Local, handmade and traditional could possibly be some of our favorite words. The same goes when describing the souvenirs we recommend buying. We believe that choosing the right item is the best way to take with you the piece of place you are visiting. In this case – Croatia. When you know what to look for, choosing the right souvenir isn’t that hard. We’d love to help you picking the little treasures as they serve either as memories or as gifts. The following items are both local and traditional.
If you know a little bit about Croatia, you’ll know about Licitar hearts too. Little heart shaped biscuits are well known Croatian symbol of love originally gifted at ceremonies of love. Licitars are made out of sweet honey dough, painted in red and then precisely and intricately decorated. They are part of Croatian cultural heritage and something visitors like to buy the most. Giving Licitar to someone is the sign of pure love. How romantic!
CROATIAN CRAVAT (TIE)
Cravat is a piece of decorative clothing originally invented by Croatian soldiers. Since then, neck tie became so popular worldwide that anything of a business matter couldn’t go without a tie. Today, a tie or “kravata”, is carefully designed in special stores in Croatia. It suits anyone’s budget, from plain materials to ties embodied with gold so we are sure anyone can find something for themselves or their loved ones.
If you were to visit any Croatian grandma, you would notice something all of them have in common: white handmade lace carefully placed over their old tv. Why? We don’t know either, it’s just something Croatian grandmas do. Notable for its unique designs and patters, Croatian lace became Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity recognized by UNESCO. Sounds impressive for a piece of lace. The most famous ones are those made in Pag and Hvar island. Buying piece of lace, means bringing peace of Croatia back home.
THE VUCEDOL DOVE
Dove from Vukovar could possibly be the most significant archeological finding from Croatia discovered in 1938. A bird on tree legs, a partridge to be exact, was made of baked dark colored clay decorated with ornaments. Today you can see it in Archeological museum in Zagreb and buy the replica for around 180 kuna. In Vukovar you can find it even cheaper; 45 kuna and up. Perfect gift for anyone who’s into art, history and archeology.
You can’t really miss the purple stands full of lavender souvenirs as you walk along Croatian promenades. This scented purple flower is used for variety of purposes; usually packaged in tiny decorative bags and used as moth repellent in closets. You can get it as cheap as 5 kuna or get lavender oil for 200 kuna per liter. Be sure to get something for yourself as lavender represents the true scent of Mediterranean.
THE SESTINE UMBRELLA
The art of making Šestine (Shestine) umbrella comes from small village between Zagreb and Medvednica mountain. It was part of folk costume during traditional events in Zagreb and made out of red cotton with naturally crooked chestnut handle. Today, the best place to get Šestine umbrella is Dolac Market in central Zagreb. Legend says that its intense red color comes from love between Jankic and Jana; another souvenir that represents love. Ah, Croatians.
Typical Istrian house is now very popular as a souvenir in Istrian County. Originally made out of natural stone and with no windows, Kažun (Kazhun) served for shelter purposes. Nowadays, shepherds are using it in case of a severe weather or as storage for tools. Miniature Kažuns are handmade and can be bought at stands at local markets. These small charming houses are perfect gift for anyone appreciating Croatian art and heritage.
For Typical Croatian souvenirs pt.2 where we talk about food souvenirs click here.
Special thanks to Souvenir shop ”Kaptol” (Kaptol 2, Zagreb ) for letting us photograph their souvenirs!