avoid loss or damage to property and storage charges in the customs
warehouse. No other restrictions are placed on contents of shipments
except those regarding firearms (see Firearms and Ammunition).
Official members who are not on the diplomatic list, however, must
import all of their shipment within one year of arrival date.
After your arrival, give the GSO a copy of the packing list of
your HHE and airfreight and all loading and airway bills for
shipments to expedite clearance. The Embassy customs office will
translate your list and submit it to the Croatian authorities.
Surface shipments by sea are generally received at the Port of
Antwerp (ELSO), Belgium.
For information on customs clearance for your car, see
If you have antiques or high-value items, register them with
Croatian customs upon their arrival. This will preclude any problems
when you packout at the end of your tour.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Passage Last Updated: 2/18/2004 8:47 AM
Diplomatic and Official Passports Each member of a family,
including children, should have his/her own passport. Bearers of
U.S. Diplomatic and Official passports may enter Croatia by car over
any main road border crossing, by train, or by air at the Zagreb
airport. A visa is not required, but a stay of over 90 days requires
the Embassy to register you with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
When entering Croatia for the first time, to take up an assignment,
you should request the border guard to stamp your passport to show
date of entry. This will assist the Human Resources Office in
arranging your registration as a member of the U.S. Embassy staff.
Please carry at least eight photos of all family members for I.D.
Tourist Passports For tourist or business trips of less than 90
days, a visa is not required for U.S. passport holders. Visas are
required for all other types of stays in Croatia. Croatian
authorities require foreigners to register with local police when
they first arrive in a new area of the country. This is usually
handled in routine fashion during hotel registration. However,
failure to register is a misdemeanor offense, and some Americans
have been subjected to expulsion from the country and fines.
Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from
the Embassy of Croatia (2343 Massachusetts Ave., NW., Washington,
D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 588–5899), or from the Croatian consulates in
New York City, Cleveland, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Overseas,
inquiries may be made to the nearest Croatian embassy or consulate.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and
obtain updated information on travel and security within Croatia.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Pets Last Updated: 2/18/2004 9:19 AM
Entry Requirements No quarantine restrictions are in effect for
household pets. Animals must have a health certificate signed by a
veterinarian (no older than 30 days) and a rabies/distemper
vaccination record. Dogs must have an I.D. tag showing the owner’s
name. To be valid, the rabies vaccination must have been
administered no more than 180 days (6 months) nor less than 30 days
(1 month) prior to the animal’s arrival in Croatia. Faxing copies of
the paperwork to GSO in advance of your arrival (fax:
011-385-1-661-2371) will help facilitate clearance. If the animal is
arriving at the same time as the owner, appropriate papers are all
that is needed for customs clearance. No pets should arrive at Post
before their owners, as the airport has no kennels.
If pets arrive as airfreight, a Croatian veterinarian must be at
the airport to clear the animals. It is essential that travelers
notify the Embassy in advance to make the appropriate arrangements.
If pets are shipped as cargo, avoid weekend arrival dates at all
cost, as the cargo Customs office is closed on Saturdays and
Sundays. If you decide to ship your pet, contact the local airlines
for price quotes. Employees must bear all costs associated with the
shipment of pets.
Most hotels do not allow pets. Post recommends that owners delay
arrival of pets until the employee is assigned to permanent housing.
Dog and cat boarding is available in Zagreb, but can be expensive.
Services and Supplies Several well-trained veterinarians practice
in Zagreb, including some who make house calls. There is a clinic
that keeps animals for extended periods of time when surgery is
necessary. Dog and cat food is widely available in the local pet
stores, grocery stores and other outlets. Brands available include
Iams, Whiskas, Purina, Sheba, etc. If your animal is finicky, bring
a supply of its favorite food. Kitty litter is also available
locally. Local pet stores have food for hamsters, birds, and fish as
well. Croatians love dogs, and it is easy to find items such as
brushes, bones, leashes, flea/tick collars, etc. Pet supplies are
also available at the U.S. military bases in Italy.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/18/2004 8:50 AM
The Chief of Mission has established the following policy
regarding the importation and/or local purchase of firearms by the
American staff and family members:
Importation of U.S. Government issued firearms which are required
in the performance of official duties at post may be imported by
American staff members upon the recommendation of the Regional
Security Officer and written approval by the Ambassador.
On a case by case basis, the Ambassador may approve the
importation or local procurement of personally owned firearms for
hunting and sport. If approved by the Ambassador, importation or
purchase will be limited to one (1) shotgun and one (1) rifle per
family with a maximum of 100 rounds of ammunition per weapon.
Individuals who import approved firearms must comply with all
Croatian firearms laws, and obtain the required Croatian firearms
registration license. In addition, hunters in Croatia must
successfully complete a safety course before the issuance of a
hunting license. So-called assault rifles, other automatic weapons,
and all firearms not expressly permitted (i.e., shotgun and hunting
rifle) are not allowed at post. Firearms and ammunition imported
from the United States require formal licenses (form DSP-5) from the
U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs declarations. The employee
is responsible for obtaining necessary documentation and abiding
with U.S. law.
Employees must request permission through the Regional Security
Officer and obtain the Ambassador’s written approval prior to
Personally owned handguns are not permitted at post at this time.
Please contact the Regional Security Officer if you have any
questions regarding this policy or require assistance in importing
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
2/18/2004 9:28 AM
The official currency in Croatia is the Kuna (kn). There are 100
lipa to one kuna. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500
and 1000 kuna, as well as coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 lipa, and
1, 2, 5 and 25 kuna. The exchange rate, as of mid-February 2004, is
5.92 kuna to USD 1.00 (kn 1.00 = $0.16).
The metric system is used for all weights and measures in
Croatia. Like other Continental Europeans, Croatians indicate
decimals with commas and thousands with points (e.g., kn 1.000 = one
thousand kuna; kn 100,00 = one hundred kuna).
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 2/23/2004
The American Diplomatic and Official staff of the Embassy of the
United States of America in the Republic of Croatia and their
immediate family members are exempt from paying Value Added Tax
(VAT, or PDV in Croatian) according to article 13, paragraph 1,
section 3 of the Croatian Value Added Tax Act (Official Gazette
47/95). In practice, taking advantage of this privilege can be as
easy as flashing your diplomatic ID, or so difficult that it may not
be worth your time. The Embassy has negotiated point-of-sale tax
exemptions with a number of vendors frequented by members of the
Embassy community. At other stores, you will generally have to pay
the full amount, including taxes, and then process a request through
the government of Croatia to authorize the store to return the tax
to you. You then take the government protokol form back to the
vendor, who will refund the VAT to you. GSO can assist you with
this, and will provide detailed information on the VAT-refund
process after your arrival at Post.
Credit cards, like American Express, Visa, Diners, Eurocard and
Mastercard, are widely accepted in stores, supermarkets, and
restaurants. Credit cards are convenient for traveling in the
region, and for ordering online or from mail-order catalogs.
Foreign currency may be exchanged into Kuna at banks, exchange
offices (mjenjacnica), and duty-free shops. They all offer similar
rates. When exchanging money a receipt must be issued. Banks and
exchange offices keep long hours and both deduct a commission of
1.5% to change cash or travelers checks. Before leaving Croatia, a
foreign national may exchange unspent Kuna into the foreign currency
shown on the receipt. Travelers checks and Eurocheques can also be
exchanged at banks and exchange offices. Checks issued by banks and
personal checks can be exchanged at banks.
ATMs are common throughout Croatia; some will even accept U.S.
debit cards. There is an ATM located in the Embassy neear the
Embassy Cashier Services U.S. citizen direct-hire personnel may
cash personal checks for either dollars or kuna, not to exceed USD
500 per week, per person. U.S. dollars are not accepted as payment
Reverse accommodation exchange is not permitted at the Embassy
cashier, except during the last month of your Post in Zagreb, when
two reverse accommodation exchanges will be permitted.
Sale of Property
All U.S. Government personnel, military and civilian, have the
usual diplomatic privileges of duty-free entry for their personal
belongings, HHE, automobiles, and other goods for their personal use
Regulations that govern disposition of personal property abroad,
imported duty free by all U.S. Government U.S. citizen employees,
contractors, and family members, are to ensure that individuals do
not profit from transactions with persons not entitled to exemptions
from import restrictions, duties, or taxes. Employees and
contractors must request and receive approval in advance to sell any
personal property of over “minimal value.” Minimal value is defined
in 5 USC 7342 as a sales price (or the retail value if received as a
gift) of USD 180 or less. Individuals shall not sell, assign, or
otherwise dispose of their duty-free imported personal property over
a value of USD 180 without prior written approval of the Chief of
Mission or his designee (in Zagreb, the Management Officer). Nor
shall any individual sell, assign, or otherwise dispose of personal
property imported duty free that was not acquired for bona fide
Individuals shall not retain any profit from sales of personal
property, including any interest earned on that profit. Such profit
shall be disposed of within 90 days of receipt by contribution or
gift to a charity.
“Profits” are any proceeds (including cash or other valuable
consideration but not including amounts of such proceeds given, as
charitable contributions) for sale of personal property in excess of
the basic cost for such property.
“Cost” of an item includes the initial price paid, inland and
overseas transportation costs (if not reimbursed by U.S.
Government), shipping insurance, taxes, customs fees, duties or
other charges, and capital improvements. Cost does not include
insurance on an item while in use or storage, maintenance or repair
costs, or finance charges.
Although minimal value items need not be considered, automobiles,
boats, computer systems, or other integrated-machine systems or
items of equipment must be valued as a single item even if acquired
separately, except that spare or superseded parts (e.g., an old set
of tires that has been replaced on a vehicle) may be valued as
If you sell a vehicle, whether or not a profit is generated, you
must provide the vehicle registration and the original dealer
invoice or some other document that verifies the purchase price, the
date of purchase, and the currency used for the transaction.
If a car is purchased in Zagreb from another diplomat or another
person with import privileges, the seller must provide the Export
Declaration for the car.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/18/2004 8:52 AM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse
Bralic, Ivo. Our Lovely Croatia. Marin Drzic: Zagreb, 1992.
Bralic, Ivo. The National Parks of Croatia. Skolska Knjiga:
Cooper, Robert. Croatia. Benchmark Books, 2000.
Croatia and the Croatians. Associated Book Publishers: Scottsdale
Croatia Country Study Guide. International Business Publications,
Croatia for Tourists. Mozaik knjiga, 1995.
Croatia in the Heart of Europe: Mediterranean and Central
European Cultural Landscapes of Croatia. Croatian Paneuropean Union:
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. HAZU: Zagreb, 1994.
Croatian Food: Export Guide. Oziris: 1995.
Croatian Music. Music Information Center: 1992.
Denitch, Bogdan. Ethnic Nationalism: The Tragic Death of
Yugoslavia. University of Minnesota Press: 1994.
Eterovic, Ivo. Zagreb, An Intimate View. Masmedia: 1987.
Glenny, Misha. The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War.
Penguin Books: 1992.
Goldstein, Ivo. Croatia: A History. McGill-Queens University
Hitrec, Hrvoje. Zagreb: Croatian Metropolis.
Holbrooke, Richard. To End a War. Random House, 1998.
How To Do Business With Croatia. Croatian Chamber of Economy:
Horvatic, Dubravko. Zagreb and its Surroundings. Mate: 1996.
Ivancevic, Radovan. Art Treasures of Croatia. Motovun: 1993.
Kampus, Ivan. Zagreb Through A Thousand Years. Skolska Knjiga:
Kaplan, Robert D. Balkan Ghosts. First Vintage Departures
Edition: March 1994.
Lampe, John R. Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country.
Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Makovic, Zvonko. Istra. Omnium, 1997.
Marasovic, Tomislav. Split: 1700 Years of Development. Brevina:
Mazower, Mark. The Balkans: A Short History. Moderny Library,
Mohorovicic, Andre. Lovely Croatia. Buvina, 2003.
Museums and Galleries of Croatia. Ministry of Culture and
Mohorovicic, Andro. Architecture in Croatia/Architecture and Town
Planning. Skolska Knjiga: Zagreb.
Novakovic, Anuska. Dubrovnik and Its Surroundings. Privredni
Obad-Scitavoci. Castles, Manors and Gardens of Croatian Zagorje.
Skolska Knjiga, 2001.
Radovinovic, Radovan and Naprijed, Naklada. Croatian Adriatic.
Sekulic-Gvozdanovic. Fortress Churches in Croatia. Skolska
Schevill, Ferdinand. A History of the Balkans. Dorset Press,
Silber, Laura and Allan Little. The Death of Yugoslavia. Penguin
Books, BBC Books, 1995.
Singleton, Fred. A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples.
Cambridge University Press: 1985.
Tanner, Marcus. Croatia, a Nation Forged in War. Yale University
The Natural Heritage of Croatia. Burina, 1995.
Trinajstic, Petar. Zagreb—The Croatian Metropolis. Naklada: 1996.
West, Rebecca. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through
Yugoslavia. Macmillan London Limited: 1942.
Woodward, Susan L. Balkan Tragedy. The Brooking Institution,
Zagreb—Croatian Metropolis: City Guide. Masmedia: 1993.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/18/2004 8:51 AM
The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb observes all U.S. Federal Holidays and
all official Croatian Holidays. For 2004, the list of holidays
observed is as follows:
Jan. 1 Thu. New Year's Day Jan. 6 Tue. Epiphany Jan. 19 Mon.
Martin Luther King's Birthday Feb. 16 Mon. Washington's Birthday
Apr. 12 Mon. Easter Monday May 1 Sat. Labor Day May 31 Mon. Memorial
Day June 10 Thu. Corpus Christi Day June 22 Tue. Croatian Uprising
Day June 25 Fri. Croatian State Day July 4 Sun. Independence Day
July 5 Mon. Embassy Closed for July 4 Aug. 5 Thu. Patriotic
Gratitude Day Aug. 15 Sun. Assumption Day Sept. 6 Mon. Labor Day
Oct. 8 Fri. Croatian Independence Day Oct. 11 Mon. Columbus Day Nov.
1 Mon. All Saints' Day Nov. 11 Thu. Veterans' Day Nov. 25 Thu.
Thanksgiving Day Dec. 24 Fri. Embassy Closed for Christmas Dec. 25
Sat. Christmas Dec. 26 Sun. St. Stephen's Day Dec. 31 Fri. Embassy
Closed for New Year's